This past Friday, as part of a fraternity hazing, 19-year-old Creighton student Christopher Wheeler was allegedly force-fed either LSD or marijuana laced with PCP. Later, in his alleged drug-induced state, he slashed a fellow student, Teresa Spagna, grazing her throat. Spagna was treated and released, but Wheeler is now barred from campus and facing assault charges.
This was clearly due to the drugs Wheeler was on, and while they argue about how Wheeler came to take those drugs, the community at large must stop and ask, why would someone think including LSD or PCP into a hazing is a good idea?
It’s possible that these members of this fraternity are simply sociopaths, looking to prey upon anyone who will give them the time. It is also possible, and indeed plausible, that these kids included these drugs in the hazing without knowing their potency.
The fact is that there are a lot of kids that don’t listen to drug educators (DARE and the like). It’s hard to pinpoint a decent reason, certainly the curriculum is not particularly conversational, which always hurts, but one possibility is that kids go to these drugs because of their illegality. They seem dangerous, like a kid sticking their hand into the cookie jar despite the fact mom and dad said no.
Recently, as reported by the Washington Post, marijuana use in Colorado (a state that has led the charge in legalizing the drug) among teenagers from roughly 21 percent in 2013/2014 to almost 18 percent in 2016. Usage among adults has risen, but with their minds fully developed, marijuana poses only as much of a risk as alcohol does.
Decriminalizing LSD, as well as the more dangerous drugs further down the ladder, is a trickier endeavor. The drug is (usually) supposed to be taken with a strip, which is to be placed on the tongue for about 10 minutes until it dissolves. If the strip is swallowed, the person taking the drug risks frying their brain, all it would take is one mistake. There’s no room for error (which is why including it in a frat hazing is such a disgusting act).
How does a drug like that get decriminalized? James Carney, of The Conversation describes the appeal in a Business Insider piece as a “spiritual experience.” He argues that there is an innate desire for people to have transcendental experiences, and that this can be traced all throughout history.
Which is all fine and good, but making sure none of this goes awry should always be priority number one. What would be happening by decriminalizing drugs is it would be inflating the product. More ways to get a drug, means the drug has less value. On top of this, more effort should be put into rehabilitating nonviolent drug offenders as opposed to simply throwing them in jail. This is a belief that, as cited by Medical Daily as grown in popularity, to the point where two thirds of the Americans polled support it.
It doesn’t help that the war on drugs is being fought under false pretenses. President Nixon claimed he wanted to ‘stop drug use’, until an aide admitted after Nixon’s death that the ‘war’ was started with the intent of targeting black people according to CNN. The wars don’t lead anywhere, and according to The Economist, only truly benefit criminal gangs, who get to enjoy exclusive control of a three-hundred million dollar market.
Countries continue to fight ‘drug wars’ that lead nowhere, and teen-agers continue to be tempted by danger, by the prospect of rebellion. Written about in that same Economist article, China is planning a drug war of their own.
It’s time to get real.