Into The Wild Blue Yonder

On January 14th, a bag of cocaine was found in the hangar where the Space Shuttle lives.  As might be expected, this has caused some consternation among NASA officials, as well as the hysterical public.

The focus has been that the drug was cocaine – an illegal, dangerous drug.  While I agree that a bag of coke at a high-security facility is worrisome, the worrisome part isn’t that it’s cocaine, but that it’s *any* dangerous drug.  That would include alcohol and certain legal, prescription medications as well as coke, heroin, or PCP.

Much is said about the horrors of drugs, how they ruin lives and often kill people, how addicts may turn to crime to feed their habits, yadda-yadda-yadda.  Drug dealers are viewed as the worst sort of people, the scum of the earth who feed upon the weaknesses and shattered dreams of their victims.

And yet, throughout this country we have drug dealers carrying out their evil activities openly in many cities, and even small towns.  Not only are they not arrested, the police often protect these drug dealers from the violence their drugs may cause, assist in preventing robberies or tracking down those who have committed the robberies, and in general helping the drug dealers stay in business.  And it’s all perfectly legal, because these drug dealers are known as “bartenders”, and the drug they sell is alcohol.

Alcohol alone kills far more people than all the illegal drugs combined.  All the horrors of heroin or cocaine addiction apply equally well to alcohol addiction.

The point of all this isn’t to say that it’s OK to do coke on the job.  The point is that finding a can of beer would have been just as bad, and should be just as upsetting as finding cocaine.  The problem isn’t that it was cocaine; the problem is that someone was using (or at least carrying) a mind-altering substance, something that could easily affect his performance, at a job where performance is critical.

Dude, whoever you are, get a grip.  You really shouldn’t be getting high at work, especially if your job requires you to have it together.  That’s just asking for trouble.  And second, we already know you weren’t holding it together, because you lost your stash.

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