PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON

For years, I firmly believed that the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” was based on a nursery rhyme inspired by the likes of J.R. Tolkien or Andy Pandy, but this is far from settled.  There are those who believe that the song is all about drugs, the more so as it was recorded in 1963, just when flower power was beginning to take root.  Let’s face it, if you weren’t shooting or snorting or puffing on something to transport you in a haze to Honahlee, you weren’t living, just taking up space (or so I am told).

I remember the 60’s, I wasn’t in Chicago during the Democratic convention in 1968 but I was just over the border at McGill with many young Americans ready to lend a hand to those chanting “Hell No, we won’t go” in response to conscription and the Vietnam war.

And then there was Woodstock, three days of love and peace and shooting and snorting and puffing and hard rock and roll.  It was 1969, the age of innocence before Richard Nixon came along and spoiled it all.

Drugs have been with us since the dawn of time, and many have been developed for the good of pharmaceutical companies and made available to mankind so long as you can afford them.  But for as long as I can remember, there remain a class of drugs which in this country at least, are prohibited, because the government, advised by little grey men in white coats, have determined that on balance, they are harmful.

But these broad classifications, ‘A’ , ‘B’ and ‘C’, should not be set in stone, as more and more research suggests that some of these drugs have medicinal properties that could, and should be, explored.

Two surprising omissions from classified drugs are cigarettes and alcohol, but as they bring in billions in taxation, the government is fearful of interfering with the status quo.  But the income from sales of these drugs is offset in large measure by serious and fatal diseases, not to mention the cost of treating and caring for these many addicts.

But governments allow themselves the luxury of dual standards, so the classifications remain.

Every now and then, along comes yet another study about classified drugs which shows that some have significant benefits and should therefore be declassified.  The fact that in the past, prohibited drugs, especially Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD, were popularised by so-called experts who bore an uncanny resemblance to Doctor Strangelove, meant that their benefits were overlooked and the drugs cast into the outer darkness.

The latest craze is microdosing, which consists of ingesting tiny amounts of drugs such as LSD to produce subtle changes in cognitive function.  Yeah! Right on man!  There are kits for sale on the dark side of the Net, but results are spotty, rather like the spots in front of your eyes after a dose, but some of the results are encouraging.

I suppose if a drug caused clogging of the arteries, emphysema, shortness of breath, lung cancer and premature death, any responsible government would ban it.  Not so.  And I suppose if a drug caused mental impairment, vomiting, liver damage and loss of control, any responsible government would ban it.  Not so.  Cheers!

The simple answer to this ongoing debate is to declassify all drugs, and those determined to kill themselves should be allowed to do so.