Friday, February 6, 2009

Michael Phelps for Drug Czar

Left: Michael Phelps and the bong hit seen around the world.

There is no better example of what a screwed-up country we live in, that an amazing and heroic Olympic champion is currently being ostracized and shamed for choosing the safest drug in the entire world to relax with, instead of a truly dangerous one, like, say, alcohol.

How many deaths due to alcohol IN ONE YEAR, around the world? Include the domestic violence, the homicides, the vehicular manslaughter, and all the rest of it.

How many deaths to due cannabis HAVE EVER BEEN RECORDED? IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD? None. Ever.

Alcohol is poison and rots the body. Marijuana is known to reduce the risk of several conditions (i.e. Parkinson's) and has an anti-spasmodic effect that is great for general spasticity, muscle strains and arthritis. It is a safer alternative than ibuprofen, antidepressants and insomnia meds by far, with few if any side effects.

Now, what if Michael Phelps had picked up some PROZAC or some other antidepressant that half of America is currently ingesting in record numbers? No doubt, that would have been widely considered just fine. Taking a drug with such a high risk of documented side effects (by comparison) is so acceptable, these drugs are advertised on TV every single night in prime time, no less. And if he had taken one of those? No one would have criticized or challenged him. Instead, he chooses the drug with the lowest incidence of side effects... in other words, he deliberately chose the healthiest alternative, and they are all over his ass.

Insanity. Just insanity.

Of course this country once elected Dubya; so there is certainly some precedent for this kind of dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks stupidity. Some people in this country, obviously, just have it all ass-backward.

Get DRUNK like a PROPER AMERICAN, Michael Phelps! Put down that reefer, which will wear off in 3-4 hours and reduce your muscle tension, allowing you to sleep peacefully... much better to go out and drink a few and yell and scream and get in fights over women. That's the AMERICAN WAY.

Instead, the various powers-that-be are now demanding Phelps issue statements claiming he made "bad choices"--when in fact, he made THE BEST CHOICE. Alcohol would have been a BAD CHOICE; nonetheless, if he'd had his photo taken whilst chug-a-lugging a few and hollering like an out-of-control frat-boy, he'd probably be asked to make a TV commercial for beer. (A whole new set of endorsements!)

Disgusting. Associated Press reports:

The sport's national governing body [USA Swimming] also cut off its financial support to Phelps for the same three-month period, effective Thursday.

"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero," the Colorado Springs-based federation said in a statement.
Is this country a total mess, or what?

To make things worse, this photo was supposedly taken in Richland County, South Carolina, and the local gung-ho sheriff, Leon Lott, is threatening to prosecute him. For a misdemeanor offense!

Of course, if this photographed event had occurred in California or Oregon, Phelps could say he got some medical pot for his bad knees or whatever, and it would all be perfectly legal. There would not even be any discussion, except maybe some giggling over it. So, different laws for different regions... do the morals change depending upon where you live? I guess smoking some reefer is a "bad choice" in SC, but not on the west coast.

Well, that makes a lot of sense. That surely sends an unambiguous moral message to the kids, doesn't it?

(((spits for emphasis)))

EDITED TO ADD: Ta-Nehisi Coates's thread about Phelps has excellent comments and discussion also.


Healthy & Green on the Cheap said...

I agree with you for the most part, but seriously, you can't think that pot has never been at fault for anyone's death. Have you ever tried to drive stoned? I've heard enough people say they're fine to drive stoned, but I sure couldn't do it, and I'm not sure I believe the people who say they can. Oh, and enough pot smoking will eventually give you lung cancer or heart disease, same as smoking cigarettes.

DaisyDeadhead said...

you can't think that pot has never been at fault for anyone's death

Stats please? Real ones, not guesses.

Driving stoned (or drunk), is quite different from what I am discussing here.

BTW, have people been tested to see how well they drive under the influence of Oxycontin, Darvocet, Valium, et. al.? I'd like to see some stats on that, but they don't seem to bother with those, do they?

BigPharm would never allow such tests. We'll never know.

enough pot smoking will eventually give you lung cancer or heart disease, same as smoking cigarettes.

In India, one preferred method is bhang (derivation of the word "bong")--which you can buy on the street and drink, just like tea or beer or any other mood-altering drink. Smoking is not the only way cannabis can be ingested.

Puritanism is the only reason marijuana is illegal. There is no other intelligent reason.

JoJo said...

This is soooo ridiculous, the big deal they are making over a bong hit *rolls eyes*. Don't get me started on my rant. You basically summed it up in your post anyway.

What does the govt. fear by legalizing pot anyway?! It's an HERB. It grows NATURALLY. HELLO!

lilacsigil said...

While pot is not as safe as you're making out here - especially for teenagers, especially for boys - it's still a hell of a lot safer than most of the legal stuff! I've never smoked pot and don't want to, but its illegality and the giant fuss about poor Phelps is just ridiculous.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Comparing it to alcohol and teenage boys, don't think there is any comparison. And my whole point is that the more dangerous and deadly of these two substances is the legal, acceptable one.

Annie said...

i bet you know where i stand on this matter.ridiculous!legalize it already.

thene said...

This is the best graph ever. (The legal classifications are UK-specific, but I don't think the US differs too radically in the penalties it imposes for use of various drugs).

Healthy & Green on the Cheap said...

Wow! I don't think I was arguing a statistical argument. In your post you mention that alcohol kills people in part through drunk driving, so yes, you are arguing that point. I was merely saying that the same must be true about driving while stoned. No, I have no statistics to back this up. I don't see why that should be the only way to argue a point. I've been stoned. I know what it's like. I'd probably kill someone if I tried to drive while stoned. That's all I need to believe in that statement.

Yes, there are many ways to take pot. Surely, even in this country, lots of pot users have eaten pot brownies. Nonetheless, it's fairly common to smoke it, and given that, in large enough quantities it could kill a person. My point is that you're being a bit hyperbolic by saying that pot is not responsible for anyone's death while alcohol is. I'd agree that alcohol does more damage, but that doesn't mean that pot does none.

I agree that it should be legalized, so I'm not sure why the attack. Sheesh! I'm on your side. Just debating a minor point!

Incidentally, the illegalization of pot is not a result of Puritanical values. It was a result of racism. When the first Mexican immigrants came to this country in large numbers, they brought pot with them. Making pot illegal made it easy to deport them for having it.

Meowser said...

Maybe I'm weird (in fact, I'm sure of it), but the few times I've smoked pot it did not wear off in 3 or 4 hours. I always had sequlae at least one more day after that, sometimes several, where I felt dizzy and disoriented and had trouble with memory and word finding. That's never happened to me the day after having a single beer, which is as much as I ever drink (and even that much, fairly infrequently).

And sorry to say, some of us do need those evil psychotropic products advertised by Big Pharma. I tried and tried not to become suicidal without them. Amino acids, light boxes, meditation, exercise, books, gobs of therapy, spiritual practice, you name it. No dice. For now, at least, I've got to be medicated.

But point taken about the double standards on intoxicants, which are flat-out bizarre. I have a feeling, though, that if he hadn't been taking a bong hit publicly, though, and had only admitted to occasionally toking in private, there would not have been as much of a scandal, if at all. It's the picture (physical image) that got him, not so much the confession. And I'm not sure he'd have gotten that much of a pass for public drunkenness, either, depending on what else he did when he was bombed. These endorsements people can be funny about that sort of thing, especially if they think it's someone who's a Role Model for Children.

mikeb302000 said...

I was curious to hear the Daisy take on the bong hit. I agree totally that alcohol is much much worse and the fact that it's legal and condoned, is reprehensible.

What about Kelloggs dropping him though? Do you think they were within their rights to do that?

One thing I keep thinking is that the NORML guys ought to use this as proof that casual use of pot can be consistent with a successful life.

jovan b. said...

For those who don't know, Columbia, like Greer, is served by three different jurisdictions, as part of Columbia is also in Lexington County. As of Friday, neither Lexington County Sheriff James Metts nor Columbia Police Chief T.P. Carter has pursued possible charges against Mr. Phelps.

...and speaking of driving stoned, Daisy, a 20-year-old man in Augusta, Ga. is now in jail for 12 years for trying to outrun Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's deputies while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. His car basically T-boned the side of a vehicle that was turning left on a green arrow. A 42-year-old woman in the vehicle that was making the turn was killed almost instantly.

So, Daisy's post is WIN.

sheila said...

Pot should be legalized, plain and simple. You can still bust the dealers - the big time smuggler types- you know like over a certain big amount. But our prisons are clogged with dumbass pot convictions. Senseless. people have smoked dope since the beginning of time.

On that note, it pisses me off that smokers pay for the stadiums across this country and then are banned from smoking in them. WTF? Its 'bad for your health'? YET, they sell a lot of alchohol there! Gee....I don't ever remember a story about some guy smoking a cigarrette, getting into his car, and getting a CWI. Nope. The world is FILLED with morons.

Marion said...

Way to go, Miss Daisy, you have my total agreement on pot and on Michael Phelps' predicament.I wonder who took that picture...I sure hope it wasn't a so-called friend with a cell phone.

One does not have to smoke marijuana to receive benefits from it...there are brownies, etc. and a very nice tea, and it can also be used in cooking. It's a plant with many healthy that has been degraded by political and pharmaceutical reasons for too long.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Meowser, I do not think antidepressants or other pharmaceuticals are evil... in fact, many drugs came from herbs, as pot is also an herb. My point is that it should be regarded as being in the same category, which it is.

And yes, some people have negative effects from pot... as some of us became alcoholics from alcohol. I was never warned that I should never drink; there is no warning on all those beer commercials (and no label on the product) that warns us: people from strongly-genetic alcoholic families are better off abstaining. I had to learn that the hard way.

Incidentally, the illegalization of pot is not a result of Puritanical values. It was a result of racism. When the first Mexican immigrants came to this country in large numbers, they brought pot with them. Making pot illegal made it easy to deport them for having it.

Interesting! I have also read it was a way to crack down on black jazz musicians from Harlem, and keep them from traveling uptown to work in white clubs; an unofficial form of segregation in the north.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Wait, if you are in Harlem, you ARE uptown. I meant DOWNTOWN. Lou Reed always referred to "uptown" (one of the worst insults he could dole out!)--so that's where I get my New York-geographic confusion...apologies!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Legalize it and tax it. Goodness knows the government needs the money.

Tanyetta said...

Michael Phelps wasn't using his brains! Sad.

Cassandra Says said...

Totally agreed. OK, maybe it's because I live in the Bay Area, but I'm genuinely not seeing the problem here. So the guy smoked pot - so what? Why does anyone care? It's not like he killed anyone.

Which is another thing BTW. One could legitimately argue that say heroine or coke are social evils in that their production and traffiking causes human suffering, but pot? Yeah, all those people living on farms up in Humbolt County are really suffering, man. Dropping like flies, they are.

DaisyDeadhead said...

SC sheriff: No pot charge for Phelps after photo

By SEANNA ADCOX, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina sheriff said Monday he was not going to charge swimmer Michael Phelps after a photo of the 14-time gold medalist showed him smoking from a marijuana pipe.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said he couldn't ignore the photo but defended his investigation.

"Michael Phelps is truly an American hero ... but even with his star status, he is still obligated to obey the laws of our state," Lott said.

The photo showed Phelps smoking from a marijuana pipe at a party in November when he visited the University of South Carolina.

Phelps has called his judgment bad and said he would learn from his mistake.

USA Swimming suspended Phelps for three months in the wake of the photo, and Kellogg Co. said it would not renew its endorsement deal with him.

The photo surfaced in a British newspaper, News of the World, on Feb. 1. The swimmer, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games, did not dispute its authenticity.

News of the World said the picture was taken during a party while Phelps was visiting the university. During that trip, he attended one of the school's football games and received a big ovation when introduced to the crowd.

The party occurred nearly three months after the Olympics while Phelps was taking a break from training, and his actions should have no impact on the eight golds he won at Beijing. He has never tested positive for banned substances.

This isn't the first embarrassing episode for Phelps after an Olympic triumph. In 2004, a few months removed from winning six gold and two bronze medals in Athens, the swimmer was arrested on a drunken driving charge at age 19. He pleaded guilty and apologized for the mistake.

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