According to an article in the Dec. 13 Journal Sentinel cue section it is ok to start taking mind-altering drugs again. ( "Turn On, Tune In and Get Better?", by Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times.) I have never used these drugs (and never will) but I felt compelled to set the record straight. These drugs are extremely dangerous and have no medical value. Rather than offering legitimacy to their use, the Journal Sentinel should be warning the public about how dangerous these drugs are.
The tone of this article suggests that hallucinogens are not realy that dangerous and can have real benefits. The author states, "... magic mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy and ketamine are being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses. Scientists believe these agents have the potential to help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, unremitting pain or depression and the existential anxiety of terminal illness. ... these drugs may help the psychologically wounded tune in to their darkest feelings and memories and turn therapy sessions into heightened opportunites to learn and heal."
I would like to offer an alternative explanation: People who are in mental pain may not feel as bad if they are high on drugs. It is, however, a false treatment and any doctor who would prescribe these drugs is a quack. These drugs are not helpful. People have real problems that need real solutions. Getting high by altering one's brain chemistry is not a meaningful solution. If you take a person who is messed up and give them mind-altering drugs, that person is just going to be more messed up. When the drug wares off the problems remain.
Later in the article, the author quotes a study in which Psilocybin, a drug derived from a mushroom, led to people having deep and meaningful spiritual experiences. Again, I would like to offer an alternative explanation: the people were confused. Spiritual experiences come from studying religion and theology, from church, from reading the bible, etc. People of all major religions engage in prayer and study their faith in order to have a deeper, more meaningful spiritual experience. Being spiritual does not come from getting wasted on drugs.
The author proposes that Psilocybin can help people deal with alcohol abuse and can help to reorganize their thinking. The author goes on to describe all the benefits of "ecstasy" or MDMA, saying it can dissolve anxiety and fear, suppress social inhibition and enhance one's ability to trust others. That's just what your high school and college-age kids need, right?
I hope some people will read the article, then read my blog and consider how really dangerous and irresponsible the Journal Sentinel is in publishing this article. I can't believe that the editing staff at the Journal Sentinel would actually publish this article. I would like to see a follow-up article, or series of articles, showing the down-side of using these drugs.
I also believe that once a person starts using any type of illicit drug it is more likely they will experiment with other drugs. If you are already using LSD, Psilocybin or Ectasy, then why not try cocaine, oxycontin or heroin? If Psilocybin gives you a really deep, meaningful spiritual experience, then maybe other drugs can have positive effects as well.
The truth, of course, is that all of these drugs are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. If someone offers you these drugs, even a Medical Doctor or research scientist, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. They will not help you and will make your problems worse. Your anxiety will only increase after your life is ruined by using illegal drugs.
Do you really want to have a deep and meaningful spiritual experience? Then work hard at school or at your job, do the right thing, believe in God and practice your faith. Work hard at developing strong personal relationships with the people in your life. Make a commitment to your family, your friends, your classmates or co-workers, and to your community. If you feel troubled, depressed or anxious, talk to your pastor or to a physician. But avoid illegal drugs at all costs; they will only compound your problems and ruin your life.