There have been numerous sports figures in the news recently as a results of drugs. Most recently, Alex Rodriguez has been accused of steroid use. This was a sizable story as he appeared to be one of most effective a handful of clean baseball heroes of recent times. Just prior to the Rodriguez scandal was the Phelps scandal. If you're one of the 3 humans in the u.s.a. that havent heard, he had been photographed smoking marijuana from a bong.
And drugs and sports grabbing headlines doesnt stop there, as recent articles on Fox Sports have discussed steroid use among the 70s Steelers, and the recent arrest of Corie Blount, a former NBA player, who was allegedly caught with 29 kilos of marijuana. There was also the arrest of Jacksonville Jaguar former first round pick Matt Jones for cocaine possession early in last years football season.
An appealing article I read on the Phelps scandal was by occasionally arguable sports writer Jason Whitlock. In the article he challenges what some saw as a racial double same old, and even briefly discusses a few of the issues with this countrys war on drugs. His article is related to a few of the drapery I use in the course I coach on The Psychology of Drugs and Drug Abuse. I show highlights of a documentary called American Drug War: The Last White Hope. This film does a incredible job (although biased at times) of showing the dark side of this war on drugs.
As an example of Americas misperception of the drug dilemma, were you conscious that tobacco kills more humans than all other drugs combined, including alcohol? According to Hart, Ksir, and Ray, smoking is responsible for about 440,000 premature deaths per year. In comparison, alcohol is responsible for at least 20,000 accidental deaths per year, and up to 75,000 in this u.s.a. when you combine accidental deaths (car accidents, boating accidents, falls, etc.) and deaths from the ill impacts on the body (cirrhosis, heart disease, etc.). And these numbers far surpass the deaths from illegal drugs (10-20,000 per year). In fact, illegal drugs kill less Americans then the misuse of prescription drugs. (I had difficulty getting accurate data on prescription drug deaths as a results of misuse, but most articles and sources make it clear that prescription drug misuse causes more deaths per year than illegal drugs).
According to the documentary I mentioned earlier, a few of the contributors to the war on drugs are the businesses from the tobacco and alcohol industries. Additionally, this documentary uses interviews with former government officials to substantiate the claim that the war on drugs has been a colossal failure. Street drugs today are more plentiful, more pure, and more cost-effective. So what has the war on drugs accomplished? According to statistics, it has resulted in approximately 50% of the incarcerated population being jailed for non-violent drug crimes.
The point is that there are some real misconceptions about the substance abuse dilemma in this u.s.a..
Perhaps we are paying attention to the wrong things. Rather than paying attention to cuts in funding for substance abuse rehabilitation, or to the incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, we seem much more concerned with our appointed heroes gaining an advantage in a sport they get paid extensive amounts of money to play. Or in someone we have chosen to put on a pedestal, (a 23 year old at that) for letting us down by using marijuana at a university birthday party. We are apprehensive about street drugs, including marijuana, when prescription drug abuse is causing far more harm. And we wouldnt think of making tobacco or alcohol illegal, despite the fact it causes far more health and welfare problems than illegal substances.
Dont we contribute to the sports worship issue? Dont we make sports figures heroes and role-models, perhaps even more so than more worthy role-models? Dont we make sports the commercial undertaking it's today, by buying the jerseys, paying the ticket charges, gazing the games on television, and making sports the market that it's? Arent we quick to dethrone someone who makes a mistake, as if perfection is essentially the most effective same old well accept?
I am no longer pro-drugs. I am no longer sure if I am pro legalization; I would have to provide the issue more thought, and Im no longer even sure Im qualified to voice an opinion. But I am certain we are trying in the wrong directions when we look at drugs in this u.s.a.. I am hoping it's time for a change: a change which finds all humans seeking self actualization without the need for a substance; a time where compassion rules, as opposed to self-righteous indignation. I dont confidence many of us are going to get self actualized or become enlightened gazing sports on television. But it's a pleasant distraction occasionally. How about that Superbowl?