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Drugs legalisation: 'when, not if'

Marcus Green
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Jason said

"I personally don't care if addicts kill themselves"

Why do you not care? Would you care if you knew them? or do you just generally not care?


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Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Warren Dew:
Joe King:
Increasing punishment of dealers would put up the prices of drugs, but would also reduce demand, decreasing the benefits for the dealer.
Huh? Dealers are a small fraction of the ultimate demand for drugs. If you want to decrease demand, you have to lock up users.


Reducing the number of dealers would reduce the supply of drugs, making the price go up. This would decrease the demand. People wouldn't buy as many drugs if they couldn't afford them as much.

Locking up users would probably not reduce overall levels of drug usage - the dealers would just find new people to sell to. Locking up the dealers would reduce the level of drug usage by reducing the supply of drugs into the market place. Even more effective then that would be to crack down (no pun intended ) on the import and manufacture of drugs, although this may be hard for some cases.

Talking of the supply of drugs, my girlfriend's father had an amusing drug related phone call recently. The police in Greece phoned him up to inform him that they weren't too happy about him supplying cannabis! Turns out that an allotment that he owns in Greece (he comes from Greece originally) had had all its olives removed and cannabis planted in its place! Some local kid was probably making a nice amount of money out of it. He had to go back there, dig it all up, and explain to the police that he didn't know anything about it. Fortunately they believed him. Goes to show that the supply of this particular drug could be hard to stamp out.
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
It certainly would, especially since it's so easy to hide and semi-legal in many countries.

In the Netherlands for example ownership of up to 2 plants per household is legal. In other countries it's a naturally occurring weed.

And hiding is easy too. A loft in an average house can hold a complete plantation for several dozen plants and is virtually undetectable (during heavy winters the police here is known to use infrared detectors mounted on helicopters to search for unusually warm roofs, that's about the only indication (when linked to an unusually high electricity bill from the lights) that something fishy is going on).
Last year there was a large fire in one city here in which several houses burned to the ground.
To their amazement the fire department when investigating the cause found complete plantations on the lofts of all of them, the fire having been caused by a short in the home built highvoltage electrical system to power the lights and heaters. This was a massive operation that could have supplied hundreds of people with a steady supply of drugs.


42
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
Joe King:

Increasing punishment of dealers would put up the prices of drugs, but would also reduce demand, decreasing the benefits for the dealer.

Huh? Dealers are a small fraction of the ultimate demand for drugs. If you want to decrease demand, you have to lock up users.



replacing undercover buyers with undercover sellers selling rat poison instead of crack would take care of them.


The other difference between some of these drugs and alcohol is that its very rare for a single drink to kill someone, but a lot more common for a single intake of an illegal drug to kill or seriously damage a user.

This is largely because alcohol is legal. The resulting public discussion and knowledge, regulation, and competition means that people seeking alcohol need not resort to potentially contaminated supplies of questionable dosage.

During prohibition, this was not the case. Methanol poisoning from improperly distilled alcohol was common. 500,000 two ounce bottles of alcoholic Jamaica Ginger Extract - a "medicine" abused for alcoholic content - reportedly caused 50,000 to 100,000 cases of paralysis. Illegal alcohol is not safer than today's drugs. Illegal caffeine probably wouldn't be either.

It seems likely that if legalized, the quality control on drugs would improve to the point where the risk of dying from a smoking a single joint of marijuana or a snorting a single line of cocaine would be as low or lower than that from a drinking single alcoholic drink.



There's a tiny difference between alcohol and crack cocaine.
It's kinda hard to take a single drink large enough to kill you when you have decent quality.
Taking a single dose of crack that kills you is quite easy otoh.
The same is true of heroine.

Increased quality of hard drugs would only make it easier in fact, as it would dramatically increase the concentration of the active ingredients (most drugs on the streets are heavily diluted with milk powder and other neutral substances).
Axel Janssen
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Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 2164
I am no friend to play down soft drugs.
Lots of the Green Party here, especially Mrs. Roth, favour it here.
But those are exactly that kind of people that never will fall into drug adiction problems. I think its a personality issue. From my kid friends at least 2 got into heavy mariuhana usage over more than 10 years.
One is artist 100% dependant on his father financially other studies archeology in 13th year or so and counts 36 years.
So I personally know 2 persons where "light" drugs had a probably severe influence on their lives.
Also: A famous musician and comedian here with a strong "light" drug history (Helge Schneider) is very against Mrs. Roth and her "legalize it, its better than alcohol stuff". He says that she does not know what she is talking about. He's not known to be a conservative guy. Much more liberal.
(here' homepage: http://www.helge-schneider.de/)
Also I've heard that the marihuana get stronger and stronger each year, because they develop technologies to make it, well, stronger.

Axel
[ January 14, 2005: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Frank Silbermann
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Posts: 1387
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Take it from me, living in the Netherlands where cannabis and similar drugs are effectively legalised, it doesn't make the streets any safer.
All it does is increase the number of areas you can't go for fear of being mugged by people needing more money for drugs...
That's why I favor having the government offer free drugs. To discourage legal drug use, we could require that users give up the right to vote, carry a gun, or drive an automobile.

Adrian Wallace: My point, I suppose, is that had I and my friends been sent to prison as impressionable 18 yr olds, its unlikely that we would have ended up as the 'sucessful' citizens we are today. Instead our chances of being involved in long term criminal activity would more than likely be massively increased. Which I would argue would be detrimental to society.
Well, yes, but it's not just about you. If your life had been so ruined, maybe today's 18 yr olds would not have followed in your footsteps. If your group's drug-using older brothers and sisters had been imprisoned, perhaps you guys wouldn't have done drugs.

But I don't think such a policy is feasible. It would outrage society's sense of fairness, when so many worse behaviors are treated much more leniently. I suppose we could become a harshly punitive society like Singapore, but I don't think westerners would support such a government. Therefore, my attitude is thaat if you're not going to fight to win, try not to fight in the first place. Raising the cost of something does tend to reduce demand, but some demand curves are less flexible than others. (Just as gangsters will pay whatever it costs to get guns, addicts will do whatever it takes to get drugs.)

Adrian Wallace: The same argument is used frequently by the pro-gun lobby "Guns dont kill people - people kill people" . *Some* drugs together with *some* people is a dangerous mix.
I do see the parallel between recreational drug use with the sporting use of firearms. "Why deny _me_, just because _he_ cannot handle it?" they ask. Of course, society these days tends not to respect that argument, asking, "Why is your pleasure more important than some people's lives?"

As an aside: I believe European and Commonwealth sportsmen lost their battle when -- in a vain, foolish and pathetic attempt to convince their enemies to like them -- they accepted the restriction of firearms to "sporting purposes only." The American pro-gun argument is: "People who cannot be trusted with guns are extremely dangerous even without guns; if the government removes all such people from society there is no need for gun control, and if the government _doesn't_ remove all such people from society then how _dare_ it deny us access to the tools we need to defend ourselves from such people!" That's why I opposed the "Assault Weapons" ban -- not that I see any need for those guns, but I _will_ not make concessions to people who try to villify a gun on the grounds that it was "designed for shooting people and serves no sporting purpose".

My argument against drug prohibition is that drug users are like violent criminals, the only way to deter most of them is to threaten to destroy them. I'm willing to shoot a mugger who threatens to kill me if I don''t hand over the goods; I'm not willing to kill a guy I see chewing coca leaves.
Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Marcus Green:
Jason said

"I personally don't care if addicts kill themselves"

Why do you not care? Would you care if you knew them? or do you just generally not care?


Let's keep the entire sentence in context please:

JM: I personally don't care if addicts kill themselves, it's when they ruin the lives of others that bothers me.

When I'm not churning out Java code, I'm a firefighter and emergency medical technician in a pretty densely populated Maryland suburb, about halfway between DC and Baltimore. It's shall we say a socially and economically diverse area including everything from million dollar homes to ultra-trashy trailer parks, large industrial facilities to commerical strip-malls, and busy stretches of US-1 and US-95. We run about 4000 calls a year, most of them medical related or vehicle crashes.

I could relate to you countless stories of innocent lives ruined or ended by substance abusers. I have limitless compassion for the innocent people who were unfortunate enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, when some substance abuser through a series of conscious actions makes a wrong decision that others pay for.

When, for example, substance abusers high on drugs crash their vehicle head-on into another, critically injuring their own three year old child in the process, all my compassion is saved for the critically injured child and the passengers in the other vehicle. Through the thoughtless and criminal acts of individuals using "recreational drugs" the child and the people in the other vehicle were placed into situations in which they should have never found themselves.

On the other hand, when a substance abuser runs his car through a guard rail and over an embankment killing himself in the process, my first thought is "thank God he only killed himself and nobody else got hurt". My sympathy extends to his family and friends who were left behind, not the individual. There's the realization that this person won't be able to put himself in another situation where maybe next time he kills or injures someone else.
Bert Bates
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    5
Wow -

An incredibly civil conversation! Way to go guys!

My two (or three cents):

- I don't see how you can have this conversation without making distinctions... all drugs aren't created equal, and our huge body of law (a little too huge if you ask me), is based on making fine distinctions.

- It seems to me that our current drug laws have a few huge problems:

- we have WAY too many people in prison... the costs to society are many faceted and enormous
- the current laws are attempting to restrict human nature... in fact nature in general. Humans and other creatures have been injesting substances to alter their consciousness for ever. It's not a sign of a sick society, it's always been true, and it always will. (The war on drugs feels a bit like trying to squeeze water.)
- A key distinction to make is between naturally occuring drugs and processed drugs (this is an argument I first read from Dr. Andrew Weil). For instance the distinction between chewing on cocoa leaves and smoking crack...


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
That's why I favor having the government offer free drugs. To discourage legal drug use, we could require that users give up the right to vote, carry a gun, or drive an automobile.


Which would just increase the illegal trade in drugs and guns...
Difference: from that point on it would be impossible to arrest and convict the dealers because they no longer have an illegal substance.

Guns are illegal here already FOR EVERYONE. Only criminals have guns.
Druggies don't generally have guns, if they had they'd pawn them for money to buy drugs.
Druggies use knifes, illegal versions (too long, conceilable, etc).

- I don't see how you can have this conversation without making distinctions... all drugs aren't created equal, and our huge body of law (a little too huge if you ask me), is based on making fine distinctions.


And they aren't. Alcohol and tobacco are narcotics yet legal and the government makes massive amounts of money from their sales.
Coffee is a narcotic (more addictive than cocaine according to the latest studies) yet its consumption in copious amounts is seen as perfectly normal (in fact people like me who aren't addicted are considered a bit weird).
I don't advocate banning coffee, and alcohol is up for debate.

- A key distinction to make is between naturally occuring drugs and processed drugs (this is an argument I first read from Dr. Andrew Weil). For instance the distinction between chewing on cocoa leaves and smoking crack...


Now there's a fine line. What do you consider "naturally occurring"?
Crack is clearly not even if it uses natural ingredients in part.
But heroin is made purely from poppy seeds, is it therefore to be legal despite being one of the worst drugs in existence?
Bert Bates
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To further clarify (or make distinct ), by naturally occuring I mean not processed in such a way as to significantly amplify potency. Compunds such as cocaine, crack, and heroin are created using processes which amplify their naturally occuring potency by orders of magnitude.
Warren Dew
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Jeroen Wenting:

There's a tiny difference between alcohol and crack cocaine.
It's kinda hard to take a single drink large enough to kill you when you have decent quality.
Taking a single dose of crack that kills you is quite easy otoh


That was the point I was trying to make with the Jamaica Ginger Extract story. During prohibition, when alcohol was illegal, decent quality alcohol wasn't available in the U.S., and some of the stuff that was available was poisonous even in those 2 oz serving sizes. It's legality that ensures that decent quality is available.

Crack cocaine wouldn't even exist if cocaine were legal. The reason crack is popular is that you can get a tangible effect from a smaller dose. This means the dealer can spread his limited supply of cocaine over more people and make more money. If cocaine were legal, the dealer could just buy more on the wholesale market, and it could be provided in more traditional, less dangerous, higher quality forms, such as were common before cocaine was illegal.

The same is true of heroine.

I don't really understand why people start taking heroin - except for very early uses when it was soldiers trying to kick a morphine addiction they got from medical use when being treated for injuries. However, most deaths from heroin are caused by contaminants, not heroin alone.
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:
To further clarify (or make distinct ), by naturally occuring I mean not processed in such a way as to significantly amplify potency. Compunds such as cocaine, crack, and heroin are created using processes which amplify their naturally occuring potency by orders of magnitude.


Would that include genetic engineering and crossbreeding to increase the amount of active substances in the plants?
As that's been observed as happening a lot with marihuana plants the last several years. Since about 1990 the concentration of active components has gone up by several orders of magnitude.
Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
That was the point I was trying to make with the Jamaica Ginger Extract story. During prohibition, when alcohol was illegal, decent quality alcohol wasn't available in the U.S., and some of the stuff that was available was poisonous even in those 2 oz serving sizes. It's legality that ensures that decent quality is available.


With drugs higher quality means more potent (and therefore more poisonous), not less poisonous.
Most drugs are highly diluted with things like milk powder and sugar on the streets in order to bulk up the volume a dealer can sell from a limited stream coming into the country.
Were that stream no longer limited that wouldn't happen.

Originally posted by Warren Dew:

Crack cocaine wouldn't even exist if cocaine were legal. The reason crack is popular is that you can get a tangible effect from a smaller dose. This means the dealer can spread his limited supply of cocaine over more people and make more money. If cocaine were legal, the dealer could just buy more on the wholesale market, and it could be provided in more traditional, less dangerous, higher quality forms, such as were common before cocaine was illegal.


crack is refined cocaine. It gives more than just a kick with a lesser dose, but a more potent kick overall (or so I've been told).
It's not the same substance.
Cocaine existed illegally long before crack appeared...

If cocaine were legal it would only increase the amount and purity of crack leading to more drug deaths and more addiction due to the higher availability.

Legallising drugs doesn't solve the drug problem. Only going after the production networks does that.
That means mainly Colombia, Surinam, and Afghanistan.
Bert Bates
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On orders of magnitude:


Would that include genetic engineering and crossbreeding to increase the amount of active substances in the plants?
As that's been observed as happening a lot with marihuana plants the last several years. Since about 1990 the concentration of active components has gone up by several orders of magnitude.


Actually, while potency HAS increased, the increase has been more on the order of several hundred percent, as opposed to several orders of magnitude which would be at least 10,000 %.

So no, I would say we're talking about the difference in potency from say a cocoa leaf, chewed by a native of South America (like having a cup of coffee), to the potency of crack...
Frank Silbermann
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me: (To kill the black market) I favor having the government offer free drugs. To discourage legal drug use, we could require that users give up the right to vote, carry a gun, or drive an automobile.

Jeroen Wenting:
Which would just increase the illegal trade in drugs and guns...
Difference: from that point on it would be impossible to arrest and convict the dealers because they no longer have an illegal substance.
There would be no illegal trade in drugs if the government offered them free. Sure, a few people might buy them on the black market to avoid forfeiting their civil rights, but that would only last until the first time they were caught for possession (and tested to verify that they had been users, and not merely had drugs planted on them by corrupt cops). Then they'd have no reason not to get their drugs free from the government.

As for guns, since the registered drug users would forfeit their civil rights, the cops would be able to search them at will.

Jason said: "I personally don't care if addicts kill themselves"

Marcus Green: Why do you not care? Would you care if you knew them? or do you just generally not care?
I suppose I would care about those addicts that I knew, if I knew any. But even so, those I knew would be a very small percentage of the total addict population.

I mean, addictive hard drugs have been known to be bad for at least forty years. Maybe I should have sympathy for an eighty year-old addict, but if an addict is 25 years old, there was no excuse for him to have ever tried the drug in the first place.
[ January 17, 2005: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Jeroen Wenting
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ah, so you want the government to give everyone free crack cocaine and heroin?
Sorry, but no way Jose.

We're doing the next best thing here, giving addicts free substitutes. It doesn't work, they still go to their dealers to get their fix and the dealers get more business all the time.

All your plan would do is cause a vast increase in the number of addicts as everyone and his neighbour who now smoke fags or drink beer will go for the free crack instead and get addicted to that.

They next go to a lawyer who will (successfully) plead that the restriction of civil rights to drug users is unconstitutional and get that reversed.

I'd rather string them all up on lamp posts as an example and be done with it.
Gerald Davis
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I don't understand drug users. What I mean about that is I really don't understand the motives behind it, and I understand the motives of many sick and crazy act, I tell thee!

When a person does something bad , it is usually for material or biological gain, survival of the fittest. Drug and alcoholism is just plain negative. Is there any factors that I'm not aware of?
Why hasn't mankind developed a distaste for them or evolved an immunity to the effect.

Druggies and alcoholics should have their gonads or minge sterilised. Trust me, this is the lesser of two evils.
John Smith
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Posts: 2937
GD: I don't understand drug users. What I mean about that is I really don't understand the motives behind it

Well, that's easy to understand -- in the other dimension, you lose the identity and become one with the wall. That's very difficult to accomplish with just the brain power. What's really difficult to understand (once you had a chance to be a wall) is the meaning of the word "really". Here is a classic reference.
[ January 17, 2005: Message edited by: John Smith ]
Bert Bates
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GD: I don't understand drug users. What I mean about that is I really don't understand the motives behind it

Well one question is why it happens (and again, it's been happening for millions of years, amongst reptiles and mammals and birds...).

Another question is what to do about it...

So we can throw 'em all in the slammer (which is inexpensive, and works great!), or we can, just maybe, make a few distinctions...

For example, if was legal to chew cocoa leaves, the use of cocaine and crack would probably drop significantly.
Alan Wanwierd
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Posts: 624
Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
...Is there any factors that I'm not aware of?...


In no particular order - heres a bit of an introductory guide to the most popular recreational drugs - perhaps this gives you some indication of the drivers to use illegal recreational drugs rather than legal ones. I've included some approx price guide just as way of a aiding comparisions.

1) Amphetamines (a.k.a "Speed")[White powder, ingested through gums, or snorted nasaly] - give the user a tremendous amount of energy and a feeling of tremendous alertness. The attraction is this increased feeling of control and togetherness. As well as physical energy there is a sense (although possibly an illusory one) that mental function is improved and the user feels that they have a tremendous and quick command over their recall functions! Some students have even utilised small doses to help effectively with all night study sessions.

The extra energy serves well for those who like to dance - hence the drugs popularity with clubbers. Many users outside of a dance environment find the hyperactive urge to burn off energy so potent that they will start tapping their feet, chewing gum and fidgetting as their energy levels increase. A more productive way of using this energy taken by some is to get into a cleaning frenzy and scrub the kitchen... A bonus for anyone sharing a house with an amphetamine user!

The downside is that the body and mind needs their sleep and eventaully the user will get tired - very tired. Also long term use has a nasty effect on teeth and gums (most popular method for taking the drug is to rub the powder on the gums). Their is also a chance in those with a predisposition of inducing "Amphetamine Psychosis" when large dosages are repeated frequently over a long period without giving the brain sufficient time to rest and recover.

Cost per evening (based on mid 90's UK prices!) ~US$12

2) Ecstacy (M.D.M.A)[Pills] - Similar physical effects as above, but with added pyschoactive effect of increasing a sense of euphoria. Used mainly by followers of dance-culture the typical experience involves dancing the night away in high-energy manner with strangers and frequent exchanges of complements and hugs to share the feeling of joy (sexual desire is not increased - but the desire to tell someone they look good just because they do and it feels good to be nice to each other).

Cost per evening (based on mid 90's UK prices!) ~US$16

Main risk of ecstacy seems to be dehydration from constant excercise of typical dance experience - but the ubiqitous bottle of water carried by clubbers and refilled frequently is defence against this for all but a tiny minority of users.

3) Hallucinogens (LSD, Mushrooms)[LSD paper squares/ Mushrooms often cooked with or brewed into a tea] - Are taken primarily for the mental excercise. Far from being "completely out of it" as myths would have us believe - most users are prefectly aware and easily able to distinguish between reality and hallucination and have senses that work well. With a small amount of mental effort (a little like unfocussing your eyes) the brain can be allowed to concentrate anything and experience very beatifull (or very funny) patterns all around (these can be seen but the user is aware that they are created by the mind and can be "switched off" in an instant should the need arise). Sensory hallucinations are not limited to the visual senses either - Listening to music can be a truly spectacular experience and tastes and textures can all take on a fascinatingly enhanced quality. On occassions the user may experience an intriguing link between senses - so a particular sound in a piece of music trigers a wave of blue patterns across the wall being admired. The hallucinogenic experience is a peaceful serene one and although the mind is often kept awake for longer than usual, the low physical energy typically expended during a "trip" means the recovery period is less one of physical recovery, but more feeling mentally tired (since the user will typically concentrate on intense sensations for a number of hours).

Cost per evening (based on mid 90's UK prices!) ~LSD$5, Mushrooms $0 (grow wild)

4)Canabis [dried grassy buds or hardened dark resin, smoked, either neat - or blended with tobacco] - Most canabis smokers do so for relaxation. Extreme dosages can lead to mild hallucinogenic effects - but typically the user feels extremely relaxed and comfortable, often finding mundane events or object hilariously funny. Common side effect is increased hunger. Almost no short term recovery ill-effects since effects are quick to occur and quick to fade. Long term usage increases chances of cancer and long term heavy usuage can be socially crippling since motivation can be impared by feeling so "relaxed". Some studies suggest long term usage may effect short term memory - but ...(what was I saying? ).... oh yeah - More decent research should be done (particularly since an increasing percentage of the population are now regular users)

Cost per evening (based on mid 90's UK prices!) ~US$10

5) Alcohol [Drink]- Gives user a tremendous sense of self confidence and removes social inhibitions promotes a general sense of well being in small doses. Used responsibly can be a good social lubricant but the downside of poor co-ordination, slow reactions and poor judgement results in many problems. Removal of social inhibitors makes alcohol the number 1 drug for provoking violent behaviour. Recovery can often be harsh with dehydration and mild poisoning common in users who may be unable to function normally for up to a day after a heavy session.

Cost per evening (based on mid 90's UK prices!) ~US$40
Warren Dew
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Gerald Davis:

When a person does something bad , it is usually for material or biological gain, survival of the fittest. Drug and alcoholism is just plain negative. Is there any factors that I'm not aware of?

Social acceptance, maybe? Going to high school and college beer bashes increases exposure to potential mates.

And sometimes you're willing to take the long term hit for the short term gain. Saturday night I had driven for 12 hours and started feeling sleepy with two hours to go. My wife was already asleep and couldn't help keep me awake. The nearest rest stop had no speed, cocaine, or ecstasy available, so I resorted to caffeine. I drank 1/4 of the smallest bottle of cola available (not that small - 20 oz of which I consumed perhaps 5 oz) - and that was enough to restore my alertness for the rest of the trip, as well as to keep me awake for another three hours (guess I o.d.'ed).

I had some withdrawal symptoms the next day - a mild headache - but I figure it was worth it to decrease the risk of a vehicle accident during that last two hours of driving.
[ January 17, 2005: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:


In no particular order - heres a bit of an introductory guide to the most popular recreational drugs - perhaps this gives you some indication of the drivers to use illegal recreational drugs rather than legal ones. I've included some approx price guide just as way of a aiding comparisions.




Amphetamines (a.k.a "Speed")
I guess if taking this drug would increase work and study performance in a short burst when needed, it might justify its existence.

Alcohol [Drink] or Ecstacy (M.D.M.A)[Pills
These drugs just change human behaver and usually makes them happier. Biologically happiness is not a means to an end, but a means to acquire power and influence. The pros are meaningless for these drugs but the costs are heavy.

Hallucinogens (LSD, Mushrooms)
Wow, I get some of these effects without take any LSD. I had ideas about creating a sound oriented programming language so I would assume this drug has some creativity potential.

Canabis
It is possible to relax using meditation instead of taking this so there is no material gain from taking this drug.

The worlds most successful religions and corporations condemn the use of this drug by its people so I am still a bit confused why these drugs still exist as they are mostly not used for material gain.
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
Gerald Davis:

Social acceptance, maybe? Going to high school and college beer bashes increases exposure to potential mates.



Social acceptance into a social group that is inherently weak because of drug taking losers. Why should these social group have precedence above much stronger and more powerful social groups like religions groups, organized crime syndicates, business corporations and intellectual groups.
Joe King
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Posts: 820
Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
Drug and alcoholism is just plain negative. Is there any factors that I'm not aware of?
Why hasn't mankind developed a distaste for them or evolved an immunity to the effect.


I doubt anyone sets out to be a heavy user of any drug, legal or not. Most likely it starts off as a small thing, maybe trying a drug out at a party, or having a few drinks now and then. The problem is that a large number of people may not realise how addictive some drugs are. Once they are an addict then logic goes out of the window - a person who has an addiction will find it very hard to give something up even if they know its bad for them.

Druggies and alcoholics should have their gonads or minge sterilised.


This is a bit excessive me thinks. A far better solution would be to help people through the process of giving up whatever they are addicted to. Things like support groups and counselling could help a large number of people give up their addiction. The NHS is currently advertising free support groups and counselling for people who want to give up smoking, and I'm sure there are also similar schemes for other drugs.

The biggest problem with tackling addiction is getting the addict to want to give up. Unless they are truly dedicated to giving up whatever they are addicted to, there's not much that can be done. Unfortunately things like social stigma and self-delusion mean that many people are unwilling to admit (even to themselves) that they have a problem.

----

There's been a lot of discussion on here about the differences and similarities between alcohol and drugs, making me wonder why I am comfortable drinking alcohol but not comfortable with taking any other drugs. For me the answer is experience - I know when I have reached my limit with alcohol, the point when I should call it a night and go home, but with drugs I wouldn't know this. Having never taken any (other than caffeine and alcohol) if I started taking some other drug I wouldn't know if I was taking too much for my own good.
Marcus Green
arch rival
Rancher

Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
Alcohol probably causes more direct damage than illegal drugs. I have read estimates that is kills around 75,000 Americans per year. Some of the reasons people can feel more at ease with alcohol is the social acceptability of the substance and the quality assurance that the legality brings.

If your glass of beer might randomly have the alcoholic content of the same size glass of vodka then it would be reasonable to be more cautious. This is the situation with illegal drugs. You don't know the quality, strength or even actual substance. Several of the illegal recreational drugs are not particularly noxious taken in known amounts in their pure form.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
The drugs in question improve one's mood and abilities in the same sense that a credit card improves your purchasing power. It lets you take from your future. Getting hooked is the biological equivalent of owing so much you can barely afford to pay the interest each month. Dying of an overdose is the analog of going bankrupt. The pain of withdrawal is the analog of gaining financial discipline, living tight, and paying off one's debts.

This would all be true even if drugs were legal. Using illegal drugs are like borrowing money from an underworld loan shark.

Adrian's description of drug use in the "dance culture" suggests that maybe the Baptists had a point when they banned dancing. (Look what it leads to ...)

As for the idea that we should _help_ addicts overcome their addiction, fine, as long as someone pays me for my services. I never asked them to start in the first place.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
If we were to rank order drugs in terms of dangerousness, we might come up with something like this:

Most dangerous listed first:

1). testosterone
2). speed
3). nicotine
4). alcohol
5). barbituates
6). narcotics
...
(lots o' prescription drugs)

720). marijuana
721). LSD
722). mushrooms
....
750). chocolate

We might nit-pick this list a little, but I would contend it's basically accurate...

My question is, why isn't this list even remotely acknowledged in our laws? More specifically, why would mushrooms be scheduled as identical to methamphetamines (speed)? Given the statistics on teenager fatalities, why is alcohol legal?

What are the forces in our society that drive these illogical decisions?
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Originally posted by Bert Bates:

What are the forces in our society that drive these illogical decisions?

Economic interests, political power, support of a moral/religious value generator, the inertia of the status quo. Y'know, the usual.

That, and the machinery of capitalism is oiled with the blood of the workers. It's just fool's work to deny it.


Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.
- Robert Bresson
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Jeez Michael -

Take all the fun out of it :roll:

I guess you've pretty much summed it up... Just one question, does "ease of controlling a narcotized populace" fall into your list anywhere?
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Given the statistics on teenager fatalities, why is alcohol legal?


Hate to be stating the obvious, but in most states it's not legal for teenagers to buy or consume alcohol. One exception that I know of is/was an Air Force base in Texas that bordered Mexico near Cididad Acuna. The legal age for alcohol consumption there was 18, as the base commander didn't want the youngsters to simply head south of the border and end up drinking and driving or getting into other trouble. The thinking was that if they could convince people to stay on base to drink there would be less problems. As the base was federal property, they were able to override state law regarding the legal drinking age.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Bert Bates:
What are the forces in our society that drive these illogical decisions?


The abuse of speed, barbituates, narcotics, and other presctiption drugs are illegal. The difference between those drugs and marijuana, LSD, mushrooms, and ecstasy is that the former have legitimate medical purposes while the latter do not. Therefore, it would be illogical to outlaw those that did have a legitimate purpose. It would be illogical to make legal drugs which are currently illegal and serve absolutely no useful purpose to society whatsoever, and in fact are generally harmful to society.

The alcohol and nicotine genies are already out of the bottle. Just because two harmful substances with really no useful purposes happen to be legal, that is not even remotely a reason to take other harmful substances that are currently illegal and make them legal. Something like that doesn't even remotely stand up to scrutiny.

Society has been gaining ground on alcohol and nicotine though, particuluarly nicotine. I would not be surprised to see consumer demand for the product drop so low within the next few decades that the majority of the tobacco manufacturers in the US find it no longer profitable to sell in this market. At around that time, and given the way current laws seem to be moving, it may be legal to only use tobacco products within the home. Montgomery County Maryland has already tried moving somewhat in this direction, but the law was shot down. It's only a matter of time.

And once tobacco products are no longer usable in public, given time, it's not unreasonable to see a future where alcohol use is also tightly controlled. It seems that the number of non-drinkers in this country continues to rise, so it is not unthinkable that this society's tolerance of drinking eventually reaches that of its ever decreasing tolerance for smoking.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Many things that are legal when used as prescribed medication are illegal if used without such a prescription.
Marihuana is one such, barbituates are another and so is morphine (which is a refined form of heroin btw).

Alcohol has legal uses as well, mainly as a solvent and cleaning solution (and as a fuel).

Alcohol and tobacco are legal for mainly historical reasons (with economic reasons making sure they're kept legal, after all governments make more in taxes from selling these drugs than they loose in medical and legal cost, when that ballance tips efforts to outlaw them may become more effective).

In the EU advertising tobacco products is already illegal, as is the advertising of alcoholic beverages to minors.
In several countries tobacco products may only be sold with a specific license (Austria for example), while in many countries pubs and restaurants need a special license to sell anything more potent than beer or wine.

This is the first step and was taken decades ago. I think we're almost ready for the next step which is now underway which is outlawing the consumption of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in public.
Joe King
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
The alcohol and nicotine genies are already out of the bottle. Just because two harmful substances with really no useful purposes happen to be legal,


I totally agree about nicotine. It seems like most smokers smoke in order to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms they have from not having smoked in a while. I can't understand the reason for starting smoking in the first place, but then I guess as a none smoker I probably am not best placed to judge a smoker's motivations.

Not so sure about alcohol. I don't think it has no useful purposes; in my family there's always been a tradition to use whiskey as a cure for colds - there's nothing better then a wee tot of single malt to clear a stuffed head.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Joe King:

there's nothing better then a wee tot of single malt to clear a stuffed head.


There is, my father uses 80% strong Austrian rum
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Actually, alcohol in _small_ daily amounts (e.g. one beer, one glass of wine, or one mixed drink per day) is said to be healthy (e.g. for the heart).

I have not heard of any benefits for one cigarette a day.

Marijuana may have a legitimate medical use for controlling nausea and stimulating the appetite (for those who need it). It would probably be less damaging to take it orally, though. (I cannot imagine anything but harm would come from inhaling ashes.)
Joe King
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:


There is, my father uses 80% strong Austrian rum


Wow. That would not so much clear a stuffed head as blow it off completely
Alan Wanwierd
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
...I have not heard of any benefits for one cigarette a day...


Apparently there is a positive spin on cigarettes! - check this out:

Research uncovers rare smoking positive
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

BB: Take all the fun out of it :roll:

ME: Sometimes the academic in me needs to get out.

BB: Just one question, does "ease of controlling a narcotized populace" fall into your list anywhere?

ME: Noooo, it doesn't, and for good reason. What would you have a narcotized populace do? Hang out on the outdoor couch, laugh (a lot!), and maybe move some boxes or mop a floor if you disturb their buzz with a lot of yelling?

If you really want to divert a populace's energy to your own ends, in particular consumerism, you need them hyped up: caffeine, sugar, caffeine and sugar, empty calories and that famous red-yellow-green neon signage to promote consumption and hunger at once...you need media to fuel their sense of needing even more, to shock their sensibilities.

Far, far easier to work an overstimulated populace than a narcotized one, or so I would think.
Jerry Young
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 15, 2004
Posts: 77
Actually there had been a reason for tobacco to be spread around.

In old times, say, many years ago, living in humid hot area such as Southern Asia or America was not an easy thing. Smoking tobacco actually made people live healthier and longer in that environment via helping people get fewer stings or bites from misquitos, snakes or similar things that so hate the smell of smokers that they'd rather starve than dealing with smokers.
[ January 25, 2005: Message edited by: Jimmy Chen ]
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Jimmy Chen:
misquitos, snakes or similar things that so hate the smell of smokers that they'd rather starve than dealing with smokers.


I can sympathize.
 
wood burning stoves
 
subject: Drugs legalisation: 'when, not if'