It's been really interesting to see the reactions this thread has brought about, all the way from zero tolerance and what appears to be a lot of anger to pleas for compassion and understanding. I'm not gonna say who's right and who's wrong in this discussion - some good points have been made on all sides, but consider this: not ONE of the people cited here ( Thunders, Hell, Monk, Coltrane, Lee, Burroughs ) ever woke up one morning and said, "Shit, there's nothing good on TV today - guess I'll be a junkie." All right, maybe Burroughs. I remember hearing (or reading) something that went like this: "They told us one toke off a joint and we'd be hooked for life, and they lied. They told us one hit of acid and we'd be driven insane and give birth to children with gills - and they lied. Then they told us heroin would really get us and we didn't believe them. Guess what? This time they weren't lying." No one plans on becoming an alcoholic, nicotine fiend, crack head or smack freak - you think you can handle it right up to the morning you wake up and find out you can't. Beating something like that requires a degree of strength and willpower that most of us will never conceive of, because, thankfully, we won't ever have to.
And yes, the Burroughs reference was a joke.