We the People – The Hypocrites (Why Obama’s Drug Use is Irrelevant)

Barack Obama has used drugs – he has broken the law. He admits to experimenting with cocaine and marijuana while a young man, and although his candor is refreshing, his drug use has complicated his political aspirations, and political opponents from within his own party have been casting subtle digs about his past.

We expect leadership and moral correctness from our elected officials, and when yet another politician falls from grace, caught in lies about past or present acts, we bemoan the low ethical standards seemingly so prevalent among the Washington elite. Yet why, when we ask the impossible – perfection – are we surprised when imperfect humans (as we all are) prove themselves so?

Looking at the 2007 NIDA released statistics on drug use amongst high school seniors; we can see that although drugs may be illegal, more people than not in our society will try them, at least once. About half of all high school seniors will have used illegal drugs by graduation, and three out of four will have drunk alcohol, under age.

The democratic foundations of this country call for a person of the people, representative of the people, to serve in the best interests of all the people. In reality, we ask for a person who exhibits an impossible perfection of character and even of youthful judgment – a person very unlike most of us! Some may argue that Obama’s youthful indiscretion is not an issue of drugs, but rather of lawfulness; and that whether you can forgive him for his drug use, he did knowingly and willfully break the law. But once again, we all break the law!

We are all essentially guided by two often complimentary laws of action – our moral compass and the statutes of law. We do (mostly) what we perceive to be ethically right based on what we believe, and we follow laws of the state out of a fear of legal repercussions. And as such, when we do not perceive an act to be morally wrong, and when we feel that we are unlikely to face legal sanctions for engaging in it (getting caught) we are somewhat likely to break a law of the state barring this action.

  • Running a red light on a deserted country road at 3am is against the law, but as we perceive no moral need to stop, and feel we are unlikely to get caught, most of us will at some point creep through an intersection, without waiting for a green.
  • Taking drugs, as an individual act, is illegal, but it is not immoral – the act of using alone harms no one but the user. It may show poor judgment, but as teens, who amongst us can boast of uniformly good judgment?

Obama took drugs, like well more than half of us have. He does not take drugs now, and he has not for decades. Obama broke the law, like all of us have; he did not break any moral laws. What about all the politicians who claim never to have used drugs? Seems unlikely, based on the statistics.

Obama has told the truth. He is human. We should laud him for his courage. He may or may not be the right choice for president, but his past use of drugs should have no bearing on his legitimacy as a candidate today.

Hear Obama’s Views on Drug Policy

 

Barack Obama has used drugs – he has broken the law. He admits to experimenting with cocaine and marijuana while a young man, and although his candor is refreshing, his drug use has complicated his political aspirations, and political opponents from within his own party have been casting subtle digs about his past.

We expect leadership and moral correctness from our elected officials, and when yet another politician falls from grace, caught in lies about past or present acts, we bemoan the low ethical standards seemingly so prevalent among the Washington elite. Yet why, when we ask the impossible – perfection – are we surprised when imperfect humans (as we all are) prove themselves so?

Looking at the 2007 NIDA released statistics on drug use amongst high school seniors; we can see that although drugs may be illegal, more people than not in our society will try them, at least once. About half of all high school seniors will have used illegal drugs by graduation, and three out of four will have drunk alcohol, under age.

The democratic foundations of this country call for a person of the people, representative of the people, to serve in the best interests of all the people. In reality, we ask for a person who exhibits an impossible perfection of character and even of youthful judgment – a person very unlike most of us! Some may argue that Obama’s youthful indiscretion is not an issue of drugs, but rather of lawfulness; and that whether you can forgive him for his drug use, he did knowingly and willfully break the law. But once again, we all break the law!

We are all essentially guided by two often complimentary laws of action – our moral compass and the statutes of law. We do (mostly) what we perceive to be ethically right based on what we believe, and we follow laws of the state out of a fear of legal repercussions. And as such, when we do not perceive an act to be morally wrong, and when we feel that we are unlikely to face legal sanctions for engaging in it (getting caught) we are somewhat likely to break a law of the state barring this action.

  • Running a red light on a deserted country road at 3am is against the law, but as we perceive no moral need to stop, and feel we are unlikely to get caught, most of us will at some point creep through an intersection, without waiting for a green.
  • Taking drugs, as an individual act, is illegal, but it is not immoral – the act of using alone harms no one but the user. It may show poor judgment, but as teens, who amongst us can boast of uniformly good judgment?

Obama took drugs, like well more than half of us have. He does not take drugs now, and he has not for decades. Obama broke the law, like all of us have; he did not break any moral laws. What about all the politicians who claim never to have used drugs? Seems unlikely, based on the statistics.

Obama has told the truth. He is human. We should laud him for his courage. He may or may not be the right choice for president, but his past use of drugs should have no bearing on his legitimacy as a candidate today.

Hear Obama’s Views on Drug Policy

 

15% of New England Teens Are Substance Abusers…Too Many!

Teens visiting the doctor throughout New England were given a confidential questionnaire to fill out surveying their alcohol and drug use behaviors.

Now, we know that a lot of teens are using drugs and alcohol, and we know that about 80% of teens will have done so by the time they finish senior year in high school, but we didn’t know that so many of these teens that are experimenting with drugs and alcohol are consuming these substances at such a significant rate.

Fifteen percent of teens screened in New England self reported substance use behaviors that met the criteria for substance abuse. Not substance use, substance abuse.

We know that the earlier teens start taking drugs and alcohol in quantity the more likely they are to become addicted and also to experience psychiatric illness. We also know that early intervention and preventative screenings that unearth problematic use behaviors can make a real difference. Sometimes all it takes is a few words from a doctor or a school counselor, in private, about use behaviors and the risks of those behaviors to make a real behavioral difference.

The study leaders call for an increase in substance abuse screenings and preventative interventions nation-wide. Let’s hope they get heard by those that can enact such changes, and let’s hope that we can stop a lot of these preventable tragedies…before abuse becomes addiction and pain.

Teens visiting the doctor throughout New England were given a confidential questionnaire to fill out surveying their alcohol and drug use behaviors.

Now, we know that a lot of teens are using drugs and alcohol, and we know that about 80% of teens will have done so by the time they finish senior year in high school, but we didn’t know that so many of these teens that are experimenting with drugs and alcohol are consuming these substances at such a significant rate.

Fifteen percent of teens screened in New England self reported substance use behaviors that met the criteria for substance abuse. Not substance use, substance abuse.

We know that the earlier teens start taking drugs and alcohol in quantity the more likely they are to become addicted and also to experience psychiatric illness. We also know that early intervention and preventative screenings that unearth problematic use behaviors can make a real difference. Sometimes all it takes is a few words from a doctor or a school counselor, in private, about use behaviors and the risks of those behaviors to make a real behavioral difference.

The study leaders call for an increase in substance abuse screenings and preventative interventions nation-wide. Let’s hope they get heard by those that can enact such changes, and let’s hope that we can stop a lot of these preventable tragedies…before abuse becomes addiction and pain.

Why Do We Lie to Kids About Drugs?

We teach them in drug education classes about the harms of drugs and alcohol, and the pains that these can bring to those that would abuse them. We teach them these things because we love them and we worry for them and we know the perils they face as they proceed through the turbulent years of adolescence.

Our intentions are good, and all we wish to do is to spare them pain; but we almost always take things too far. We scaremonger; we say all drugs are bad…equally bad, and we present worse case scenarios as commonplace occurrences.

And it works fine for a while, and they believe us…for a while. But then they get a little bit older, and they see that some people that smoke marijuana don’t seem to be experiencing all of those drastic consequences that we foretold of. They get a bit older, and they learn a bit more and they start to realize that they were lied to!

They learn that not everyone that smokes a joint becomes a junky; in fact mostly they seem to do just fine. And then we wonder why they don’t believe us when we warn them of the dangers of meth…but why should they, we can’t be trusted. We need to start teaching kids the truth about drugs so that they can be informed about the real risks and consequences of their actions. We need to teach them that marijuana is not as harmful as a lot of other drugs and that most people that use it will not become raving lunatic drug addicts. We need to teach them that there are a lot of legitimate risks associated with today’s marijuana, but we need to stay real about it, and tell them the truth. They’ll learn it for themselves eventually anyways.

And maybe if we tell them the truth about marijuana, maybe they’ll smoke it or maybe they won’t (it’s pretty unlikely that more will smoke it than do know!) but at least they will know that they have been treated with respect, told the truth and educated to make their own decisions; and maybe then they will believe us when we warn them of the real dangers of a lot of other life-destroying drugs floating about out there.

 Kids aren’t dumb, they’ll learn the truth, and they will remember being lied to.

We teach them in drug education classes about the harms of drugs and alcohol, and the pains that these can bring to those that would abuse them. We teach them these things because we love them and we worry for them and we know the perils they face as they proceed through the turbulent years of adolescence.

Our intentions are good, and all we wish to do is to spare them pain; but we almost always take things too far. We scaremonger; we say all drugs are bad…equally bad, and we present worse case scenarios as commonplace occurrences.

And it works fine for a while, and they believe us…for a while. But then they get a little bit older, and they see that some people that smoke marijuana don’t seem to be experiencing all of those drastic consequences that we foretold of. They get a bit older, and they learn a bit more and they start to realize that they were lied to!

They learn that not everyone that smokes a joint becomes a junky; in fact mostly they seem to do just fine. And then we wonder why they don’t believe us when we warn them of the dangers of meth…but why should they, we can’t be trusted. We need to start teaching kids the truth about drugs so that they can be informed about the real risks and consequences of their actions. We need to teach them that marijuana is not as harmful as a lot of other drugs and that most people that use it will not become raving lunatic drug addicts. We need to teach them that there are a lot of legitimate risks associated with today’s marijuana, but we need to stay real about it, and tell them the truth. They’ll learn it for themselves eventually anyways.

And maybe if we tell them the truth about marijuana, maybe they’ll smoke it or maybe they won’t (it’s pretty unlikely that more will smoke it than do know!) but at least they will know that they have been treated with respect, told the truth and educated to make their own decisions; and maybe then they will believe us when we warn them of the real dangers of a lot of other life-destroying drugs floating about out there.

 Kids aren’t dumb, they’ll learn the truth, and they will remember being lied to.

Lessons Learned From Celebrity Rehab Failures

Any of us that have gone through the process know that rehab isn’t just a place, and simply by attending a rehab you are not cured. Rehab requires dedication, hard work, and a heartfelt battle with the demons inside. Sometimes the trivialization of rehab by Hollywood celebrities makes me angry, sometimes I’m just glad that I’m not them, and never had the worst of my abuses photographed; but mostly it just reinforces my belief that rehab is only as useful as the energy and dedication you put into the process.

I was just reading the news about Lindsay Lohan and her latest brush with the law, and yet another announcement made by her publicists that she was once again checking into rehab. Rehab seems to have become a career move in Hollywood, and any misdeed can be wiped clean with an expression of regret, punctuated with a brief stay in rehab seemingly to convey sincerity.

The stories of celebs using and abusing rehab always provokes some complex emotions when I consider my own painful battle with addiction, the journey through rehab (twice) and my struggle to stay sober each day.

Firstly, I guess it’s easy to feel angry that stars seem to be trivializing a process that for anyone that has really done it right is a long, tough, and very emotionally difficult period. Rehab isn’t supposed to be country club or a spa, and the tears of my rehab experience certainly weren’t caused by an over exuberant shiatsu masseuse! When stars talk about their experiences at rehab, I wonder how much they really got out of it, and more importantly how much they really put into it. I can’t help but feel that their trivial attitudes belittle the hard earned gains of anyone who has battled and conquered an addiction.

But then I also consider how difficult it must be to suffer with addiction while having your every move documented by a trailing team of paparazzi. Anyone who has battled with addiction has a long list of shameful behaviors, and most of us are pretty glad that most of our shame is for private and family consumption only. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have the worst days of your life, and the worst of your abuses and behaviors splashed across the tabloids for all to see.

I feel sympathy for anyone who suffers addiction and also has an occupation that makes their private battle public fodder, and I’m grateful I don’t live their lives. I guess what I really feel is that the stories of stars battling their addictions, repeatedly entering spa style rehabs, and repeatedly suffering the embarrassment of very public intoxicated humiliations; teaches us all that rehab is only as valuable as you make it. It doesn’t mater how much money you have, how admired you are or how much power you’ve got, if you don’t make a personal commitment to change, and put in the work required to learn how, then you’ll never succeed no matter who you are. Rehab isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind, and unless you’re ready to confront your personal demons, to really look inside yourself and make a determined effort to change every part of your life that might led you back to abuse, you can’t succeed.

It doesn’t matter if you drive into rehab in a Ford Pinto or a Mercedes, you’ll be driving out an addict unless you suffer through the changes needed.

I feel sorry that anyone has to feel the pain and suffering of addiction, and ultimately I don’t feel angry that these "silver spoon" stars, who can afford the best of everything, seem to be making light of rehab. I know what they still need to learn, and that is that rehab only works if you do.

Any of us that have gone through the process know that rehab isn’t just a place, and simply by attending a rehab you are not cured. Rehab requires dedication, hard work, and a heartfelt battle with the demons inside. Sometimes the trivialization of rehab by Hollywood celebrities makes me angry, sometimes I’m just glad that I’m not them, and never had the worst of my abuses photographed; but mostly it just reinforces my belief that rehab is only as useful as the energy and dedication you put into the process.

I was just reading the news about Lindsay Lohan and her latest brush with the law, and yet another announcement made by her publicists that she was once again checking into rehab. Rehab seems to have become a career move in Hollywood, and any misdeed can be wiped clean with an expression of regret, punctuated with a brief stay in rehab seemingly to convey sincerity.

The stories of celebs using and abusing rehab always provokes some complex emotions when I consider my own painful battle with addiction, the journey through rehab (twice) and my struggle to stay sober each day.

Firstly, I guess it’s easy to feel angry that stars seem to be trivializing a process that for anyone that has really done it right is a long, tough, and very emotionally difficult period. Rehab isn’t supposed to be country club or a spa, and the tears of my rehab experience certainly weren’t caused by an over exuberant shiatsu masseuse! When stars talk about their experiences at rehab, I wonder how much they really got out of it, and more importantly how much they really put into it. I can’t help but feel that their trivial attitudes belittle the hard earned gains of anyone who has battled and conquered an addiction.

But then I also consider how difficult it must be to suffer with addiction while having your every move documented by a trailing team of paparazzi. Anyone who has battled with addiction has a long list of shameful behaviors, and most of us are pretty glad that most of our shame is for private and family consumption only. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have the worst days of your life, and the worst of your abuses and behaviors splashed across the tabloids for all to see.

I feel sympathy for anyone who suffers addiction and also has an occupation that makes their private battle public fodder, and I’m grateful I don’t live their lives. I guess what I really feel is that the stories of stars battling their addictions, repeatedly entering spa style rehabs, and repeatedly suffering the embarrassment of very public intoxicated humiliations; teaches us all that rehab is only as valuable as you make it. It doesn’t mater how much money you have, how admired you are or how much power you’ve got, if you don’t make a personal commitment to change, and put in the work required to learn how, then you’ll never succeed no matter who you are. Rehab isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind, and unless you’re ready to confront your personal demons, to really look inside yourself and make a determined effort to change every part of your life that might led you back to abuse, you can’t succeed.

It doesn’t matter if you drive into rehab in a Ford Pinto or a Mercedes, you’ll be driving out an addict unless you suffer through the changes needed.

I feel sorry that anyone has to feel the pain and suffering of addiction, and ultimately I don’t feel angry that these "silver spoon" stars, who can afford the best of everything, seem to be making light of rehab. I know what they still need to learn, and that is that rehab only works if you do.