A Big Step for Recreational Drugs

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From pot to mushrooms, Americans are on a natural high. Or at the very least, a legal one. The recent national election has certainly made it much easier for Americans to get their buzz going without fear of reprisal.

Restrictions on recreational drug use were eased on election night in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. They joined 11 other states with similar laws already in place. Oregon even took it several steps further.

To review:

● Oregon became the first state approving the decriminalizing possession of small amounts of so-called hard drugs, including cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamines. Possession of small quantities of those types of drugs now become a civil violation subject to a $100 fine, but no jail time.

● The law (Measure 110) also applies marijuana sales taxes toward payments for drug addiction treatment. Marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 2015.

● New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, voters passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana. The votes went decidedly in favor on decriminalization.

● Oregon also becomes the first state to legalize psilocybin. Oregon will now allow regulated use of psychedelic mushrooms in a therapeutic setting.

“This is incredible,” Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, told the New York Times. “This is like taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”

Credit a generation culturally exposed to drugs in the ’60s and ’70s – as one of the driving forces behind the movement.

But it’s not all about getting a buzz.

Research indicates that getting high isn’t the goal for older people. It’s more about coping with chronic pain, loss, and social isolation.

Medicinal purposes also come into play. A study released in early November found that psilocybin worked better than the usual antidepressant medications. The study, involving 27 people, was reported  in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Earlier research at John Hopkins indicated that psilocybin might help to combat depression and anxiety in patients who had life-threatening cancer.

Recreational drug use is also becoming more and more part of the norm…and acceptable: The National Center for Drug Abuse documents that 55 million American adults currently use marijuana. More than half of Americans also view marijuana use as socially acceptable.

An immediate benefit of the relaxation of the drug laws: 

It certainly took an edge off the anxiety of waiting for the election results that determined a winner between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.