“420,” Drug Testing, and Creating a Dropout Culture

Ever call a drug testing center? I have, just to check on my pee sample. I sat there for a long time on hold, just to find out they can’t really tell me anything about it except that they had received it and it was being tested.

I pictured the people there sitting in a cubicle circle, passing a joint around and then realizing “…oh, shit, man… (cough-laughing) there’s a caller! SHHH! Maybe if we make them wait they’ll go away!”

4/20 came and went. For those not in “the know,” 420 is kind of an internet thing, and it has to do with the marijuana subculture, including discussion of the legalization of marijuana, and consumption in general.  Go ahead, read the Wikipedia link.  Then look on your cute social networking site for references and further information.

I’m a non-user, and I don’t care one way or the other.  It raises interesting questions though.  If legalized, would the legalization become a gateway for other drugs to become legalized?  If so, what would be next drug castle to be stormed?  Would the real crime rate and prison population go down?  Would other drugs gain prominence after marijuana became more passé than tobacco?

The marijuana subculture does create some lovely art, as do some other drug subcultures.  But with uncertain side-effects, I still don’t think I’ll be trying that any time soon.  I’m creative enough without the drugs.  I might mess myself up if I tried something to make me more creative.

They’re talking about what a good idea it would be to test people on public assistance, cutting them off if they’re using drugs.  And then, when it comes to figuring out who pays for that, they’re saying it sounds like less of a good idea.  “They” would be politicians.  Honestly, I really don’t care either way about marijuana, but I do care where my tax dollars go.  I’d be interested in a long-range study of side effects from “chronic” usage.  I’d also like a long-range study of crime statistics and how they would be influenced by the legalization of marijuana.  If they legalize marijuana I bet they could put a sales tax on that for people who wanted to buy it like tobacco, that would be enough to pay the price for the drug testing idea.

I would also be interested in a study of dropout culture.  If they test for drugs and drug users are eliminated from receiving public aid, how do they survive?  Who supports the dropouts?  In Japanese culture there are a number of children who drop out of school and are supported.  There is even an adoption movement to get them to go back to school to receive an education, even if it is non-traditional.  At the extreme edge of dropout culture in Japan are the hikikomori,who withdraw from most social interactions.  It would be very useful to study the culture, but I imagine it would be difficult to reach out to this subset of the population.  The parents by and large support those adolescents and young people as they age.

If we studied the dropout culture, and drug and crime statistics, in Japan and in other cultures more, we might find out how forcing drug users to become dropouts might impact our own country.  An analysis of the causes of the dropout culture, the reasons people start and continue using any various drug substances, with links to crime statistics, might be enormously helpful.

Anyone got a research grant burning a hole in their pockets?  Who wants to pay me for that research?

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