EDITORIAL: Mixed messages about drugs

Let’s instead reinforce the message that anything, not used in moderation, can lead to ill effects.

Considering the mixed messages our culture sends about the use and abuse of drugs, it’s no surprise to see the growing abuse of the narcotic pain reliever fentanyl, linked to a growing number of deaths.

For instance, alcohol is easily available, and with the ongoing changes to liquor regulations, becoming more available all the time.

But make no mistake, alcohol, in all its forms, from light beers to 190-proof grain alcohol, is a drug. It’s addictive, and can damage the brain, both in the short-term and over the long-term. Withdrawal can be painful and can lead to depression and suicide.

Yet, alcohol use is accepted and even promoted in society, while marijuana has been so demonized that its medicinal effects are still under fire.

And like it or not, performance-enhancing drugs are common at all levels of professional sport.

A recent CBC documentary made the point that professional football, as it is today, could not exist without painkillers. At that level, even common painkillers, let alone Oxycodone, becomes a performance-enhancing drug.

Then there is sugar, perhaps the most easily-acquired drug of all. It’s so common that its addictive effects are rarely recognized.

Bringing sugar into the conversation might be stretching the point, but it’s a good point: Society says that some drugs with bad effects are okay, and others are not.

This isn’t an argument for the legalization of drugs, or their criminalization for that matter. It’s a call for reason.

Instead of trying to categorize drugs into good vs evil, let’s instead reinforce the message that anything, not used in moderation, can lead to ill effects.

It’s a message that could be printed right on those boxes of sugary cereal sitting on the breakfast table.