In this piece for Vice, Max Daly explores the impact of societal attitudes toward drug use and drug users on the drug policy debate over prohibition versus legalization.
“‘We’ve always affected our own body chemistry, whether it be through sex, alcohol, masturbation or even reading, and such practices have been regulated and controlled over time, particularly through religion. In the 18th century it was thought that reading novels was bad because it could inflame our passions or control our minds. At the time, reading would have been seen as an inauthentic high, much like the way drug use is seen today.’
The use of drugs as a shortcut to personal reward – feeling the pleasure without the pain – is the main reason people distrust drug users, rather than the fact they are law breakers. Angus Bancroft, an expert on drugs and society and a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, says this probably originated in the Protestant work ethic, but has morphed more recently into what it says about the self.”