Well, at least the world isn’t totally nuts. Every so often lights of sanity shine through the doom and gloom of business as usual. One such ray of sanity is the Czech Republic’s drug decriminalization law which goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
While there has been decriminalization in the Czech Republic for the past year, the actual amounts allowed for personal possession were not clearly stated. Instead their policy simply stated “small amounts”. Of course, that was open to all sorts of interpretation and confusion and needed to be clearly defined. Now that is what the parliament of the Czech Republic has done. Here’s the precise quantities they are allowing for decriminalized personal possession in the Czech Republic:
Under the new law, possession of less than the following amounts of illicit drugs will not be a criminal offense:
Marijuana 15 grams (or five plants)
Hashish 5 grams
Magic mushrooms 40 pieces
Peyote 5 plants
LSD 5 tablets
Ecstasy 4 tablets
Amphetamine 2 grams
Methamphetamine 2 grams
Heroin 1.5 grams
Coca 5 plants
Cocaine 1 gram
– source is Stop the Drug War Chronicle
Considering several examples of decriminalization policy changes in several countries over the past decade it is not too crazily optimistic to hope that this trend represents the first victories of us beginning to win the war on drugs one country at a time.
Christmas comes but once a year and thank goodness for that. Christmas is such a tough time for many, and for junkies and tweakers it is doubly tough. Its rough and tough and all too much for some. So much of the expectations of society come crashing down on a drug user at this time of year and if they don’t watch out they can get flooded with feelings of uselessness, failure and self-disgust. Not only can’t they afford to buy presents for loved ones, a major reason for their immediate poverty is that every last penny goes to dope for themselves. That sort of realization, in the light of Christmas and its family values perspective, can be a heavy load to hoe.
Families (many of them anyways) get together at Christmas. But woe is the strung out junkie. They don’t feel like going on dismal display for relatives to appraise critically. Even if a user can find the money to make it back home, and get enough of a stash together to make it through the holidays, they know that they’ll likely stand out like a sore thumb amidst the yuletime cheer. Yet if they phone in some bogus excuse for why they won’t be coming home for the holidays, that too is just another reminder of their failure in the eyes of their family. They know there will be gossip about why they aren’t wolfing down the turkey with the rest of em.
Sadly a lot of suicide is brought on by the pressure of the holiday season. And a lot of depression. And a lot of over-using just to try and blot out the sadness and worthlessness one feels as a junkie during Christmas.
Even for those users who have come to accept themselves and have developed a pretty thick skin in the face of societal condemnations, making Christmas happen is quite an effort. Money is always so hard to come by to begin with but a user has to dig pretty darn deep to manage to get presents for the essential relatives and keep themselves well in terms of their habit at the same time. It takes a lot of planning to pull off a reasonably successful Christmas at the best of times but for a user they’ve really got to have things will thought out and have a bit of luck thrown in as well. It isn’t easy to get together enough drugs in advance to sustain oneself throughout the entire family affair that often takes place in a city which the user isn’t familiar with so that they could score easily in an emergency. Nothing is worse than needing to get well and having to make excuses to a living room of celebrating relatives about why you’re got to borrow someone’s car so you can go downtown for awhile just as the turkey is bubbling away in the oven. Yes, of course I’ll be back before dinner… yeah right!
Somehow thousands upon thousands of us manage to make it through the holidays without a major bummer. You can be damn sure a lot of work went into pulling that off. Right now we’re planning for the family visit and trying to make sure we don’t find ourselves short at precisely the wrong time. That’s a whole lot of stress on top of the normal stresses of this season. Here’s wishing well to all those users out there struggling to pull off another Christmas for themselves and the sake of those they love. And a remembrance for those who won’t be making it home for Christmas.