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Drugs outside sport

nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
edited June 2009 in The bottom bracket
The 'Drugs in sport' thread got me thinking about this, but I thought it a bit too far off-topic to post there, so here it is:

I've long thought that what substances somebody chooses to put in their own body is entirely up to them and nothing to do with anyone else, least of all the government of the day. I also think that the policy of drug prohibition followed by pretty much every major world government ultimately causes more harm than good; it criminalises many ordinary people whose drug of choice happens not to be one of those officially sanctioned (i.e. alcohol and nicotine), and hands a great deal of power to nasty b***ards who serve the demand for illegal drugs, demand that will never, ever, go away. For these basic reasons (I could elaborate much further!), I think that a policy of drug legalisation and regulation is preferable to blanket prohibition.

I'd be really interested to hear what others think about this. I fully expect to be in the minority (possibly of one!). And for completeness' sake, I should make it clear that I'm not in favour of an 'anything goes' approach to drugs in professional sport.

Any thoughts?

Posts

  • CressersCressers Posts: 1,329
    I agree. The 'War On Drugs' is just another way of justifying an Enforcement Culture on people. But there's money and poltical capital to be made by Cracking Down and filling the prisons...
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    Unsure....

    The gov't is in a difficult place...its all very well saying decriminalise and sell it in pharmacies and collect the tax, but unless that retail price is the same or cheaper than the black market price, then people will still obtain it from illegal sources.

    I do not necessarily think that alcohol or tobacco would be made legal if introduced today.

    On the other hand, prohibition has cleary not worked....more and more youngsters are reported to have at least tried certain substances....

    The powers that be need to have a real grown up debate on the subject without the hysteria brought to the table by parties with ulterior agenda's....a debate of this kind has no place for emotion....

    It is very sad that some people have suffered as the result of substance use/mis-use....I just do not think those people are in the best place emotionally to have a proper debate on the subject.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • blu3catblu3cat Posts: 1,016
    I agree with the comments about prohibition not working, and legalisation does seem to offer some tangible benefits:

    I think if this is the way forward though we need to provide education about the effects both for and against each drug, This allows people to make informed decisions.

    Legalisation also raises taxes, and will ensure that the criminal elements involved in the production of drugs are eliminated.

    As for costs needing to be less than the illegal stuff, I'm not sure, would you rather buy something that is quality guarenteed or something from a bloke in a pub, of unknown purity.
    "Bed is for sleepy people.
    Let's get a kebab and go to a disco."

    FCN = 3 - 5
    Colnago World Cup 2
  • Harry BHarry B Posts: 1,239
    Difficult one this. I think that where responsible adults are concerned it may be wise to decriminalise the use of some drugs but this could lead to them becming more freely available to minors as cigaretes have become.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    blu3cat wrote:
    As for costs needing to be less than the illegal stuff, I'm not sure, would you rather buy something that is quality guarenteed or something from a bloke in a pub, of unknown purity.

    I guess it would depend on what the substance is......and what the difference in price is...

    I agree with you to a certain extent, many people would choose the 'safer' option, but if the cost was 2, 3 or 4 times as much, then the people who take that risk now might not see the difference.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    I must admit I thought I'd be tarred and feathered for my original post, but I'm pleasantly surprised by the responses so far!

    Cee:
    The powers that be need to have a real grown up debate on the subject without the hysteria brought to the table by parties with ulterior agenda's....a debate of this kind has no place for emotion....

    This is so true. I read an article by a chap called Julian Critchley (not the late Conservative MP), who was an adviser to the government on drug policy, really interesting stuff. Apparently it's quite a widespread view amongst senior civil servants/police officers/advisers etc that prohibition is unworkable and actually harmful, but that so long as the tabloid press go for the "drugs=bad, drug users = evil" line, no government wants to hear it.
  • Jez monJez mon Posts: 3,809
    I feel that it is a good idea and would get rid of many problems as it would in time, get rid of the criminal gangs who control drugs at the moment. However it has a number of issues. Firstly how would people feel about their taxes being used to prolong the life of junkies? Secondly how would we import drugs which are illegal throughout the rest of the world?

    Finally something about modern society makes vast numbers of young people feel the have to obliterate themselves each weekend with alcohol! If more powerful drugs were available, I could definitely see some issues occurring! I should point out, that this last issue isn't really one to do with the legalisation of drugs, but more an indictment against modern society.
    You live and learn. At any rate, you live
  • Stone GliderStone Glider Posts: 1,227
    If the drugs busines was de-criminalised it would surely help our "balance of payments" for this country as illegal drugs is a huge industry. Colombia, Afghanistan and other sources of drugs will suffer a reduction of income as costs come down.

    Unfortunately, the anti-drugs industry is very influential with the views of U.S. politicians slanting the issue into a polarised stance which obscures reasonable judgement. Despite trenchant statements to the contrary, not all drug users are doomed to degradation and death; most are only lightly affected and not all drugs are the same. I am citing a WHO report done some fifty years ago but stifled at birth.

    Big pharmacuetical companies could easily produce the materials for lower costs than the present illegal operaters and ensure consistant quality. As I understand it, most health issues and fatalities amongst drug users are linked to poor hygiene and adulteration of substances.

    I find it odd that a law-abiding, middle-class, conventional person, such as myself should find themselves so much at odds with the view projected by those in authority.
    The older I get the faster I was
  • fidbodfidbod Posts: 317
    Just some quick thoughts. I am all in favor of decriminalisation personally. but that is driven by the whole 'my body, I will do what I like with it' line of reasoning

    Whilst there is a small taxation benefit is selling the drugs in question OTC the real benefit is the drop in cost of policing.

    Making the likes of heroin available on a prescription basis for addicts removes the need to commit small scale theft and burglary - a win for everyone.

    Undercutting criminal organisations, effectively driving them out of results in them having no need to engage in the associated activities money laundering, gun smuggling and use.

    to sum up decriminalisation of currently illegal drugs, if done properly, would be the single best improvement to law and order and public finances possible.
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    Cressers wrote:
    I agree. The 'War On Drugs' is just another way of justifying an Enforcement Culture on people. But there's money and poltical capital to be made by Cracking Down and filling the prisons...

    it's also a very good way of keeping the street prices artificially high. There's huge money to be made in class A drug trafficking and production, and a lot of people at the top of that particular tree have an awful lot of money, which amounts to an awful lot of influlence.....which amounts to an awful lot of politicians being bought....

    Interesting, debatable anecdote for you all: the Taliban had pretty much wiped out heroin production in Afghanistan by early 2001, which sent wholesale and street prices through the roof. Shortly after 9/11, with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent displacement of the Taliban, heroin production there is now back up to its old, pre-Taliban levels. Sound suspicious. - or am I just a conspiracy theorist..?

    What I'm getting at - fundamentally - is that the heads of the criminal organisations are not too far away from the heads of world governments......
  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,869
    A can of worms here.
    Legalising, or rather decriminalising use of narcotics & such would doubtless lead to a reduction in crime, but at what cost?
    John Snow's blog has the following.

    "I worked in a drug dependence day centre for three years. I was the director in the early 1970s, in the first bloom of heroin abuse in this country. I was persuaded then that drug abuse afflicted people who had other problems – indeed, it exacerbated them.

    But I knew far more youngsters who died from dirty needles or adulterated stuff than ever died from pure heroin or coke. I knew far more youngsters who ended up behind bars for dealing than ever I knew enter a psychiatric hospital – although a good number did."
    http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog/2009/02/18/spice-template-for-a-shiny-happy-world/

    So drug use isn't that innocuous, there are real concerns that the high-strength "Skunk" forms of marujana are causing significant psychological problems amongst succeptable individuals.
    It may be argued that legal "drugs", be it alcohol, tobacco or indeed prescription drugs cause more harm than anything that your local pusher can sell you.
    One other issue, is that should we in the UK go for decriminalisation, we'd become the export centre of Europe, Holland's attitude towards drugs has shown this.
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nB8LTwhVSpwC&pg=PA332&lpg=PA332&dq=holland+%2B%22legal+drugs%22+%2Bproblems&source=bl&ots=sO6tCW8C7o&sig=Fy_YoCqvFmNxdOrg68UwPTuwv-w&hl=en&ei=YKQ3SuvLIJfLjAfP2NmZDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1
    Also, who'd be happy if our caring Government just put all the unemployables onot a ration of crack? It'd keep them all happy, wouldn't it?
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • I'm for the legalisation of drugs. Prohibition hasn't worked and is expensive in human & monetary terms.
    blu3cat wrote:
    As for costs needing to be less than the illegal stuff, I'm not sure, would you rather buy something that is quality guarenteed or something from a bloke in a pub, of unknown purity.

    The cost would have to be comparable or lower. People buy counterfeit medicine from websites at a fraction of the cost (and a fraction of the active ingredient) and who hasn't been in a pub and been offered packets of cigarettes from a holdall. Get the packaging right & people will buy anything if it is cheaper and they think they are getting a good deal by avoiding tax rather than purchasing a product of lesser quality.
    If the drugs busines was de-criminalised it would surely help our "balance of payments" for this country as illegal drugs is a huge industry. Colombia, Afghanistan and other sources of drugs will suffer a reduction of income as costs come down.

    Not necessarily. The governments in the producing countries would receive tax revenues & wouldn't need to buy as many weapons, helicopters etc as well as not having to purchase training for their forces from western governments. Could be a boom time for them.

    The flow of money from consumers to producers would be legitimate and visible coupled with the fall in sales of weapons etc, which would hurt the Military-industrial complex based in the west, our 'balance of payments' could worsen.
    there are real concerns that the high-strength "Skunk" forms of marujana are causing significant psychological problems amongst succeptable individuals.
    There has always been strong forms of cannabis (link here), it depends on what figure you use as your base and what you are comparing it to.
  • fast as fuppfast as fupp Posts: 2,277
    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....................................drugs :shock:


    *drops gary waves lightstick* :D
    'dont forget lads, one evertonian is worth twenty kopites'
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I see on a daily basis the utter physical and mental wrecks that abuse drugs.

    Because of that I just can never see the government making a U-Turn on this. I bl00dy hope not anyway!
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    NapoleonD wrote:
    I see on a daily basis the utter physical and mental wrecks that abuse drugs.

    Because of that I just can never see the government making a U-Turn on this. I bl00dy hope not anyway!

    So...you see these people on a daily basis, so clearly the policy of prohibition doesn't really work, but you hope the government keep on with it anyway? I understand the ideology behind your viewpoint - drugs are bad, drugs cause harm, therefore keep them illegal. I too think the world would be a better place if there were no such thing as 'recreational' drugs, but policymakers have to take the world as it is, not as they'd like it to be. Demand for drugs will always be there; the USA in particular has poured insane amounts of money into the 'war on drugs' and strongarmed other countries into following its lead, and it's achieved nothing. At some point practicalities have to come to the fore; if prohibition is actually doing more harm than good, and this is a view held by many in the drug enforcement community, then surely its time for a change of tack?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Because it would be irresponsible of the government to be seen to be condoning such behaviour. That's why. If the government were seen to legalise something that has such a horrendous effect on people I think there would be quite a large number of upset people...

    Where do you get your info from that many in the drug enforcement community see prohibition doing more harm than good? I'm not questioning what you are saying, I'd just like to know.

    You're right, something needs to be done.

    I used to be of the belief that if drugs were legalised and controlled properly then there would be less social issues. I'm now not so sure...
  • Frank the tankFrank the tank Posts: 6,553
    This half cocked half baked situation we have in this country is no good.

    All or f**k all.

    Either legalise drugs and take on all the baggage that will bring for the health service/police forces. Or. Make even possesing an illegal substance punishable by death. Folks would soon get the idea.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    NapoleonD wrote:
    I see on a daily basis the utter physical and mental wrecks that abuse drugs.

    Because of that I just can never see the government making a U-Turn on this. I bl00dy hope not anyway!

    which proves that prohibition doesn't work. People f*7k themselves up, legally or not however it's a difficult bit of science to prove that less harm is done one way or another.

    It's gonna be politically suicidal to legalise substances though, the tabloids and the opposition would have a field day (look what happened with cannabis recently when it was reclassified and then reclassified again months later).

    Personally I favour freedom of choice, I'm sure once the yoof spot the junkies out in the open then that would be the disincentive they need. And I do like a big noseful of crack just before a mad downhill run :P
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    mr_si wrote:
    NapoleonD wrote:
    I see on a daily basis the utter physical and mental wrecks that abuse drugs.

    Because of that I just can never see the government making a U-Turn on this. I bl00dy hope not anyway!

    which proves that prohibition doesn't work. People f*7k themselves up, legally or not however it's a difficult bit of science to prove that less harm is done one way or another.

    It's gonna be politically suicidal to legalise substances though, the tabloids and the opposition would have a field day (look what happened with cannabis recently when it was reclassified and then reclassified again months later).

    Personally I favour freedom of choice, I'm sure once the yoof spot the junkies out in the open then that would be the disincentive they need. And I do like a big noseful of crack just before a mad downhill run :P

    The yoof do spot the junkies but it doesn't prevent more from taking the stuff.

    In the last 12 years I have seen a decline in the use of heroin and heroin addicts however there is much more in the line (no pun intended) of cocaine use, some youngsters see it almost as a fashion thing.
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    Well...I think most people realise that just because the government legalises something doesn't mean that they're condoning its misuse. Alcohol and ciggies are legal, but that doesn't mean the government condones drinking a litre of vodka and smoking 40 fags every day. In fact it tells you to do the exact opposite. And I don't doubt that a very large number of people would be upset, but that doesn't make them right. I think it would be a wonderful thing if a government was prepared to implement a policy, despite it upsetting a large number of voters, if the evidence showed that it would work, but I won't hold my breath.

    Feel free to question what I'm saying, that's what debate's all about! This article by the bloke I mentioned earlier in the thread, Julian Critchley, is quite insightful (so much so that I've already nicked a few lines from it!):
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/co ... 94367.html

    Edit: this is a reply to Napoleon D's post a few up; been a few more since I started typing.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    My head hurts.

    I don't think it'll ever get solved in our time.

    And I don't have any ideas as to how it should be done without taking a massive risk with people's lives. I'd hate to think my daughters could nip to the chemist for a gram of heroin. But I'd hate it even more if my daughter nipped to the local dealer.

    I just wish they could all go away. Right, I'm off to bury my head in the sand!
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