Many drug users will use drugs with the excuse of reaching a "higher consciousness". Although I believe it is possible to reach this state, people do not need drugs to reach it. People who use drugs with the goal of reaching a "HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS" think that there is a shortcut to that state, when in reality it's all an illusion. Many drug users do not understand that they are NOT SHAMANS. I approve of Shamanism, but taking acid in the park DOES NOT make you a SHAMAN. Taking MDMA and going to parties does not provide a "HIGHER STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS". Smoking blunts and playing video games does not make you "OPEN MINDED". I do believe that it's possible to reach these states, but not through mindlessly taking all kinds of drugs. Also I believe that pharmaceuticals are also doing more damage than good, people should be able to SOLVE their own problems, taking pharmaceuticals only TEMPORARILY makes it appear as though the problem isn't there while the effects are lasting, but nothing is SOLVED! That is why I think all drugs are bad unless you are a REAL Shaman or are taking them with a REAL Shaman.
It depends how you define bad. In my case, i would say most medicine/drugs are made to reduce illness instead of curing it. Paracetamol, Aspirin, Xanax are drugs to reduce headache, pain or fatigue respectively, but it isn't the cure of it. Thus, making it dangerous because, one may get addicted to turning into Paracetamol when they have a headache. Besides, drugs aren't really affordable, well at at least in the country i come from. Thus, making it 'bad' because most people can't afford to but it often. Lastly- side effects. Do you know that by consuming one Paracetamol, can seize your liver, and few years of your life? Drugs play with our organ, the organ that helps 'renewing' our blood. If it fails, everything else fails. And then you die. Now, isn't that bad?
Illegal drugs themselves are illegal for a reason, however, when you get to the pharmaceutical drugs, it gets much more complicated. The problem with pharmaceutical drugs is they always affect your body in more than one way, even if it has a very weak effect. For most people, they would consciously know that they should take a certain amount for a certain time for a reason, however for those other people, it can get well out of hand, leading to possible addiction and overdose, even if it seems a bit extreme. As long as it is prescribed correctly, and taken with a correct dose, it should be okay, but for the vast other drugs that don't require prescription or are illegal, I believe they are mostly bad. (with emphasis on mostly)
I agree that mind altering drugs are in general a detriment to society and the takers well being, though I have no opinion on shamanism. However, there are many pharmaceutical drugs which provide actual cures and prevent permanent life altering complications up to and including death.
A few examples:
•Antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, vaccines etc. when used correct and judiciously provide a nearly 100% positive effect of curing/preventing a real problem that the patient would be otherwise unable to solve themselves and if not treated would leave them with permanent harm.
•Even drugs such as antihistamines and antiinflammatory drugs which arguably prove a solution for the symptom rather than the problem still enable a person to resolve the problem themselves. For example, and asthma inhaler. Without it the person would dis of asphyxiation, with it they still have asthma but they are alive.
•There are drugs which can chelate heavy metals in your blood stream enabling your kidneys to safely remove them rather than building up and causing organ failure or malfunction.
The list goes on, but this post does not.
Anti-depressants helped get me out of a five year depression. All of the people in my group therapy can confirm that drugs can be very, very useful. As long as you use them correctly, and they were prescribed to you by a good doctor, they can definitely work really well.