Michael Phelps Unwinds With a Little Help From His Friends!


Since the release of the Michael Phelps picture many opinions have surfaced regarding the role of athletes in the culture, the expectations we hold them to and of course, pot. Some of them seem reasonable “he’s a kid”, some seem less than reasonable, “will a 10 year old who idolizes Phelps think its ok to smoke pot because he does”? One of my favorites comes from columnist David Ramsey “Phelps fills us with shame.”  That’s a bit of an overstatement from Mr. Ramsey.  As far as I know, judgment never helped a drug issue on any level.  Before reading the comments of Ramsey I’d never heard of him but I imagine him to swill scotch and lament the state of the world and the entire drug using culture.

            Universally there is a consensus that Phelps acknowledged “wrong doing”.  It seems odd that he did something “wrong”, other than choosing an intoxicant besides alcohol. Would this be news if Phelps were seen drinking? At his age drunkenness is more than tolerated, it’s encouraged.  Beer swilling is expected from young adult males, certainly athletes are known to imbibe and yet nobody bats an eye. Why then do we demonize Phelps for choosing an intoxicant that is safer than alcohol? The truth is young men + booze= stitches, car accidents, date rape charges, fights, jail, hospitalizations. Young adults + marijuana = complacency, over eating, staring at video games, listening to Pink Floyd, watching “The Big Labowski” repetitively. Given these choices, I am unclear with what Phelps did “wrong”.

            Make no mistake; I am not advocating for the use of Marijuana, it’s a dangerous psycho reactive drug that can derail a developing mind, body, and emotional world, not to mention dislodging mental illness. More than discussing pot, I think the Phelps issue offers a chance to indict alcohol. Demon alcohol. It does more damage than all street drugs combined and yet, parents sit and my office and say “We know he drinks, but we’re grateful he doesn’t use any drugs!” The” Just Say No” era has done grave disservice to supporting chemical dependency as a health issue. It serves for us to continue to view this issue as “right” or “wrong”.  Dealing with chemical dependency is successful to the degree that we can be honest about it and the truth is, Marijuana is a safer intoxicant than alcohol. 


2 Responses to “Michael Phelps Unwinds With a Little Help From His Friends!”

  1. Well said. Perhaps if there was more public dialogue in the vein you wrote we would all be more effective in dealing with these issues and having productive conversations with the young people in our lives.

  2. Thank you for this article. We all need to speak up about the failed War on Drugs that treats drug use as criminal, and refuses to support true education and rehabilitation programs. But that is understandable when we live in a society that sells Prison stocks on Wall Street. Where more prisoners means more profits, and DEA funds itself by seizing money and property in drug busts.

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