Role of Drugs in our Culture, Present or Future

For ages past, drugs have been a part of several cultures globally. Drugs are used by various people for various reasons. According to Philip K. Duck, the author of A scanner darkly, people venture into the use of drugs as a result of their needs as necessitated by their life-style. Some seek for happiness or enjoyment while others venture into drug use to sharpen their feelings, or even take away memories of parts of their life or things that they don't want to deal with. On the other hand, Jonathan Lethem, in his book Gun, with occasional music, portrays a society where basically all people are dependent on drugs. This society comprises of people and even animals that have undergone technological bio-scientific techniques to bring about an evolvement. As such, the members of this society are solely dependent on drugs.

Duck centrally majored on drugs in his book because of events in his life that pushed him to have a company of friends hooked to drugs. The life of substance abuse (referred to as substance D in his book) was the central part of the neighborhood he lived in and the people using the drugs seemed to be enjoying it (151). On the other hand, Lethem is trying to envision a future society that has undergone some biological changes thanks to technology. Such changes include nerve-swapping. Couples trade erogenous zones for the purpose of sexual experimentation and animals are given human intelligence. Eventually, all these changes lead to dependence upon additives by the people to accomplish their various desires.

Nevertheless, both authors portray a bleak future pertaining to the use of drugs. The future society envisioned by Lethem still has a great case of substance abuse. The people in this society are solely dependent upon dozens of drugs (categorized as acceptol, avoidol, addictol). People are more easily disconcerted in Lethem's future (94). Asking questions is considered astonishingly rude, making detectives (or "inquisitors", as they are known), whose job involves prying, social pariahs.  Duck was already painting a sad time at the time of authoring his book. To him, playing in the streets (engaging in drug use) was a dreadful thing;

Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing (151). 

Duck also paints a gloomy picture on the future of drug use. He argues that drugs pacify the death of the users. To him the motto to this kind of life-style is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory (150-151).

When it comes to the implications of drugs on such issues as religion, Lethem portrays how science and technology disregards religion. It is not considered bestiality when one has a sexual relationship with an evolved animal in Lethem’s world, and humans may also adopt younger evolved animals. Moral beliefs are discarded.

So, is drug use a problem? Both authors do not openly come out clearly on this. However, Lethem does not see any problem at all in the use and abuse of drugs even though it is the result of a death in his envisioned world. But according to Duck, drug use and playing in the streets caused him deep grief as he, eventually, dedicates his book to all his friends who suffered debilitation or death as a result of their drug use. Mirroring the epilogue are the involuntary goodbyes that occur throughout the story. However, he goes on to say that "drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to move out in front of a moving car." This can be interpreted as his view that drug use is not a problem as such. 

Drugs can serve various functions in our culture. They can be used to make people feel good at the present but their addictive nature presents a fatality to the future generations due to their abuse. Drug use has also served to impose some effects on traditional philosophy and religion. Consequently, this has affected the moral beliefs that have been in existence in the society gone 

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