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Drugggss - Ed's journal
Al Capone taught us that prohibition doesn't work.

With a little thought, it's quite easy to see why - intoxication can be done in private, and harms no one else. As moral as you choose to be, you cannot easily impose that morality on others, without controlling every aspect of their lives.

And so right from the very beginning, when someone figured out that fermented fruit gave them a buzz, mankind have cultivated 'intoxicants'.

But you know, I don't actually see much of a difference between someone vegetating in front of the latest big brother, and deciding to spend an evening on 'recreational substances'.

I mean, where's the harm if someone's sat in their living room smoking a spliff, or even shooting up on heroine? If you use empirical assessment of substances for use/abuse then you'll find that the legal drugs - caffine, alchol, nicotine - actually end up scoring 'more druglike' than some of the illegal ones.

So anyway. Legalisation? Is it a bad idea?
Well, very simply there's two forms of 'harm' from ... shall we say
'recreational pharmaceuticals'.

The first is medical - most powerful chemicals have side effects. Addictions. Knock on stresses on organs. Increased likelyhood of things like dehydration, because the metabolism is screwed.
And the longer term consequences of use/abuse - white bloodcell counts get screwed over, and organ damage can result, leading to long term medical problems.

At the moment, these are a burden on our healthcare system - we provide
medical support for almost everyone, even those taking drugs. We would increase that burden by making it legal, but I don't think it would
be as linear - better care when someone is experimenting, and better quality of 'raw product' will reduce problems, and allow serious developing issues to be discovered earlier.

The second is social - the harm caused by long term drug use/abuse, and the harm caused by the crime related to the drug trade. Well, this one I think also diminishes if we legalise and regulate - the drug related crime drops drastically, as the reason that it happens at all is because of the huge profit margins involved. Drug dealers aren't stupid - they'll not take a high risk selling something illegal, if it wasn't insanely profitable. Legalise it, and you stop it being a 'gateway' into further criminality - there is now a reason for them to 'stay clean' as it were.

I think the 'drugs trade' will always be a problem, for as long as it's illict - and therefore profitable - and doesn't cause direct harm to others. Legalise, Legislate and educate. It's the only long term solution to the problem.
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(Deleted comment)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes and no. The strong stuff ... yeah, it's addictive. But I don't think it's fair to say it's 'life destroying' - that's just propaganda - percentage wise, more people die from nicotine and alcohol than from heroin, for example.

There's also evidence to suggest that nicotine is actually more addictive than the bloody stuff too. (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/05/dayintech_0516)

But yes, people will get addicted. More will, certainly. But the consequences? Well, y'know, I actually think less people will be experimenting if it's clear and obvious 'why it sucks'.

I think that ... whilst withdrawal from heroin is tough, it's also way easier if you're properly supported in doing so.

Junkie crime? What do you think motivates that? There's two factors to it - pricetag as well as addiction - if cigarettes cost £200 each, then you'd have the same problems.
But given that heroin is actually pretty damn cheap to produce, I don't see it as an issue.

I mean, people already 'try it', and I'll grant that availability does make that more likely. But ... well, so what? In a clean and safe environment, where the price is sensible, and 'long term consequences' are dealt with.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and yeah. Something someone does that doesn't have knock on impact - smoking weed in a 'smoking booth' or shooting up on heroin where there's somewhere comfortable and which will tidy up around the user... I see that as better than people hanging around on estates ;).
(Deleted comment)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
You misunderstand. Out of a hundred heroin users, less of them will die as a direct consequence of their substance use than the same number of smokers.

Edited at 2009-02-25 10:38 pm (UTC)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Damnit, I can't find that article again.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
But actually, come to think of it, if a substance is more lethal, that might not be a bad thing for the healthcare system :)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, that's approximately what I was thinking of:

But not entirely. I'll keep looking
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which is actaully part of the problem I think - uncontrolled substance 'mixing' and assorted abuse is actually hard to report accurately on.
However bear in mind that morphine and heroin are almost the same thing, and morphine is used in hospitals, because the long term effects aren't too bad.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal"


And http://www.peele.net/lib/heroinoverdose.html
"Heroin overdose is almost nonexistent. Rather, heroin users who concurrently take tranquilizers, alcohol, and cocaine are those at risk for sudden death. "

Unfortunately the whole searching for that info process gets polluted by FUD - bottom line though seems to be that heroin itself isn't especially dangerous (although addictive) the reason it's a 'danger' drug is that it's high street value, and variable purity leads to it being 'cut' and combined with other substances such as alcohol.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: February 25th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think on it like this.. think of what the world would be like if caffiene was illegal.. its hundred times more addictive that crack.. if it was cut with half the crap that the various Illegal drugs are then half the world addicted population would be dead.

Marijuana and other drugs have gotten stronger because of demand, if the drugs trade was legal and restricted by law then the drugs will be "cleaner" leading to less problems from side effects of the random stuff that street dealers cut their shit with. Dosage would be regulated allowing the taker to regulate their intake better.. One of eh other big problems with the random crap street sellers sell is its variable strength which makes users either OD by accident or semi-on purpose because they aren't used to the strength.

Also if it was legal the onus of responsibility would be on the users head. Like with smoking. if you choose to take the stuff then all your actions are your own. You cannot say you were not warned.. the warning is on the packet

Also preliminary tests on the provision of legal drugs to addicts indicates that in Europe anyway the crime rate tends to drop as the users no longer need to fund their addiction because its not bneing sold at an overly inflated price.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Morphine is delivered in hospitals, because whilst it's a powerful opiate, it's also relatively 'clean' - stresses organs and whatnot, but if used in a medical environment has remarkably few long term consequences.


Here's heroin too: http://www.camh.net/About_Addiction_Mental_Health/Drug_and_Addiction_Information/heroin_dyk.html

Er. Well, dangers yeah, but most of them are OD/quality/mixing related - things that IMO are negated by 'proper control'.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: February 26th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Which is my popint, if its "legal" then its regulated, which means proper medical dosage restrictions and guidelines. Research into its beneficial and non-beneficial aspects and proper guidance regarding what is probably a good and bad level to take.

I did a quick google and found that research so far seems to show that in amsterdam the number of young people trying heroin and cocaine has dropped because they no longer have to hang out in the less salubrious areas whre marijuana is being sold along with the "harder" drugs, they arn't coming into contact with pot and crack at the same time.

To tell the truth on an intellectual basis I don't get it, I have never understood the massive outcry regarding "drugs". Intellectually it is no different than going and having a pint or having a cigarette or going for a coffee.

Intellectually there is no difference in my mind between taking a headache tablet because you have a headache and taking a euphoric because you want to feel euphoria or a relaxant because you feel stressed.

crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: February 25th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
for as long as I have had rational thought about the subject I have always believed that it is safer for the stuff to be made legal and regulated than illegal and non-regulated.

Alcohol is health destroying, chocolate is health destroying.. tobacco is health destroying.. what eh hell. its the takers responsibility
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