Drugs, Drugs, Drugs!

The Government\’s consultation on drugs is coming to an end. If you haven\’t already told them what you think then do so here.

Of course, this bloke doesn\’t go far enough. All drugs should be legal.

It\’s your body, your\’s to ruin or not as you wish. So go tell the Statists that.

20 comments on “Drugs, Drugs, Drugs!

  1. But drug addiction does impose social costs on the national community at large.

    Taxpayers are obliged to pay for the costs of the NHS whenever it provides healthcare for the ruined lives of drug addicts and if healthcare is to be rationed, as many believe it will be, then treatment for incapacitated drug addicts is at cost to treatment for someone else.

    As Uncle Milt put it: There are no free lunches.

    Tim adds: And as Uncle Milt put it, legalise the damn things.

    http://www.mpp.org/site/c.glKZLeMQIsG/b.2263745/k.CDA/Milton_Friedmans_letter_to_Bill_Bennett.htm

  2. But that’s just it, Bob, people have no choice of opting out of the NHS and then that lack of freedom is used to argue that other freedoms, such as taking drugs, should not be allowed on the basis that they might impose costs on the NHS. We see a cascade of impositions all stemming from this earlier one.

    A health system that took account of the individual’s risk-taking propensities, e.g. an insurance-based model, would dispense with this nonsense.

  3. “And as Uncle Milt put it, legalise the damn things.”

    Yes – but Uncle Milt sure didn’t also advocate socialised medicine like we have in the NHS.

    I know the JS Mill stuff:

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” JS Mill: On Liberty
    http://www.utilitarianism.com/ol/one.html

    But Mill was writing long before we had the NHS and he could implicitly assume with reason that if someone was addicted in his time to, say, laudenam then they or their families would have to pay for the consequences – the costs of addiction would be internalised by the individual/family, in modern jargon. Besides, Mill was a bit naive and probably had in mind acts of self-harm such as suicide or self-flagellation of the kind that Gladstone was given to indulging in private:
    http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-9780812966411-1

    If that is what turned Gladstone on then he should be allowed to get on it it. But drug addiction now costs taxpayers who are compelled to pay for the cost of NHS healthcare for addicts – or for incapacity benefits because addicts are so stoned out of their minds to work for a living. In addition, there is the serious risk of prolonged abuse of a popular street drugs, like canabis, leading to schizophrenia in due course, which is certainly debilitating and possibly a threat to the community at large:

    “Use of street drugs (including LSD, methamphetamine, marijuana/hash/cannabis) and alcohol have been linked with significantly increased probability of developing psychosis and schizophrenia. This link has been documented in over 30 different scientific studies (studies done mostly in the UK, Australia and Sweden) over the past 20 years.”
    http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html

    Of course, taxing schizophrenics is a splendid idea but I can’t see that catching on. As for taxing street drugs – that’s laughable as there would be widespread evasion.

  4. Bob says:

    “As for taxing street drugs – that’s laughable as there would be widespread evasion.”

    That’s a huge assumption. Legalisation would increase production capacity and scale, dramatically cut down the extended distribution networks and reduce the need for large profit margins to ofset legal risks. The resultant drop in price would likely offset any increase due to taxation. Thus taxation would likely not alter the prices beyond which punters are already willing to pay.

    In addition, the punitive levels of taxation on cigarettes and drink, have not led to evasion on a scale that negates the gains to the Treasury. A legal drug market would be only available in the UK thus preventing the use of the Continent as a tax avoidance route. Indeed, the attraction of overseas custom would probably that the French and Germans would help pay for our health service.

  5. I assume the argument that “legalisation and taxation are not possible because of evasion” was also made at the time of alcohol prohibition in the US.

  6. You are evading the very real medical concerns about the well-documented link between persistent abuse of popular street drugs and the frightening prospect schizophrenia.

    As for the likelihood of the evasion of taxes on street drugs, remember that several of the drugs can be cultivated in back gardens or greenhouses or manufactured in home laboratories. By comparison, tobacco has to be imported into Britain which should make it easier to track and tax. Despite that: “Tobacco smuggling involves serious widespread criminality and costs over £2.5 billion a year in lost revenue. Since the launch of the ‘Tackling Tobacco Smuggling’ strategy in 2000, the illicit cigarette market has been reduced to 15 per cent, down by more than a quarter from its peak.”
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2005/pn03.htm

    Tim adds: Bob, we went through this recently. Even the proponents of the schizophrenia scare think it only caused 400 cases a year. Those who look at the actualy figures also note that there has been no rise in schizophrenia in the last 50 years, while drug use has soared.

  7. Mark – We’ve been through that farce before with the exercise on the disposal of nuclear waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power stations.

    The supposed consultation is just for show – the government will make its own decision regardless. In the case of nuclear waste, the decision we agreed to was to store all the waste above ground until some future government decides what to do about it.

  8. Agreed, Bob B, the consultation process is a complete fiction. If a cabinet full of people who’ve tried drugs doesn’t have the cumulative conviction to allow others the same rights legally then my filling out an online questionnaire is going to achieve sweet FA.

    Frankly, I’m surprised you’ve faith in the whole process, Mark. I thought you more the cynical type. 🙂

  9. As readers are probably aware by now, there are various malicious reports going the rounds that Gordon Brown has no “vision thing”. But there is also an encouraging rumour, albeit from the usually unreliable sources, that Gordon Brown’s vision is, in fact, fully joined up and bears a close resemblance to this:
    http://www.jacksonpollock.org/

  10. Jumping Jesus H Jack F***ing Flash, of course Ye Olde Govt couldn’t give too hoots what anybody says on their twatty survey.

    So what?

    At least if we all fill in the form, we will have tanglible proof that they ignore The Voice Of The People. You can’t give up before the battle is lost, else we’ll never win the war.

  11. Ohh, for fuckety fuck’s sake, Bob- when will the likes of you stop erecting straw men everywhere?

    Drug use is not the same as addiction. Get over it. Why does it always have to be about addiction and abuse? What of the vast, vast majority of people who partake, enjoy and get on with having a normal life without any real consequences?

    Jesus, let’s ban the fucking police whilst we’re at it- they managed to kill more people last year in the course of their duties than any ecstasy pill did.

  12. Tim, this is a ridiculous argument. The NHS already picks up a huge tab for treating those who take illegal drugs, and I’m not just talking about serious abusers. Most illegal drugs such as ecstacy fry your brain, and guess who pays to treat them? The taxpayer.

    Tim adds: In which case, taxing them to pay for those costs seems sensible, eh?

  13. …what chance is there of tracking and taxing the drugs that can be grown in backgardens or manufactured in home laboratories?

    What chance is there that home-made drugs will make any headway against commercially-produced drugs? When’s the last time you took ibuprofen that your friend made in his chem lab because it was cheaper than getting it from Sainsbury’s? Why would currently-illegal drugs be any different in a legalised scenario?

  14. Bob you are talking out of your arse and making yourself look like one.

    Seriously mate try looking into the bollocks about Cannabis and schizophrenia, don’t just re-spout forth govt propaganda here please.

  15. Bob, from YOUR wikipedia link:-

    One study suggests that cannabis use can contribute to psychosis, though the researchers suspected cannabis use was only a small component in a broad range of factors that can cause psychosis

    ONE study, SUGGESTS… … ALTHOUGH researchers suspected cannabis only a small component in a broad range of factors that can cause psychosis

    GET that through your dopey fucking head.

  16. Letters from a (Taliban) Tory,

    What’s the difference between a ‘serious abuser’ and a user who costs the NHS? I don’t follow. Surely if medical treatment follows usage, then abuse has taken place? I don’t understand.

    It’s interesting that you make the point about [not just serious abuser] users causing the NHS to ‘pick up a huge tab’, though- how much is that tab, as it stands?

    I’m also interested in your hypothesis that ‘ecstasy [fries] your brain’- that’s certainly some groundbreaking research you’ve been doing there. I guess I must have missed the stacks of clubbers’ bodies slumped across the doorway of my local A&E last time I was there (when, funnily enough, I had my car damaged by someone who was off his face on alcohol. The police were ever so useful that night, taking two months to finally arrest him and let him off with a caution.).

    Of course, Timmy’s point rings true- if you’re just concerned about picking up the tab, legalise and tax it.

    You and your ilk (of the Taliban Tendency in the Party- I’m at the opposite end- the one dancing on the table with the other free market liberals, drinking, smoking, cavorting and generally telling everyone else to keep their noses out.) would look far less ridiculous if you were to out and out argue for prohibition of alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine. It would certainly be more consistent.

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