Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D, a psychopharmacologist at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA School of Medicine, has written a truly mind-boggling (quite literally) book about what he believes to be the fourth strongest drive in the human animal: that of intoxication. What? The struggle for intoxication is a drive, just like hunger, thirst, and sex? You bet, and Siegel has the research to prove it. Which probably make no difference to people that still connect "drugs" with strung-out heroin junkies who do just as much damage to themselves as to their friends and family.
Well, such stubborn people need to do some serious rethinking. Because what good is science unless it questions and investigates? But to make Spiegel even more controversial; he also experiments on animals when investigating why animals (and remember, the human being is an animal, too) choose to become intoxicated by various means. And also when they choose not to. These experiments clearly show how all animals use narcotics. So in other words, man is not alone in this struggle for a changed state of mind.
So what does this all mean? Well, it shows that the so-called War on Drugs is as futile as it is pointless, since there will always be and always has been people who choose to subject their bodies and minds to different drugs that the state or ruling class has decided should be illegal, and it also shows that it's indeed possible use narcotics and still be a very functioning member of society. Not all drug users end up as pathetic heroin junkies. The politics of drugs are extremely complicated, but arguing strictly from emotional points of views while refusing to accept new and mind-blowing ideas is, to put it simple, quite stupid.
Of course Siegel doesn't imply that everyone should do as much drugs as possible all the time whenever they feel like it. But what he does indeed do is giving all those millions of users of legal drugs - prescribed medication, coffee, cigarettes, and so on - something to think about, and he also clearly shows how all those Just Say No and other anti-drugs campaigns do more harm than good. After all, it's a human drive to become intoxicated, so why should some campaign manage to erase this drive? It's not going to happen, and people need to understand that.
Our culture encourages and even romanticizes the use of alcohol and cigarettes - two of the most deadly drugs man has ever come up with - and large corporations make billions of dollars from prescription drugs that are often a whole lot more harmful than the strongest your local dealer can provide you with. This is hypocrisy to such an extent that it's almost impossible to even comprehend, and Spiegel and his team of researchers therefore deserve all the credit they can get for trying to enlighten people they way they do. But just like any other type of fundamentalism, the anti-drug people will probably ignore Mr. Spiegel and all his knowledge, and this will in the long run do more harm to the human race than all the drugs in the world could ever do.