‘Just say know;’ Knowledge is power when it comes to drug use

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Dennis Caus believes a new method should be put in place during conversations around drug use: “Just Say Know.”

There seems to be an innate desire within humans to alter our state of consciousness in one way or another. Whether this be children spinning in circles to get dizzy, meditation, runner’s high, breathwork, etc. People tend to seek something other than the normal everyday consciousness we carry with us. Due to this, our clever human brains have found the fastest and easiest track to reaching altered states of consciousness: psychoactive drugs. 

How this started is a debated topic, but it makes sense to me that some early form of humanity likely ingested some sort of psychoactive plant or fungus and found the effects desirable. As this kept happening through time it was sort of stamped into our biology to seek pleasurable altered states. Again, this is just what I believe, and it is unlikely we will ever truly know where humanity’s drug use first began and why.

Now in today’s modern age, we not only have access to psychoactive plants and fungi, but a whole plethora of different compounds. This ranges from alcohol, synthetic cannabinoids, LSD, salvia extract, heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs, and the list goes on. Our desire to change our brain states has never been more fulfilled in history. The issue with this is that we are lacking in proper education in how to use these compounds responsibly. Instead, we have turned to a prohibitionist tactic, telling kids to “just say no” to drugs through different programs in schools such as D.A.R.E. 

Time has shown us that this tactic simply has not worked, with a 29% increase in drug use found in D.A.R.E students. The thing that was not understood was that kids are not as stupid as adults think. They understand when they are being lied to and will look to find out the truth themselves, and it was no different with drugs. This is dangerous when you have drugs that are more potent than others out there, and these people do not know the proper way to use it if the time ever comes. I believe instead another method should be put in place as opposed to what we have now: “Just Say Know.”

This method is entirely different from the one we currently have, which subjects it to some controversy. Instead of lying to people about drugs in an effort to keep them away, the “Just Say Know” approach recognizes that people have free will and will do what they desire, including drugs. Instead of presenting them with falsified information, this approach seeks to deliver hard facts to people about drugs, so if they do ever end up using them they will at least know how to be safe and responsible. It aims to present information without any bias so that people can make safe, informed decisions with their own lives. 

The biggest backlash towards this idea is that “you are teaching kids how to use drugs,” and that is missing the point. The reason we have substance abuse issues in this nation is precisely because people do not know how to use drugs. Even when prescribed drugs that can often lead to addiction, most doctors send their patients on their merry way without educating them about the effects of the drug or the safest way to take it.

The issue is not necessarily the drugs, but that people are not educated on how to use them responsibly, which leads to the more undesirable outcomes that have been seen, such as the opioid epidemic. As said by Paracelsus, “The dose makes the poison,” and we obviously have not paid any mind to this. Anything can be toxic, it just depends on the context in which it is used. 

Another criticism is that it is “condoning drug use,” which is incorrect as the methodology behind “Just Say Know” neither condones nor condemns drug use. It is instead preparing people to be more educated about the various drugs in the world from alcohol to 2C-P. There have been many horror stories of people taking too much of a drug, or mixing it with something they shouldn’t have, leading to terrible outcomes. These range from simple bad experiences to fatal overdoses. The “Just Say Know” approach aims to change that.

Unfortunately, this method of educating people about drugs is likely far in the future, as many hurdles will have to be jumped before policymakers can begin to consider implementing this less prohibitionist approach to drug education. Until then, I believe it is important to people to educate themselves about their own drug use, whatever that may be. From recreational to prescription, I believe more people should research a compound before ever ingesting it; from alcohol to nicotine to cocaine to the medication your doctor gives you. This not only includes reading scientific literature about the subject matter but testing substances to ensure safety as well. Not only will this lead to better education about drugs and more responsible use, but if done correctly it can lead to a society with a better relationship with drugs in general.

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Dennis Caus
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