Drugs, Addiction and Morality

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by ScaryMonster, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    It is clearly not working with the others either.
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  3. DRZion Theoretical Experimentalist Valued Senior Member

    If cocaine was legalized it would spread like the plague, please don't bundle them together like that. MJ is practically decriminalized in my parts and it is easier for a minor to get than alcohol. A line has to be drawn somewhere and right now its at marijuana, but thats not saying much.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Cocaine was once legal and it did not "spread like the plague." My grandfather sold it in his pharmacy, along with Heroin, a trademark of the Bayer company.
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  7. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    ...LOL! Geez, Fraggle, you can't even see that the key phrase in that statement is "...sold in his pharmacy...."?

    Cocaine wasn't sold on the streets by greedy drug dealers or gang members or terrorist organizations, etc. It was a "controlled" substance by virtue of being "...sold in his pharmacy".

    Fraggle, I'd be willing to be that your grandfather sold lots and lots of things in his pharmacy that would be considered highly illegal in today's world ...and might have even been considered illegal back then. The "pharmacy" was a highly respected trade/enterprise right up there with doctors and dentists ...who also were permitted to sell/use/prescibe/etc lots and lots of things that weren't available to the general public on the street corner.

    Personally, I'm beginning to think that we should bring in gazillions of tons of cocaine, heroin, MJ and every other drug there is ...bring them in giant dump trucks ...and dump them out along city streets free of charge. Just keep dumping tons of illegal, dangerous drugs until billions of people, kids and adults, have died of their own greedy need for easy pleasures.

    Baron Max
  8. DRZion Theoretical Experimentalist Valued Senior Member

    You can still get [synthetic] heroin in pharmacies, but it is regulated. It has certainly ruined several lives, including that of Rush Limbaugh when there was a scandal as to his abuse of these pain killers.

    There is decriminalization, legalization, and deregulation. Even alcohol and tobacco are regulated, these painkillers are legalized and heavily regulated. So is medical MJ.

    I do expect that MJ may some day become simply regulated, much like alcohol and tobacco. But don't expect this to happen for any other drugs.

    I think the deeper question is whether or not its okay to regulate your feelings and emotions using drugs (be it alcohol or MJ or cocaine) or whether this should be done through therapy or through a healthy life style.
  9. John99 Banned Banned

    Exactly. Of course it seems many peole dont want to acknowledge that. Even lead was used in paint and they painted plates with it.

    And how the hell is weed safer than cigarettes?
  10. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    In terms of its toxicology, weed is fairly mild comparison to more socialy acceptible drugs like tobacco, and alcohol. It is not - as some advocates would have you beleive - completely benign though - but fuck it, neither is tapwater

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    While weed smoke does contain some carcinogens ( name one thing that doesnt get blamed for causing cancer these days

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    ) it's not nearly as carcinogenic as tobacco smoke.

    A few alarmists will focus on the fact that weed smoke contains carcinogens, but neglect to mention that most recent research suggests that, unlike nicotine, THC binds to cell receptors outside of the lungs.
  11. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    That's one of the key arguments in support of legalisation.

    Take drugs off the streetcorner, remove the prohibitions that feed organised crime, and make them available through controlled, licensed distributors.
    As you rightly acknowledge, it worked in the past so why not try it again.

  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    No, it was completely different then. The drugs were controlled ....and that means that they were controlled all over the nation. There were no drug dealers, meth labs, drug pushers at schools, etc. See? The difference is the society and the criminal elements ....completely different now. Nope, ain't even close to the same argument for legalization.


    As to dumping the drugs into the streets, I was trying to be a bit sarcastic, but also playing to my normal contrariness of hoping that trillions of humans would take the free drugs and kill themselves with over-fuckin'-doses.

    We could solve all the world's problems in one fell swoop ...no humans, no problems. No pollution, no overpopulation, no human natural disasters, no human viruses/pandemics/epidemics, etc.

    Baron Max
  13. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    Times have changed, but the argument is still the same.

    If drugs are controlled all over the nation it destroys the black market - it creates opportunities for taxation to mitigate health risks - and education for potential users before they become users/addicts. It got rid of the "dealers" when prohibition of alcohol was repealed - and it made alcohol safer and less related to other crime (not saying its crime-free now of course).

    Dunno if I buy into it completely, but controlling (or at least trying to) the black market supply has only succeded to make drugs purer, cheaper, and more available. Attempts to control demand have been nothing short of laughable.
    Not sure I'm comfortable with taking control of drugs from one group of criminals and giving to another one though. But the evidence from countries like Holland where "soft" drugs are decriminalised, and addicts are treated more like patients rather than criminals, show significantly better results in terms of reduced drug use, reduced addiction, ageing demographic of addicts (i.e. few new addicts, and older addicts surviving), and reduced drug related crime overall, in comparison countries like the USA which have a viagra-like hardon for law enforcement.

    We havent really made much concerted effort controlling the other leg of the supply chain tho - production. I read an intersting idea recently - has interesting political implications too - western governments, in conjunction with pharma - buy opium / coca / etc direct from the producers and cut out the terrorists / drug barons at the source.
    Might be worth a try

    so was I
  14. DRZion Theoretical Experimentalist Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, it seems that regulating hard drugs will simply put the power in the hands of different people - they won't be readily available to anyone and so those with access will be granted power. If you can get it cheaper at the pharmacy than from unauthorized dealers then you will have a profit margin, but if you make it more expensive it won't sell or will only sell to those who really need it.

    Here is an interesting article about weed -
    supposedly new strains of weed termed 'skunk' have very high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content but no CBD (canabidiol). This is due to selective breeding for extra THC content.

    Pure THC has psychotic effects while CBD has anti-psychotic effects.. mixed together they make for a very different high than pure THC. It would be interesting if some grower out there went in the opposite direction and grew a strain with extra CBD especially for people with mental illnesses.
  15. sifreak21 Valued Senior Member

    how come weed marijuana is a drug but cigeretts arnt?
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Drugs are too easy to produce. Marijuana is an extremely hardy weed that will grow wild almost anywhere. Opium poppies thrive in the climate that corresponds almost exactly to the latitude of some of the world's most dysfunctional governments. Coca grows in the hinterlands of South America where corruption and poverty have more power than weak governments.

    Refinement of drugs from these raw materials is not rocket science. From opium to cocaine to methamphetamine, the small labs that produce the finished product are the most intractable links in the supply chain.

    In the modern world with an economy dependent on extensive international commerce and private travel, it's impossible to prevent those drugs from being moved across international borders.

    So controlling supply is impossible. Shut down one producer and someone with a more efficient organization, more weapons, and more corrupted cops and other government agents will take over. This increase in the cost of production will result in increased cost to the consumer. This leads to the ridiculous phenomenon of users committing crimes to finance the use of drugs made from plants whose farmers earn subsistence wages.

    This is why most governments focus on controlling demand. This can be modestly effective in countries with draconian law enforcement like Iran and China, but who wants to use them as models? It is arguably ineffective in free countries like the United States. My parents assured me that alcohol consumption increased during Prohibition because we are not an authority-loving people, and many Americans went to speakeasies, patronized bootleggers, and set up operations in their own homes, just to make a point that the government has no right to tell consenting adults what they can put in their mouths. My mother lamented the fact that Prohibition got women going to bars, which had previously been the exclusive province of men and of girls who were not "nice."

    Drugs were available in the old Soviet Union. Drugs are available in America's prisons. Clearly if you increase the price of a commodity to the point that only gangsters are willing to take the risk inherent in its commerce, supply will be uninterrupted and demand will keep pace.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    When I was young enough to know a fair number of people who remembered the 1930s, they told me (and I have read a few accounts over the years that corroborate this) that the campaign against marijuana arose as part of the rising tide of racism against Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans in the Southwest during the Great Depression.

    Hard times often turn people against each other, and they're most likely to turn first against the ones they regard as "outsiders." Marijuana was not terribly popular across America in those days. Musicians were into it because there is considerable truth to its reputation for slightly throttling down left-brain function and causing a modest increase in creativity and other right-brain functions. But most Americans never even thought of using it. But it was popular among the Mexican immigrant community, because as a weed growing wild in Mexico it was a real cheap high for poor folks, and it was easy enough to bring it across the border.

    This was virtually ignored by the general population and by the authorities. Contrary to D.A.R.E. propaganda, marijuana is not known for triggering violent, antisocial behavior like alcohol, and the people who smoked it simply did not do much of anything to make themselves stand out. In an era when people did not bathe as regularly as we do, deodorants were not as popular, garbage was not managed as meticulously, factories did not clean up their smoke, some towns still had horse shit in their streets, and because of all of this strong perfume was commonplace, the smell of marijuana did not stand out like it does today so you could walk down the street smoking "a reefer the size of a cigar" (to quote an old jazz musician I talked to) and nobody would even give you a second glance.

    But the racial discrimination of the 1930s (does "they're taking our jobs" sound familiar?) created a need for a reason to jail or deport Mexicans. The criminalization of alcohol in the 1920s emboldened the government to do the same with other drugs, so marijuana was the logical target. The infamous "Reefer Madness" movie was government propaganda aimed at teenagers, much like today's D.A.R.E. lectures, full of exaggerations and outright rubbish, are aimed at younger children. Of course even then adolescents were rebellious and would try anything, but there was no epidemic of teenage marijuana use like there was in the 1960s as a manifestation of the Generation Gap.

    They also outlawed cocaine and heroin, which my grandfather had been selling in his pharmacy. "Heroin" is a Bayer Corp. trademark: "It makes you feel like a hero!"
  18. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle - the concept of controlling the production side wasnt to try to wipe out production - thats about as likely to succeed as anything else thats been tried.

    Instead you take the terrorists / warlords / drug barons etc out of the equation by - for example - setting up an opium marketing board in Kabul and guaranteeing the growers you'll outbid all other buyers for the opium.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Well that would be sensible. Considering that all that money (around $13B per annum) is going into the treasury of the Taliban, this is a classic and frightening illustration of the Law of Unintended Consequences: "You can never do just one thing." By criminalizing heroin our shit-for-brains government is, in effect, funding a large portion of the international anti-Western terrorist movement. Shit howdy, isn't that just so much better than respecting the Constitution and letting consenting adults have their damn drugs?

    I assume that your opium marketing board will wholesale it to corporations who will produce heroin of pure quality and consistent dosage, to vastly reduce overdose deaths, and sell it at free-market prices to consumers, which will eliminate the drug-poverty-crime cycle. I would let poor Bayer AG have first right of refusal, since they trademarked the name "Heroin" in the first place.

    Anyone who's expecting the opium marketing board to just throw it in a big pile and burn it, just doesn't understand what thirteen billion dollars in bribes can do to even the most respectable citizens!
  20. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

    Thats the general idea yes - although bear in mind that the substances from which drugs like Heroin and cocaine are derived from also have "legitimate" uses in Pharma.

    Of course its not going to work for all drugs - not sure how it could be applied for drugs which are completely, or mostly, synthetic like Methamphetamine
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    And that's just another weak spot where bribery induces corruption and results in the "legitimate" supply being raided and siphoned off to the black market.
    The same problem does not exist because the Taliban is not involved so it doesn't matter if the same solution can't be applied. Legalize methampetamine and corporations will be turning it out in chemically pure doses, selling it at reasonable prices, and making a fabulous profit. Everybody wins.

    The only drug that will be hard to corporatize is marijuana, because it grows practically anywhere and city dwellers can just grow their own in window boxes. Still, commercially grown marijuana could be sold so cheaply that no one would bother with the considerable effort of cultivating it on a second floor balcony.

    Of course since you brought up meth, the issue comes up that some drugs truly are worse for the users than others. But in my observation (and one that has been echoed by many others), one of the main reasons there has been such an explosion in the use of "alphabet soup" drugs is the criminalization of marijuana. Most people were pretty content to smoke pot back in the day. (And those newfangled vaporizer thingies even make it unnecessary to ream out your lungs with smoke any more.) But the crackdown made it really expensive; it's very bulky and hard to conceal; it stinks and betrays its presence wherever you keep it; and it shows up in a urine test a frelling month later. So people started experimenting with other drugs that are cheaper and easier to get away with.

    I'll wager that if pot is relegalized, you'll see a dramatic dropoff in the use of meth and all these other new inventions.
  22. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Of course you can. We have laws prohibiting prostitution, having sex with minors, assault, murder, etc. We formerly had laws requiring people to turn in runaway slaves, and that law was in place for a while. All of that has a moral dimension, Of course people break those laws, but the proof of legislatability is that the law passed will never be broken, then nothing can ever be legislated.

    Second, the belief that Prohibition increased crime is somewhat overstated. The homicide and violent crime rates went up, but ...

    From Chapter 6 - Role of Tobacco and Alcohol in the Drug Legalization Debate from "Drug Legalization: Myths and Misconceptions" by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The homicide rate went up, but in a way that is not clearly linked to Prohibition.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  23. ScaryMonster I’m the whispered word. Valued Senior Member

    I think the prohibition of alcohol was flouted by so many of the American population and to such an extent that enforcing it became untenable.
    It's a strange fact that temperance groups gained so much political influence in the late 1920's that they got alcohol banned even though most people would not have wanted it.

    I'd imagine that it was a reaction against the so called roaring 20's, certain puritanical groups would have seen it as a sign that the United States was falling into decadence.
    I'm sure they saw the great depression as a sort of divine retribution for the excesses of the 20's (which it was but not in that way).

    Laws prohibiting prostitution, having sex with minors, assault, murder, etc differ from the prohibition law in that so many individuals broke this law, even high profile individuals like Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (J.F.K's father) smuggled spirits across the Canadian-American border.

    And so many people were in favor of being able to drink alcohol that it had a very slight social stigma, as opposed to prostitution (I don't think prostitution is legal per say, only soliciting for sex on the street is illegal) having sex with minors, assault, and murder which everyone in their guts knows, are wrong.

    But ask yourself, "Is using Cannabis Evil"?

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