A World Mired in Illusions1)
In October, composer and rapper Don Spike was arrested and indicted by prosecutors on charges of taking methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug. There have been other cases of drug use in Korea, mainly in the entertainment industry and recently there has been a surge among the general public. More seriously, the number of drug use cases among teenagers has also soared, becoming a social problem. According to the "2021 Domestic Drug Crime Trend" published by the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, in the case of the teenage population, the number of teenage drug users increased by 43.8% compared to the previous year. This suggests that the drug-taking population is getting younger as accessibility to drugs becomes easier. The serious problem with drugs is addiction. After taking drugs, the brain reacts first, and serious addiction can occur due to the "dopamine" produced by the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that delivers pleasure to our bodies as a stimulant through the consumption of something, such as delicious food. However, unlike food, drugs not only produce dopamine but also block the ability of cells to absorb dopamine. For this reason, people who use drugs over time feel fewer of the effects of dopamine compared to non-drug users. Therefore, people become addicted to drugs in order to find ever stronger stimuli.
For example, Thailand legalized cannabis, which is classified as a drug in Korea, in June. The Thai government legalized cannabis by distributing 100 cannabis seedlings free of charge to the people and even giving national cannabis recommendations. The Thai government was able to attract foreign tourists by legalizing cannabis and the medical drug business can be developed. In fact, cannabis has the advantage of being used for medical purposes. Drugs produced as medical cannabis are known to be effective for epilepsy patients as they have relatively few side effects compared to the drugs currently used. However, as the government officially legalizes drugs, a society where drugs have entered the culture suffers from some problems. In the case of Thailand, since the legalization of cannabis, the drug problem has become serious as people and foreigners have begun taking not only marijuana but also other drugs such as methamphetamine. Tragically, last October, about 40 people were killed in a shooting spree at a daycare center, with the shooter being found to be on drugs. In addition to this, the number of casualties caused by driving or operating machinery while under the influence is increasing rapidly. As such, there are both advantages and disadvantages to the use of drugs in society, so it seems that caution should be taken.
1) Yoo Kyungsun, "Enjoy It Like a Game, and Spread Like a Trend... Drugs of 'Ordinary People' in Their 20s", The Kyunghyang Shinmun, October 18, 2022