Pubdate: Fri, 11 Feb 2005
Source: Maple Ridge Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Corrine L. Arthur



Re: Drugs a choice, Times, Feb. 4, 2005

I'll be the bad liberal of the moment and concur with Ms. Sinclair
that she is "right," people who use drugs originally made a choice to
ingest a harmful substance with the notion that some pain, whether
physical, emotional or both would be relieved.

Whew, that was cathartic; however, I fail to see how that's a profound

Most of the educated public makes at least one bad choice on a daily
basis; ingests at least one harmful substance deserving of a spanking
for ignorance. I'd be hard pressed to find a person that has not
received "so much education" on the harms of caffeine, sugar, fast
food, nicotine, alcohol, high-fat diets, white flour, sun-tanning,
anti-depressants, etc. And may I even suggest for many they're used as

Whether legalized or criminalized harmful substances cost society, we
are just more likely to condemn the person addicted to the latter
because the costs are more blatant.

We all make bad choices, rely upon crutches, even mock our socially
acceptable vices, yet want to ostracize the person addicted to drugs
for doing the same - making a bad choice. I'm only too thankful that I
haven't been held publicly accountable for all the bad choices I have
made, especially those I made in my teens and still now in my
twenties, even though I know better.

Not for lack of education, nearly every day a person will make a
choice that could result in disastrous consequences. Who knew that the
prescription their doctor wrote them for stress and anxiety,
benzodiazepine, better known in the 50s as "mother's little helper" or
valium, could result in the second-most difficult addiction to
detoxify from, second only to alcohol. Yes, we'd know it was possible
to become addicted to a "legal" drug, but we'd only use it while it
was necessary.

It was a heroin addict who originally made the "choice" to dull the
pain of a motorcycle accident with morphine, even though his doctor
advised him it was a narcotic with the potential for addiction. A bad
choice or something that he should take "full responsibility for the
consequences [of] and not ask the public for support"?

People make poor choices, for various reasons, as taxpayers we pay for
those through medical costs, higher insurance rates, higher consumer
prices, etc. Perhaps the flaw in the system is that you don't have the
authority to only allot your tax dollars to particular causes.

However, we do get to express that freedom through our charitable
donations, and my understanding of Val Hughes' article was not that
she begrudged the outpouring of care for the tsunami victims, but
rather can not comprehend how we go about manifesting that same
outpouring of unconditional support for our own local disasters.

Would it really have made a difference if we had known the person
devastated by the tsunami had the opportunity to run for higher
ground, but was awed by the incredible power and force of water and
instead watched, thinking he would be safe, only to be engulfed by a
second tidal wave. I think not, even though some could argue that was
a "bad choice," especially if he had been educated in the power of a
tsunami. Charity is charity, give your dollars to the causes you feel
passionate for, but I would beware the power of karma, with no jest
intended it can be like a tidal wave and very unexpectedly the persons
we have stamped as undeserving may in fact be those we believe deserve
the very best, our own loved ones. Oh, but by the grace of God go I.

Corrine L. Arthur

Maple Ridge
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