Legal drugs: alcohol

Legal drugs: alcohol

Life provides us with many possible pleasures/legal drugs. Some indulge too much in them, some too little. Some legal drugs manage to find that sweet spot in between and thus live their life contentedly. Pleasure is what can make life worth living, yet is also capable of destroying it.  Perhaps the clearest example of this is the pleasure we’re going to discuss today: alcohol.

Let’s make one thing clear right from the start. Alcohol is a drug, just like cannabis, cocaine, or heroin and contributes to thousands of deaths and countless injuries every year. If we look at the facts, we can even conclude that alcohol is, by far, the most dangerous drug of all.  Perhaps you’ve heard the horror stories surrounding LSD – people jumping out of windows and whatnot. Well, it comes nowhere near the damaging effects of alcohol, which is one of the legal drugs.

an analysis of the UK that shows that alcohol is the most dangerous drug of all
This analysis of UK drug use shows that alcohol is the most dangerous drug of all.

Why is it then that the consumption of alcohol is universally accepted, while we can’t buy a couple of grams of MDMA at the supermarket? The reason why alcohol is universally accepted has multiple reasons. The main reason is the sheer strength in numbers of its consumers. More than half the population admits to consuming alcohol. Take that away from them and you’ve got quite the uprising on your hand. Just look at prohibition in America in the 1920s. Not only did drunkenness actually increase, crime and disrespect for the law also rose.

Economics and legal drugs

Also, Economics play a role, of course. The Alcoholic Beverages Market was valued at $1,344 billion in 2015 and is projected to reach $1,594 billion by 2022. Let that sink in. Nearly one-thousand-six hundred billion a year.

Let’s not forget that alcohol has been around for nearly as long as humans have, at least for all of recorded history. In ancient Greece, the drinking of alcohol was considered so important, that it was seen as a defining characteristic of the Hellenistic higher society. A while later, Jesus turning water into wine set a precedent for 2000 years (and counting) of ceremonial alcohol consumption.  

jesus overseeing the illegal production of alcohol in relation to the pleasure of legal drugs
Jesus overseeing the illegal production of alcohol

So, there must be some intrinsic motivation in human beings leading us to inebriation you’d think. Looking at it rationally though, it seems that by now the perhaps once intrinsic motivation has been replaced by many external motivations.

Social norms

The social norms are as such nowadays, that it’s normal to drink and abnormal to be a teetotaller (there’s even a special word for it). How often are these unicorns not treated either as straight-up weirdos or as people that simply need a bit of convincing to join the jolly drinkers? Is it not often the case that when teenagers start drinking, their parents say that they’re “finally grown-up”? How can you be expected not to drink, when apparently it’s part of the process of becoming an adult?

Frankly, it’s ridiculous.

Now, I’m the last person to give up my pint of Guinness or glass of whiskey (perhaps this dangerous drug called alcohol has taken complete control of me by now), but there is simply no logical reason that alcohol should not be forbidden the way other drugs are. Or, looking at it slightly differently, there is no reason why other drugs shouldn’t also be legal drugs if alcohol is.

What do you think?

So, nearly every drug is safe to use if the person using it is a responsible person. In an ideal society, there would only be legal drugs – even alcohol. That way the quality of the drugs can be controlled and it can be taxed, which would give an enormous boost to the economy. One could even use the argument that irresponsible people would slowly be weeded out, due to overdoses or accidents. It might sound cruel, but it’s an example of evolution doing its thing; humanity would, in the long run, only improve as a whole.

Well, what do you think? Is alcohol the most dangerous drug of all? Should drugs be legalised? Am I talking out of my rear end? Let’s have a healthy discussion about it all and leave a comment!

– Gerben Letzer –

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