*A Small Book About Drugs* by Lisa Pryor

A Small Book About Drugs by Lisa Pryor by Adam Shand

The Wellington Central Library has become my home away from home. Or I suppose more accurately, my office away from office. I spend a lot of time there reading, writing and nerding (on the occasions when the free wireless actually works).

My favourite way to find books is to check seats for books which people have picked up and abandoned. I find all manner of interesting books that I never would have picked up otherwise. I've also learned that there is a a certain set of display shelves which almost always has a book I want to read on it. In fact if there's something specific that I want to do, I've learned to avoid that shelf or else I'll lose my afternoon to some new fascination (worse things have happened though, right?).

This was one of those books. Despite the fact that everything sensible to be said about drugs was said long long ago, it still caught my eye. It is written in such a simple and straightforward way that I found myself reading nearly cover to cover.

I'm not sure I learned too much, but she offered some interesting perspectives and snippets of history. For somebody who familiar with the topic it is a great introduction to the problems which drugs cause and how the laws we create to regulate them often make things worse.

These quotes were the ones which caught my attention sufficiently to write down.

MP: You can't compare harms from a legal activity with an illegal one.
Professor Nutt: Why not?
MP: Because one is illegal.
Nutt: Why is it illegal?
MP: Because its harmful.
Nutt: Don't we need to compare harms to determine if it should be illegal?
MP: You can't compare harms from a legal activity with an illegal one.

Getting wasted may feel like an adventure for a time, but there are greater adventures to be had sober. Far from being radical, there is something very conservative about needing to be intoxicated to before you feel you have permission to dance, ask someone out or act silly without fear of judgement. What would be really revolutionary would be a society where alcohol and drugs were saved for special occasions, where intoxication was not considered a necessary precondition for fun. As a society we need to get better at translating the bravery felt when intoxicated and applying it to sober life.

One of the contradictions of drugs is that they are best suited to those who don't love them.

Prudent drug takers survive pretty well with the laws as they are. It is the vulnerable and the addicted who have the most to gain from reform of drug laws and from policies which treat drug abuse as the health problem it is.

commentary posted on 24 Oct 2012 in #daring, #failing & #healing

Copyheart 1994–2024 Adam Shand. Sharing is an act of love.