ROX Vocab

drug

 

Word: "drug"

Short Definition:

oh, you know. or do you?

Long Definition:

There's a lot of senseless hysteria about drugs these days, and it makes reasoned dialog on the issue darned near impossible. So let's get rid of the hype and speak honestly. OK?

We all use drugs; well, most people do, anyway. You probably do. That's right, you're probably a drug user!

After all, what is a drug? It's a hard thing to define. One narrow definition is that a drug is a medicine. But this definition would exclude many substances (such as cocaine, for example) which are commonly considered to be drugs but which are not commonly used as medicine.

We might have better luck if we say that a drug is any chemical substance which affects the human physiology or psychology. The substance may be habit-forming, perhaps addictive, but this is not crucial.

By this definition, caffeine is a drug. It's a chemical substance, a crystalline alkaloid to be more specific, with the structure C8 H10 N4 O2. It stimulates the heart and the central nervous system. And yes, it's definitely habit-forming.

That means your coffee and your Coca-Cola are DRUGS! If you drink them you are a DRUG-USER! Great oogly-boogly!

If you smoke cigarettes you're consuming nicotine. If you drink beer you're consuming alcohol. If you eat a candy bar you're consuming sugar.

Sugar? Could sugar also be a drug? Anybody who has ever experienced a “sugar rush” knows that it affects the consciousness. And certainly sugar can be habit-forming. It's a chemical substance... Yes, sugar is a drug.

Does this mean that all candy-eaters are bad, dangerous people? Of course not.

It's very easy to make excuses and allowances for the things we know, from personal experience, to be relatively benign. Coffee doesn't scare most people because it's a known quantity. But marijuana, because it is illegal, is unknown to many people. The unknown can be kind of scary.

Don't be scared. There are no good or bad drugs. There are only good and bad relationships with drugs. Drugs by themselves aren't gonna hurt you. Only drug abuse can hurt you. All drugs have a potential for abuse. Of course. I don't touch cigarettes because I was addicted for years, and I had a devil of a time quitting. We must be careful with the drugs we use. But that is an issue of personal responsibility. And yes, I believe it is possible to enjoy drugs in a responsible and mature fashion.

And so do you.

After all, you use drugs all the time.

Don't you?

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URL: /vocab/drug/
Created: November 18th, 2003
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