September 2, 2013

THOMAS: Questioning Our Vices

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Before going out for a night of debauchery, one must ask him or herself a few questions: Should I bring my phone?  Of course — If I get into any trouble, or if another girl turns me down, I’m going to have to call my dad to ask for advice. What should I wear? If I wear another tank all my friends are going to think I’m promiscuous and will cease to associate with me. Am I going to drink tonight? I’ve achieved insobriety everyday this week so another night couldn’t possibly hurt. Lastly, which illicit drug should I partake in? I know it’s illegal, I know it’s potentially bad for my health but, what am I to do without my precious remedies — my delightful potions that keep me from boredom and awkward social settings?  What would I do without them?  How could I possibly interact with my peers while sober?

I am not writing this column to denounce the use of drugs. I am writing this to call attention to the rampant use of them. In the wake of the two deaths that took place at Electric Zoo, the three-day music festival in New York City, we need to start asking ourselves an important question: Why do we seem to need these drugs? Our generation’s growing reliance on these party drugs is forcing us to quickly answer this question. Do these drugs merely enhance the fun we have at social gatherings or are they serving as a crutch? If it troubles you to answer either of these questions you may need to make some changes in your life.

When it comes to taking illicit substances, the first necessary discussion boils down to whether or not the pros of taking a drug outweigh the cons. The obvious pros are an increased amount of fun and … ?  The obvious cons are the legal issues and the health problems — including death — that may arise.  One could make the argument that having “more fun” is not worth going to jail or dying.  However, when weighing the probability of having fun against the probability of dying, this issue becomes far more complex. The probability of having fun as a result of drug use is far more likely than the probability of dying or going to jail. Yet, at the end of the day we must make sure to ask ourselves: Is it worth it (keeping in mind that everyone will think about these risks differently)?

So why are we doing it? Is it simply a matter of making a bad party good or a great party better?  Or is it a matter of needing drugs to make a social gathering worth going to? If you, even for a second, feel like you need these substances, then you have to admit to yourself that you have a problem. A lot of people assume that this is just the “college lifestyle” and that once they graduate, it will all just go away. My problem with that is: If you feel like you need drugs now, what drastic change is going to occur that will end this need? One of people who died at Electric Zoo was a graduate of Syracuse University, which should hit close to home for all of us. This could easily happen to any of us, which makes it very important to know the risks of our own behaviors.

Everybody is entitled to their own choices and must answer to their own decisions at some point in time. All I demand of you is that you question your choices so that when you are called forth to answer for them, you’ll be ready. I am not an authority on the subject so, outside of the obvious legal ramifications, I will not denounce the use of drugs.  However, doing illegal drugs because you need them is a problem. Doing drugs for somebody else is a problem. Doing drugs without questioning why you’re doing them is a problem. Ask your parents, ask your friends and most importantly ask yourself:  “Why?” And if you hesitate to do so and end up in an unfavorable position at the next party or music festival, don’t forget, it’s not me, it’s you.

Deon Thomas is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at dthomas@cornellsun.com. It’s Not Me, It’s You appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.

Original Author: Deon Thomas