When you're telling your friends about your weekend, do you say you played some "sports"?

When speaking to your friends about the weekend, do you say "you played some sports"? That you "went to the bar and drank some liquid"? That you are "going home to play with my pet"?

No. You say "basketball," "beer" and "dog."

But when people talk about drugs, vocabulary tends to break all the way down. People get really nonspecific with their words. They'll say, "I did too many drugs this weekend" or "don't like the drugs but the drugs like me" or "sex drugs and rock and roll."

Which drugs are they talking about? Cannabis? Plavix? Bath salts? Amyl nitrate? Cyanide? Toad licking? Whippets? 

On the one hand, it makes sense to call everything like this a "drug." The relevant dictionary definition of a drug is anything intended to affect the function of the body. Under that definition, food is a drug. So is air. So is a grapefruit juice enema. So are nipple clamps.

Except, you know very well that not all drugs are created equal. If a friend says she spent the weekend doing "a lot of drugs," and she means St. John's Wort and Airborne, your emotional reaction is going to be different than if she means plugging an ounce of crystal while shooting krokodil into her jugular. Fentanyl and CBD oil are both technically "drugs," but using the same word for both of them is like calling both a scimitar and a toothpick "weapons" because they can both puncture skin. 

This inexactness of language makes life easy for prohibitionists. They've spent five decades railing against "drugs." Say no to drugs. Drugs are bad, m'kay. Conflating 'all drugs' lets them target 'all drugs' together.

In Iran, those involved in "drugs" get strung up, whether the drug is alcohol or opium.

In the Philippines, the government has already murdered 5,000 "drug" users and sellers in its recent crackdown. Whether using PCP (which can make you go insane) or meth (which can help you work 14 hour days doing laundry), or pot (which cures diseases), Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte calls all three the same thing — and murders users of all of them. It's like giving the same sentence for all "crimes," whether the crime is shoplifting or regicide. And, as we know because sometimes they fucking admit it, Drug Wars are only barely about the actual drugs. They're about controlling the people who use those drugs.

Inexactness of language also makes life hard for people who want to end the Drug War, most of whom are jonesing to end the war on cannabis and mushrooms a lot faster than they are looking to end the war on whichever drug twists babies into golems in the womb. And just saying "drugs" makes life confusing for kids and teens, who realize the War on Drugs is a total joke and so decide that, if the Drug War is stupid, then all drugs are ok all the time, even taking that drug flakka that makes you eat faces during AP History or their ballet recital. 

"Don't do drugs," was a stupid slogan. "Don't eat faces, no matter the reason." Now there's a policy we can all get behind. And a language we should all adopt.