Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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What is the Church’s opinion on mind-altering drugs, their usage and their immediate effect on our perception of reality? It is given that drugs ultimately have negative social and psychological effects, but I am just referring to the state of mind directly under the influence of drugs. Examples of such drugs are opium, marijuana, LSD and so on. Many famous poets and philosophers wrote their masterpieces under the influence of some drug. Why does one need to be under the influence of any drug to produce good work?

Although, those literary writers did create literary works which are well respected to today, while under the influence of one drug or the other, their personal lives and early deaths are indicative of how unhappy they were.
  1. Edgar Allan Poe: His foster father was not pleased with his behavior as a young boy (drinking and gambling) and his refusal to pay his debts which forced him to work as a clerk. He had educated Edgar well in private schools and one year of college at the University of Virginia. It is written that his addiction to liquor and use of drugs contributed to his early death.

  2. Samuel Coleridge was addicted to opium, a drug he used at the time to ease the pain of rheumatism. He was to become estranged from his family and died alone.
On examining the lives of these noted poets and writers individually you will find that according to the legal system of that time, they were not guilty of breaking the law. Consequently nothing was known about the physically and psychologically harmful effects of these drugs.

Did you know that early Egyptians gave their babies cocaine to pacify them? Of course it was VERY effective, yet this is not done today due to the knowledge obtained on the drug and its harmful effects. Cocaine was also in coca-cola for some time. That is why people enjoyed drinking it greatly. Today it is not one of its ingredients.

Nowadays, due to the advanced studies on drugs, researchers have revealed, in addition to other harmful aspects, the addictive aspect of drugs which is detrimental and can destroy families, marriages, careers, etc. Even the greatest of works by these accepted authors during their time, had to be supplemented because they were very sporadic in nature. I think addictive drugs are harmful notwithstanding their beneficial use.
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