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Alberto Mondi's column on drugs in Europe & Korea as a drug-free country


Alberto Mondi

JTBC 'Abnormal Summit' panelist


Column: [Abnormal eyes of Alberto Mondi] Korea is even more better because it's a drug-free country

For foreigners, one of the most impressive things about Korea is its safety. It's not easy to find a country where you can go around in late night and be perfectly safe. OECD's 'Better Life Index' always ranks Korea in top 5 as the safest country. I think Korea's low rate of drug use plays an important role on it.

Drugs started to spread in Europe since 19th century. It has a deep root. It's now illegal in most countries including Italy, but it's still common. I was surprised to find that Korea doesn't have social issues regarding to drugs and that most Koreans have never seen drugs. It was also interesting that it's a taboo to even mention drugs. According to UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, the rate of marijuana use was 14.6% for Italy and 0.29% for Korea. The rate of cocaine use was 2.2% for Italy and 0.03% for Korea. Korea is basically a drug-free country.

I first started to hear about drugs when I became interested in culture, arts, and music in high school. My favorite poets Rimbaud and Baudelaire smoked opium and writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Allen Ginsberg frequently mentioned drugs in their works. Singer Bob Marley smoked marijuana and Beatles' song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' was banned because its initials 'LSD' reminded of drugs.

Some people portray drugs as arcane. But the addicts I saw in Italy were completely opposite from how it's portrayed in Rimbaud's poems and Bob Marley's songs. Drug addicts always looked anxious and uncomfortable wherever they were. They couldn't have a normal life because they spent all the money on drugs. They couldn't even eat out, go for a movie, or have beer with friends. Some people committed crimes to buy drugs. I'm not a scientist or a doctor so I can't clearly define the danger and the addiction of drugs. But from what I've experienced in Italy, drugs is full of problems such as waste of money, physical and emotional pain, and struggles of friends and family.

Because Europe and USA have a lot of drug users, there has been constant debates on whether to spend national money to ban it, or to legalize it to decrease illegal purchases and to collect tax. I hope Korea learns from Europe's mistake of opening up to drugs and remain as a drug-free country.

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