Drug and Tobacco Issues Facing Our Society
Despite the countless studies that have been done proving the dangers of drug and tobacco use, these substances are still a major issue for our society today. While some organizations and states recognize the dangers, sadly others continue to promote and support their use. Here are some key examples.
K-9 dogs in Colorado can no longer alert police to marijuana without probable cause
One state that has been normalizing drug use in recent years is Colorado. Police dogs in Colorado used to be trained to sniff out and alert their K-9 officer when they detected drugs, including marijuana. But since the drug is now legal in Colorado, there are restrictions being put in place as to when the dogs are able to be used, as well as whether or not future dogs are trained in marijuana detection. “Now we’re just going to go to most of the dogs will not have any marijuana training in them whatsoever,” says Brian Laas, president of the Colorado Police K-9 Association. Normalizing and legalizing marijuana use is a slippery slope that could cause Colorado problems in the long run.
“Big Tobacco” targets the mentally ill and military
Another issue that faces our country is tobacco addiction. Back in the day, the tobacco business simply used the supposed “health benefits” of tobacco to try and sell their products. Sadly, now they seem to be actually targeting those in poor physical/mental health and high-stress jobs (like the military) in order to make a profit. For instance, according to Truth Initiative, a leading tobacco-control nonprofit, “Roughly 40 percent of cigarettes sold in the U.S. are smoked by people with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety or substance-abuse problems… [and] 38 percent of military smokers start after enlisting.”
Robin Koval, chief executive of Truth Initiative, says that as the tobacco industry has been suffering a decline in users and sales, so they are boosting their profit margins by “targeting people based on their challenges in life, on who they are. It’s shocking and appalling.”
“Contact leading firms in terms of children research…contact Sesame Street, Gerber, Schwinn, Matel…” Determine why these young people were not becoming smokers.”Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co Memo., April 27, 1977
The University of Alabama Athletics Department places restrictions on sponsorships
Thankfully, some organizations recognize the dangers of tobacco and drugs. The University of Alabama, for example, has set restrictions for their student athletes and the companies that they are/are not allowed to sign and make deals with. According to the Alabama athletics department, student athletes cannot partner with:
- “A tobacco company or brand, including alternative nicotine products
- Any alcoholic beverage company or brand
- Any seller or distributor of a controlled substance, including but not limited to, marijuana
- Any adult entertainment business
- Any casino or entities that sponsor or promote gambling activities.”
These rules discourage athletes from partnering with drug and tobacco companies and encourage them to instead link arms with more upstanding organizations and businesses.
“The priority of any addict is to anaesthetize the pain of living to ease the passage of day with some purchased relief.”Russell Brand, on drug abuse
Just like alcohol, junk food, and TV, drugs and tobacco are simply crutches people use to numb their hurt, pain, and sadness. Unfortunately, they can only provide momentary distraction. While there has been a decline in recent years in drug and tobacco use, these crutches will continue to tempt vulnerable individuals and destroy lives until we are able to reach the root of people’s depression and anxiety and show them that the hope and joy we find in Jesus are the antidotes to their pain.