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Drugs, a debate.

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  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    edited July 2011
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    notsoblue wrote:
    Might be worth checking out the reasons people have for using nihilistic drugs like heroin in the first place. "Recreational" drugs are a different matter, and I see no reason why they shouldn't be decriminalised. Being illegal has never stopped anyone getting these drugs if they wanted them. It just made it more expensive and more risky.

    For all the same reasons you wouldn't decriminalise heroin. The short-term and long-term side effects.
    Not sure you read my post correctly.
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    The added exposure to innocents - kids etc - decriminalisation of said drugs would have. Would you want your kids going into a shop and lined up next to the Benson&Hedges was a box containing 3 lines of Columbia's finest with the advertising to boot (assuming decriminalising said drugs led to making them completely legal)?

    Well, to be honest, I'd hope that in that situation my kids would show evidence of awesome parenting and wouldn't go near Columbia's finest ;) Really though, its naive to assume that the situation you've described above would be the result of decriminalisation. I doubt cigarettes will be as available and as visible in shops in a decade's time as they are now.

    Also, you're missing the point about decriminalisation. Its not about making it more available, or about making drugs barons "pillars of society". Its about controlling and monitoring drug use and removing the power that criminals have from their monopoly of the supply, and stopping people's lives from being ruined by being caught with a harmless amount of a banned substance.

    Drug policy will never be debated rationally and sensibly though because its such a taboo subject that no ambitious politician would ever want to risk the inevitable public/media backlash they would be likely to receive. Look at what happened to David Nutt. They dropped him like a rock the second he actually did his job and offered a rational opinion about the relative harm that different drugs present to those who use them:

    300px-Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%28mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%29.svg.png

    Notice the position of Alcohol and Tobacco...
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    What I never understand is when people say that legalising drugs would make them 'available'.

    They're available already!
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    What I never understand is when people say that legalising drugs would make them 'available'.

    They're available already!

    More widely accessible!

    This is going to be an ongoing one. So I'll make this clear:
    I will never change my view or stance on banned drugs.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    This is going to be an ongoing one. So I'll make this clear:
    I will never change my view or stance on banned drugs.
    Debating with you must be fun ;)
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Most drug problems come from one of the following

    1. Underlying mental condition such as depression leading to self harming behaviour. Prohibition does not help this problem. A person with such a condition seeking legal supply can be assessed and treated if supply is illegal it often goes undetected until the addiction become a major issue. To be clear to get certain drugs you would need to go to a special "centre" in order to purchase where you would be assessed.

    2. Contaminated product. Simply put prohibition removes any quality control from the supply chain.

    3. Overdoes due to unknown strength and purity. See point 2.

    4. Violence associated with the supply chain. Directly attributable to prohibition as legalised and regulated supply remove the criminality.

    5. Petty theft to fund a drug habit. Affects the innocent third party as they get mugged, or burgled, or have bike stolen to fun a habit. Simply fact here is the cost of drugs is inflated by prohibition and legalised supply would see a reduction is drug prices and remove a lot of the need for petty theft.

    As well as those five point above recently problem are occurring due to new "legal" designer drugs, often these are not as safe as the illegal counterpart. This can also be put down to prohibition.

    Personally for me the argument for legalisation and state controlled supply chain is a no brainer. However decriminalisation of the current supply chain I would oppose strongly. It's an all or nothing for me.

    As for the protecting the Children argument, I would not propose supply be legalised to the point of advertisements in shop and being able to buy as simply as getting cigarettes from the corner shop. Supply must be regulated and licensed with different rules for different drugs, for example heroin via prescription to treat or manage an addiction would mean the only way a new person could get the product would be an existing addict and it would then need to come from their supply. If as well a prescribing you also administer it reduces this risk further.

    The only argument that might persuade me otherwise is the fact that criminals would then need to make their money elsewhere, so an return to the armed robbery and protection rackets of the 60s might be the unfortunate consequence or legalisation of drugs.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • greg66_tri_v2.0greg66_tri_v2.0 Posts: 7,172
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    I'll make this clear:
    I will never change my view or stance

    Excellent young padawan. Well you are learning the dark skills. Serve you well in marriage they will.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    Notsoblue.

    David Nutt had other problems than the conclusions of his research. He wasn't dropped for his findings.
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    notsoblue wrote:
    300px-Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%28mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%29.svg.png

    Notice the position of Alcohol and Tobacco...

    Where is the graph that also takes into account the harm it does to others... Which ones would people move if at all?
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    Notsoblue.

    David Nutt had other problems than the conclusions of his research. He wasn't dropped for his findings.

    Thats a fair point, but you could argue that he wouldn't have even published those findings and risk the backlash if everything else was hunky dory.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    notsoblue wrote:
    Notsoblue.

    David Nutt had other problems than the conclusions of his research. He wasn't dropped for his findings.

    Thats a fair point, but you could argue that he wouldn't have even published those findings and risk the backlash if everything else was hunky dory.

    The problem was he was demanding policy change immediately on the basis of his research, and went public about his anger when he didn't get it.

    He understood drugs, but he didn't understand politics, and in his role, he needed an understanding of both.
  • bearfraserbearfraser Posts: 435
    WTF its illegal , and a bullet is cheaper than prison.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    notsoblue wrote:
    300px-Rational_scale_to_assess_the_harm_of_drugs_%28mean_physical_harm_and_mean_dependence%29.svg.png

    Notice the position of Alcohol and Tobacco...

    Where is the graph that also takes into account the harm it does to others... Which ones would people move if at all?

    To me the key point of this graph is that drug classifications aren't entirely determined by harm/dependence. With regards to harm to others, I would guess that the most damaging drug would probably be Alcohol. Not sure what you mean by the second sentence?
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    as in how much harm is passed onto others for the side effects... stealing to fund habit, drunken fights, drink driving etc. so dope may well go right down as unless you drive - your biggest danger might be to bore someone to death... :)

    Cigarettes and 2ndry smoking etc.
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    as in how much harm is passed onto others for the side effects... stealing to fund habit, drunken fights, drink driving etc. so dope may well go right down as unless you drive - your biggest danger might be to bore someone to death... :)

    Cigarettes and 2ndry smoking etc.

    I'd suggest a lot of those drug-associated externalities, crime, etc, would be mitigated if drugs were legalised and controlled.
  • MonkeyMonsterMonkeyMonster Posts: 4,628
    as in how much harm is passed onto others for the side effects... stealing to fund habit, drunken fights, drink driving etc. so dope may well go right down as unless you drive - your biggest danger might be to bore someone to death... :)

    Cigarettes and 2ndry smoking etc.

    I'd suggest a lot of those drug-associated externalities, crime, etc, would be mitigated if drugs were legalised and controlled.

    may be, but surely there are numbers out of there of indicative figures of how much it affects this "pie in the sky" graph I'd like to see.

    edit: decrimilising drugs... we're not making them free are we so why on earth will people stop stealing stuff to feed a habit that may well be easier to keep up because overall the drugs will be more accessible and cheaper?
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
    The Mad Monkey [2013 Hoy 003] [FCN: 4]
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    as in how much harm is passed onto others for the side effects... stealing to fund habit, drunken fights, drink driving etc. so dope may well go right down as unless you drive - your biggest danger might be to bore someone to death... :)

    Cigarettes and 2ndry smoking etc.

    I'd suggest a lot of those drug-associated externalities, crime, etc, would be mitigated if drugs were legalised and controlled.

    may be, but surely there are numbers out of there of indicative figures of how much it affects this "pie in the sky" graph I'd like to see.

    There were with the Nutt report.

    A little googling should bring it up for you.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 10,570
    Isn't the comparison to tobacco and alcohol slightly misplaced?

    If those two drugs were not currently legal, they wouldn't be any more likely to be legalised than many other substances. However, just because we can't put those genies back into the bottle, does it necessarily follow that all other substances should be legalised?

    Don't get me wrong, I can see both sides of the argument (and I'm not sure where I sit), I'm just pointing out that using currently legal substances as a justification is flawed.

    My main concern for legalisation is that its pointless. It is very easy indeed to generate new synthetic drugs, having slight chemical differences to other substances in the same class. This is what big pharma does all the time. Pharma drug candidates go through a decade of screening and trials and most are found to lack efficacy or cause unacceptable side effects.

    Would you all expect recreational drugs to go through the same processes? If so, they'd be rather expensive and there would be a black market in them anyway. So bang goes the idea that one would get rid of impurity-related problems by legalising them.

    Alternatively, if not subject to such screening, how do you, as a recreational drug user, know when the small change to the structure of the drug molecule in the latest fad substances is the one which causes birth defects, or kidney failure, or brain damage? Do you really think that the fact that other users seem to be more or less okay after a few months is sufficient?

    Providing you all have your own private health insurance, knock yourselves out.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    as in how much harm is passed onto others for the side effects... stealing to fund habit, drunken fights, drink driving etc. so dope may well go right down as unless you drive - your biggest danger might be to bore someone to death... :)

    Cigarettes and 2ndry smoking etc.

    I'd suggest a lot of those drug-associated externalities, crime, etc, would be mitigated if drugs were legalised and controlled.

    may be, but surely there are numbers out of there of indicative figures of how much it affects this "pie in the sky" graph I'd like to see.

    Re harm to others, you have to consider how much of that harm is directly due to drug itself for example from the effect on on children from a addict parent, and how much harm to others is directly due to prohibition for example theft to fund a habit due to high cost of illegal drugs.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    The problem was he was demanding policy change immediately on the basis of his research, and went public about his anger when he didn't get it.

    He understood drugs, but he didn't understand politics, and in his role, he needed an understanding of both.

    He didn't play the political game, and the predictable happened. To be honest, we'd progress more in this country if politicians learned more about science than vice versa.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 64,357 Lives Here
    notsoblue wrote:
    . To be honest, we'd progress more in this country if politicians learned more about science than vice versa.

    Not sure sure about that.

    The obsession with everything social being turned into a quantifiable effort I think is problematic.

    That's a different discussion however!
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235

    Would you all expect recreational drugs to go through the same processes? If so, they'd be rather expensive and there would be a black market in them anyway. So bang goes the idea that one would get rid of impurity-related problems by legalising them.

    Well no. Heroin (for pain relief) and Cocaine (stops nose from running during piturity surgery) are already used in medicine and have already passed such tests. Althought not widely used there is extensive testing already done on MDMA for metal health and depression, LCD again for metal health treatment, THC for pain relief, Ketamine which is still used as an anaesthetic, amphetamines for weight loss, I could go on. New drugs are only developed to fill a gap in the market. In recent cases that is to find a legal version of the illegal drug. Legalisation remove this "need" immediately and the drug supplied would be the "original" tested versions.
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 10,570
    notsoblue wrote:
    . To be honest, we'd progress more in this country if politicians learned more about science than vice versa.

    Not sure sure about that.

    The obsession with everything social being turned into a quantifiable effort I think is problematic.

    That's a different discussion however!
    Ignorance is bliss. Cull the badgers and damn the science.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    notsoblue wrote:
    To be honest, we'd progress more in this country if politicians learned more about science than vice versa.

    Not sure sure about that.

    The obsession with everything social being turned into a quantifiable effort I think is problematic.

    That's a different discussion however!

    Well I'm (ironically) biased I guess. But it would be refreshing if policy was guided by research rather than public opinion.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,756
    Would help Afghanistan no end actually.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 10,570
    Sketchley wrote:

    Would you all expect recreational drugs to go through the same processes? If so, they'd be rather expensive and there would be a black market in them anyway. So bang goes the idea that one would get rid of impurity-related problems by legalising them.

    Well no. Heroin (for pain relief) and Cocaine (stops nose from running during piturity surgery) are already used in medicine and have already passed such tests. Althought not widely used there is extensive testing already done on MDMA for metal health and depression, LCD again for metal health treatment, THC for pain relief, Ketamine which is still used as an anaesthetic, amphetamines for weight loss, I could go on. New drugs are only developed to fill a gap in the market. In recent cases that is to find a legal version of the illegal drug. Legalisation remove this "need" immediately and the drug supplied would be the "original" tested versions.
    Setting aside the fact that dosage and duration of use is carefully monitored in such cases, and that pharmaceutical dosages don't necessarily tell you that long term recreational use is safe (e.g. even ibuprofen damages your liver, doesn't it?), I am not sure appreciate quite how wide the range of variants are possible for any given pharmacologically active functional grouping. High throughput screening is conducted on literally thousands of drug candidates at time all having more or less the same general structure.

    Why buy legally in small quanitites (you can't even buy 100 aspirin these days) when you can buy whatever you want of the supposedly similar/better/newer version of sorta the same thing, from a bloke in the nightclub.

    I don't have any answers. I guess its a question of which policies would be least bad. I probably lean more towards liberalisation, but without any great optomism that very much would change as a result. Its like bailing out the Titanic which a sponge.
  • ConfusedboyConfusedboy Posts: 287
    I'd support the idea of complete decriminalisation of all substances which are illegal at the moment. Society would benefit enormously from the drop in substance-related thefts and burglaries, and some very unpleasant people would be highly inconvenienced.

    Reducing the consumpiton of such substances is another, and much more entrenched, problem. In the UK, the history of this is that the authorities agreed to a raft of measures between the wars intended to prevent the use of substances that were easily and freely avaialble prior to that for no better reason than to support the Americans' anti-narcotic policy which was basically racist in conception. We sort of lost our opportunity to control the problem by any other means than criminalisation at that time, and by the late 60s that policy had been rendered ineffective by mass usage and the influence of organised criminals, both in the US and here.

    By the early 21st century, the use of marijuana has become socially acceptable by the middle classes, cocaine use is regarded as a part of an aspirational lifestyle, dance culture is linked inexorably with all sorts of pills, and life is only made bearable for the miserable lower echelons of the sink estates by the use of crack, which also supplies many of those people with thier main source of income. In short, the use of substances whose effect on health and behaviour is higly detrimental has become an intrinsic part of life, and we lost the last chance to do anything about it many years ago, about 1970.

    I do not believe that decriminalisation of 'drugs' (I don't like the word; it is highly emotive and easily used to control opinions) will reduce thier use; in fact nothing will until a healthy and non-addictive substance that makes you feel even better than cocaine is discovered. It is still worth doing, thogh, if only to piss off the criminals.
  • noodles71noodles71 Posts: 153
    I am firmly in the camp that says we need to legalise the whole lot. Create a cheap, subsidised and regulated supply to keep the addicts safe and the gangsters out of a job. Fund it by placing a tax on weed smokers or it's supply. Mandatory sentencing for those caught selling in an unregulated fashion. Get the insurance companies to chip in as well and pretty soon I am sure we will find that a massive reduction in burglaries will follow. Most of us don't know an addict but we know someone who has been burgled. You can't bury your head in the sand and say you are not affected. Allow charities (Salvos etc...) to set up injecting centres and have them staffed by ex addicts. These people shouldn't get a lecture when they visit but the day they choose to wonder what life on the other side of the fence is like they will have someone who understands what they are going through to set them in the right direction. It will never be easy but this person will only stop when they have made that choice themself. Having someone around who has been there and stepping in at the right time is what is needed.

    We can all sit here and comment on how and what we need to do to solve the problem with heroin addiction but I think we are all missing something big. Addicts at some stage will come to a fork where they make a choice on whether to screw over a friend or member of their family for their next hit. Unless you have personally been there I think it is fairly ignorant to be able to suggest you know what to do to cure addiction. To sell out your family or friends means a lot of these people have their heads in a different place to where the readers of this forum have theirs. One thing that is for sure is that when an addict has chosen the drug over their family and friends then making it to old age is going to be an exception. We need a system that allows for addicts to keep their self esteem, confidence and above all the support of family and friends. The pressures on the families of addicts is insane and every day these people are forced into living with their backs against the wall. An addict with no family and friends has little to live for and is certainly the more dangerous type. By not having to steal from family and friends then the very people who can support and rehabilitate them better than the state can be a bit more patient.

    I'm not sold also on the availability means a blowout in the number of users either. A Dutch girl sees a guy smoking weed in the middle of the day on a park bench in the same light that we here in the UK see that guy swigging Sherry or Tennants Extra from a black plastic bag on the same bench. Teenagers in the UK on the whole don't aspire to be park bench drunks but not many would say no to smoking a joint in the same place. In Holland they still see this type of behaviour as beneath most people and there is no problems getting your hands on weed there. Ask a Dutch person how many people in their circle of friends smoke weed every day and I am sure it will be a fraction of those in the UK and Australia.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    True story:

    My wife way in labour for a 12 hours with our first child. She had swallowed the NCT propaganda and decided not to have an epidural (different topic but I recommend epidurals!). She was getting really exhausted and had been in pain long enough but it was too late for an epidural so they offered her diamorphne (aka heroin). I knew what it was, she didn't. I wasn't going to put her off.

    They gave her antinausea drugs then the medical grade smack. Shortly afterwards, she turned to me a said "wow, this diamorphine is REALLY good". "I bet it is..." says I.

    All drugs have good sides and bad sides. Even relatively harmless drugs like ecstacy have their consequences (way back when I had a mate who partied hard, he had this pattern of going back to work on monday amidst his post-weekend come-down and chucking his job in). I think anyone who thinks that illegal drugs are illegal because they are more harmful than alcohol and nicotine is a bit naive. The legality of drugs is more due to history and whether they have achieved some sort of cultural critical mass (ultimately prohibition failed because a large share of the population wanted to drink alcohol.

    I'm broadly in favour of decriminalisation but the more hazardous ones, like heroin, I'd restrict to pharmacies and (paid for) prescriptions rather than OTC sale.
  • gilesjukgilesjuk Posts: 340
    jedster wrote:

    I'm broadly in favour of decriminalisation but the more hazardous ones, like heroin, I'd restrict to pharmacies and (paid for) prescriptions rather than OTC sale.

    There's a bigger problem at large though. It is why people want to drink, smoke and take drugs instead of feeling high and amazing by doing sports, exercise and mountain biking (which can give you a great buzz). That is the problem, the drugs can be anything, glue, heroin, lager.

    Personally there's too much talk and coverage of drugs in the media now. It's seen as acceptable and what happens to people.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    gilesjuk wrote:
    jedster wrote:

    I'm broadly in favour of decriminalisation but the more hazardous ones, like heroin, I'd restrict to pharmacies and (paid for) prescriptions rather than OTC sale.

    There's a bigger problem at large though. It is why people want to drink, smoke and take drugs instead of feeling high and amazing by doing sports, exercise and mountain biking (which can give you a great buzz). That is the problem, the drugs can be anything, glue, heroin, lager.

    Personally there's too much talk and coverage of drugs in the media now. It's seen as acceptable and what happens to people.

    This is a good point. Often the drug is seen as the problem in popular opinion when in fact the underlying mental health issue is often the reason for the addiction, the way that is dealt with be it Alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even exercise is secondary to the root cause. IMO criminalisation of drugs often mean the route cause is hidden behind an addiction as to confront the root cause one must first have to deal with illegality of the chosen drug. As was the case with one of my friends who was confronted with a complete refusal from the NHS to deal with the reason he took drugs (severe depression) until he had quit taking them, which is a no win scenario. Legalisation would allow for the treatment of the both the addiction and underlying cause more openly.

    As for the media, got to agree with that. Amy Winehouse was almost celebrated in the media for the excessive lifestyle as it made good news. Same can be said of the Oasis brothers, Hendrix, Morrison et al. One advantage of legalisation would be to stigmatize there use, making you feel almost ashamed to go to the clinic to get your fix from the regulated source.

    Also just found this link which I think is relevant, while still allowing regulated supply the dutch are stopping pot tourism. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/tourists-face- ... 32774.html
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
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