I read this article today, making the claim that vegans should take coke. I think we should have a brief conversation about the environmental, economic, and humanitarian consequences of a few drugs.
Cannabis is now legal and regulated here in Oregon, although arguably overproduced. Organic and pesticide free options now exist. California sourced cannabis had a lot of issues with deforestation in the Humboldt region and other areas of northern california.
MDMA is has a sasafrole base, made from sassafras, which is grown in east asia as well as north america. I’m not sure on their extent of environmental damage. It’s also a lab drug that (can) have improperly disposed of reagents.
LSD has an ergot fungus base, and it’s reagent chemistry isn’t as complicated or as toxic as meth or molly. LSA is made from morning glory seeds but is generally rare.
Heroine and other opiates are harvested from poppies, primarily grown in Afghanistan, and the illicit drug trade (which most likely involves the CIA) is arguably more unethical than cocaine for humanitarian reasons, although not necessarily environmental ones. Addiction to heroine has a 90% fatality rate, so supporting the market for this drug is problematic, although it is supported by the pharmaceutical industry and won’t go away with simple boycotting.
Meth is a lab drug, and is one of the easier drugs to produce, although it is typically dangerous for small scale producers. Most of it is manufactured in industrial style labs, but it is cut into so many other drugs (especially coke and molly) it’s best to be avoided because it is economically unethical and highly toxic.
Psiilocybin mushrooms are inoculated, mostly by small growers, either outside or in sterilized jars. You can buy the spores online, legally, and they require no additional chemical processing once grown. They’re probably the most environmentally, humanitarian, and economically ethical drug you can take.
Tobacco takes up millions of acres of arable farmland, is processed industrially, and the smoke creates thousands chemicals. It is taxed and regulated, but no one really knows how toxic the chemicals tobacco is processed with are or what quantity they exist in. Tobacco companies typically sue governments for attempting to ban or regulate them, and long term health consequences mean that regular ingestion can be very expensive on the medical industry.
Alcohol is the most widely consumed drug in the world (unless you count caffeine, which i’m not), and an entire global industry of agriculture exists to support it’s production. I have no idea about statistics or quantities. But it’s also one of the most deadly drugs due to fatal car crashes, overdoses, suicides, and accidents. It has a far reaching environmental impact because of the agriculture used, and society has, on the whole, considered that acceptable.
I could have made a list about coffee, tea, soda, or other consumables, and it would have looked similar to this. I think the lesson here, comparing drug use to diet, is all things have a cost, all involve choice, and the best way to make that choice is be as informed as possible.