Gus' Editorial 26

By Gus Donnachaidh

Originally published in EUG #39

I have recently been working in a school while the pupils were on holiday. Things have certainly changed since I was at school in terms of machines and equipment.

There was a lot of information in various forms warning pupils about the dangers of drugs. Also posters, leaflets, art projects and the like. I was working with a seventeen year old apprentice who was used to the environment. He got to talking about his knowledge of drugs, which he'd picked up from school.

He said he thought soft drugs like cannabis should be legalised but that the real dangers were the "hard drugs". He said he'd been told that 5,000 people a year died from using Ecstasy.

Now of course when I was at school we were being told that cannabis was a deadly addictive drug and Ecstasy was what you felt when you'd just bought an illicit packet of fags. Come to think of it, a fag is something different now as well.

Since then I have worked in the psychiatric service for a while and, together with other experience, I have acquired a little understanding of the drug problem.

Cannabis is not a soft drug. Many people experience long term mental problems as a result of using it and these can develop into chronic psychosis. True, many people don't seem to have problems but a surprising number do, and many of these problems are insidious. It is perhaps especially a shame that the "soft drug myth" has taken hold since cannabis is often one of the more serious problematic drugs.

5,000 people equals about thirteen a day. I really find this hard to believe.

Now a new generation of (highly paid) generals have arisen to continue the fight. They seem to have abandoned cannabis as a lost cause presumably because no-one will believe the rubbish that the previous generation of Drug Czars spouted. The present leaders of the campaign though carry on with a missionary zeal which they seem to believe justifies lying and making up preposterous statistics. If you question them they act like all fanatics: they attack you for falling for the enemy's propaganda and claim to have seem dreadful things which you must not see and which they are trying to save you from.

They then try to reinforce their fantastic facts and figures by challenging you to prove them otherwise. Finally they attack their foe, in this case the drug dealers, as fat psychopaths who laugh as they count their money while their victims struggle for life itself at their feet. "What? You mean they don't eat babies?"

When eventually society accepts that the war against drugs has been lost, it will have to look carefully as to why. Top of that list must come crass dishonesty.

So the Oxford English Dictionary has "legalised" the double infinitive. Perhaps a case of abandoning a rule not so much because it was bad but because no-one could figure out what it was supposed to mean. Still, at least now I won't have to show my complete ignorance when having a double infinitive pointed out to me. Now, instead of saying I like double infinitives, I can truthfully say that that rule no longer applies.

Keep the submissions rolling in. EUG #40 is due out during October.

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #39