The short answer is, I honestly don't know. On the one hand, we have masses of people getting their lives seriously messed up by using drugs, and on the other hand, we have the corrupting impact of the drug war on our society and on other more vulnerable societies like Columbia's.
We have Nancy Reagan saying "Just Say No.", and unlike a lot of people I think that had some good effect, and was useful. Part of the problem was that the leaders of society still see themselves as the Counter-Establishment and as hip and cool. I'm sorry, if your chauffeur has a chauffeur you don't get to be Counter anything. You are the Establishment.
This means certain responsibilities to make sure civilization continue fall squarely on your shoulders. One of those is to say the Truth. Even if its dull and uncool. Like her husband did.
"Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev." And a wind of freedom rose at his words to batter down tyrants' castles.
However, M. Simon assures me that it had little impact on chronic users. He and I can both be right. There's the chronic and the just for fun. Nancy's statement might well have discouraged the just for fun guy.
What a lot of Drug Warriors are afraid of is that the just for fun guy is going to wander over a lot of times into the chronic user. This is a question that people such as M. Simon need to answer.
Now, looking over at M. Simon's links, I see that a lot of chronic users are 1)Lacking in certain brain chemicals which either mitigate pain, or help supress nervousness. 2)A lot of them according to one doctor who ran a study of 2oo addicts have had past traumas of extreme nature such as rape being inflicted on them. This includes the men. And this is not after the drug use, but before.
So you've got people in a lot of pain,physical and/or emotional. Pain distorts people. I know from personal experience.
Now the pastor might say that you can rise above such problems with the help of God, and indeed some people do, but I'm not sure that this isn't relying on miracles in the place of mundane skills that God also expects us to use.
I'm trying to be skeptical since I have a decided tendency to be gullible to new fascinating ideas proposed by sweetly reasonable advocates, but I am leaning toward accepting this. However, I don't think I could accept non-doctor supervised drug use. At least not yet.
And I still have more questions about other drugs, especially one whose production seems somewhat popular in the area--meth. And I wonder about other side effects of drugs, such as tendencies to violence.
And here, a personal anecdote to explain that. Years back, some blessed Big Pharm company came out with Tavist D. It was later taken off the market for some reason of danger, but for me it was a blessing. It was the chains of constant sinus troubles being broken off my life.
However, one time, I took my pill. And then an hour later, I could not remember if I had taken another. So I did.
Instant readiness to fight. I wanted to hit someone. At least my body did. My mind could not come up with a reason. But its possible that if someone had insulted me thoroughly, that I would have hauled off and punched them. Which is not my style.
And here's M. Simon's blog if you want to look more into these issues.