By Zoe Blain
Week 3: Hypocritical Laws
Everybody loves a good conspiracy. Especially if it’s hypocritical. Especially if the problem can be traced back to government offices. Except this hypocrisy can be traced back to your lips. Or through a string of smoke to mine. You can even sip it through a straw. Or serve it with a slice of lemon on the rocks.
At my high school, it was compulsory for students to study “Health” for three years. I loved health class. It was hilarious. Once my middle aged, bowl cut sporting teacher brought half a dozen zip lock bags filled with grass clippings, painkillers and caster sugar into class. “Who wants some coke?” Swaggering through the doorway. “C’mon guys, I’ve got ecstasy.” I said I’d give her 50c for a Panadol. She was horrified. “This is the real deal dude.” I was horrified.
In health class, I learned that illegal drugs were illegal for a reason. Dangerous and highly addictive. I learned that LSD burnt out your retinas, marijuana ate holes through your brain and magic mushrooms made you schizophrenic. I also learned how to pour standard drinks and how to say no to cigarette wielding citizens.
One of my friends nearly died when I was seventeen. Her blood alcohol level was apparently 0.32, but then, I too was drunk remember little of the night. 0.4 is a coin toss; heads is comatose, tails is dead.
There was a poster in my health room with scans showing holes in human brains. It showed marijuana and cocaine. It offered no sources. I hit the keyboard and quickly uncovered “nicotine” “alcohol” and “caffeine.”
I am no corporation hating hippy, but the hypocrisy appalled me. Further research lead to studies claiming that according to national and international drug classification systems, tobacco and alcohol should be as illegal as lady H. In fact, the whole hierarchy of harm and well, “evilness” should be totally shuffled. Firstly, tobacco and alcohol are not classified. Hence, their legality. However, this indirectly means that both should have high medicinal merit, or cause no harm whatsoever.
Funny then that 95% of drug related deaths in Australia are caused by alcohol and tobacco… Definitely safer than class A hallucinogen LSD which contributes to a whopping 0% of fatalities… I also couldn’t help but note that morphine is unclassified because its potential harm level is “low.” This is the high water mark of the classification hypocrisy. Heroin is actually derived from morphine.
How can these classifications currently stand? Four words: political, historical and cultural preference.
What a shame that politicians are whiskey slurpers and cigar suckers. That colonization and wars were toasted with wine. That beer is a national icon. Mind you, I do enjoy a tequila on the rocks every now and then. But at the same time, my retinas are miraculously intact, my brain sports few wormholes (MRI scans looked pretty clean) and the voices in my head haven’t made me kill anybody… Yet.