We all have been inundated with information regarding the recent so-called opioid crisis. It is apparent that this is a world wide Pandemic and no one knows how to control it. If you’ve been using this website you will know that I am a member of an organization that believes that education of the young is a possible strategy to decrease the current high level of illicit drug ingestion by young people. We have no evidence that this type of education policy will have any effect—it simply has to be better than the conditions at the present time. The war on drugs, which was initiated by Pres. Richard Nixon approximately 25 years ago, is an absolute failure. The Canadian government and many governments have spent a fortune on tobacco abuse, which apparently is not successful since the rate of teenage smoking has decreased only by approximately 10% according to a recent government study. The anti-smoking advocates who are still active, disagree with this finding and are currently doing their own study .
I’m not sure if this is going to be prophetic but I thought it would be interesting for people to know that a recent study in the United States, and published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that death due to alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver has increased by 65% from 1999 to 2016. The increase in cirrhosis-related occurrences was most pronounced among those aged 25 to 34, with a slight increase in males. We know young women are more susceptible to cirrhosis of the liver then young males. In addition to the increasing incidence of cirrhosis of the liver and youth, there is also an increase in liver cancer, the incidence of which has doubled. The lead author of the study stated that this generation of Americans is being afflicted “by alcohol misuse and its complications.”
The reason why I point this out is that we have known the effects of alcohol on health for many hundreds of years. The complications usually took place on a very chronic basis, finally ending in cirrhosis of the liver, damage to the heart, damage to the peripheral nerves, etc. Nevertheless, society has socialized alcohol drinking even though it is known to be a dangerous substance leading to overuse, addiction, and disease. Despite this knowledge, we have really done nothing over the years to try and educate people of the dangers of chronic alcohol overuse. We attempted to prohibit alcohol drinking in the 30s, which led to increased crime from those who were Bootlegging and distilling liquor illegally. The health policy advocates, however, targeted cigarettes and ignored alcoholism and its consequences. I often wonder if the young switched to alcohol when they were being bombarded with antismoking literature. I wouldn’t be surprised!
Now we are about to embark on another massive human experiment. We have now introduced another addicting and dangerous drug to the mix and this is, of course, cannabis. My position on cannabis is that it should be decriminalized but I am concerned about the legalization of this substance for recreational use. The fact that taking a drug can be considered as a recreation is simply stupid. I think that we should embark on a huge learning process for our children about what they are going to be facing eventually. As I stated many times, I’m not certain if education is the answer but certainly it is worth a serious attempt. We should enlighten our children and help them make a very important decision in their lives, and that is, to reject offers by dealers for any drug. In addition to that we should include the drugs that are legal and educate them that they have serious side effects as well!
I just learned Health Canada is going to embark on a national education program in the schools this year.