Series Post 3: The War on Drugs

For decades now, the United States has been battling a war on drugs. This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal psychoactive drugs, including all festival drugs. Among these policies intending to prevent consumption, includes education and awareness. From a young age, children are informed of the harmful effects of drugs and how they can negatively impact all aspect of ones life. We’ve all seen the commercials and many of us have even sat through drug prevention programs in school, nevertheless drugs continue to be used.
They’re found on the streets, they’re found in clubs, and as mentioned they’re found in large quantities at festivals. In other words, the war rages on. It is impossible to completely eliminate illegal drugs use, should it ever happen, I believe many people would be outraged.
Not only would we have the obvious people who would be outraged; drug addicts, drug dealers, etc but also many avid festival attendees.
If the cops all of a sudden decided to step in at festivals and police drug use, as they hypothetically should be, it would completely alter the festival scene.
As mentioned drugs like LSD, mushrooms, and ecstasy have been known to generate creativity, and generally open the mind of its user. Such a collection of people creates a setting like none other. You can come as you are, whether it is dressed in jeans and sneakers, or a tutu and an elaborate headdress. It also gives people the ability to create whatever their imagination desires, and often beyond. One of the greatest things about festivals is that there are plenty of people who choose not to do drugs, and they are fortunate enough to never have to feel pressured into doing anything they choose not to. Festival life is the ideal world, and those who never attend a festival cannot truly understand.
Many outsiders see festivals as a bunch of drug using hippies, but it is in fact much deeper and much more profound than this and should the police step in and remove such an intricate part, many people would be distraught and lost. For many festival attendees, drug use, especially psychedelics, is as important and ritualistic as it is to the many shamans around the world and no one would dare take away drugs from a shaman.
Fortunately enough the police don’t really seem to be doing much about drug use at festivals, and it all goes back to the war on drugs.
Oddly enough, the term “War on Drugs’ was first used by President Nixon in 1971, which was at the peak of the hippie movement and just after the explosion of LSD use. Although the war on drugs began because of the hippies, it has since been redirected to street level drug dealers and users. This is likely due to the fact that the war on drugs costs the federal government nearly $20 billion a year, and even more at the state level. This is an astronomical amount of money, and yet, police and other authorities cannot keep up with the war.
Hippies and festival attendees, initially the criminals, are now recognized as a generally peaceful and harmful group of people. Due to limited funds the police have been forced to recognize this and therefore leave them alone and allow them to do and use as they please, instead they are now focused on more violent and harmful drug criminals. This works out for festival attendees, many of which consider festivals their true home and who would be lost without them.

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