I’m reading an interesting book on drugs – and our differing attitudes to say, the ‘crazed’ heroin addict, as compared to the ‘harmless’ boozer. What’s also striking are the ways in which we can conspire to create a climate of addiction.
In ‘Matters of Substance’, Griffith Edwards lists ‘seven ways to create a drug epidemic’. These are as follows;
1.Place the target population under severe strain. Aim to damage family and social relationships, create a gulf between rich and poor, destroy community and alienate youth.
2. Make your chosen substance readily available. Have it on sale at every grocers, keep prices low, abolish controls and treat the drug like any other consumer commodity.
3.Build a climate of acceptance. Persuade people that everyone uses the drug and non-users are the weird ones. Utilise opinion-formers and the media to market these substances.
4.Get the medical profession to take up the drug, prescribe it with abandon, declare it to be non-addictive and leak it onto the streets.
5. Look out for innovative opportunities to market said drug in a new or more potent form. (Alcopops, anyone?)
6. Encourage a culture of greed. Count on complicity between manufacturers and the drug-taking state.
7. Try to ensure that the media portray drug taking as the responsibility of the individual: ‘their flawed genetic makeup’, ‘addictive personality’ and ‘moral bankruptcy’.
Food for thought.