For many of you, now is probably the end of a few weeks of drinking, partying and coming home at 4AM ending up with your face on the sticky, vomit stained kitchen floor. Despite this seeming obvious to some, most of you won’t have stopped for a moment or paused, mid sip of wine to contemplate that drinking alcohol is in fact, a form of taking drugs.
Drug legalisation is often on the agenda in popular debate; but not of the alcoholic kind. One of the most popular campaigns in recent years has been for the legalisation of cannabis within the UK. In Britain, cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug and police often turn a blind eye to dealing or consumption, in favour of offering their time to more ‘serious’ crimes. Despite this arguably relaxed attitude, cannabis remains a class B drug with serious side effects. If we turn to other parts of the world, we see a trend. Since 2015 many countries, including Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and some US states have taken a far more relaxed approach to cannabis and have the least restrictive laws regarding its use in the world. So, if we joined that list, what would be the problem?
Peter Hitchens, who recently attended a campus debate put on by the York Union, denies the existence of addiction. Despite his beliefs, addiction is a dangerous lifestyle; it can debilitate people, rule people’s lives and take control of situations and peoples’ actions. Moreover, addiction makes us lose control, and isn’t that a scary thing? It is, of course, not just exclusive to cannabis, and can take many forms.
The most common thing to be addicted to nowadays is coffee – we often joke about it, how we British people cannot get through the day without a hot brew. Obviously, the consumption of coffee or tea has nothing like the same effect as cannabis, but the theories of addiction are there, behind the branded logos on take away coffee cups. Regarding the legalisation of cannabis, I am torn. Part of me actively opposes it as it would be endorsing the idea of addiction, the other part of me thinks that there are far more dangerous substances available to us that are currently legal, such as alcohol. Contrary to popular opinion, I would rather see the criminalisation of alcohol than cannabis. I believe that alcohol is the most dangerous drug we have, as it is readily available to us, part of our culture, and most importantly you’re considered different if you don’t partake in its consumption.
For some, freshers’ week was a nightmare. For people that do not drink it immediately eliminates most of the events on offer and the chances of bonding with flatmates. If someone in your flat doesn’t drink alcohol, you should be considerate as it is too easy to be judgemental when someone doesn’t fit with the common perception of normal. I know most of you will not want to read this after your weeks have been consistently full of alcohol consumption but I think that it needs to be de-stigmatised, especially within the university environment.