The legalisation of all drugs?

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  • The legalisation of all drugs?
  • Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Well, once we’ve sorted out all this brexit business, (21st November isn’t it?) perhaps we should have a referendum?

    Premier Icon LAT
    Subscriber

    I’ve heard some good interviews and talks with members of LEAP. The notion that the drug problem is a medical one not a criminal one (the whole problem, not just addiction) is interesting.

    I heard one guy talking about how drugs gangs have entire areas living in fear of reprisal. I could be wrong, but I don’t think fly tippers would have the same hold.

    https://lawenforcementactionpartnership.org

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    I heard one guy talking about how drugs gangs have entire areas living in fear of reprisal. I could be wrong, but I don’t think fly tippers would have the same hold.

    https://resource.co/article/no-excuse-perpetuating-slavery-waste-12299

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Further to Bimbler’s quote about most US soldier addicted in Vietnam giving it up when they return home, here’s a study on addiction and the environment:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park

    Making drugs legal will not make huge amounts of people into habitual drug users.

    Premier Icon Kamakazie
    Subscriber

    Drugs and cycling infrastructure. 2 areas where evidence seems to matter little to policymakers.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Subscriber

    Let’s combine the two.

    BruceWee
    Member

    I would make all drugs legal.  I would probably look at legislating the form it could be sold.  At the moment most illegal drugs (except cannabis) are taken in such strong doses the equivalent with alcohol would probably involve injecting pure alcohol into your blood stream.

    I don’t see any reason why MDMA and cocaine couldn’t be sold in heavily diluted drink form in similar strength alcohol is now.  Or any other delivery system that would make it impossible to get completely off your face in a single swallow.

    Also, I would make heroin freely available on prescription.

    ji
    Member

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24320717
    <h1>End war on drugs, says Durham police chief Mike Barton</h1>

    Premier Icon northernsoul
    Subscriber

    Let’s combine the two.

    Fab idea, looking forward to the new Psychedelic Route at Hamsterley. 😎 Or a Purple Route designed by a Coke addict. 😠

    Although I generally support legalisation, the thought of encountering someone off their tits whilst out on my bike does give food for thought that if you legalise drugs you also need better mechanisms to monitor or police their usage (e.g. to guard against drug driving, workplace safety etc).

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    Also, I would make heroin freely available on prescription.

    Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    BruceWee
    Member

    Sorry, that should be available for free.

    My head is a bit fuzzy thanks to being on the shittiest mind altering drug of all, sleep deprivation.

    Re the comment about policing the effects of drugs on things such as work-environment and driving, I think it would be easier than policing people driving/working while far too tired.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I don’t see any reason why MDMA and cocaine couldn’t be sold in heavily diluted drink form in similar strength alcohol is now. Or any other delivery system that would make it impossible to get completely off your face in a single swallow

    I don’t see the point of that.  For most drugs other than alcohol, users know exactly the effect they want and dose accordingly.  Junkies generally die when their heroin is unexpectedly clean and so they get more drug than they bargained for.  My hope is that legalised heroin will have very little brick-dust in it and so accidental overdosing won’t happen.

    Legalisation is an obvious “yes” for me but it’d need to be a tory government that did it – sadly it’d destroy labour

    BruceWee
    Member

    You might go to the pub thinking ‘I feel like getting shit-faced tonight’. After the first couple of pints you might think ‘I’m a bit more tired than I thought and maybe I should have eaten something before I came out. Think I’ll call it a night.’

    You don’t really get that option doing a line of coke or taking a pill.

    tjagain
    Member

    bruce wee – a line of cokes lasts an hour or so and users would usually take multiple lines a night – usually until their stash is gone.  Multidosing with MDMA is common as well.

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    I don’t see any reason why MDMA and cocaine couldn’t be sold in heavily diluted drink form in similar strength alcohol is now.

    You’ve clearly not tasted MDMA 😀

    BruceWee
    Member

    Fine, everyone’s right except me.  Legalisation would lead to no change in the nature of the way drugs are taken and it would be pointless to even try to change the culture.

    BruceWee
    Member

    Although, I remember the first time I had a beer and the first time I took ecstasy.  They led to very different kinds of nights out.

    The problem with any of the pro arguments, is it ignores the fact that drugs like heroin are still going to be pretty bad, even if they’re legal. Then you add duty and VAT onto the cost of a wrap, enough to fund the health and social costs of it’s use, which is probably a council house and a team of emergency services when they overdose every few weeks/months. Making it legal won’t stop people spending every penny they have on it and becoming homeless will it? So now your government sourced heroin costs 5x, 10x, 20x, 100x more than the illegal stuff. We don’t (as a society) even manage to deal with the effects of legal problem drinking, what makes anyone think we’d be better at dealing with the effects of legal LSD or Heroin?

    Take vaping as a legal example, you could buy liquid in a little bottle,  or you could save a few quid and make your own.

    Take cannabis as an illegal example, you can buy a little hydroponic tent to stick in your airing cupboard on most high streets!

    Take Alcohol as a sometimes-legal example, homebrewing is a legitimate hobby, home or illegal medium scale distilling blows up a house or industrial unit and kills someone every couple of years.

    So you could buy your legal MDMA from a shop and go out to relive your Hacienda raving days with minimal need for health or social care as a result,  for £100/pill and get a warm fuzzy feeling that you’re helping a heroin addict by cross subsidising their care, or you could continue to get it for £5/pill like you always have done from someone who knows someone who knows the guy on the door’s brother inlaw and has a bag of them shaped like smurfs.

    Prohibition might not work, legalisation isn’t going to do much to prevent the illegal supply and use though.

    Bimbler
    Member

    The problem with any of the pro arguments, is it ignores the fact that drugs like heroin are still going to be pretty bad, even if they’re legal. Then you add duty and VAT onto the cost of a wrap, enough to fund the health and social costs of it’s use, which is probably a council house and a team of emergency services when they overdose every few weeks/months. Making it legal won’t stop people spending every penny they have on it and becoming homeless will it?

    With all due respect this is patent nonsense.  All heroin users want is to get high, if you give them a nice clean supply they can live a fairly normal life.  Nearly all of the societal problems from opiate addiction stem from prohibition.  Crime is linked to the cost, cost is linked to prohibition.  Overdoses are caused in the most part by getting a dirty/uncertain supply.  Provide “free” clean heroin to addicts and both of these problems dissipate.

    tjagain
    Member

    thing is we do have examples of other approaches and we know what works

    Take the dutch on Heroin.  You can register as a junkie and get your fix in clean and safe surrounds – but very dull and boring ones.  Result over a couple of decades.  Falling heroin usage and ageing population of junkies – ie they live longer and no new recruits – plus a reduction in crime.

    Evidence based practice with a harm reduction aim should be the plan

    Take the dutch on Heroin.  You can register as a junkie and get your fix in clean and safe surrounds – but very dull and boring ones.  Result over a couple of decades.  Falling heroin usage and ageing population of junkies – ie they live longer and no new recruits – plus a reduction in crime.

    That’s an advantage I hadn’t considered – once you bypass the dealers with regulated infrastructure nobody is ‘promoting’ heroin use any more. You’d actually get less people doing it.

    Nearly all of the societal problems from opiate addiction stem from prohibition.  Crime is linked to the cost, cost is linked to prohibition.

    This.

    3phase
    Member

    I think the most important thing is, that the general public should be given accurate information about the risks of drug taking our media is rife with scaremongering. If unadulterated drugs with proper labelling and usage guidelines were available I’m sure we would see a reduction in harm. Both to the users and wider society.

    Graph taken  from  Dr David Nutt’s 2010 paper in <i>The Lancet showing the harms of different drugs both for the user and society </i>

    He goes into depth of this analysis in his book “Drugs without the hot air”, its an incredibly interesting and informative read.

    Dr David Nutt was also famously fired as the head of the government’s drug policy advisors for saying…

    “Taking ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse”

    Without looking too much into harms I looked at deaths per activity and cycling doesn’t come out too well!

    10 horse rider deaths (2016) https://www.motleyhealth.com/health-news/how-dangerous-is-horse-riding

    102 cycling (2016) (https://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/pedal-cyclists/facts-figures/)

    63 MDMA (2016)https://www.statista.com/statistics/470824/drug-poisoning-deaths-mdma-ecstasy-in-england-and-wales/

    7,327 (2016) alcohol-specific deaths in the UK https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/bulletins/alcoholrelateddeathsintheunitedkingdom/registeredin2016

    In short, Adults should have the choice to make there own INFORMED decisions.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Subscriber

    You’d actually get less people doing it.

    Yup. Legalising it doesnt mean making it a free for all. Can be turned into something where you do  have to jump through hoops and get bored stupid. Key is making it easy/cheap enough so that going black market isnt really worth it  but hard/expensive enough that its not a case of pop down the corner shop to try a random new drug.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    With all due respect this is patent nonsense.  All heroin users want is to get high, if you give them a nice clean supply they can live a fairly normal life.

    It’s amusing that many people who know bugger all about heroin seem to think that the whole down and out, homeless abcess-ridden junkie thing is the reason people do it or an inevitable result of taking it. Heroin is probably the best example of the negatives being caused directly by prohibition. Without prohibition the vast majority of addicts could live perfectly normal lives without the stigma, the squalor, and the extreme risk of overdosing.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    While I am largely in favour of ending prohibition for many drugs, I am not sure about heroin. Will Self’s writings on the subject are worth reading, while he was able to fund his habit he speared outwardly to be quite normal and in control, that isn’t how he felt, he knew very well he was in the grip of a terrible addiction and it was destroying his existence. Hiding the truth from others was possible due to his relative wealth and position, but he was very far from in control, and the negatives were very much a result of his addiction and not prohibition.

    Without looking too much into harms I looked at deaths per activity and cycling doesn’t come out too well!

    Takes no measure of their use though, a quick poll of my uni housemates, 3x of us cycled to uni so thats 30 trips per week, one took MDMA perhaps monthly, so extrapolating from some very incomplete data that would make cycling about 50x safer.

    In short, Adults should have the choice to make there own INFORMED decisions.

    Once you get as far as alcohol you’re in the realms of “100% of mass murderers have played GTA”.

    I don’t deny alcohol causes a lot of harm, but if I die at 90 of a heart attack when I might have made it to 90.1 before catching pneumonia, the only thing that will annoy me is if someone classes that as an early death due to a liking for alcohol and kebabs.

    Also you can argue alcohol the other way. Its distributed fairly strictly through licenced pubs and shops by people trained on the law. Yet when was the last time you actually saw someone already drunk refused another? And who didn’t get served underage?  If alcohol abuse was under control then you could make a case that other drugs should be treated equally.

    I do like Tj’s description of Dutch heroin use though.

    tjagain
    Member

    Oh there are negative effects from heroin addiction – its just its not an inevitable slide into the gutter and overdosage.  Junkies with a clean supply cause no great problems to society and there is no huge health risk compared to tobacco or alcohol.  Heroin prohibition drives petty crime and prostitution.  In some areas 70% of all crime is heroin addicts.  Given a clean supply this behaviour stops.  Take the criminality out of it and then its a less appealing lifestyle.  Going to the council drug centre every day waiting a line for your hit is not an enticing lifestyle.

    No black market in heroin and no new recruits ( or both much reduced)

    When you include easily available cannabis to the mix its even more positive – kids who want to experiment with drugs will do so.  In holland they smoke cannabis as its easy to get rather than try what a pal has – whatever that is so thats another avenue for recruiting heroin addicts gone

    Cocaine is probably much more dangerous in that way causing heat attacks and strokes and raging egomania and greed ( responsible for much of the excesses of 90s city of london)  I can’t really think of any reason why it should not remain prohibited and I see no need for substitution programmes and the like

    Cannabis is linked ( but no causality shown) with psychosis and a bunch of potheads are hardly productive or interesting members of society but given how widely available it is and how our current laws criminalise productive members of society I believe legalising it would result in less harm to individuals and society as a whole that our current situation

    MDMA is very safe but of course long term effects are not yet known for sure but non has emerged yet.  A bunch of loved up ravers do no harm at all bar being less effective at their jobs on Monday morning – but even that effect is probably less than those with hangovers.  No one mugged a pensioner for money to score some disco biscuits!  My fear with a legal market is that people would push the limits too far – overdosage is possible unlike with cannabis.  If its to remain illegal then we certainly need a system again like the dutch to check pills for purity and put out warnings if dodgy ones hit the market.

    What many folk do not realise is the number of regular non problem drug users of many drugs.  Millions of eccies sold every month.  Millions of joints smoked.  Are all these folk problems to society?  Criminals?  or indeed are many productive members of society?

    <p class=”verse”>Basically the ” war on drugs” has failed.  It was morally dubious at best anyway.  Its time for some evidence based lawmaking and we have the examples from other countries  from which we can pick and chose the best bits that are known to lead to harm reduction both for individuals and society</p>

    The rate of cannabis use among Dutch teenagers is appreciably lower than among UK teenagers.

    Cannabis isn’t legal in the Netherlands. Moderate sale and consumption is in some places – but production and sale elsewhere remain the preserve of organised crime.

    Bar staff will stop serving drunks when their employer’s licence is in jeopardy. In austerity Britain there’s little money for funding council inspectors or police to regulate alcohol sales.

    Huxley had it right 60 years ago (Heaven and Hell and The Doors of Perception are both pertinent essays).

    To those who oppose legalisation – what we’re doing now is hardly working well, is it?

    JP

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Where I live we spend £1.5M per year on Druggies and Alco’s – I used to be the Local Drug and Alcohol Treatment Commissioner (2009 to 2013) and I when I paid for residential Rehab I would always make the druggy give up thier council house and pay all of the benfits to fund the Rehab!  I made the drug workers very cross and the patients cried alot

    Mrs Daz here.  WTAF?  You were the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Commissioner?  Good god!  I was a drug worker for 15 years.  I find it hard to believe that someone in a position of power was so blind to the reality of people’s lives.  I assume you angered drug workers because you didn’t listen to them and wore your bigotry on your sleeve?  I have come across similar commissioners, I’m sad to say, and it’s people like you that make decent drug workers like myself and many of my colleagues leave their jobs.

    Most drug workers I met, and police, CID, etc were pro-legalisation, as they had the sense to see that problem drug use should be treated as a social, not a moral or criminal issue.

    but i was not about to waste one more penny on these idiots than I had to.

    Research shows that for every £1 spent on drug treatment (yes, including rehab!) £4 is saved elsewhere in the system.

    And without wanting to write an essay on the subject, the most deaths and harm I saw in my career were caused by alcohol misuse.

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    Yes.

    I’m with MrsDazH

    “Where I live we spend £1.5M per year on Druggies and Alco’s – I used to be the Local Drug and Alcohol Treatment Commissioner (2009 to 2013) and I when I paid for residential Rehab I would always make the druggy give up thier council house and pay all of the benfits to fund the Rehab!  I made the drug workers very cross and the patients cried alot”

    How sad . you are proud to have made a vulnerable person homeless. wtaf! .

    slowbloke
    Member

    @tjagain – ever read this? https://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/apr/04/drugsandalcohol.drugs1

    Very limited sample (as in 1 person) but he did take rather a lot of MDMA over a long period. Mind you, if he’d drunk 25 pints a day I doubt he’d be in good shape either!

    tjagain
    Member

    interesting slowbloke – whats not clear from that article is was he a heavy cannabis user as well?  It seems to either mention a Mr A twice or call two differnt people Mr A

    Seems logical tho – thats a huge abuse of the drug and its unsuprising that you can take stuff that effects your brain in such high doses and not have any iilleffects

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    Of course there is a flip side to legalised drugs

    Who needs drug dealers when you have the medical  profession and big pharma? It would appear addiction isn’t a problem as long as it’s the medical profession creating the addicts.

    sideshow
    Member

    WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN???!

    …specifically the fact that prohibition doesn’t seem to stop young adults experimenting with drugs, so I’d much rather when mine got to that age that the substances were legal, regulated and of assured quality rather than anyone risking their life on an unknown substance of unknown strength purchased from god knows who.

    tjagain
    Member

    sideshow – and if access is easier to the less damaging stuff then there is less chance of them taking more damaging stuff

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN???!

    The children aren’t the problem, it’s when they become adults that most are exposed to drugs. Usually at uni. At least that was the case in my day.

    PrinceJohn
    Member

    The children aren’t the problem, it’s when they become adults that most are exposed to drugs. Usually at uni. At least that was the case in my day.

    I wonder if it’s still the case that those who were kept from booze & had it demonized by their parents still hit the hardest when they realise it’s not that evil, until they get completely out of control & it does become that evil…

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