Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drug Use: Another Reason It Is Not A Victimless Crime

Some people say that drug use is a victimless crime. If you don't rob somebody, don't spend your kid's milk money on drugs, and don't drive or perform surgery while on drugs, nobody gets hurt, right? Or so some people argue.

Unfortunately, that is a little short sighted. And I'm not even thinking about the drug dealers that might decide to shoot their rivals in their drug wars... they choose to get involved in that lifestyle and that just happens to come with the territory. But far away... where the drugs are grown... a more innocent victim might be affected by someone's drug use.

Let's say you use heroin, or perhaps opium. Let's forget for a minute that heroin is a very addictive drug that might leave you in a sort of desperation that you might not otherwise expect to be in. The poppy seeds that are used to make the opium and heroin are grown somewhere. One of the places happens to be Afghanistan.

Again, forget for a minute that there are a lot of terrorists grown in Afghanistan that get a lot of their power and money from the heroin and opium trade. An increasingly common victim of the drug trade is the opium bride, as described in this Newsweek article.

Here's how it works. A farmer might be down on his luck, so he borrows some money in order to plant a poppy crop. He promises to pay back at the end of the season in the form of opium. But then something happens. Maybe bad weather causes his crop to fail. Sometimes the powers that be decide to declare war on drugs and destroy the crops. The farmer is left with no crop and a debt that he can't pay back. So he gives up the only asset that he might have... he repays his debt by giving away his daughter as a wife to the lender.

Evidently this is becoming more common. Some 5 year old children are often given away in this manner. One person in the story ended up promising his 2-month old daughter to pay off a debt. They are not supposed to actually consummate the marriage until the daughter reaches puberty, but they can go work as housekeepers and maids until that point.

It's sometimes hard to see how our actions affect others... in this case, you never would think that using drugs could lead to someone getting sold as a bride halfway across the world.

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