Global War on Drugs has Failed

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:I know that it is, but i think that it will be in the mix a lot more if not for criminalization. I think that's a pretty reasonable assumption.

I would dispute that. What you're suggesting is that there are a significant number of people for whom the legality of cocaine is the only reason they won't try it. That doesn't seem realistic to me. To my mind, if you're prepared to accept all the physical downsides of using cocaine, the prospect of being caught by the police would not be a deterrant.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby PeterCai » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:12 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:I would dispute that. What you're suggesting is that there are a significant number of people for whom the legality of cocaine is the only reason they won't try it. That doesn't seem realistic to me. To my mind, if you're prepared to accept all the physical downsides of using cocaine, the prospect of being caught by the police would not be a deterrant.


Humans aren't always completely rational when it comes to these sort of stuff. Wouldn't you agree that a lot more people, especially college students would try it out of curiosity if there's no inherent risk of black market and criminalization?

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:13 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:1)All non-federal public employees lobby for things that benefit them. They have the right to do so as much as anyone else.

And I have the right to call them selfish, destructive assholes for doing so. Isn't life grand when we toggle randomly from "should" to "can you make me?" and back again?
PeterCai wrote:I know that it is, but i think that it will be in the mix a lot more if not for criminalization. I think that's a pretty reasonable assumption.

It's not an abjectly ludicrous assumption, I'll give you that, but that doesn't make it correct. Ask yourself, how is criminalization helping anyone who's already addicted to cocaine become...not that?
PeterCai wrote:The natives chewed coca leaves, which is very different from directly using cocaine.

Man, and we didn't have vodka-and-redbull 100 years ago. Wev. Point is, we're seeing the same effects now as we did from prohibition then. Dangerous, adulterated product being made and sold? Check. Fatal accidents due to home manufacturing? Check. Uptick in number of prisoners due to enforcement of victimless vice laws? Check. Addicts unsupported? Check. Organized crime blossoming like fungus in a dormitory fridge? That is a big goddamn check. Tons of innocent, non-drug-using victims caught up in the actions of said organized criminals and the law enforcement agencies that increasingly resemble them? Morose check.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby clockworkmonk » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:Humans aren't always completely rational when it comes to these sort of stuff. Wouldn't you agree that a lot more people, especially college students would try it out of curiosity if there's no inherent risk of black market and criminalization?


in a completely anecdotal anecdote, the fact that drugs are forbidden has motivated more than a few of my friends to do things they would not have otherwise, not just limited to drugs.

Again, since people are not rational often, this is about as reasonable as not trying it.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
LtNOWIS wrote:1)All non-federal public employees lobby for things that benefit them. They have the right to do so as much as anyone else.

And I have the right to call them selfish, destructive assholes for doing so. Isn't life grand when we toggle randomly from "should" to "can you make me?" and back again?

I think you will find comparatively few people willing to sacrifice the necessity of their professions on the altar of the public good. Assuming they can even realize that the public good doesn't correspond to their noble and heroic efforts. That's everyone, not just cops.

As I said, lobbying aside, your beef is ultimately with the electorate.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:I think you will find comparatively few people willing to sacrifice the necessity of their professions on the altar of the public good. Assuming they can even realize that the public good doesn't correspond to their noble and heroic efforts. That's everyone, not just cops.


Which changes what about pointing out that these things are lobbied for because they're profitable for certain people, not because they're in the public good? Like, is there something you're arguing with?
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:09 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I hate the idea of sin taxes. They are large taxes on what the people in the government believe is immoral (and they tend to be highly regressive).

On the other hand, there are large negative externalities associated with things like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. They cause health problems which often end up costing the public money. They can impair ones ability to drive safely, resulting in property damage, injury, and death. If there are public alcohol/drug treatment programs, these also cost the public money. It is entirely reasonable, from an economics point of view, to impose taxes which internalize this externality, whether the tax ends up being regressive or not.

This is exactly the same argument for a gas tax, even though the people in government (generally speaking) don't think that using gasoline is immoral.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:24 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Which changes what about pointing out that these things are lobbied for because they're profitable for certain people, not because they're in the public good? Like, is there something you're arguing with?

I don't think anyone's arguing or disputing the idea that people and industries lobby for things that profit them. They also advocate for things that won't profit themselves at all, especially in the case of "moral" issues.

I think my point was that legal law enforcement action, and government action in general, is legitimized by the democratic process, and thus tends to be pretty ok in my book.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Democracy: two wolves and one lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch.


i really like that metaphor, whether it's true or not is up for debate obviously ,but it sounds awesome. :D


You forgot the second half; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

It sounds great until you realize that well-armed people contesting the vote is one of many reasons democracy keeps failing in the Shiny Happy Friendly People's Free Democratic Republic of Congo.

Oh, and no, Franklin never said it :P

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby grythyttan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
PeterCai wrote:I know that it is, but i think that it will be in the mix a lot more if not for criminalization. I think that's a pretty reasonable assumption.

I would dispute that. What you're suggesting is that there are a significant number of people for whom the legality of cocaine is the only reason they won't try it. That doesn't seem realistic to me. To my mind, if you're prepared to accept all the physical downsides of using cocaine, the prospect of being caught by the police would not be a deterrant.
Just an anectode here. I haven't done a lot of drugs, and not because I don't want to be caught by the police but because I don't want to deal with drug dealers. If there was a reliable way to purchase drugs I'd probably go try a whole bunch.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby IcedT » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:10 pm UTC

I think the case of Portugal is pretty instructive here. Was their society overrun by an influx of new, dangerous addicts? Nope. Considering America's war on drugs has been an unqualified disaster it doesn't seem like we have a lot to lose.

CorruptUser wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Democracy: two wolves and one lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch.


i really like that metaphor, whether it's true or not is up for debate obviously ,but it sounds awesome. :D


You forgot the second half; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Sunshine! » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

Has anyone considered that the War on Drugs might be an unmitigated disaster because there are other societal factors that haven't been addressed that could dramatically reduce the crime level?

If we could address the problem of immigration in a valid manner, and spend more time providing better economic opportunities to low-income communities (which one could probably say are also likely to communities made up of immigrants or minorities), then there'd be far less incentive for youth to join gangs, or for people to participate in illegal activity to make a living because there are no jobs other than Wal-Mart.

We treat the War on Drugs like we treat any of our other wars: we go in, blow stuff up, yell "YEEHAW!!!" and then leave whoever's left standing to put their lives back together (see: Afghanistan in the 70's, Iraq and Afghanistan now) and we wonder why people start doing illegal stuff when we've CLEARLY made their lives better.

I'm not convinced that legalization has necessarily always been the best option, but given the circumstances I think we've fucked it up far too much to do otherwise by always wanting to jam our massive, weaponized national dick down the throat of any issue about which we can make an excuse to do so.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby IcedT » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

Sunshine! wrote:Has anyone considered that the War on Drugs might be an unmitigated disaster because there are other societal factors that haven't been addressed that could dramatically reduce the crime level?

Many people have, including what is probably a majority of the posters on this forum.

Sunshine! wrote:If we could address the problem of immigration in a valid manner, and spend more time providing better economic opportunities to low-income communities (which one could probably say are also likely to communities made up of immigrants or minorities), then there'd be far less incentive for youth to join gangs, or for people to participate in illegal activity to make a living because there are no jobs other than Wal-Mart.

I'm with you on immigration. I think everyone's aware that you can't expect people fleeing poverty and violence to politely wait years before entering the country, but some of us just really love sticking it to brown people I guess. Regarding gangs though- gangs have always been around and probably always will be. It doesn't even take poverty to produce groups of pissed-off kids. But without the drug trade, there's not a way for these gangs to get big or powerful, and not much reason for them to fight each other except for Costa Nostra-type honor shit, and even less reason to get non-gang members involved. Decriminalization would also do a lot to cut the astronomical incarceration rates for a lot of these poor minority communities.

Sunshine! wrote:We treat the War on Drugs like we treat any of our other wars: we go in, blow stuff up, yell "YEEHAW!!!" and then leave whoever's left standing to put their lives back together (see: Afghanistan in the 70's, Iraq and Afghanistan now) and we wonder why people start doing illegal stuff when we've CLEARLY made their lives better.
There's a simple explanation for that: people are short-sighted and make big decisions without an appreciation for what they're getting themselves into. Old news.

Sunshine! wrote:I'm not convinced that legalization has necessarily always been the best option, but given the circumstances I think we've fucked it up far too much to do otherwise by always wanting to jam our massive, weaponized national dick down the throat of any issue about which we can make an excuse to do so.
We here have a large group of people who feel validated when the government uses force against outsiders (immigrants, homosexuals, religious minorities, etc). We call these people "Conservatives."

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Glass Fractal » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:38 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Democracy: two wolves and one lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch.


i really like that metaphor, whether it's true or not is up for debate obviously ,but it sounds awesome. :D


You forgot the second half; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.


Which really doesn't make the least bit of sense unless you believe that the average person is as morally pure as a lamb implies. A better metaphor would be lots of well armed wolves deciding what to eat.


In any event, I hope some places listen to this report and put its suggestions into action. Perhaps it could set up a domino effect as more and more people get to see that de-criminalization doesn't destroy the countries that implement it.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Dark Avorian » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:16 am UTC

And in other news, the sky has just turned blue...

Seriously though, this has been said a billion times, and I'm just a bit ashamed no one has listened. I guess getting your holier-than-thou morality pants in a bunch is much more comfortable than actually thinking out a reasonable solution to reduce violence -- both from the "criminals" and the police, increase public health, and offer help to those who need it without fear of being smashed by the legal system.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the whole obsession with drugs, but I've got a little bit of a bigger problem with what's going on in the "War on Drugs".
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:22 am UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:And in other news, the sky has just turned blue...

Seriously though, this has been said a billion times, and I'm just a bit ashamed no one has listened. I guess getting your holier-than-thou morality pants in a bunch is much more comfortable than actually thinking out a reasonable solution to reduce violence -- both from the "criminals" and the police, increase public health, and offer help to those who need it without fear of being smashed by the legal system.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the whole obsession with drugs, but I've got a little bit of a bigger problem with what's going on in the "War on Drugs".


I would say with drug laws, what's best is a matter of degrees. I personally do not care which way the government comes down on relatively harmless drugs like pot (I err on the side of "look what happened with prohibition," but I also know how even "light" drugs* can dominate peoples' lives**) but there are drugs that are just plain destructive that should be kept illegal. An example is Meth. I work in the healthcare field, and let me tell you, it's devastating (just the drug itself, not talking about legal or societal implications).

*includes alcohol and tobacco, of course
**though that is possibly another argument for regulation rather than outright banning
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Thesh » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:25 am UTC

Interestingly, except for one person, everyone I knew (about 5 people) who did meth were fairly functional, recreational users smoking once or twice a week at most.

Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Adacore » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:32 am UTC

I suspect there's a selection bias there. The people you see in healthcare tend to be the less functional destructive drug-users, so healthcare workers will see drugs as more destructive than they are. Maybe?

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby SummerGlauFan » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:41 am UTC

Adacore wrote:I suspect there's a selection bias there. The people you see in healthcare tend to be the less functional destructive drug-users, so healthcare workers will see drugs as more destructive than they are. Maybe?

Possibly. However (and I know this is going to be unpopular around these, parts, but meh) it does need to be pointed out that all drugs are by no means equal. At. All.

I see people suffering much more from "hard core" drugs like Meth than from any of the "soft" ones like pot*, and there's significantly different addiction rates among drugs, too.

Much like the War on Drugs leaders who go and bomb poppy fields in South America with gusto, people who cheer "legalizing all drugs for everyone will make the world better!" are equally shortsighted.

*physically, not legally.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Thesh » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:14 am UTC

One of the points of the research paper is that just because you legalize it, doesn't mean more people are going to do it. If I wanted to get meth, I could get meth (legal or not). I simply choose not to do it.

That said, when it comes right down to it, I would accept more problems in exchange for more freedoms. The government has no business regulating what goes into my body. I say require prescriptions for antibiotics (so that we don't have bacteria that is resistant to all known antibiotics), but everything else should be available to me at my discretion.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Belial » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:35 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I see people suffering much more from "hard core" drugs like Meth than from any of the "soft" ones like pot*, and there's significantly different addiction rates among drugs, too.


The question is, what are criminal penalties doing to make that better? Meth is something you can make in a shed, do you imagine that the illegality is keeping anyone who wants it from getting it? Or is it just adding "and a bunch of people got shot/imprisoned/blown up" to the tragedy-list next to "this guy melted his own brain"?

No one's under the impression that meth or crack or heroin are GREAT STUFF, it's just that there isn't a straight line from "this shit is awful" to "so it should be criminal". At least not a line that results in anything being helped.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:13 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:One of the points of the research paper is that just because you legalize it, doesn't mean more people are going to do it. If I wanted to get meth, I could get meth (legal or not). I simply choose not to do it.

While I agree with you, it is worth keeping in mind that prohibition did decrease overall alcohol consumption in the US (while increasing the consumption of adulterated moonshine that was likely to kill you). I mention this only because while Portugal's model shows that it is far from a certainty that legalisation increases consumption, there is a possibility/likelihood that it may, and that should be acknowledged.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Plasma Man » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:35 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I see people suffering much more from "hard core" drugs like Meth than from any of the "soft" ones like pot*, and there's significantly different addiction rates among drugs, too.

Much like the War on Drugs leaders who go and bomb poppy fields in South America with gusto, people who cheer "legalizing all drugs for everyone will make the world better!" are equally shortsighted.
I don't think anyone's saying that, I'm pretty sure that those in favour of legalisation would mostly still restrict it to adults, the same way alcohol and tobacco are. Even with the really nasty drugs though, such as meth, I'm still of the opinion that regulation would work better than prohibition.
What I'd like to see is a sliding scale approach. Have cannabis at the bottom, regulated the same as tobacco or alcohol and thus able to be sold to adults provided the product meets quality standards. For the most addictive, or the ones that have the potential to cause most harm... I don't know, it's a tough question. The best answer I can come up with is maybe have them available only at specialist clinics, with medical supervision, explanations of the risks and supported with a decent anti-addiction program for those that want to quit. I know that's not perfect, but I still think it's better than the current system.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:56 am UTC

Belial wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:I see people suffering much more from "hard core" drugs like Meth than from any of the "soft" ones like pot*, and there's significantly different addiction rates among drugs, too.


The question is, what are criminal penalties doing to make that better? Meth is something you can make in a shed, do you imagine that the illegality is keeping anyone who wants it from getting it? Or is it just adding "and a bunch of people got shot/imprisoned/blown up" to the tragedy-list next to "this guy melted his own brain"?

No one's under the impression that meth or crack or heroin are GREAT STUFF, it's just that there isn't a straight line from "this shit is awful" to "so it should be criminal". At least not a line that results in anything being helped.


One of the worst aspects of the War on Drugs is the police focus on possession, and so prisons are overcrowded with people who had a small baggie of plant matter. I don't agree with arresting the users*; especially with stronger drugs, their lives are already going to be difficult enough without the stigma of a sentence hanging over them. It's the dealers taking advantage of people for a profit that I loathe (sounds similar to any big business, eh? ;) ) and who should be the target of legal action.

Plasma Man wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:I see people suffering much more from "hard core" drugs like Meth than from any of the "soft" ones like pot*, and there's significantly different addiction rates among drugs, too.

Much like the War on Drugs leaders who go and bomb poppy fields in South America with gusto, people who cheer "legalizing all drugs for everyone will make the world better!" are equally shortsighted.
I don't think anyone's saying that, I'm pretty sure that those in favour of legalisation would mostly still restrict it to adults, the same way alcohol and tobacco are. Even with the really nasty drugs though, such as meth, I'm still of the opinion that regulation would work better than prohibition.
What I'd like to see is a sliding scale approach. Have cannabis at the bottom, regulated the same as tobacco or alcohol and thus able to be sold to adults provided the product meets quality standards. For the most addictive, or the ones that have the potential to cause most harm... I don't know, it's a tough question. The best answer I can come up with is maybe have them available only at specialist clinics, with medical supervision, explanations of the risks and supported with a decent anti-addiction program for those that want to quit. I know that's not perfect, but I still think it's better than the current system.


You'd be surprised how often that view is actually touted, even on this fora. I, too, think drugs should be on a sliding scale (I even said as much) though highly addictive and dangerous drugs should remain illegal because of how destructive they are. I am all for personal freedoms, but any self-respecting society should have rules and means to prevent people from self-harm, to say nothing about other victims of drug addiction, like family and friends who are often cheated and scammed so the user can get more of the drug.

*Obviously not talking about committing a crime as a result of drugs, or driving while under the influence, etc.
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:37 am UTC

My personal belief about drug laws is that possession and cultivation should not be illegal, but sales should either be heavily taxed or still remain illegal. For some of the harder drugs (crystal meth, heroin, cocaine, &c.), I'd understand if even possession remained illegal, as long as the sentence was mandatory treatment
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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:56 am UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:
Thesh wrote:One of the points of the research paper is that just because you legalize it, doesn't mean more people are going to do it. If I wanted to get meth, I could get meth (legal or not). I simply choose not to do it.

While I agree with you, it is worth keeping in mind that prohibition did decrease overall alcohol consumption in the US (while increasing the consumption of adulterated moonshine that was likely to kill you). I mention this only because while Portugal's model shows that it is far from a certainty that legalisation increases consumption, there is a possibility/likelihood that it may, and that should be acknowledged.

Generally someone who was willing to follow the law and give up alcohol wasn't the sort who would drink enough to cause problems in the first place.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby weasel@xkcd » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:21 am UTC

I'm glad such a politically respectable group is saying what seems so obvious but I'm deeply disappointed in all the governments which have flat out said they're going to ignore the report. I've read statements from the US, UK and Aus governments calling the report misguided without any consideration of it.

While I'm not sure that full legalisation is the way to go (having been exposed to the the worst of heavy drug addiction during my childhood) partial decriminalisation as in the Netherlands and Portugal looks to have proved itself extremely effective. I would love to see the main responsibility for drug policy being placed in the hands of the public health departments rather than the criminal justice system.

Australia doesn't treat drug addiction nearly as severely as America, though in recent years the Christian right appears to have frozen any progress. The possession of cannabis for personal use has been decriminalised in Australia with some states even allowing the cultivation of a small number of plants without criminal sanctions. It's still illegal but the punishment is a caution, referral to a treatment program or small fine similar in nature to a parking ticket.

Equally progressive is the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, a "shooting gallery" staffed by health-care professionals and social workers. Studies have proven it to be extremely effective in saving lives and reducing the cost of drug abuse to addicts and the community (80% reduction in ambulance call-outs to the area, reduction in HIV/AIDS transmission, 50% reduction in visible evidence of drug abuse such as needles or public injection) but the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party have stalled any extension of the program. It is run by a Christian charity and offers a safe place to shoot up, they also provide all users with information about treating addiction of which about 80% eventually accept referral to treatment programs (not sure how many continue with the treatment but c'est la vie)

http://www.sydneymsic.com/
The "what we do" section of the site is particularly relevant to this topic. Sensible and practical harm-minimisation is an excellent strategy if a more radical overhaul of the system is politically infeasible.
http://www.sydneymsic.com/images/resources/pdfs/fact%20sheets%20msic_singles%20oct%202010.pdf
Here's their factsheet if you don't want to go browsing through their site. (off-topic, I'm going to miss having Nicholas Cowdery as the DPP, I always found his ideas sensible and progressive)
Last edited by weasel@xkcd on Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:37 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:27 am UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Generally someone who was willing to follow the law and give up alcohol wasn't the sort who would drink enough to cause problems in the first place.

Most definitely. But illegal producers tend to produce a lower quality product that hasn't been checked for safety, which is more likely to kill you quicker if you are a heavy drinker.

This is true for all products, not just alcohol and drugs. In the last couple of years in the UK we've had reports from our own drug advisory board pretty much saying that most marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and should be taken off the drug classification system. Cue the government producing reports saying that the stronger "skunk" variety is linked to schizophrenia and therefore all marijuana should remain banned. They just ignore the fact that you could legalise the low-strength varieties, just like giving alcohol a %-proof rating.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:31 am UTC

It's a sign of how little sense is talked about drugs by the UK government that the idea of marijuana being 10 (or 20, or 30) times stronger than it used to be has entered the popular consciousness, despite this being completely untrue.
I think weasel has a very good point about drug policy being made the responsibility of public health departments. The NHS offers support for those trying to quit smoking (something which is highly addictive and damaging to health, even though it's legal), so it would make sense to get them to offer programmes for those trying to quit other addictive substances as well. Of course, this will never happen, because of fears of "YOUR TAXES SPENT ON DRUGGIES" newspaper headlines, but it's a good idea.
Please note that despite the lovely avatar Sungura gave me, I am not a medical doctor.

Possibly my proudest moment on the fora.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

Ben Goldacre is one my limited number of heros. I really should remember to read his column more often. It's the only reason I buy the Guardian on occasion. Yes I know I can get it free on line, I just like to con myself that a fraction of the £1.50 I spend on all those dead trees ends up in his pocket.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby elasto » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:22 am UTC

No point making a new thread on this age-old topic. But it's worth celebrating every time a little common-sense tries to make itself heard:

Class A drugs should be decriminalised and drug addicts "treated and cared for not criminalised", according to a senior UK police officer.

Writing in the Observer, Chief Constable Mike Barton of Durham Police said prohibition had put billions of pounds into the hands of criminals. He said a controlled environment would be a more successful way of tackling the issue. Mr Barton suggested this could be done through the NHS.

The chief constable said he believed decriminalisation of Class A drugs would take away the income of dealers and destroy their power.

He said: "If an addict were able to access drugs via the NHS or something similar, then they would not have to go out and buy illegal drugs. Buying or being treated with, say, diamorphine is cheap. It's cheap to produce it therapeutically. Not all crime gangs raise income through selling drugs, but most of them do in my experience. So offering an alternative route of supply to users cuts their income stream off. What I am saying is that drugs should be controlled. They should not, of course, be freely available."

Mr Barton compared drugs prohibition to the ban on alcohol in the US in the 1920s which fuelled organised crime. He said some young people saw drug dealers as glamorous gangsters and envied their wealth. The officer said drug addicts must be treated and cared for and encouraged to break the cycle of addiction - they did not need to be criminalised.

He said: "I think addiction to anything - drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc - is not a good thing, but outright prohibition hands revenue streams to villains. Since 1971 [the Misuse of Drugs Act] prohibition has put billions into the hands of villains who sell adulterated drugs on the streets. If you started to give a heroin addict the drug therapeutically, then we would not have the scourge of hepatitis C and Aids spreading among needle users, for instance. I am calling for a controlled environment, not a free-for-all."

He said if the "war on drugs" meant trying to reduce illicit supply then it had failed. There were 43 organised crime groups on their radar in the Durham Constabulary area alone, he added.

Mr Barton is among a small number of top police officers in the UK who have called for a major review of drugs policy.

Danny Kuschlick, of campaign group Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: "We are delighted to see a serving chief constable who is willing to stand up and tell the truth - prohibition doesn't work."


link

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby addams » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:27 am UTC

Yes. We do have a problem.
A drug problem? I don't think so.

Well; What is the problem? The posters here seem to know.
Pot? What a non-problem. "Let the soft animal self, love what it loves."

The Gangsters? The Police?
There is a problem. Both are bad guys.

The Gardeners and the Gangsters are sometimes the same people and some times not the same people.
The Police victimize both groups. It is so sad. The Police Do rob people. The Police do plan raids that take cash and mature plants ready for the Harvest. It is so Medieval Europe. yuck.

Meth is a different issue.
I did a lot of reading about that stuff.
Please, don't do it. It is not made right.

Cocaine and Heroin and nearly anything is better than Meth.

Legalize and provide supervision and support.
Is drug use a waste of a life? yes. maybe.

Everyfuckingthing is a waste of a life.
If the person is supported and supervised, then The Sky is the Limit.

I have read and I have spoken to people on many different sides of the issues.
It is important. If we can figure out a basic Philosophy we might be able to help ourselves.

The largest obstacle The People will have is the Uniformed Police and the same men and women out of Uniform.
Those guys really do plan and rob people and it is up to the victim to prove their innocents.

It is impossible to stand up to a massive organization like that one.
And; Those guys are having fun. They get paid, well. They get the spoils of war. And; They are Big ole SomeBodies.
Not nice. Not nice.

The basics? One man said over and over to me, "The Laws for the people, Not the people for the Laws."
We want people to live healthy and full lives to contribute to our world in wholesome ways we can be proud of.

In the US we have a generation of abandoned people.
Profoundly undereducated and living in both poverty and despair.

The People can use the Agents and Agencies of our nation to help our people.
We must figure out how to stop the Agents and Agencies from doing so much harm.

The Prisons are FOR PROFIT! How Horrible!
Pot smokers and Gardeners in Hell Holes with brain damaged Meth users and Cancer victim that Fucked Up Police have misdiagnoses as Meth users and mentally ill and innocent All thrown in together with the Gangsters and only the good lord knows who else.

Cutting overhead and keeping the guards both satisfied with cash and frightened of getting on the other side of the bars is a fucked up way to work things. But it works.

I have spoken to both women and men that had been robbed by the Police.
Nearly every one is frightened of the Police. Not bad people. People.

Some educated and highly functional people, jump at the sight of Police.
I find that strange, but true.

I was talking to a guy with a BS and another guy with an MS.
We were talking about their work. Some one said, "Police."
It was like throwing a Wet blanket on the conversation.

I asked to talk about it. The younger of the two found it too upsetting and he excused himself.
Before he left he said.
"I am afraid of the Gangsters and Drugies. I am also afraid of the Police. I take a lot of security measures."

How sad. The Terrorists have won. The people are terrified.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby elasto » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:10 am UTC

addams wrote:Meth is a different issue.
I did a lot of reading about that stuff.
Please, don't do it. It is not made right.

Cocaine and Heroin and nearly anything is better than Meth.

Yeah. The UK dodged a bullet on that one thankfully:

(Spoiled for a bit OT)
Spoiler:
BBC wrote:Methamphetamine has been used worldwide for decades, devastating the communities where it is found. So why is it relatively unknown in the UK?

A little over five years since its protagonists first set out into the New Mexico desert to cook crystal meth in a battered recreation vehicle, the final episodes of TV drama Breaking Bad are about to be aired.

Telling the story of troubled chemistry teacher Walter White and his former student Jesse Pinkman's transformation into industrial-scale drug producers, it reflects a well-documented US problem.

According to the UN, methamphetamine - a term which includes the drug as a powder and its stronger and more addictive crystal form - was used by one million people in the US in 2011, down from 1.8 million in 2006.

The US is not alone in its experiences. In the Czech Republic, where it is known as Pervitin, it's a more serious problem than heroin, while in Greece a cheap and dangerous variant called sisa reportedly sells for two euros a hit. In New Zealand and Australia the UN estimates that it is used by about 1% of the population.

In the UK it's a different story - watching a Breaking Bad box set while slumped on the sofa is the closest most people are likely to get to the drug it features.

New figures from the Home Office estimate that in the past year about 17,000 people aged 16-59 in England and Wales took methamphetamine - fewer than for any other drug recorded. About 27,000 people had used heroin, 47,000 crack cocaine, 120,000 ketamine and two million cannabis.

"The prevalence has been pretty much confined to the male gay scene and even within that what you might call the heavy-end party scene of injecting crystal meth and promiscuous sexual activity," says Harry Shapiro of the charity Drugscope.

In the UK the drug is often used at sex parties and combined with others like Viagra and GBL, says Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist at the Club Drug Clinic in central London.

Most of its 300 or so referrals for using crystal meth are from London, but some are starting to come from other cities like Manchester. A small number are from the straight clubbing community, but they remain the exception, says Bowden-Jones.

"On the West Coast of America it's a drug of deprivation, in London it seems to be a drug of affluent gay men and in Eastern Europe it's associated with prostitution."

One of the reasons for its unpopularity may be that British drug users have plenty of other stimulants available to them.

"The UK is a relatively small drug market overall and it's a market that has been well served," says Shapiro.

That other drugs are finding a market is borne out by the Home Office figures, which suggest that in the past year 174,000 people used mephedrone, 211,000 used amphetamines, 415,000 ecstasy and 627,000 cocaine powder.

The UN World Drug Report warned in June that the UK has the largest market for "legal highs" in the European Union. A total of 670,000 Britons aged 15-24 had used them at least once, it said.

One of the report's authors, Thomas Pietschmann, suggests that crystal meth has simply never been in fashion in the UK. "You had pop stars taking cocaine, you didn't have pop stars taking methamphetamine."

Another barrier may be the lack of wide-open spaces in which to manufacture it, says Gary Sutton of the charity Release.

Highlighting the experience of the US and Australia, he says: "These are huge countries and it seems to me that some of the meth labs are situated in the middle of somebody's field which is half the size of Kent."

But while it may be difficult to imagine a mobile meth lab - smoke billowing from a tinfoil chimney - failing to attract the attention of hikers and Sunday drivers in rural England, this is not actually a barrier to production, says Pietschmann.

"You can have large production facilities, but you can also have kitchen facilities to do it," he says.

In fact, some methamphetamine labs hidden in houses and industrial units have been found in the UK.

Instead, Pietschmann points to the relative difficulty of getting hold of the chemicals and expertise needed to make methamphetamine, compared with somewhere like the Czech Republic.

The drug has long been a problem there because production continued after the end of WWII - when it was given to troops to keep them alert - and the necessary chemicals were made there during the communist era, says Pietschmann.

The fall of communism was also a factor, says Shapiro. "There was a large chemical pharmaceutical industry out there that found itself with not much to do, so it had an infrastructure of drug manufacture."

It is differences like this that can explain why a drug is present in one country but not another, he says.

"Usually there's a reason, country by country, why some drug trends develop and others don't. There's an automatic assumption that whatever happens in America's going to happen in the UK, but that doesn't happen."

And then there's the cost. According to Drugscope a gram of crystal meth can cost up to £260 in the UK, compared with £46 per gram of cocaine, £13 for a gram of amphetamine, £16 per 0.25g rock of crack and £11 for 0.2g of heroin.

For many drug users that's enough to put them off immediately, says Sutton.

There is another factor that may be relevant to the UK as a late adopter, says Shapiro - its "fearsome reputation".

Known for its fast and long-lasting effects, methamphetamine delivers a euphoric high, but deeply unpleasant side effects. Smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected, it can keep users awake for days.

There's a serious risk of cardiovascular problems, malnourishment through poor diet and, if injecting, blood-borne diseases. The problems of meth mouth - the tooth decay and loss associated with the drug - and "before and after" galleries of users would put off many.

But it remains possible that the drug's use could spread.

Seizures across Europe increased from 30kg in 2000 to 1,582kg in 2011 with many countries, including the UK, seeing an increase, says Pietschmann.

"What we have seen many times is that the gay community has been a sort of early warning," says Bowden-Jones.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby moiraemachy » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:28 pm UTC

Belial wrote:(...) criminalization and abstinence-only education both have only one line of defense when it comes to protecting people from their respective big-bads: don't do it. If you do, you're hosed. We've got nothing else for you.

So you have to ask: is (possibly) building a better (but still faaaaar from perfect) first line worth shafting everyone who slips through?

Maybe, for some drugs?

There is a huge distinction between decriminalization (not arresting users) and legalization (allowing people to produce and consume) of a certain drug, and IMO decriminalization is the worst of both worlds. Decriminalization increases drug use, which increases the money in the drug traffic market, which increases externalities related to drug traffic... which are precisely the worst thing about the war on drugs.

The reason decriminalization went forward is because it facilitates providing treatment for the addict, who is seen as a victim. But the regular user who is not addicted is far more common, and in a framework in which drug use produces traffic and crime, this guy is also a villain. The use of drugs produces externalities, so punishing users for these is fair and effective.

Now, in some cases, legalization would remove most of the externalities related to drug use, by killing traffic. Marijuana is one clear cut example. But what if this isn't the case with some other drugs? In this case, a war on that drug that forces addicts to undergo treatment that gives users some small jail time could be better.

Unfortunately, it seems that the only politically viable way to get legalization is through decriminalization.


skeptical scientist wrote:
Thesh wrote:I hate the idea of sin taxes. They are large taxes on what the people in the government believe is immoral (and they tend to be highly regressive).
On the other hand, there are large negative externalities associated with things like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. They cause health problems which often end up costing the public money. They can impair ones ability to drive safely, resulting in property damage, injury, and death. If there are public alcohol/drug treatment programs, these also cost the public money. It is entirely reasonable, from an economics point of view, to impose taxes which internalize this externality, whether the tax ends up being regressive or not.

This is exactly the same argument for a gas tax, even though the people in government (generally speaking) don't think that using gasoline is immoral.

They are not quite the same thing: with alcohol/drugs, you have to "screw up" to cause some harm, so it could be argued that these externalities should be addressed in a individual way, instead of splitting the blame through every user.

Also, I just realized I am responding from posts of years ago.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby addams » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

I think you have a core idea there.

Address the action of the person not the content of their blood or pockets or even the Tattoo.
It is hard to ignore a Tattoo. But; We must!

Judge the person by the Content of the person's character, not the content of their blood or pockets.

To spread the blame for what other White People have done to all White People seems a bit unfair.
All people that use or have ever used Meth are Retarded?

It is not true. Every stereotype has a root in a Truth of some kind.

That drug when manufactured wrong (wrong is easy) has extra little tid-bits in the mix.
Some of those other tid-bits cause damage to the tissues of the brain.

It will take some posthumous studies, to get some hard data.
At the moment, we still have victims.

Is it more of a shame for a person to have loss of cognitive function to
a) a car accident.
b) meth use
c) 3rd stage syphilis

How about we don't blame the victim?
Hard not to blame the victim.

Who is the most difficult person in your life?
Why? Is it the drugs? Is it a commitment to a Life you do not understand?

I don't know about you; I know about me.
I can be in the same room, breathing the same air, eating the same food, taking the same drugs as another person and all we have in common is proximity.

You?

I can be in a room with another person breathing different air, not eating at all, different drugs if any and have a great deal in common with that person.

You?

I am ready for the War to end.

You?

We are Human. A War makes a great Rally Point.
The Fight against Ignorance was a Huge Failure.
Concede the Point and take up another Banner.

The War of (?). Against ignorance has been waged and lost.
The War Against (?) oh I don't know. What do you want to fight?

Use drugs, Make them your friends.
Talk to professionals about it.

Of course, you wake up in a house full of professionals. right?

Spoiler:
I wish I did.
the cats are professional slackers.
They could give lessons.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby dii » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:18 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:i get wanting to decriminalize harmless substances like marijuana, but do people seriously think that legalizing cocaine is a good idea?


Cocaine is, when used properly, relatively harmless as far as hard drugs go. Of course, it's addictive as hell, and the long-term cognitive side-effects are unpleasant as well. But most of the really nasty effects mostly come from a) the adulterants, added by greedy dealers (levamisole is a common one) and b) ingestion methods such as smoking (technically, vaporizing) / injecting, causing lung damage / skin necrosis - especially when combined with a).

So like most drugs, the most harmful effects are either directly or indirectly caused by the actual criminalization of the substance itself.

Now, of course, even with perfect administration, and pure, unadulterated product (or, at the very least, one only adulterated with inert materials) there are of course dangers. No intoxicating substance is ever 100% safe to use. There are always risks involved, even possible risks to third parties. Excessive use can cause psychosis, delusions, violent behaviour, etc. which can be harmful to the user as well as others. Overdoses can happen. Mistakes can be made. But if we're going to look at this rationally, we need to figure out, which option causes the least harm: legalization, decriminalization or criminalization (or something in between, it's a spectrum and so on (Everything is a spectrum these days)).

Personally, I consider the most likely harm reducing solution for most "hard drugs", including cocaine, is to implement some kind of distribution solution, where these substances are distributed to users in a controlled way. Similar to how in some countries heroin is distributed to addicts free-of-charge, this could be extended to all "hard drugs" (ie. drugs that are considered sufficiently dangerous and addictive, by scientific evidence). There would need to be some safeguards in place, and preferably this would also involve offering the user possibilities to enter rehabilitation or treatment, but it would not be forced upon them.

That still leaves the question of recreational usage. However, if drugs that are not considered "hard drugs" are fully legalized, then I presume that this would also take away a large part of the recreational users of these substances.

This is probably not a perfect solution and needs lots of work on the details, but it's just what I think of the issue.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby addams » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:45 am UTC

I like the way you think.
Too often we are asked to judge the lives of others.

When we Think! We can be so very helpful and good.
It does require some thinking and many people are not qualified.

But; They think they are. There's fun.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:57 am UTC

I certainly think we need to move towards decriminalisation. Although I am exceedingly uncomfortable with decriminalising things like heroin and meth. Regardless law enforcement should leave users the hell alone and only focus on those who are profiting from the drug trade.

I would like to see a staggered approach, decriminalise cannabis and ecstasy, something similar to the Netherlands approach, see what changes, what were the benefits and negatives to society as a result and then adjust towards the harder more damaging drugs.

At the moment though, I am not sure I could ever agree with decriminalising and trading of drugs on the order of heroin. Although I don't think possession should be criminal.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby addams » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:53 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I certainly think we need to move towards decriminalisation. Although I am exceedingly uncomfortable with decriminalising things like heroin and meth. Regardless law enforcement should leave users the hell alone and only focus on those who are profiting from the drug trade.

I would like to see a staggered approach, decriminalise cannabis and ecstasy, something similar to the Netherlands approach, see what changes, what were the benefits and negatives to society as a result and then adjust towards the harder more damaging drugs.

At the moment though, I am not sure I could ever agree with decriminalising and trading of drugs on the order of heroin. Although I don't think possession should be criminal.

If it became a medical matter, then some reasonable approaches may be found.

Meth is so awful. Not because people want a high of some kind.
People want that, for as many reasons as there are people. More.

There are more reasons than there are people. I am sure of it.
I want coffee in the morning. Do I need it? no! It is additive.

I have gone through the headache for three days several times.
I still want coffee. One day I want it to get me going,

Another day I want it because it reminds me of people I have loved.
(shrug) It's a drug.

If drug use becomes a medical matter, we can move toward sane living.
Many drugs allow for sane living. Very few are No Go drugs.

Meth is so awful because of the way it is made.
That is what I came to believe after doing the reading and doing the interviews.

What are Meth users looking for? Is there a safer way to deliver that?
Meth may be a special case.
What is safe and produced by drug companies that will fill the needs of The People?

Cocaine and Heroin have been with us a long time.
We can live with the drugs. We can not and should not live with poor behavior from our people.

I do not know much about the way The People live. I have been around heroin addicts. I did not know they were heroin addicts for a long time. They had a laid back lifestyle. (shrug) I thought they were easy going people. Their home was clean and they had interests that were interesting to me. One day they said they were sick.

Sick? I have a background in Nursing. I was ready to step in and take care of everyone.
As I was doing an assessment it became clear. They would be back up and feeling fine when their friend came in from The City.

I was sad about it. I was able to do little things they were not up to, that day.
Then they moved away to The City. Heron addicts can be as Normal as your next door neighbor.

They can also be as strange as your Father's weird uncle. The drug does not make the person.
What does? Each person is a product of both Nature and Nurture.

Beer, Pot, Tomatoes, tobacco. These things can be produced by any person with a little ambition and some luck.
These things should be in the same store on different shelves.
Remember; It has not been that long sense only crazy people ate tomatoes. They were believed to be poison, by most.

The more concentrated and complex drugs need professionals to make them and monitor them.
The more complex drugs and the use of those drugs needs professional oversight. I don't want to take on producing any drugs.
I have an education that tells me, "With all my education, I am not qualified to do that."

I know there are people, I have talked to them, that believe they are qualified to make, use and monitor these very complex substances. I think they are wrong. I also think many would turn to good compassionate professionals, if that were a choice.

What are we aiming at? To stop loss of life? Then no automobiles and all teen age men must be constrained.
It is not loss of life that is our final goal; it can't be. We will never beat death. We will never beat existential angst, either.
As smart as we are, we will never beat stupid, either.

It is Quality of life that we must be aiming at. We want more and better for ourselves and each other. Right?

If we are truly doing our best, it will be good enough. We are falling so short it is shameful.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Global War on Drugs has Failed

Postby moiraemachy » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:40 pm UTC

addams wrote:(...)How about we don't blame the victim?
Hard not to blame the victim.

BattleMoose wrote:(...)Regardless law enforcement should leave users the hell alone and only focus on those who are profiting from the drug trade.


There is a lot of ground between "rot in jail immoral junkie" and decriminalization. Even in Portugal there are dissuasion committees. I propose something harsher than that, but certainly not more than a year in jail. The thing is, making safer for people to use drugs makes drug traffic more profitable. I get the impression that the violence generated by traffic is not so big in Portugal and in the Netherlands (look at their homicide rate. In Portugal drug abuse deaths are more common than homicide), so it is understandable that this negative side of decriminalization was much smaller than the benefits.

Marijuana should be legalized, and pushing for decriminalization is a shitty middle ground. It might not be a gateway drug, but through it you find your gateway dealer.

Also, something else: I'm not very familiar with the logistics of drug traffic in the US, but if cocaine and marijuana are decriminalized and their use increase, wouldn't it be awful to Mexico?


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