To approach this rather controversial topic, which has ignited many different governmental entities across the globe, we must take a short step back and ask ourselves what exactly controlled substances are, why are they illegal, and, perhaps the most puzzling question of them all: is it appropriate for them to be illegal, instead of legally widely available to the public? An answer to this question is layered with relatively incomprehensible complexity. These are the salient questions that, in today’s world and our understanding of how these substances affect the human psyche and body, must be attended to with great precision, care and responsibility. With all the information that had accumulated over the past several decades, we bring forth a rather objective alternative point of view, in hopes that it may reach those with the ability to influence the masses and the governing powers that be.
Essentially, and according to the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States of America: “Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.“.With that being said, a controlled substance includes all and every substance, whether professionally synthesized in a pharmaceutical lab, or „cooked up“ by chemists in a makeshift drug lab that can cause addiction and/or dependence, with various degrees of dependency. One might be inclined to pass judgment on individuals which abuse these substances, whether in recreational or other purposes that can be traced back to mental health issues induced by a plethora of different socio-economic backgrounds and familial environments; however, the scarcity of appropriately iterated information of the topic at hand leads an even greater issue than mere prejudice. The said individuals who are stigmatized by the uneducated both public and governmental entities, deem as socially inept, irrelevant – outcasted by the very society that most likely shaped into the „drug-addicted failures at life“ that they are today. Upon a shallow observation of drug-addicted people, one might say that there is a good body of evidence supporting the horrid claims made by society about them every day. To deconstruct the false assumptions that people have about drug abuse, allow us to introduce you to both the psychological and physiological effects of these substances on the people overindulging in them. Firstly, we will elucidate how exactly do they affect brain and neurophysiology:
Drugs may, one way or another, interfere with the way neurons (cells of the nervous system), send, receive and process signals that arrive to them through neurotransmitters (chemicals that facilitate the transfer of impulses from one neuron to another). An example of this would be heroin and marijuana. The molecules of both marijuana and heroin molecularly mimic the neurotransmitters that are naturally produced by the various structures in the brain, thus activating the neurons that correspond with the neurotransmitters whose structure they mimic. This molecular imitation, however, does not activate the neurons in the same way that natural neurotransmitters do, but rather lead to anomalies and aberrations in information flow through the neural network, with respect to its natural counterpart.
Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine) and amphetamine(alpha – methylphenethylamine) affect neurotransmitters differently than the above-mentioned drugs, in a way that they inhibit or in some way prevent the normal, and vital, recycling of the chemicals that constitute neurotransmitters; therefore leading to abnormal communication between neurons. Taking these minute facts into consideration, it is important to understand how these deceivingly simple pieces of information, on a broader scale,
have effected millions in monstrous ways and in a staggering proportion. According to the American National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the statistics clearly indicate that the costs set out for substance abuse range between 78 billion to 300 billion in the United States alone; which can correspond to drug and alcohol-related felonies, and perhaps the overall legal and material costs of sanation and legal processing of such actions. Albeit not a strictly controlled substance, as it is readily and easily available both to minors and adults, alcohol poses, as is indicated by the most recent research, an incredible threat both to those who abuse it, drink it recreationally, even, as well as often mediating domestic and public violence. As one could assume from the above mentioned statistical data for the United States Alone, which is home to more than 300 million people, allude and suggest that the rest of the world also suffers the same substance abuse issues. This assumption can easily be backed up by global statistical data on drug and alcohol abuse, particularly regarding the death rate of individuals overindulging in the said substances.