A specter is haunting planetary culture-the specter of drugs. The definition of human dignity created by the Renaissance and elaborated into the democratic values of modern Western civilization seems on the point of dissolving. The major media inform us at high volume that the human capacity for obsessional behavior and addiction has made a satanic marriage with modern pharmacology, marketing, and high-speed transportation. Previously obscure forms of chemical use now freely compete in a largely unregulated global marketplace. Whole governments and nations in the Third World are held in thrall by legal and illegal commodities promoting obsessional behavior. This situation is not new, but it is getting worse. Until quite recently international narcotics cartels were the obedient creations of governments and intelligence agencies that were searching for sources of "invisible" money with which to finance their own brand of institutionalized obsessional behavior.' Today, these drug cartels have evolved, through the unprecedented rise in the demand for cocaine, into rogue elephants before whose power even their creators have begun to grow uneasy.' We are beset by the sad spectacle of "drug wars" waged by governmental institutions that usually are paralyzed by lethargy and inefficiency or are in transparent collusion with the international drug cartels they are publicly pledged to destroy. No light can penetrate this situation of pandemic drug use and abuse unless we undertake a hard-eyed reappraisal of our present situation and an examination of some old, nearly forgotten, patterns of drug-related experience and behavior. The importance of this task cannot be overestimated. Clearly the self-administration of psychoactive substances, legal and illegal, will be increasingly a part of the future unfolding of global culture.
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