I think drugs are going to be a major news story in the 20-teens.
A small but increasing faction of Americans has been crying out to legalize drugs for about 50 years now. And they are quietly winning… sort of.
The current drug boom started in the 1960′s and 70′s with Marijuana and then LSD, and continued into the 80′s with cocaine. The 1990′s saw crack take the headlines, and in the 2000′s people took to the DIY approach with meth. With each new approach to getting high, the old ones still remained popular, which means the drug using population probably increased.
The “War on Drugs” failed. Not in its message, but in its approach. Tell people not to do something, and they want to do it more. Defiance is in our DNA. Tell our body it can’t have something, and an ancient innate survival code kicks in and tells our brain we want it more, and now.
Many users, particularly of pot, used the potential tax revenue and economic stimulus legalization would have as a backdrop for their protests. I believe that by 2020 they’ll get there wish, but the question is… haven’t they already?
I don’t foresee a United States where the harder, more debilitating and fatal drugs are ever legal, but so many studies show that pot is less of a societal and physiological burden than alcohol, so that one kind of makes sense.
I mean, I know a lot of people who smoke it, and even though I don’t, I can accept it. I would never hire them to do important work or watch after a kid, but it doesn’t affect our relationship.
But here’s why I think drugs are already legal, and why I think the 20-teens are going to force society’s and the government’s hand into having to making adjustments to the current landscape.
Most people take drugs to medicate a larger issue; whether it be an inability to cope with stress, a fatalistic view of the world, anxiety, or they need a pick-me-up. There are other reasons, but those are pretty key ones. And if you go to your doctor and say you have any of those issues, they’ll write you a prescription for it and your insurance will pay for it.
Granted it’s not the “good stuff”, except for Marijuana in some clinical uses, but they’ll get you to the same place. Just more subtly.
And, just like hardcore drugs, if you mix the wrong combo or have to many, you die. Wasn’t 2009 “The Year of the Dead Celebrity”? And wasn’t the culprit prescription drugs? How are the prescription results with Brittany Murphy or Michael Jackson any different than the narcotic results with Chris Farley or Janis Joplin?
Over the next decade, we’ll have to decide how to manage pharmaceutical companies who incentivize doctors to default to their drugs to treat symptoms – and not causes.
Over the next decade, insurance companies and doctors will need to be held accountable when they prescribe psychotropic drugs and it is not in conjunction with psychotherapy. Because only the latter will give the patient long term results. The former is just to subdue them while they work on things.
Over the next decade, we’ll have to find a way to educate people on which things they can and can’t mix, and in what quantities. And to the point where it’s so obvious that it becomes as common sensible as knowing not to mix GhB with alcohol.
I don’t know how many seizures I saw in the mid 90′s when GhB was the rage and I worked in a bar. Finally people caught on because it was on every Dateline-esque show for a Summer. It will require that type of national campaign to foster awareness, otherwise the awareness will continue coming from fallen celebrities.
Not everybody will follow the guidelines that come out of this decade, but that’s OK. We only have an accountability as a society to help the people who weren’t intending to trash their life. Let’s get that started in Y2X (2010… get it?)