Time To Be Adult About Drugs 

  Time To Be Adult About Drugs 

Posted by FoM on April 20, 2002 at 21:54:15 PT
Leader: Millions of Britons make the law an ass  
Source: Observer UK 

Britain is becoming more sophisticated about drugs. Not only do 13 million Britons admit having taken an illegal drug at some time in their life - as our Drugs Uncovered magazine reveals today - but our assessment of the health risks has become more mature. Our poll respondents were more likely to judge tobacco high-risk than ecstasy. They also think alcohol more dangerous than cannabis. These are remarkable findings. They reflect a collective judgment of risk that in turn reflects the nation's collective experience. 
The possession of largely non-addictive drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy may still be punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years, allegedly reflecting the risk they pose to society and the individual. However, the population at large no longer believes those risks to be severe. Five million Britons admit smoking cannabis. Medical research now confirms what they believe; cannabis is safe unless used extravagantly and addictively. Even then it is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol. At the other end of the scale, medical evidence and experience alike are united in the view that heroin and crack cocaine have powerful addictive qualities and are physically and mentally destructive. You stay away from them; and most drug users do. In between cannabis and heroin lies a range of soft, broadly non-addictive, drugs where once again people's judgment of risk is more level-headed than the law - although here social mores run well ahead of the medical evidence. Up to a million young people regularly use ecstasy - and deaths are astonishingly rare. The same is true of cocaine. The risk for the future is that we may discover that such drugs accelerate physical complaints, notably heart conditions, and cause mental problems in later life. So far the jury is out. What we do know, however, tends to support the view that these drugs, as long as they are pure, are largely non-addictive and relatively harmless if used sensibly. The old belief that there is a predictable and linear relationship between using so-called soft drugs and progressing inevitably to hard drugs has proved unfounded. Crime cartels  In every Western country drug use has grown exponentially over the past 30 years. Western populations simply do not accept the legitimacy of the war on all drugs - just as the American public did not accept the legitimacy of prohibition in the 1920s and '30s. As demand steadily grows, this indiscriminate war serves only to entrench international crime cartels and create a vast offshore network of money laundering now used effectively by international terrorists and tax avoiders. Meanwhile, drugs available on the street are of varying quality and sometimes dangerous for the user. The wide varieties of toxicity of drugs that our own reporter was able to buy highlights the way this underground business abuses its consumers - sometimes with deadly results. And because drug use is overwhelmingly the preserve of the young - more than half of Britons between 16 and 24 report drug use in our poll - it is children that are most at risk. Equally serious, millions of young Britons now grow to adulthood holding the law in contempt. Good law reflects our social preferences; the current law does not. That so many continue to use drugs while risking such high penalties is testimony to the needs they satisfy; it is also evidence of how inadequate a deterrent the current law is. Britain needs a comprehensive overhaul of its drug laws. In a free society, responsible adults should be permitted to exercise their liberty but this still needs to be balanced with the risks to them and the society around them. Over drug use this poses uniquely difficult trade-offs and judgments - not least because so many who make choices about drugs are the young approaching adulthood. For them, society's obligation to educate about risks, to prohibit life-threatening temptation and to offer assistance out of addiction is even more acute. Young people at risk The Government is moving; officials and Ministers with experience of cannabis in their youth are already considering its decriminalisation while taking a more intelligent approach to heroin addiction, as we also reveal today. We believe they should go further. The moment has come for legalisation of the distribution and consumption of cannabis. We would not extend this legalisation across the gamut of non-addictive drugs yet because we are not confident that the medical risks are fully understood - and because young people with their lives ahead of them are most at risk as the heaviest users . We propose instead that possession of drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine be decriminalised. That is a halfway house, with supply still unlawful. But it is an appropriate one, which might be revised in 10 or 20 years' time. We do not believe ecstasy and cocaine use to be so menacing that it merits punitive prison sentences and a criminal record. However, we should retain the current legal penalties against drugs whose addictive powers and impact remain a threat to life. The war against heroin should remain a war. With proper focus and public support, it has a chance of being won because it is seen as legitimate. This is far from a blanket endorsement of drug use. Cannabis should only be distributed under licence; it should not be advertised; it should be taxed; its intensity should be strictly monitored and displayed. The framework would be a tougher variant of the regime for alcohol and tobacco use. For the range of drugs only decriminalised the penalties against trafficking would remain - but decriminalisation would permit much closer regulation of content to ensure it was not harmful. This should still be accompanied by a significant education programme about potential risks. The focus on prohibition should be on heroin and crack cocaine. However, we should also adopt a more enlightened - and much more adequately financed - approach to managing the problem. Recovery from heroin addiction should be nationally managed and supervised in a network of recuperation centres. We believe that these recommendations reflect the centre of gravity of national opinion. Moreover, they would bring the law into line with the way we actually behave and they offer a much more exact calculus of the true risks of drugs. This prospectus would free police time, raise revenue, make drugs less unsafely impure, and continue to ban those that are truly dangerous. Above all, it would make Britain a more mature country in which to live. Now we need politicians brave enough to act. Source: Observer, The (UK)Published: Sunday April 21, 2002Copyright: 2002 The ObserverContact: letters Report: Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special or Bust?

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Comment #7 posted by dddd on April 29, 2002 at 05:37:52 PT

yea,,I can see the headlines now...

..and the article would go on to quote some of my offbeat postings here,,I would become the butt of late nite TV jokes, ,,all the pressure would destroy me,,and I'd start hittin' the bottle,and listenin' to George Jones,,then, , eventually I would have to resign from my position,and I would become a honky-tonk celebrity,,,,then ,,I would fade from view like some kinda Billy Carter/Peter Tork has-been weirdo..... aint pretty....dddd
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Comment #6 posted by SWAMPIE on April 29, 2002 at 05:15:04 PT

AMEN BROTHER!I hope that you and many other of our members of C-NEWS would be appointed to positions of importance in the new administration.How about KAPTINEMO for National Security Chief? Ethan Russo for Surgeon General?ETC... I really love to think what the world would be like if we were in control.PIPE DREAM,ANYONE????Nah!They would just laugh at us "STONERS"!! 
  We need to get control!SWAMPIE
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on April 29, 2002 at 01:56:22 PT

Excellent points SWAMPIE....
...Marijuana is an herb!,,yet you cannot legally use it according to the DEA.....of course,,we all know that Ritalin,and Paxil are also herbs....Ritalin is made from the blossoms of the Pfizer Rhodedendron,,,and Paxil is extracted from the seeds of the Glaxo tree which grows only in New Jersey...

.....In my recent visit to the hospital,,I was dazzled by the liberal amounts of morphine I was allowed to have.. I am also a longhaired,bearded old Hippie,,and I guess I was sort of expecting to just get Tylenol,,but these doctors that I had gave me as much morphine as I wanted...
.I dont know if crack will ever emerge as a medication...I'm sure it would be quite effective for treating many types of pains,,,,but it has the major drawback of causing of a nagging Jones that is hard to ignore!..... It would be good if drug antis could try a few hits of crack,or an injection of heroin,,and then ,,after the buzz wore off,,give them a big ol' hit of prime Marijuana,so they could recognize and realize the difference..... ..I'm hoping that I will be given the position of Drug Czar,in 2008,when Ventura and Johnson are elected....All people who work for the DEA,and the ONDCP,,will have to take the OPPOSITE of a drug test!...I will require that they actually experience the "drugs",they are busting people for!!..Marijuana is nothing like cocaine or heroin!..If Marijuana is to be grouped with cocaine and heroin,,then coffee,and caffeine should be in the same category as meth! ..... . ............dddd
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 28, 2002 at 23:09:57 PT

I can't think of anything really important to add to what you already said. You covered the bases. Instead of locking up addicted people we should be giving them vitamins, healthy food and emotional support. Then help them regain self esteem and they might make it but jail can't be in the equation or it won't work. 
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Comment #3 posted by SWAMPIE on April 28, 2002 at 22:51:30 PT

FoM,I concur...
 I was a crack addict$450.00/wk,and it did have some benificial effects on my back pain,but it is just too addictive.I have never tried heroin,though my wife had,and we believe that some of these drugs might have a place in medicine,for possible SHORT-term use as a way to help patients under a doctors' supervision,to possibly alleviate some problems.I do not like the addictive properties of those drugs,and would rather have cannabis legal as an alternative to ANY hard drugs not prescribed by a doctor.As we all know,the anti's love to beat up on ANYTHING CONSIDERED ILLEGAL,ESPECIALLY DRUGS,and they need to get the message that"With PROPER education,ANYONE who wishes to use drugs,for pain-relief,or RECREATION,if they would CONTROL THEMSELVES,THE WORLD MAY BE A BETTER PLACE.The anti's counter that NOBODY THAT DOES DRUGS CAN CONTROL THEMSELVES,AND THEREFORE IT IS MANDATORY TO KEEP DRUGS ILLEGAL.ALL DRUG USERS ARE ADDICTS IN THEIR EYES!How do we convince them that the thrill comes with the illegaality,and the buzz,and if there were more education on this subject to young people that most wouldn't do more than try it just to see what the"BUZZ" is all about?I love cannabis,and I don't smoke it everyday,and when I do,I do it responsibly,and I see no need for the government to be involved in my private affairs anyway.I just guess that I have"GOT A FOOT NEEDIN AN ASS"""!!!!!! SWAMPIE
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 28, 2002 at 22:07:55 PT

How ya doing? Rant away. You're welcome for the site. I love being able to do the news. The news has been very slow today so I've been quiet and am watching about extinct animals on National Geographic. There is so much to learn and so little time. Here's a thought on hard drugs. Most people don't want to see a person who is really strung out on a hard drug. Hard drugs might be fun for a while but after long term use they will effect a person's body and mind. We penalize people who have a problem with a substance. There is no sense and it isn't fair treating someone who has become dependent on a drug as a crimnal.Prohibitionist's think the world will turn into one big needle park. That's the fear and who would want people shooting up anywhere they choose? Personal morality issues and what is acceptable to the overall public issues really need to be talked about in debates. We need to find a meeting ground. That's what I think.Just my rant!
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Comment #1 posted by SWAMPIE on April 28, 2002 at 21:46:18 PT

This is an interesting article
  I am quite sure that if there were more logical debate that this author attempts to write about,there would be more conversations and heavy discussions with positive results.Heroin is a painkiller,How many people have pain? Crack Cocaine is EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE,but it MAY have a place in medicine that nobody has thought of yet.I am not about to say that these modified plant protiens are goood for anyone,but look AT THE BIG PICTURE.Cannabis is an herb,and it shouldn't even be included into the equation of the WOD!!!!I don't believe that most young people should turn to cannabis as a source of escaping from the reality of life,but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!How much pressure does society out on all the people,as a whole to become"socialized"?Do you want to even talk to these people,or are you social to them?I,personally,love meeting and talking to people,even church ladies!I think they were afraid of me because of my long hair and beard,but I showed them respect and helped them load their groceries,and we all parted with laughter!How many older people have you helped today?If you win their RESPECT we can cnquer this STUPID-ASS WOD!!!!!FoM,Thanx for this site,sometimes you gotta rant! LOL!!! SWAMPIE 
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