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‘Drug Users Are Patients, Not Criminals’
“…If the police get to a crime scene, a man caught with marijuana is likely to be accused of committing the crime against a man caught with a weapon.”
By Ponmile Orija
Drugs are substances which have physiological effect when ingested or introduced into the body.
They also change the person’s physical or mental state. As much as drugs can cause harm or damage and are not substances to be played around with they sometimes have positive effects even the supposedly harmful ones.
Drugs are in different levels and categories.
The legality of a drug often depends on how it is being used or what it is being used for. Cigarettes and alcohol are classified under legal drugs which are allowed to be bought by adults from the age of 18 and above.
As much as this is allowed, smoking and excessive drinking is discouraged among all.
Marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, skunk, heroine belong to the illegal category.
Although the above named drugs still have their benefits such that in some countries doctors recommend marijuana to adults for certain illnesses, drug policies kick against these drugs, capitalizing on their harmful effects and damage.
Government has gone further to met out certain punishments and sufferings to drug processors, possessors and users.
Laws in every state at federal and state level prohibit the possession, manufacture and sale of certain controlled substances including drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, heroine and methamphetamine.
Government is so particular about this because it is said that drugs and alcohol abuse, costs the society over $110 billion a year through death, criminal behavior and healthcare.
So imprisonment, fines and sometimes even death penalties are awarded to drug users and possessors.
What is disheartening is the fact that most crimes committed in the society today is attributed to drug users, if the police gets to a crime scene, a man caught with marijuana is likely to be accused of committing the crime against a man caught with a weapon.
There are thousands of wrongly convicted drug users all over the world. Investigations or not, drug users are so easily condemned as criminals in the society.
In spite of this have we ever imagined that if instead of arresting and torturing people for crimes they most likely didn’t commit , because they were found with drugs, government creates more campaign groups against the usage and possession of harmful drugs they (Government ) will be doing the society more good?
There have been several cases of people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes they didn’t commit just because they were found in possession of drugs, some individuals have been jailed for life or even killed when all they actually need is rehabilitation.
The Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international nonprofit advocacy and education organization based in Washington DC with developing branches in schools across Nigeria.
They are focused on reforming drug policy in the United States and internationally, they create an avenue for young people to have free conversations on drugs and drug policy.
This particular organization neither condones nor condemns drug use rather they respect the rights of individuals to make decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
As was mentioned earlier some of these harmful drugs have their own usefulness and are even presecribed for patients with certain medical conditions in some countries.
At the same time this body makes conscious efforts to project harm reduction and enlighten drug users to the more damages caused by constant usage of these drugs.
Having said this, the various repercussions and side effects of harmful drug usage should be emphasized, as much as I support giving people the liberty and freedom to chose without condemnation, I would still go further to say involving in drugs, usage and abuse attract grave consequences.
Orija is a Local Coordinator, African Students for liberty