Will technology create safer ways of getting high?
anonymous Asks ...
Do you think that in the future we will be able to stimulate dopamine and serotonin electronically in the brain and then once we do people will be able to get insanely high and experience total ecstasy just by pressing a button? Because you wouldn’t have to inject or smoke any toxins to do this wouldn’t this be much better for people than taking dirty street drugs like today? Is there any body researching the development of this kind of system? From a harm reduction perspective, do you think this would be a good thing – after all, people will never stop wanting to get mind-altered, will they?
Mark Hughes Says ...
Science already is creating new ways of getting high. Mind altering drugs are proliferating as they get easier to create, but the idea that there is a safe way of creating artificial highs is very unlikely IMO.
You could argue that it would be safer than street drugs because of impurities, contamination and so on, but much of that is purely a result of the criminalisation of drugs. We could already make most of those improvements, so why don't we?
One reason is undoubtedly because there is a fear that it would make drugs more acceptable, that their use would increase and society would suffer far more damage as the burden of addiction grew or even become out of control.
Wanting articifial highs is IMO a health issue. We all like pleasure, but addicts seek it out of an inability to bear their pain of existence. I believe many people have a similar but less extreme response to emotional discomfort, and generally manage it without recourse to highly addictive drugs. Comfort eating is one example. Moderate use of alcohol another. Both unhealthy, and in extreme they are as damaging as powerful drugs, but in moderation are not necessarily a problem.
In all cases though, I believe there is a better way - to come to terms with your pain and to seek out support to help you manage and moderate the extremes until you learn ways to respond to pain in a healthy way. Anyone can get knocked off balance, but for some it becomes very difficult to recover that balance without help. We all need support at times, and looking for pleasure to take away pain is I believe symptom that we need to pay attention to our wellbeing, and if we don't know how, to seek help in doing so.
This is my personal experience, and my experience from working with clients. If you look around, most people have these kinds of issue, but relatively few have even recognised there is a problem because they haven't ended up on heroin or something widely recognised as a "problem".
Just because we aren't on heroin, doesn't mean we are ok, so I believe that not knowing how to be with difficult feelings is a very widespread and important issue.