Pubdate: Sun, 01 Aug 1999
Date: 08/01/1999
Source: Harper's Magazine (US)
Author: Doug Fawley

I applaud Joshua Wolf Shenk's report on the hypocrisies of America's
attitudes about drugs ["America's Altered States," May]. "Just say no"
proponents argue that the line that divides "good" and "bad" drugs
should be drawn between drugs that return one to a normal state,
whatever that is, and those that provide hedonistic pleasure.
Following this logic, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine should be
outlawed, since they offer no medically therapeutic benefits.

Public reaction to the misguided and failed Prohibition movement of
the earlier part of this century teaches us that humans will go to
great lengths to alter their consciousness in spite of the law. For
thousands of years, mankind has been ingesting, injecting, snorting,
smoking, and drinking just about anything we can get our hands on, and
that habit is not likely to change soon, however strong the desire of
our lawmakers for it to be otherwise.

Doug Fawley