America is scared to death of drugs. So much so that many of us will look the other way as authorities fight their self-indulgent, un-winnable battle against the ever-present boogeyman of illegal substances. Even if it means spending over $40 billion a year in taxpayer dollars to do things like break into a family’s house and shoot their dog in front of terrified children in order to crack down on minor marijuana possession.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that state governments and the media, in their desperate search for new things to scare the bajeebus out of know-nothing parents, are honing in on the existence of so-called “digital drugs,” a form of MP3 containing binaural frequencies that are said to have mind-altering effects on the listener.
And yeah, there’s an app for that.
Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics are the ones kicking up dirt on this one. The “new fad” is called “i-dosing,” and all it requires are headphones and a device that plays MP3s. And that’s exactly what’s driving Oklahoma’s Channel 9 News to cry bloody murder—And yup, you guessed it: They’re calling it a “gateway drug.” An Oklahoma school has even gone so far as to ban iPods to combat the i-dosing menace, ignoring the fact that the “effects” of the MP3s usually take upwards of 30 minutes in a distraction-free environment to kick in (That’s one long high school bathroom break, even for a rebellious teenager).
Wired reports on the panic surrounding this bizarre phenomenon and posits a number of half-mocking rhetoricals:
It’s a dark and scary road you’re going down, Oklahoma, and I don’t think we’re mentally equipped to follow. We’ll be hanging back at the duck pond, listening to some Floyd.Will future presidential candidates defend their i-dosing past by saying, “But I had it on mute”? Are we supposed to declare a war on cyberdrugs or a cyberwar on cyberdrugs? How will police know if a teen is with headphones on is i-dosing or just listening to Justin Bieber? Is the iPod the bong of the future? What would happen if some ne’er-do-well took over the console of the Super Bowl and dosed the entire country? What if kids smoked dried banana peels and listened to these trippy tunes at the same time — could they OD? What happens if someone sells a tainted MP3?