O’Donnell: Conscious living is interconnected


A.J.K O’Donnell

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When members of the University of Iowa’s class of 2020 were juniors in high school, Mexico suffered an estimated 164,000 homicides because of drug cartels and violence from 2007-2014, according to PBS.

During that time, Iowa City was ignited with a massive police raid across numerous local tobacco-supply stores. Only months before the fall session began, the owner of one of these outlets was convicted and sentenced for distributing synthetic drugs, reported the Press-Citizen. The question that remains is, how do Iowa City’s and Mexico’s homicide rates due to drug wars correlate in any applicable way? It would be a grave mistake for anyone, especially individuals who engage in actions related to illegal substances, to denote the harmful repercussions and origins of these “recreational pleasures.”

Drug and alcohol consumption in Iowa is an issue that must be chewed with a clean palate and digested with an objective mind. It does not do well to dismiss statistical proposals or medical analyses upon mere disagreement. All students at Iowa who are submitting to an encounter with drugs or alcohol need to ponder for a moment the starting place and consequence of these substances. In reality, a percentage of these substances are passed from country to country, finally falling into the pockets and nervous systems of millions of people across the globe.

The problem here lies in the high possibility of tampering, injections, or “lacing” of any drug or controlled substance. It stands to reason that by the time any illicit substance finally makes its way to Iowa, it has been altered beyond the point of recognition and would then pose a maximized threat to the prospective recipient.

Furthermore, students at the UI, Iowa City community members, or any people in the world actively contribute to the perpetuation of violence stemming from drug trafficking when they purchase or distribute funneled substances. It is not unconscionable to assert that there is likelihood that violent acts, torture, and homicides in Mexico, Honduras, the Middle East, or even here at home accompanied and tainted the majority of drugs in circulation.

In March, the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy released a compact analysis of Iowa residents and drug use. In the department’s findings, it states that meth labs in Iowa have decreased from 1,500 in 2014 to a mere 135 recently. While meth is being currently crusaded by the Drug Enforcement Agency, it is also noted that synthetic drugs are on the rise and pose a horrendous threat. Though synthetic drugs are chemically formed to replicate the euphoric experiences of marijuana, they are little more than spray-painted tree bark. As man-made drugs, they have detrimental effects, differing from the stereotypical image of a calm and relaxed inhaler of cannabis smoke. Symptoms of great concern, listed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include: violent behavior, increased heart rate, and suicidal ideation. While it may not strike many as extremely prevalent, it is worth noting that synthetic drugs are never a “safer” or more “ethical” form of controlled substances.

Finally, the infatuation with alcoholic beverages seems to pour out from many college student’s daily conversations. The questions range from where to obtain alcohol, how to obtain it without being caught — if under age — and what to do with this magical depressant once it has been acquired. While it may not appear to be a large problem, especially if only performed once, but stealing alcohol from any store affects not only the store owner and employees but also the people risking their diplomas for a bottle of Hawkeye. Around campus, many may have seen posters of an individual in a graduation gown posing for a “mug shot.” Every time people engage in risky or illegal behavior, it is imperative that futuristic thinking is applied before they indulge. Controlled substances may provide a feeling of excited, perceived adulthood, or peer respect, but people should always keep in mind the implications of these actions.

Every decision we make is rooted in experience and futuristic possibilities. It is a healthy decision for all students, and community members, to consider every detail in any given situation with a past, present, and futuristic lens.

Consider the possibility that a young woman, her husband, and their children were murdered when caught in cartel crossfire, becoming nothing but statistics. Take a moment, and think about the immense consequences, which may accompany the possession of large amounts of alcohol: the medical risks, academic risks, and even communal risks. Every action that one makes must be analyzed by its repercussion and possibility to harm others, whether it was intended to or not. Without recognizing the interconnectedness of all aspects of our choices, can we truly ever work to build a greater, more empowering society?

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