« Credit and Credibility (Historical) | Main | Easter Sunday Headlines »

March 20, 2008

An Enduring Mystery

The major reason I first became interested in drug policy was that I couldn’t understand why a notion that had always been such an obvious failure would command so much loyalty and respect at the federal level. Also, as I progressed in the practice of medicine, it seemed the more I learned of practical surgical pharmacology, especially as related to pain management, the more out of synch with reality American drug policy dogma seemed.

When I had the (unexpected) opportunity Proposition 215 afforded to interview pot smokers in detail, I found that I hadn’t been prepared for just how truly mistaken and destructive the policy really is; not only was is it far worse than I’d imagined, the reasons that drug prohibition and similar punitive policies have always found favor with a significant fraction of humans probably has a lot to do with our physical evolution; but not necessarily as imagined. In other words, a profoundly mistaken policy has now been based on erroneous assumptions for nearly a century. By making policy preservation a dominant requirement for approval  of drug research, the policy has also seriously skewed our thinking about our own behavior. Ironically, the crucial principles of strict objectivity and elimination of bias that allowed us to benefit from scientific empiricism starting  about five centuries ago appear not to have been understood to the extent necessary: we may need to actually live by those  principles, and not just pay them lip service while pursuing wealth and power.

In fact, the best way to understand the situation we humans now find ourselves in is that fixing the mess we’ve created  may actually be impossible in the time left to pull it off.  On the other hand, Earth is the only planet we’ve got; so long as there’s even a remote chance of saving it as our habitat, we’d be foolish not to make the effort.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 20, 2008 10:09 PM