I thought I'd pipe in here as the topic header 'the evil of recreational drugs' caught my eye. I've led a rather colourful life, to say the least, and as a result have seen the use of recreational drugs across a great spectrum. The term 'evil' in itself implies something deeply sick and wrong and it is a very emotive term.
There is most definitely 'evil' associated with the production and distribution of drugs across the world. Most of this 'evil' has to do with money and very little to do with the end consumer. The production of drugs, either by legal pharmaceutical companies or through illegal means contributes greatly to war, death and suffering and this all comes down to money. Whether it is Columbian war lords fighting over cocaine distribution, children in the Western world who have been fed ritalin and anti depressants by unscruplous doctors or whole communities dying of AIDS because the price of life saving drugs is too high or drug resistant TB, which is becoming more and more resistant through difficulties caused by access to necessary treatment, there most certainly is an aura of evil over the whole 'drug' industry.
I have had friends who have lived long and successful lives alongside heroin addiction; I have had friends who have tried crack, totally uprepared for their inabilty to make sensible judgements while under the influence; I have had friends who have caught HIV through needle use, unsafe sex (which resulted from a lack of inhibition brought on by drug use); I have had friends who have done the most wonderful art and music under the influence of a whole gamut of illegal substances; I have had friends who have made their pain better through the use of marijuana enabling them to live a much more productive life than they could have done otherwise; I have seen people have great spiritual experiences and changing their lives for the better after taking LSD; I have had relatives who have killed themselves with alcohol; I have had friends who have been driven into institutions through the use of prescribed drugs; I have seen people commit suicide under the influence of alcohol; I have worked with people who are dying of emphysema and insist on smoking til their last breath; I have had friends who have overcome an addiction to cocaine only to be run down and killed by a drunk driver. I don't need to go on.
With all of this in mind, I think it is important to educate people about drugs, their effects and the global implications of their use. All drugs. We all make choices and the more informed they are the better. In the meantime, never forget that the drug of your choice, be it alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, crack, prozac, viagra, oxycontin, cough syrup - whatever ...when you pay for it, some evil guy somewhere is making a profit.
Ultimately nothing will ever stop people from pleasure seeking and personally I think that is a good thing.