Moderation will end substance abuse, not a war on drugs

Walker is a senior sociology major from Brunswick, Ga. She is an officer in the Green Ambassadors

Walker is a senior sociology major from Brunswick, Ga. She is an officer in the Green Ambassadors

Brittany Walker

A recent Slate magazine article discussed a drunken Florida man who was reported as repeatedly punching a police horse and yelling “curse them horse!” The article went on to explain that this is not a unique occurrence, and described several other incidents of drunken people punching police horses.

If you were to ask me what kind of person I think would punch innocent horses, I would probably answer “sociopaths.” Apparently the answer is, “drunk people.” Now, can you ever imagine a world where stoned people go around punching horses? The words just don’t even belong in the same sentence. Stoned people would either think it’s the greatest animal they’ve ever seen and pet it, or be freaked out by it and slowly walk away. Both better options than aggressively punching it.

The horse punching incident is humorous and has some grains of truth to it, but the juxtaposition of alcohol abuse and marijuana legalization has more serious implications. Each year thousands of people are injured or killed as a result of the consumption of a legal drug – alcohol. Alcohol has ruined lives, as many have been permanently injured, raped or killed because alcohol took away their ability to function properly. Binge drinking is like reverting back to being a baby. You can barely walk or talk, are completely vulnerable and lack the ability to control bodily functions.

But each year thousands more go to jail as a result of the consumption or possession of an illegal drug – marijuana. A drug that can be argued to have much less negative impacts than alcohol. I am not saying alcohol should be made illegal and marijuana legalized, but worrying about people who use marijuana certainly seems like a waste of our time. Most of America seems to agree. A recent Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans agree that marijuana should be legalized.

I am not trying to rain on your fun parade; the research shows that the moderate use of both alcohol and marijuana is actually beneficial for your health. It is the overuse of both alcohol and marijuana that is not ok. For one, any kind smoke is terrible on your lungs, whether you’re smoking cigarettes or marijuana or spinach leaves. Overuse of marijuana also has negative effects on your neurons and dopamine receptors. The overuse of alcohol can cause liver malfunction and permanent memory loss. You can also drink too much water and die from it. As they say, everything in moderation. Maybe that is why there is a problem with substance abuse in our nation. Instead of using our resources, man power, and energy to teach moderation, we use it to fight a losing war on drugs.