Why the United States LOVES Drugs
"We’re using drugs not to make our lives better, but to adapt to the imperatives of capitalist society."
Benjamin Y. Fong is the author of the recently-released book Quick Fixes: Drugs in America from Prohibition to the 21st Century Binge. The book takes a deep look at the ways Americans have used drugs, both illicit and prescription, to ease the pains caused by our society. He was kind enough to talk to me about his book, and about why Americans seem to love drugs more than anyone else.
[This interview has been edited and condensed]
Is there something specific within the current discourse about drugs that you felt was missing that led you to write this book?
I think just an appreciation of the sheer magnitude of the issue. Across the board, if you look at drug consumption trends in the 21st century, they’re all going up. They were high already and they’ve all gone up. The most well-known aspect of that is the opioid crisis, and the deaths associated with that, but across the board, there’s benzodiazepines and amphetamines and antidepressants and antipsychotics. Basically all substances, with the interesting exception of cocaine, are going up—the United States is consuming a world historic amount of drugs today.