(Not So) Taboo: Potheads and Zealots and Junkies, Oh My!
So last night's Taboo didn't really go out on a limb as far as bringing us unbelievable freakiness that's actually stigmatized. But they did give us lots of drugz, and the folks who turn to 'em to ease(?) their troubles.
But, whatever about bringing the freaks. They brought us Yvonne! She's a 56 year-old sufferer of MS, who relies on medical marijuana to ease the pain. At the risk of trivializing her condition, I gotta say... lady's awesome.
Eight j's a day? Daaamn, girl! But, no. In her interview Yvonne stresses that she looks like a nice old lady, and wants to be thought of as such—not a pothead old lady. Throughout the show various experts discredit marijuana advocates as being just a bunch of smokers, and not real patients. But cases like Yvonne seem to show otherwise. MS often causes chronic pain and debilitates the muscles, but Yvonne hasn't been hospitalized in years—which she credits to the healing effect of the ganj.
But despite her legally sanctioned (in CA) prescription, some of the dispensaries that appear on the show seem somewhat laughable. Especially considering the role of the pharmacist here is played by a "bud-tender".
But despite where it comes from, Yvonne and many others like her are adamant, and serious about marijuana's healing properties. Thankfully similarly-minded folks like those at the Marijuana Policy Project are fighting the good fight, helping to make a generally not-too-detrimental substance available to a populace in need. (Another expert: "The only way to kill a lab rat with marijuana? Drop a 25-pound brick of it on top of it.")
Moving on. Next, we go to Brazil to look at a culture that uses a form of DMT during spiritual rituals—in a bizarre combination of Catholicism and Shamanism—to help them see God and bond, etc. What is "taboo" mostly is that they give it to children sometimes. Fair enough.
But the last, and perhaps most legitimately taboo, sect of narcotic users explored is that of the junkie. There's a place in Vancouver, Canada, called Insite, a "supervised injection site" where users are granted amnesty from the legal ramifications of heroin consumption. Here, an addict can get his own cubicle, fresh needle and tourniquet (everything but the drug itself), and even have a nurse help locate a vein to aid in his intravenous drug use. Insite workers treat heroin addiction as a disease, where the addicts are patients to whom they're offering healthcare services. Essentially, they just keep users off the streets, safer from disease and other risks.
There is a recovery program which addicts can seek out upstairs, but apparently statistics for this happening are very low. But despite their various beneficial services, the true "health" benefits of Insite seem murky. (This is my opinion, but I feel) People should accept responsibility for their choices, actions, and whatever consequences may arise, and this sort of program seems to merely aid in the process of self-destruction. But it is a pilot program, and time will tell whether this is an ultimately constructive service or not.
Well. Those are the taboos National Geographic came up with this time. Next week? "Strange Love"... Bring on the Real Dolls!