Let’s say the Libertarians get their way on the War On Drugs… Now What?
The other night, I was speaking with some libertarian friends and one of them pointed out that, as a parent, he didn’t know what a post-legalization society would look like. I realized that I didn’t know either. This struck us as a problem.
Now, the first thing I thought of was how our society deals with booze… which, lemme tell ya, didn’t make me feel better about the problem.
Using myself as an example, the way that I was raised to deal with alcohol was complete and total abstinence. A glass of wine was as bad as a bottle… which means (shout out to Trumwill) that a bottle was no worse than a glass. And, like many of those who were about my age, once I got to college I discovered the joys of making friends with a junior or senior who would go out and buy for me and then I’d go on to get, as the kids say, “slizzard”. We had to get drunk when we had our supplier deliver for us because we didn’t know the next time we’d have a delivery. It was prohibition, writ small, in our little college town. Until, of course, we ourselves hit 21 and we had to pay it forward for a couple of years.
Now, one of us was raised Catholic and he explained that he got a small glass of wine on special occasions when he was a kid. As he grew larger, so did the glass. As such, finding himself with a glass of wine in front of him when he was 20 was much less interesting (and much less likely to result in drunkenness) than, say, when I did it.
Heck, his story is very much like stories I tell about the European customers we had to the restaurant when I was in college. The little kids got small glasses of wine, watered down, with dinner. And it wasn’t a big deal. Well, *I* was freaking out but my co-workers alternated between “Isn’t that *CUTE*? So European!” and “BFD. They’re European.”
Yet, when I think about how to talk to children about drugs, the thought of introducing them, ever so gently, into the experience makes me freak out! I mean, we’ve all seen the picture of “Rastafarian Children”, right? Cherubic children, beautiful the way that young children are beautiful, handing around a spliff. The very thought of being with children as they experiment with drugs strikes me as being worse than negligent… but when I think about how my Catholic and/or European friends were introduced to wine, that’s exactly what the parents did.
Indeed, when I think about drug education for children, I’m stuck thinking similar things to the things Kazzy talks about in this thread. “Stay away from drugs, children. They’re totally bad and you won’t appreciate them anyway.” But, indeed, that’s what I was told about wine and *that* resulted in getting plastered. Wouldn’t training folks the same on drugs end up in similar places?
And so I am stuck just not knowing what or how to best talk about (or, god forbid, introduce!) drugs to adolescents. What would a society that does that look like?