Wednesday, 23 August 2017

I wonder why modern society treats drug abuse as cool?

Part of my job is to scan the scientific press for interesting articles to post on Linked In in the hope of promoting the innovation centre and labs. New Scientist often runs articles designed to be easy reviews or editorials that can be digested comfortably by those without expertise in a particular discipline, and to cover a broad sweep of technology.

I came across the following recently: psychedelics-pioneer-keeps-his-inner-hippy-in-check.

One thrust of the article is about how investigation of psychoactive compounds has long been frowned on, and is potentially hazardous for the career of anyone investigating medical application. That's sensible. But then it seems to be continually trying to make drug abuse look like something smart people can do, almost presenting it as desirable, something essential to become part of an in crowd.

Great that many compounds aren't addictive, and even better that they may have useful applications to medicine in the future. But do we have to make drug consumption look like something the smarter echelons of society are doing? I'm far from blindly opposed to use of psychoactive compounds as medicines, provided their use is based on the same kind of trials performed routinely to establish efficacy of medicines, but their use does need to be supported by that kind of evidence.

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