The Feb. 9 issue of the Mount Holyoke News featured an article — Pot Legal In Massachusetts: What’s Next For Mount Holyoke Students?
For this piece, an anonymous junior spoke about her experiences with smoking marijuana on campus, and I want to use this letter as a platform to address this student.
“In terms of stress release and pain killing, it’s so good… If there’s something that can help you relax, which doesn’t have a side effect [like] anti-anxiety pills, I think you should use it by all means,” the student said. “There’s a huge epidemic of getting people hooked on prescription drugs like Prozac or Xanax. They have so many side effects which make people miserable. Weed is such a great alternative.”
I have a couple of problems with this statement, and neither of them are related to the illegal usage of drugs. This student has the right to make her own choices, and I cannot judge that. I respect her decision, but it appears from her statement that she finds it hard to differentiate between necessity and pleasure. As someone who struggles with mental illness and is “hooked on prescription drugs,” I do not find her comparisons justified. Not only is she insinuating that anxiety disorders are synonymous with stress, but she also is making sweeping generalizations about psychiatric medications that, I am sure, many victims of mental illness wish were true.
I wish my psychiatric disability weren’t debilitating enough for a comparison with her stress levels to irk me. But alas! I can’t decide my choice of drug or the side effects. I can’t even choose when to take my drugs and when not to — I am, unfortunately, “hooked” until the side effects overpower the effects of withdrawal.
I am greatly aggrieved that people such as her, who are privileged enough to be so ableist, are part of the Mount Holyoke community. I hope that in the future, people will think twice before making an uneducated comparison.
A disabled student
–Meghadeepa Maity ’18