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 Primetime Investigates - War Without End

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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:42 am

soubresauts wrote:
Lestat wrote:
By legalising anything you put it on the road to social acceptance.
There may be something in that, but what difference does it make? The great and the good are still consuming the drugs, illegal or not.

Now this is an interesting one indeed. Smoking (nicotine) is a hard enough drug to get off in my limited experience - despite the cost, the smell, the dark mental shadows, it's always easier to 'give up next year, sure' rather than to make that last one you're smoking now your very last. I have no problem staying off drink, in fact the biggest pain in the hole with not drinking is other tools constantly missing your old drunken, falling-down stairs, sleeping under trees self. Thanks lads. Chocolate is also hard to give up somehow scratch

I'd argue that smoking is now being managed by our society and is very far from the road of social acceptance - it is being driven into the social Outback if you ask me. I think society is doing this through simply being honest - when I smoked I despised the choking, eye-stinging pubs where I was trying to have a conversation and a few pints (about twenty) and I especially hated it around food and still do. Other than that or in an enclosed space, smoking is none of my business. Nor should smokers be villified and taxed upto the tonsils for smoking their drug; in this I hope the European Commission wins/won that case taken against Ireland for price infringements - I think it's downright criminal what is being done to smokers with the price - there is just no basis for it and I genuinely hope our crowd in Leinster House get beaten with a big stick for it.

I'd imagine the legalisation of heroin or cocaine if it is ever done will have to be done with some authority and sensitivity - cannabis and hallucinogenics should perhaps be treated similarly to drink - recreational but impairs reactions or can have other mild or otherwise negative effects. Where do the opiates and narcotics fit in then ? They can't be promoted the way fags can't be but criminalisation or prohibition isn't the answer either; and the established addicts can be treated but what about the new markets and customers - how would that be approached in a society where very addictive drugs might be legalised ? This question to the supporters of that side of the argument.

Hermes wrote:
Electricity isn't an emotive subject, ecstacy is. Why is this? Truthfully answer this question and you'll know why criminalisation is repugnant.
I nearly took ecstasy once but I was too shy - I was also a bit afraid. The couple who wanted me to take it were very pushy and I didn't like that at all - they simply assumed it would be good for me or I would enjoy it or something. Why don't people ask each other if they want advice before lumping it out to them auto-pilot style ?

With that small rant I believe that ecstasy is totally harmless, gives you a good time, makes you feel in love, helps you lose weight and is truly a wonderful recreational drug as long as you don't hit a bit of coca on the way down, is that right ? Why it's outlawed so bad here (what's the penalty for use/possession/selling btw ?) is a good question but I'd say it must be to do with massive conservative strands in our society and whether they themselves are set up by more concerted forces is a question too far for me.

I'm not sure I'd like the people who do ecstasy if they push it on you like they did in my experience - maybe the fecker was a drug pusher ? ( I thought he was my landlord )
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:54 am

Quote :
With that small rant I believe that ecstasy is totally harmless, gives you a good time, makes you feel in love, helps you lose weight and is truly a wonderful recreational drug as long as you don't hit a bit of coca on the way down, is that right ? Why it's outlawed so bad here (what's the penalty for use/possession/selling btw ?) is a good question but I'd say it must be to do with massive conservative strands in our society and whether they themselves are set up by more concerted forces is a question too far for me.

I'm not sure I'd like the people who do ecstasy if they push it on you like they did in my experience - maybe the fecker was a drug pusher ? ( I thought he was my landlord )

Supposedly the reason ecstasy was banned in the UK was because the alcohol lobby saw the illegal raves as a serious threat to their business.
I think people whodo ecstasy try to push it on others because they really really enjoy taking the drug and feel that everyone else would enjoy it just as much, and would thank them for giving it to them once they've tried it.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:06 am

Alcohol versus Ecstasy - drug wars eh ? mighty interesting... is there evidence or stories or other mischief available to corroborate this ? It sounds like it could be true ! If you are familar with the Fable of the Bees then Vice can be a very good source of quick economic activity. Drink is a particularly good one for facilitating vice as quoted recently from Macbeth:

Porter: Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.
Macduff: What three things does drink especially provoke?
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.

Macbeth, 2. 3


I see your point about the happiness pushing - you might understand, however, that people who get a hit from watching a progress bar during a download might not be so easily converted to a chemical like ecstasy although you have my interest piqued now. It would also sort out my dancing problem I believe?
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:21 am

I don't have any evidence or links or anything to back up the alcohol v ecstasy thing, I think I heard it on a BBC documentary some years ago.

I think ecstasy sorts out dancing problems only in so far as it makes you not care about your arms and legs flailing wildly out of rhythm.
I'm kind of reluctant to say ecstasy is a good drug, because I don't want to be seen as some kind of pusher or advocate. All drugs are dangerous etc, but ecstasy does make for a good night out.
It's really up to yourself whether or not you want to take it.
There are downsides though. Much like alcohol provides hangovers.

I did Macbeth for my Leaving Cert and always remembered that quote. Probably the only one other than 'is this a dagger I see before me'.


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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:17 am

AfricanDave wrote:
I'm confused here.
Was Hermes' 'No' in response to Lestat asking him to deny believing what he wrote or was he saying he doesn't believe all he wrote?
I believe all he wrote anyway.

Thanks AfricanDave, I appreciate that.

I most certainly believe in what I've written. It'd be a bit rich for me to expect you folks to believe it if I didn't. This is way too serious a subject to be tooling around in and I'm very conscious that many more folks read and will read what is written here, than just us folks who do the writing. That's not to say that we have to completely lose our sense of humour or perspective, tis good to break the monotony with a chuckle or two. Nonetheless, tis a very serious subject and in my experience, it's one of the few times I've seen such a discussion online, progress smoothly.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:10 am

When I was younger there was no such thing as ecstasy but it sounds like great stuff indeed. I like to go jiving some Friday nights and I will give it a fling tomorrow. I know where a lad has a bag of them hid so I will gobble down a fistfull because the older ladies out here keep me on the floor all night. I will be twirling them so fast tomorrow night that their knickers will burst into flames.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:24 pm

Hermes wrote
Quote :
The tip of the iceberg I've described, exists despite the criminalisation of drugs. Until decriminalisation occurs, these problems will continue to be complexified beyond our ability to tackle and solve them. Drugs are very available and in my opinion, the mystical and forbidden aura surrounding them, thanks to criminalisation, serves to attract new users rather than act as a deterrent. Drugs have become a rite of passage in our society, thanks to criminalisation.

I'm not in favour of the legalisation or decriminalisation of drugs for a number of reasons - and not because I'm in favour of letting the Dark Side have control as opposed to the government. For me that's not the issue at all.

But let's start by looking at alcohol which is in a very different league to tobacco.

At the moment we trust the goverment to regulate the sale of alcohol and the Gardaí to enforce those regulations. Yet what we have is a tremendous level of public order disturbance caused by alcohol, we still have drink driving, we still have publicans selling alcohol to people under age, we still have publicans selling to people who are drunk. We still have serious issues here with chronic alcoholism and a culture that sees fifteen year olds celebrating their junior cert results in a pool of vomit on the side of the street somewhere. And this is with regulation? The vintners lobby is incredibly powerful. Legalise drugs and we end up with another vested interest group and the same problems as we had before except that we can pat ourselves on the back and say that everything is under control. I'm not buying that.

Possession of a controlled substance should remain a criminal offence and those substances that are currently criminalised should remain criminalised.

We're not going to be any closer to winning the war on drugs by legalising them. How does that work? I toddle along to my local DrugStore to the man who has a monopoly and is supposed to uphold the regulations. I buy what I need in there - maybe up to a limit and then go down the road and buy some more and some more elsewhere. Lucky me that it's cheaper than it was while it was criminalised. It's now easier to buy, it's on the road to being socially acceptable, it's easier to get someone else addicted alongside me because, hey, if the government thinks it's suitable for legalisation there must be nothing inerently wrong with it.

Because we still haven't dealt with the core issues:
a) we ban drugs because they are dangerous either in the long or short term. That won't change with legalisation.
b) we live in a society where people like to find ways not to be present to themselves, either through drink or through drugs and it's that, rather than the lure of the inaccessible that makes drugs of all kinds desirable
c) people do not take drugs of any kind in a vacuum which is the context in which legalisation might seem to make sense. They do so in a social context. There isn't an isolated heroin addict or raver who needs 26 (and I've heard that in court) Es on a night to keep him happy.
d) regulating the price might do something for preventing the kind of crime that's associated with feeding a heroin and cocaine addiction, but if that involves limiting the amounts people can access, then the crime problem remains. As do all the social issues of drug addiction.

To say it's about individual choice is an abuse of the rights argument; I'm entitled to make free choices, I'm entitled to wreck my brain or overdose myself - if I want to. Firstly either in the short or long term all of the drugs that are currently banned have an impact on mental function. Secondly it is the job of society and government in a civilised world to protect its people.

We do not give people a choice about keeping AK-47s in their utility room because society accepts that it's not enough to rely on individual responsibility.

You do not protect individuals and society by creating a market whereby there is free or even relatively access to substances which are inherently dangerous, whether that's cannabis or heroin.

Who is to say that in twenty years time we wouldn't have a class action taken against the government in a similar way to that in which smokers take a class action against tobacco companies, if not for glamourising then at least for recklessly allowing free-for-all access to that which is known to be inherently damaging to life, body and brain function and and society in general? Because remember, we don't do legalisation and regulation well in this country.

In an ideal world, drugs would be legalised and the bad guys would go out of business. But we don't live in an ideal world, we live in a world of human beings who will do more harm to themselves and others if drugs of any and all kinds are legally available under whatever restrictions.

No matter what way we try to regulate there will be loopholes that will be abused and there will continue to be people who start taking drugs somehow or another and want or need a way to continue.

We have a whole industry and series of services designed to get people off drugs, to show that their urines are clear, that the cannabis which stays in their system for weeks is not going to impair their driving. Or the ecstasy that they're taking isn't going to have them jumping on the bonnets of parked cars outside nightclubs.

Those who argue for the legalisation of drugs, I would respectfully say, are those with their heads in the sand.

Judge John Neilan presides over District No 9 which includes Tullamore, Mullingar, Althlone and Roscommon. Every time someone comes up before him on a section 3 or a section 15 charge he asks them who provided them with the drugs and if it's a 15, how many people they have contaminated by selling or supplying cannabis or ecstasy or heroin or whatever it happens to be. They rarely answer. I happen to think that contaminate is a good word in this context.

People deal in drugs for either or both of these two main reasons: they want to feed their own habit or they want to make a profit. There are no other reasons. You eliminate the dealers by making it not worth it - the price has to far, far outweigh the payoff.

Increase the fines under section 3 to make it financially prohibitive for anyone convicted after being caught with a trace of heroin or one E tab.
Add a mandatory Community Service order, yellow vests and all.
Conviction under Section 15 of the MoD Act should come with a mandatory one year, non-discretionary prison sentence, with a sliding scale for varying amounts up to 13k worth.
Conviction under 15A should carry a life sentence.
Leave to appeal a drugs conviction should be strictly limited.
Drug-proof prisons in the American style.
Invest further in rehabilitation and addiction services that are abysmally resourced.

In the context of all that, I have a concern that it's often those who can least afford to be taking drugs who end up with the greatest difficulties and may not be in a position to pay fines. That, unfortunately is the price we've come to pay for poor decisions and investments in the past at national and local government level. But eliminating the dealers will eventually deal with that.

There will be a market for drugs for as long as there is any kind of an econcomy that makes it profitable, financially or otherwise, to sell them.

Yes it hurts, but it's supposed to. Legalisation is a panacea, not a solution.


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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:27 pm

Anyone remember 905's dancing avatar? What was he on?

There seem to be two intertwined discussions here (at least) - one being should all "self-mood-medication" be allowed for everyone - totally down to individual freedom/personal choice (presumably without age limit?). I suppose the logic then would be that all pharmaceutical drugs would also be "off prescription" and sold on the open market.

The other strand in the thread is how can the consumption of things that damage us be reduced or prevented.

I only once ever saw anything on drug consumption that seemed to be evidence based and my memory of it is hazy - it was about heroin consumption in Hong Kong. To the best of my memory, the experience had been that the state of the economy had more effect than heavy policing - police get corrupted too easily, apart from anything else.
I think I recall that having been quite a bit higher, consumption dropped down to about 10% of the population when the employment situation improved?

Heroin and cocaine eat the soul. The person you knew is gone away and their brain is physically adapted and changed to require it and interact with it. The same is true of binge drinking. I have a very different take on it to most people on this thread. There are a lot of women in Mountjoy self harming, by cutting themselves. I don't see that as a free will issue, I think it is a social issue and we share responsibility for the society we live in.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:14 pm

soubresauts wrote:
Now you're playing with words. The Government performs a controlling role in relation to the trade in alcohol and cigarettes; why not with drugs? Who do you think controls the narcotics trade?

Obviously criminals do. Legalisation isn't a solution. Unless of course you think that decriminalising mugging is a solution to street crime. The answer to street crime and drug crime is the same. Remove the criminal from society.

soubresauts wrote:
Some of us take these issues seriously.

Anybody who advocates decriminilisation as a solution to our drug problem isn't being serious.

Auditor #9 wrote:
Nor should smokers be villified and taxed upto the tonsils for smoking their drug;

Of course they should. Not alone are smokers damaging their own health but they are damaging the health of people around them. By taxing their habit they make a contribution to the inevitable health care they will need in later life. You'd also hope that smokers could find a better use for their money than burning it. As for vilification, that would go some way towards making the habit socially unacceptable.

Auditor #9 wrote:
Why don't people ask each other if they want advice before lumping it out to them auto-pilot style ?

So you'd like your pusher to hand out information leaflets before supplying their product.

Auditor #9 wrote:
With that small rant I believe that ecstasy is totally harmless,

Oh dear.

youngdan wrote:
When I was younger there was no such thing as ecstasy....

It was invented in 1912. How old are you? Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:42 pm

Lestat wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Nor should smokers be villified and taxed upto the tonsils for smoking their drug;

Of course they should. Not alone are smokers damaging their own health but they are damaging the health of people around them. By taxing their habit they make a contribution to the inevitable health care they will need in later life. You'd also hope that smokers could find a better use for their money than burning it. As for vilification, that would go some way towards making the habit socially unacceptable.
I think you'll find that smokers will have more than paid for their healthcare during their lives. Maybe if they were treated half fairly in terms of the money they spend because of a serious addiction they'd use that extra money for other household bills like energy, food, heating their homes. Cigarettes in Germany are just over half the price they are here which is quite expensive for Germany but I'd guess that as many people smoke here as they do in Germany. Also, the increase in the price has done very little to reduce the incidence of smoking in the last five years - why persist with an illegal, unfair, ineffective practice ? Class actions against the government indeed...

Auditor #9 wrote:
Why don't people ask each other if they want advice before lumping it out to them auto-pilot style ?

That was a personal observation about interacting with people generally, no need to take it out of context or put it into a context that isn't there.

Auditor #9 wrote:
With that small rant I believe that ecstasy is totally harmless,

Lestat wrote:
Oh dear.
As far as I know which isn't very far, if I decide to take ecstasy then I won't die the first time unless I am unfortunate to get a pill contaminated with other poisons which have been put there as a result of an unregulated market (some clubs in The Netherlands will test your pill for you on the way in to see if it's impure, I believe)
As far as I know, the substance itself in it's pure state as fit for human consumption is as dangerous as alcohol or nicotine in terms of the harm a small amount will initially do to your body; the issue as with many other things is the culture and acceptance and spread and misuse of that drug and the spin-off effects of it. Is everyone who uses it compelled to use it every Saturday night or more often or is it some fraction of that population or what. Or are ALL users compelled to use other drugs along with it or what fraction do so or what ?

I'm not advocating using it at all, nor am I saying it should be personal choice which dictates but I am saying that there is little evidence to support any claim that ecstasy is wildly dangerous and indeed there seems to be a case for some regulation where pills may be tested for impurities.

If you have stats and studies then please please use them. Even personal anecdotes will do.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:54 pm

Lestat wrote:

Obviously criminals do. Legalisation isn't a solution. Unless of course you think that decriminalising mugging is a solution to street crime. The answer to street crime and drug crime is the same. Remove the criminal from society.

Drugs and mugging are two completely different things. Drug trading supports a massive criminal industry, and spawns a plethora of further drug related crime, social and health problems.

Possibly a significant portion of muggings are drug related.


Lestat wrote:
Anybody who advocates decriminilisation as a solution to our drug problem isn't being serious.

Anyone who does not consider the case for lifting prohibition properly is not taking it seriously. Moving the supply chain from scumbag gangsters to regulated outlets introduces a competition which kills the illegal market. I though it was well established the black markets can't exist beside an above board same price market?

It doesn't mean a free for all. Trading drugs outside of the regulated chain would still be illegal obviously.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:00 pm

Nobody has said how this regulation will work.

For instance, will there be an age limit - as there is with the purchase of alcohol but is not enforced?

Will there be a limit to the quantity that can be bought - as with paracetamol, for example, which you can buy in 43 supermarkets one after another if you want?

Will only registered drug users be able to purchase from them?

Black markets can and do exist where people can't get access to what they want in the quantities that they want and at a price that's affordable for them at a payment schedule that they can negotiate.



In all of which cases we still end up with stuff available that is dangerous to mind, body and society.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:06 pm

I'm taken aback by the sheer number of red herrings and straw-man arguments thrown in by the anti-legalization posters here. I'd like to point out all of them, but life is too short...

Maybe I'll have some time over the weekend, but Sunday night is out; gotta watch that match!
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:17 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Heroin and cocaine eat the soul.

I agree and it is the same with most drugs, they are anything but recreational if someone is addicted. Even some of the medications that Doctors perscribe have serious consequences. In business be very warry of any person on drugs legal or otherwise, I am convinced that drugs such as Pro-zac seriously imper judgement, as for discission making on cocaine !*!@#.

I can understand the arguments for legalising, removing it from criminals, pure supply, taking the profit element out of the equation etc. However when I look at the track record of the Tobacco and Alcohol industry in pushing their wares I am less than sure that one form of problem would not be replaced by another.


Kate P I agree

You would need to be very careful how you did this. There are all sorts of problems. We think immigration is a problem now just think of the possible inflow post legalisation. Would criminals use here as a base, would there be a black market? We would have to be exceedingly careful if we were heading down this road. I can see an argument for marijuana given we have legal alcohol but cocaine, heroin etc are an entirely different order of problem.


Some people have personalities that make them very vulnerable to addictions and compulsive behaviour like gambling. Average person may try a substance and think, "Oh well what was all the fuss about", another may thing, "I want more".

Who picks up the cost of addiction? At the minute it is the victims of crime under a legalised system I suppose it would be the friends and family. Would legalisation increase use? Probably, so in the long run we also have the costs of a segment of the population on long term use, the medical costs, the periods of illness, etc

How do you foster an attitude that the use of such substances really is not acceptable? Will we have to employ addicts under fair employment legislation?

With regards the criminals that sell this stuff what they are doing is pedalling death by increment and the sentences should reflect that.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:39 pm

A bloody good argument Kate!

Now we're talking and can get down to the nitty gritty.

Kate P wrote:
But let's start by looking at alcohol which is in a very different league to tobacco.

At
the moment we trust the goverment to regulate the sale of alcohol and
the Gardaí to enforce those regulations. Yet what we have is a
tremendous level of public order disturbance caused by alcohol, we
still have drink driving, we still have publicans selling alcohol to
people under age, we still have publicans selling to people who are
drunk. We still have serious issues here with chronic alcoholism and a
culture that sees fifteen year olds celebrating their junior cert
results in a pool of vomit on the side of the street somewhere. And
this is with regulation? The vintners lobby is incredibly powerful.
Legalise drugs and we end up with another vested interest group and the
same problems as we had before except that we can pat ourselves on the
back and say that everything is under control. I'm not buying that.

Allow me to be sarcastic, not at yourself but at society in general. The Government has screwed up healthcare - let's criminalise healthcare. They've made a joke of education - ban that as well.

Okay sarcasm done with, I realise my sarcasm sidestepped the point you're making. But I really needed to say it. To deal with what you've said here, let me put it this way:

You're saying: that despite the fact that alcohol is not an illicit substance, and that in spite of the fact that the State controls the sale of alcohol, that they are failing to regulate the abuse of it. Or possibly that they cannot regulate the abuse of it. Eventhough our gardaí and our courts are trying to regulate it, that they cannot do so either. If alcohol were made illegal would this fact change?

It's my opinion, that it would not and if you examine prohibition in the US, the evidence suggests that the problems would increase, rather than decrease. The US has recognised that prohibition was a massive and very costly mistake (one that they're still paying for), yet they insist on prohibiting other drugs (under the snazzy title of the "war against drugs"). They've not learned from their mistake - we should.

I'm not saying the shite we have to put up with is acceptable, it's not. I'm not saying that we shouldn't punish those who under the influence of alcohol, break our laws - we most certainly should. But I'm not for a moment of the opinion that we should punish those who consume alcohol who don't break our laws.

I apply the above argument for drugs too.

Kate P wrote:
Possession of a controlled substance should remain a criminal offence
and those substances that are currently criminalised should remain
criminalised.

Have you any idea of the number of substances that grow naturally around Ireland that can be used to get high? Most of them are not presently controlled. I'll not start naming them as it's not my intent to start new crazes. Once you start to draw that line you cannot stop.

Oxygen is a drug. Twas a fad in the US a few years ago, where bars started to sell it. Pure oxygen causes euphoria. I spose it'd not be realistic to try to ban it - the withdrawl symptoms are quite devestating. What about chocolate? Chocolate is a mood altering drug that makes you happy and it's quite addictive too (as Audi pointed out earlier). Should we lock Audi up for a few months to see if we can cure his addiction and remove his criminal activity from our eyes. The truth of the matter is Kate, that we all self-medicate. The difference is the degree of the self medication and its effect. If Audi goes on a sugar and chocolate inspired killing spree (sorry for Using you as the guinea pig Audi) we have laws that will punish him. Just like we have laws that will punish anyone else who perpetrates a crime against an individual or society under the influence of any other drug.

Kate P wrote:
We're not going to be any closer to winning the war on drugs by
legalising them. How does that work? I toddle along to my local
DrugStore to the man who has a monopoly and is supposed to uphold the
regulations. I buy what I need in there - maybe up to a limit and then
go down the road and buy some more and some more elsewhere. Lucky me
that it's cheaper than it was while it was criminalised. It's now
easier to buy, it's on the road to being socially acceptable, it's
easier to get someone else addicted alongside me because, hey, if the
government thinks it's suitable for legalisation there must be nothing
inerently wrong with it.

I hate that word - "legalising" - in reference to the criminalisation of drugs. It gives the impression that one is arguing that to not use drugs should be criminal. I'm looking for decriminalisation not legalisation.

Let's look at marijuana. Most folks will try out marijuana sometime during their lifetime. The vast majority of these people will have a positive experience. It's not a matter of making it socially acceptable, it already is socially acceptable. Antisocial behaviour is not acceptable however and this is the case whether it's facilitated by drugs or not.

Fair enough, if drugs are decriminalised, you will get folks who'll spend their last cent on getting wasted, just like we have folks who spend everthing they have to stay drunk. They're a minority. And the truth is, that they're already doing it. Of course there'll always be newbies, but that happens regardless as to whether decriminalisation happens or not.

Another big difference that ought to figure in this is the purity of drugs. Most overdoses happen for one of two reasons.

i. Scumbags mix impurities with drugs to increase bulk and thus profit. Decriminalisation solves this.

ii. Because users are accustomed to using a certain amount of a particular substance, that's normally vastly bulked with impurities, it's simple to overdose if the level of impurities varies, which is mostly the case. Decriminalisation solves this too.

I doubt it very much Kate, that you'd either start bulk buying drugs or that you'd try to get others hooked on drugs, if they were decriminalised.

Kate P wrote:
Because we still haven't dealt with the core issues:
a) we ban drugs because they are dangerous either in the long or short term. That won't change with legalisation.
b)
we live in a society where people like to find ways not to be present
to themselves, either through drink or through drugs and it's that,
rather than the lure of the inaccessible that makes drugs of all kinds
desirable
c) people do not take drugs of any kind in a vacuum which
is the context in which legalisation might seem to make sense. They do
so in a social context. There isn't an isolated heroin addict or raver
who needs 26 (and I've heard that in court) Es on a night to keep him
happy.
d) regulating the price might do something for preventing
the kind of crime that's associated with feeding a heroin and cocaine
addiction, but if that involves limiting the amounts people can access,
then the crime problem remains. As do all the social issues of drug
addiction.

a) Very correct. Though I still disagree with the term: "legalisation." I should add though that there are many other reasons too for the ban. One of them being that due to the availability and ease of growing these substances, they'd be quite impossible to regulate and tax sufficiently to cover the losses that would occur what with the competition that alcohol would encounter (AfricanDave made this point earlier).

b) That's definitely a factor but moreso with adults than children. I believe that the lure is a bigger factor with children. This lure depletes with time and your factor takes over.

d) That's a tricky one (if one views the government in the light that I do). But it's not hard to solve if profit is not your only concern. Set the price at where scumbags stop bashing the heads in of old women for the price of their next fix. If profit remains the going concern it just illustrates that the government are no better than the scum who presently control the market.

c) Again correct. 26 E's is nothing. A mate of mine once downed something like 300 mushies after being on the piss all day with me. "Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." I think Oscar Wilde said that. Can we criminalise excess? Let's start locking up rich folks, those of the "big boned" persuasion, hard workers, winners, etc. Let's confine oursellves to locking up folks for acts that harm individuals (not those who hurt themselves) and groups of individuals. If we are to include what's not considered scenic, we're talking about jailing the ugly.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:39 pm

Kate P wrote:
To say it's about individual choice is an abuse of the rights argument;
I'm entitled to make free choices, I'm entitled to wreck my brain or
overdose myself - if I want to. Firstly either in the short or long
term all of the drugs that are currently banned have an impact on
mental function. Secondly it is the job of society and government in a
civilised world to protect its people.

We do not give people a choice about keeping AK-47s in their utility room because society accepts that it's not enough to rely on individual responsibility.

You do not protect individuals and society by creating a market whereby there is free or even relatively access to substances which are inherently dangerous, whether that's cannabis or heroin.


You're right, it's not an argument that deals solely with personal choice. And indeed, it should be the governments duty to protect it's people. To protect its people from hunger, thirst, exposure, ignorance and harm perpetrated by others. They're not doing very well are they?

It's not the government's duty to protect me from myself, the closest they may come to this is to educate me.

You may not be allowed to own an AK47, but you may get a shotgun or a handgun (revolver or pistol). Thanks to McDowell, it's perfectly acceptable for me to take matters into my own hands if someone invades my home. More to the point, the law rightfully recognises my natural right to self defence.

And you're quite correct when you say that you do not protect individuals and society by creating a market where there is free or otherwise access to dangerous substances, like McDonalds, rat poison, heroin or cannabis (cannabis being the safest of this lot). Then again, creating markets has very little to do with providing protection. And as I've said already, it's perfectly lawful to harm yourself, up to the point of killing yourself. The law and the idea of protection becomes relative should you choose to harm someone else.

Kate P wrote:
Who is to say that in twenty years time we wouldn't have a class action
taken against the government in a similar way to that in which smokers
take a class action against tobacco companies, if not for glamourising
then at least for recklessly allowing free-for-all access to that which
is known to be inherently damaging to life, body and brain function and
and society in general? Because remember, we don't do legalisation and
regulation well in this country.

The class action will only succeed if it can be proven that the State intended to push these substances down folks' necks and were reckless as to whether this would cause harm. I'm not saying it won't happen, afterall, some "big boned" folks have attempted to sue the likes of McDonalds (in fairness though, McDonalds do try to push their product down your neck). On the other hand, I have the right to body integrity and I get to decide what constitutes "integrity." My lawsuit would have a better chance at success, in my opinion (I'd not bet the bank in either case mind you).

Kate P wrote:
In an ideal world, drugs would be legalised and the bad guys would go
out of business. But we don't live in an ideal world, we live in a
world of human beings who will do more harm to themselves and others if
drugs of any and all kinds are legally available under whatever
restrictions.

No matter what way we try to regulate there
will be loopholes that will be abused and there will continue to be
people who start taking drugs somehow or another and want or need a way
to continue.


Well said. Particularly the last sentence.

Kate P wrote:
We have a whole industry and series of services designed to get people
off drugs, to show that their urines are clear, that the cannabis which
stays in their system for weeks is not going to impair their driving.
Or the ecstasy that they're taking isn't going to have them jumping on
the bonnets of parked cars outside nightclubs.

No we don't. We have a shitty little industry trying to make a profit out of misery and designed specifically and only to keep the little guy in his place. Whatever happened to performance deciding on whether one could do a job or not? And for the record, when was the last time (or even the first time) that someone took the piss out of Biffo to see if it was drugs that was impairing his performance?

Cannabis stays in your system for up to three months.

It'd be cheaper and a whole lot fairer to only test those who are accused of breaking the law. This random testing shite smacks of guilty until proven innocent, and I for one would refuse point blank to this humiliation and infringement of my rights.

Kate P wrote:
Judge John Neilan presides over District No 9 which includes Tullamore,
Mullingar, Althlone and Roscommon. Every time someone comes up before
him on a section 3 or a section 15 charge he asks them who provided
them with the drugs and if it's a 15, how many people they have
contaminated by selling or supplying cannabis or ecstasy or heroin or
whatever it happens to be. They rarely answer. I happen to think that
contaminate is a good word in this context.

The good judge will never suffer for lack of customers. That in itself illustrates his absolute failure.

If it comes to choosing between upsetting a man wearing a wig and a dress, and upsetting someone who'll happily stick a hole in my head after performing a similar service with a family member of mine, I'll not need to put a lot of thought into my choice.

Kate P wrote:
People deal in drugs for either or both of these two main reasons: they
want to feed their own habit or they want to make a profit. There are
no other reasons. You eliminate the dealers by making it not worth it -
the price has to far, far outweigh the payoff.

If you could find a way of making that work it'd be excellent. Unfortunately life is very cheap. A lot cheaper than the drugs being sold. Approach this problem from the opposite side and you begin to
solve the problem: enrich life. Part of this process of enrichment would be decriminalisation, decriminalisation would save many lives and this could not be argued to be anything other than adding value to life.

Kate P wrote:
Increase the fines under section 3 to make it financially prohibitive
for anyone convicted after being caught with a trace of heroin or one E
tab.
Add a mandatory Community Service order, yellow vests and all.
Conviction
under Section 15 of the MoD Act should come with a mandatory one year,
non-discretionary prison sentence, with a sliding scale for varying
amounts up to 13k worth.
Conviction under 15A should carry a life sentence.
Leave to appeal a drugs conviction should be strictly limited.
Drug-proof prisons in the American style.
Invest further in rehabilitation and addiction services that are abysmally resourced.

In
the context of all that, I have a concern that it's often those who can
least afford to be taking drugs who end up with the greatest
difficulties and may not be in a position to pay fines. That,
unfortunately is the price we've come to pay for poor decisions and
investments in the past at national and local government level. But
eliminating the dealers will eventually deal with that.

Jaysus! Ouch!

I disagree totally with the concept of fines. It turns the legal system into a similar entity to our two-tier health system. That's to say that the poor get punished and the rich get to do as they please.

We could increase jail time. But that wouldn't work either. We can't afford the shite prison service we provide currently.

Yellow vests? Too expensive. Little yellow stars would be cheaper Wink. Besides the yellow jackets might lead to confusing the criminals with those who legitimately breast feed their shovels. Community service
should be something everyone should be encouraged to participate in. Defining it as a punishment tends to negate that possibility.

Kate P wrote:
There will be a market for drugs for as long as there is any kind of an
econcomy that makes it profitable, financially or otherwise, to sell
them.

Yes. But it's not the whole picture. There will be a market or a desire for drugs as long are there are drugs and people.

Kate P wrote:
Yes it hurts, but it's supposed to. Legalisation is a panacea, not a solution.

There is no solution, the problem itself is not adequately defined. Decriminalisation as its first intent, seeks to solve the problems that arise from criminalisation. Solving problems associated with the
missuse of drugs is, for the most part, a whole new ball game and in fairness, criminalisation doesn't even recognise this, much less begin to tackle it.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:28 pm

Thanks for that Hermes and I agree with much of what you say in general - except that I don't think decriminalising is the answer.

Having said that, I think it would be an interesting exercise here if we were to choose one drug and look at how and why people take it, get it and supply it, its effects on society, the individual and others. And look more closely at the specific for and against arguments for legalising/decriminalising/regulating it. And how that would, could, should be done. And make a solid effort to look at the research (social, scientific, cultural, etc) on both sides and use that research to support the arguments.

We're not going to solve anything here in half a dozen posts each, because let's face it, if it was that easy it would have been done long before now. But it might be worthwhile working through the specifics with one particular drug. It would make the argument a lot more concrete, less open to misinterpretation, generalisation and strawmanning.

What think ye?
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:28 pm

I think that putting this down as a free will issue is misleadingly abstract.

Humans have abused intoxicating substances for as long as there have been humans. The crows in my back garden get completely falling down pissed when autumn comes and there are lovely rotten apples under the trees.
In Waterford when they excavated the Viking settlement they found big blackberry fermenting pits. Most tribes around today use hallucinogenic or relaxing drugs of some kind or another. Drink and drugs have been used before going into battle for thousands of years to give "Dutch courage". There was in earlier history a lot of connection between intoxication/hallucination and religion, and even now we have a problem with intoxicated priests after too many masses in one day.

Mind-altering substances have been used to escape, or give highs, for thousands of years. What has changed now I think is the vast commercialisation (both legal and illegal) of production and distribution of the substances, the increasingly addictive forms of the substances that are developed and produced (this goes for cannabis too) and also the pressures people are under in fractured societies and in poverty. A lot of poorer women in Ireland depend very heavily on cigarettes and will lose big chunks of their lives and health as a result. One obvious thing is that where communities and individuals are under such strain that they will sacrifice their health for a bit of stress relief, something needs to be done about their situation.
I might agree with the freedom of choice argument more if there was an even playing field in terms of peoples' vulnerability.

The more commercialised and profitable drug sales and distribution is the more I think people will be subjected to them. I think there is an unwillingness in this thread to face up to how much damage is done by addiction, just as there is an unwillingness of anti-drug propogandists to admit to the enjoyment to be had from mood altering substances and the fact that very many people take them without coming to harm.
No easy answers, so I agree with Kate P that we need to bring some evidence with us if we are going to get any further with this.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:38 pm

Here's a BBC report about an article in the Lancet which classified drugs based on the harm they do. It is surprising....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6474053.stm

I couldn't get the original Lancet article because their website is asking for a username and password
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:48 pm

AfricanDave wrote:
Here's a BBC report about an article in the Lancet which classified drugs based on the harm they do. It is surprising....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6474053.stm

I couldn't get the original Lancet article because their website is asking for a username and password

Thanks AfricanDave, that is a handy bit of information.

Quote :
Scientists want new drug rankings

Ecstasy use is widespread
The drug classification system in the UK is not "fit for purpose" and should be scrapped, scientists have said.
They have drawn up an alternative system which they argue more accurately reflects the harm that drugs do.

The new ranking system places alcohol and tobacco in the upper half of the league table, ahead of cannabis and several Class A drugs such as ecstasy.

The study, published in The Lancet, has been welcomed by a team reviewing drug research for the government.

The Academy of Medical Sciences group plans to put its recommendations to ministers in the autumn.




Auditor #9 - I don't see chocolate anywhere on that graph - I think you are in the clear.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:22 am

Good stuff - a drug graph. Alcohol is pretty high up there isn't it ? Thank God caffeine isn't there either along with chocolate - one must have a vice or two. Tea and Tunnocks tea cakes it is as a nite cap bom
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:38 am

Kate P wrote:
I'm not in favour of the legalisation or decriminalisation of drugs for a number of reasons - and not because I'm in favour of letting the Dark Side have control as opposed to the government.

We're not going to be any closer to winning the war on drugs by legalising them. How does that work? I toddle along to my local DrugStore to the man who has a monopoly and is supposed to uphold the regulations.
With reference to the last point on this post, the only evidence we have of controlled substances so far are nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate. All are drugs in a way because all are often taken compulsively. Sugar is another, indeed don't people get into 'carbs' in such a way as they get a buzz from pasta ?

So a lot can be learned from how we treat these things at present and alcohol in particular in my opinion.


Squire wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Heroin and cocaine eat the soul.

I agree and it is the same with most drugs, they are anything but recreational if someone is addicted. Even some of the medications that Doctors perscribe have serious consequences.
When you have to have that one pint too many it should start to worry you, shouldn't it ?

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Anyone who does not consider the case for lifting prohibition properly is not taking it seriously. Moving the supply chain from scumbag gangsters to regulated outlets introduces a competition which kills the illegal market. I thought it was well established the black markets can't exist beside an above board same price market?

It doesn't mean a free for all. Trading drugs outside of the regulated chain would still be illegal obviously.
That's wise. There is no real black market in drink but there is one for cigarettes because of the idiotic price.

Hermes wrote:
Fair enough, if drugs are decriminalised, you will get folks who'll spend their last cent on getting wasted, just like we have folks who spend everthing they have to stay drunk. They're a minority. And the truth is, that they're already doing it. Of course there'll always be newbies, but that happens regardless as to whether decriminalisation happens or not.

Another big difference that ought to figure in this is the purity of drugs. Most overdoses happen for one of two reasons.

i. Scumbags mix impurities with drugs to increase bulk and thus profit. Decriminalisation solves this.

ii. Because users are accustomed to using a certain amount of a particular substance, that's normally vastly bulked with impurities, it's simple to overdose if the level of impurities varies, which is mostly the case. Decriminalisation solves this too.

Can we criminalise excess? Let's start locking up rich folks, those of the "big boned" persuasion, hard workers, winners, etc. If we are to include what's not considered scenic, we're talking about jailing the ugly.
Could it be that drug-taking is simply unavoidable for portions of our populations ? No matter what price the fags will be there will always be trading in and use of them ? And do people have a fundamental need to entertain themselves or to give themselves problems and stress ? Isn't it the case that we need a certain level of stress to survive ? If the environment doesn't provide this stress then we possibly put ourselves into dodgy positions involving anything from fast cars to drug taking (that's a bit of gonzo psychology and sorry I can't provide links to back it up)

Could it also be that drug-taking has some rite-of-passage function for certain agegroups and normally passes for everyone though some gurus keep at it til their dying day, just to keep up to speed on developments, pardon the pun.

Kate P wrote:
Having said that, I think it would be an interesting exercise here if we were to choose one drug and look at how and why people take it, get it and supply it, its effects on society, the individual and others. And look more closely at the specific for and against arguments for legalising/decriminalising/regulating it. And how that would, could, should be done. And make a solid effort to look at the research (social, scientific, cultural, etc) on both sides and use that research to support the arguments.

What think ye?
I see great opportunities for Big Brother if I ever get in charge .. Twisted Evil

cactus flower wrote:

Mind-altering substances have been used to escape, or give highs, for thousands of years. What has changed now I think is the vast commercialisation (both legal and illegal) of production and distribution of the substances, the increasingly addictive forms of the substances that are developed and produced (this goes for cannabis too) and also the pressures people are under in fractured societies and in poverty.

The more commercialised and profitable drug sales and distribution is the more I think people will be subjected to them. I think there is an unwillingness in this thread to face up to how much damage is done by addiction, just as there is an unwillingness of anti-drug propogandists to admit to the enjoyment to be had from mood altering substances and the fact that very many people take them without coming to harm.
No easy answers, so I agree with Kate P that we need to bring some evidence with us if we are going to get any further with this.
And that's it - drugs are impossible to avoid given their history and association with culture and religion in some cases. It's really high time we as a society in Ireland started looking at it maturely and I'm sure there are responsible debates on that out there. This thread seems to be a part of that.
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PostSubject: Re: Primetime Investigates - War Without End   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:52 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Good stuff - a drug graph. Alcohol is pretty high up there isn't it ? Thank God caffeine isn't there either along with chocolate - one must have a vice or two. Tea and Tunnocks tea cakes it is as a nite cap bom

Two addictive substances if ever there were addictive substances. I'm inclined to overdose on the Teacakes (no others will do) when reading the papers on a Sunday morning.

But more interesting there is the point you raise about having a vice or two. One 'must have'... It's hard to get much research about addictive personalities - whether there's a strong scientific basis to the term or not. In the meantime, this site does a good job of myth-exploding about dependence and addiction - and sugar gets a mention here too, Audi!

Link here

This New York Times Article does look try to gather some of the science about the common personality traits in those who become addicted.
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