martes, octubre 04, 2005

¿Qué es una droga?

¿Ustedes creen que sólo la cocaína, el alcohol, el tábaco... son drogas? Piénsenlo de nuevo dice el renombrado biólogo británico Richard Dawkins en un artículo que presenta en Prospect. Puedo sonar divertido para unos o blasfemo para otros, pero sea lo que sea no deja indiferentes. Lo pego completo:


Gerin oil (or Geriniol to give it its scientific name) is a powerful drug which acts directly on the central nervous system to produce a range of characteristic symptoms, often of an antisocial or self- damaging nature. If administered chronically in childhood, Gerin oil can permanently modify the brain to produce adult disorders, including dangerous delusions which have proved very hard to treat. The four doomed flights of 11th September were, in a very real sense, Gerin oil trips: all 19 of the hijackers were high on the drug at the time. Historically, Geriniol intoxication was responsible for atrocities such as the Salem witch hunts and the massacres of native South Americans by conquistadores. Gerin oil fuelled most of the wars of the European middle ages and, in more recent times, the carnage that attended the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent and, on a smaller scale, Ireland.

Gerin oil addiction can drive previously sane individuals to run away from a normally fulfilled human life and retreat to closed communities from which all but confirmed addicts are excluded. These communities are nearly always limited to one sex, and they vigorously, often obsessively, forbid sexual activity. Indeed, a tendency towards agonised sexual prohibition emerges as a drably recurring theme amid all the colourful variations of Gerin oil symptomatology. Gerin oil does not seem to reduce the libido per se, but it frequently leads to a prurient desire to interfere with, and preferably reduce, the sexual pleasure of others. A current example is the horror with which Gerin oil users view homosexuality, even when expressed in long-term loving relationships.

Gerin oil in strong doses can be hallucinogenic. Hardcore mainliners may hear voices in their heads, or see illusions which seem to the sufferers so real that they often succeed in persuading others of their reality. An individual who reports high-grade hallucinogenic experiences may be venerated, and even followed as some kind of leader, by others who regard themselves as less fortunate. Such following-pathology can long postdate the leader's death, and may expand into bizarre psychedelia such as the cannibalistic fantasy of "drinking the blood and eating the flesh" of the leader.

Strong doses of Geriniol can also lead to "bad trips," in which the user can suffer morbid delusions and fears, notably fears of being tortured, not in the real world but in a postmortem fantasy world. Bad trips of this kind are bound up with a punishment culture which is as characteristic of this drug as the obsessive fear of sexuality already noted. The punishment culture fostered by Gerin oil culminates in the sinister drug-induced fantasy of "allo-punishment"—the belief that individuals can and should be punished for the wrongdoings of others (known on the in-group grapevine as "redemption").

Medium doses of Gerin oil, though not in themselves dangerous, can distort perceptions of reality. Beliefs that have no basis in fact are immunised, by the drug's own direct effects on the nervous system, against evidence from the real world. Oil-heads can be heard talking to thin air or muttering to themselves, apparently in the belief that private wishes so expressed will come true, even at the cost of mild violation of the laws of physics. This autolocutory disorder is often accompanied by weird tics, hand gestures or other stereotypies, for example rhythmic head-nodding towards a wall.

As with many drugs, refined Gerin oil in low doses is largely harmless, and can even serve as a social lubricant on occasions such as marriages, funerals and ceremonies of state. Experts differ over whether such social use, though harmless in itself, is a risk factor for upgrading to harder and more addictive forms of the drug.

Gerin oil acts synergistically with sleep deprivation, self-mutilation and starvation. Addicts have been known to fast, whip their own backs, or perform other painful "penances" as means of enhancing the drug's potency. Mutilation is not limited to users themselves. Various Gerin oil-based sub-cultures ritually injure their own children, especially when they are too young to resist. These mutilations usually involve the genitals.

You might think that such a potentially dangerous and addictive drug would top the list of proscribed substances, with exemplary sentences handed out for trafficking in it. But no, it is readily obtainable anywhere in the world and you don't even need a prescription. Professional pushers are numerous, and organised in hierarchical cartels, openly trading on street corners and even in purpose-made buildings. Some of these cartels are adept at parting clients from their money. Their "godfathers" occupy influential positions in high places, and they have the ear of presidents and prime ministers. Governments don't just turn a blind eye to the trade, they grant it tax-exempt status. Worse, they subsidise schools with the specific intention of getting children hooked.

I was prompted to write this article by the smiling face of a very happy man in Bali. He was ecstatically greeting the news that he was to be executed by firing squad for the brutal murder of large numbers of innocent holidaymakers whom he had never met. Some people in the court were shocked at his lack of remorse. But far from remorseful, his mood was one of obvious exhilaration. He punched the air, delirious with joy that he was to be "martyred," to use the jargon of his particular sub-culture of Gerin oil substance-abusers. For, make no mistake about it, this beatific smile, looking forward with unalloyed pleasure to the firing squad, is the smile of a junkie. Here we have the archetypal mainliner, doped up with hard, unrefined, unadulterated, high-octane Gerin oil.

It is easy to regard such people as evil criminals, from whom the rest of us need protection. Indeed, we do need protecting from them. But the problem would not arise in the first place if children were protected from becoming hooked on a drug with such a bad prognosis for their adult minds."

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