By: Shaya Rogers, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Stefany Olivas, Managing Editor
Part One of a Series
“The Deal with Drugs” is a special fall term series that looks at various aspects and issues of drugs and drug addiction. Look for “Marijuana” in issue nine.
Drugs, both illicit and prescribed, and drug addiction are hot discussion topics for a variety of reasons. This CNM Chronicle special series will look at the social, legal, medicinal, economic and health arguments and issues for and against drugs of all types.
Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to express their thoughts on subjects surrounding drugs, and their benefits or drawbacks.
Part-time CHSS instructor Monie Arfai said drug addictions are not limited to any certain group of people and everyone knows someone who has had some type of drug problem, he said.
“You will see people from all walks of life. It’s not only poor people, or one race. Every race, this is a commonality we have. Every ethnicity, every age, you will see them,” said Arfai.
There needs to be more social awareness and proper support systems for individuals who may have a drug dependency. Increased awareness will also help individuals learn to say no to drugs if they are confronted with that situation, he said.
“Knowledge becomes power; the way out is very important. It’s a behavioral strategy to say no. It’s just not simply to tell them to say no, how to say no is a matter too,” said Arfai.
Mechanical Engineering major Sharon Beverly said she is against all types of drugs, even simple anti-inflammatories and antihistamines, and will try natural medicines instead.
She said she does think marijuana should be legal since it generally has only a calming effect and because of its medicinal value.
“It only makes you hungry and sleepy. I would rather people smoke pot everyday than do any other drug,” she said.
Since marijuana does not make users aggressive, there is a lot less harm in the behavioral effects, she said.
She said she came to Albuquerque from St. Louis, Missouri and noticed the drug problem here is a lot worse than she expected.
She could easily compare the drug problem here to the problems in East Los Angeles, and she hopes to create a student organized program on campus, she said.
“Once we get students to stand up, the community will stand up,” she said.
She would like to focus more on student accountability to lead the way toward a clean, drug free campus, she said.
Fire Science major Gary Trujillo said he is opposed to most drugs because of the negative effect he has seen them have on family relationships.
He said that as an EMT, he has gained a different perspective on some drugs. He said he knows some are necessary in the medical field, but is against any form of substance abuse.
The effects of drugs on a person depends on the type of personality they have, their age and their level of maturity, he said.
When he was younger, he experimented with some drugs, but never developed an addiction, he said.
“I think they’re kind of a childish thing. It’s something I did as I was growing up, but it’s something I believe most people grow out of,” he said.
Arfai said he is a native of Iran where there is not as much variety of narcotics available — only marijuana and opium derivatives.
Almost no one experimented with drugs in high school because Iranian society is very strict in dealing with it, and mostly because of the shame someone can bring upon their family, he said.
“There is a social pressure in Iran because of the collectivist culture. Your identity does not belong to you, it belongs to the group. Somebody who has that label on them is an outcast,” said Arfai.
Stefany Olivas contributed to this article.