Let\’s just legalise drugs shall we?

Three consecutive stories spotted on the Telegraph\’s world news pages.

17 bodies found dumped along road in Mexico
Nine men found hanging from bridge in Mexico
Mexico parades captured Gulf drug cartel boss

It really is about time that we gave up on this war on drugs thing.

Sure, perhaps the entire population shooting up on heroin wouldn\’t be a very good idea. Not that that would happen, just about everyone who wants to take drugs can currently get them. But with Mexico suffering a casualty rate akin to a major war perhaps this is a war that is too expensive to be fighting?

54 thoughts on “Let\’s just legalise drugs shall we?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Sure, perhaps the entire population shooting up on heroin wouldn’t be a very good idea. Not that that would happen, just about everyone who wants to take drugs can currently get them.

    Why wouldn’t it happen? It took China about 100 years to go from opium being more or less non-existant to about one in eight or m0re of the population smoking. I am sure that everyone who wants to take drugs would get them – but so would a lot of people who are curious but not so curious they will break the law and supply some nasty people with a lot of money. If economics teaches us anything, it is that if heroin becomes cheaper, use will go up.

    But with Mexico suffering a casualty rate akin to a major war perhaps this is a war that is too expensive to be fighting?

    Mexico’s problem is that it is a corrupt, incompetant, quasi-failed state. The drugs are s symptom not a cause. Before the drugs it was the Zapoteras. Who knows what it will be next? But the Sandanistas did not win in Nicaragua, the Somoza regime lost because it was on par with modern Mexico. The solution is for the Mexico government to become less incompetent and corrupt. If it doesn’t, someone will challenge it. Even if drugs are legal. People aren’t beheading each other in Switzerland and drugs are illegal there. Not even in Thailand much, well, apart form the police.

  2. “How to Legalize Drugs Without Creating More Social Pathology”
    http://intellectual-detox.com/the-case-for-legalizing-drugs/

    “Complete legalization would also likely be a disaster. The consequences of drug addiction have been utterly devastating to inner city communities…

    The common rebuttal is that since all this pathology is happening despite drugs being illegal, drug legalization clearly doesn’t work. But this ignores that drug prohibition actually does more or less work for most communities. I can walk around my city without ever being tempted to buy heroin. My corner CVS does not sell speed balls next to candy at the front counter. As a result, most people do not face frequent temptation to use drugs, most people do not find it easy to locate drugs, and most people do not use drugs.

    So how should the laws be reformed to create a sane drug policy?

    The solution is quite simple. Legalize all drugs, but make them hard to obtain. The government auctions off a limited number of drug selling licenses at a steep price…” …continues…

    Well worth a read.

  3. If drugs were legal, there would no longer be vast amounts of money to be made smuggling them into the USA, and the drug cartels wouldn’t kill each other in pursuit of the revenues.

    The countries whose governance is worst affected by illegal drugs aren’t the wealthy consumers but the poor suppliers. How can you keep people honest when much of the money is in the hands of criminals?

  4. I believe we should criminalize behaviour, not substances or objects.

    Our society is heading, unfortunately in the opposite direction.

  5. PaulB: “If drugs were legal, there would no longer be vast amounts of money to be made smuggling them into the USA, and the drug cartels wouldn’t kill each other in pursuit of the revenues.”

    And they’d all take up golf or macramé instead?

  6. Tim, you are assuming those killed are some sort of loss to society. Is there any evidence they were innocents or are they just rival criminals?

    That’s one of the most disgusting opinions I’ve ever heard.

    And they’d all take up golf or macramé instead?

    Joe Kennedy took up politician breeding.

  7. Yeah JuliaM, I don’t see the Zeta’s playing golf either. So Much For Subtlety had the right idea that it’s more the fact Mexico is a failed state. Looking at last years riots, we’re hardly without sin on that point either 🙁

  8. If drugs were legalised, it’s quite likely criminals would still run the distribution. The networks are quite sophisticated and the drinks and tobacco company emphatically deny any interest in this market.
    drugs and work don’t mix, so other criminality would remain, or maybe increase.
    So I can see no evidence that crime would decline if we legalise drugs.

  9. SMFS: one in eight is significantly lower than the % of people in developed societies who use illegal drugs, so that’s not a very good argument.

    James James: anyone who wishes to get hold of drugs in a developed society can do so easily. The fact that you haven’t tried is a credit to your strength of character, doubtless, but believe me – if you were to try, you’d be able to do so in a short while. If you lived in one of the deprived “inner city communities” you purport to be concerned about, you’d be able to do so in less time than it’d take you to get down the off-license.

  10. All drugs should be legalised. Who’s business is it if I want to stick coke up my nose all day long?

    However, we would also need to scrap the NHS, make people pay for the consequences of their drug use, and build a lot more jails.

    (I think crime would go up, for a while at least, if drugs were legalised; crack, for instance, does not induce serenity.)

  11. Blokeinfrance: that’s utter arse. Drugs and work mix as well as alcohol (which has stronger effects and is more addictive than most illegal drugs) and work, which is to say you can be dependent on them to the point where they have a significant negative health impact and still hold down a job.

    You believe otherwise because:
    1) the people who take drugs and hold down jobs don’t tell people like you, because they’re worried you’ll throw an eppie;

    2) drugs are a cheap way of getting completely and permanently out of your head if that’s where you want to be (people rarely become homeless because of drug abuse – rather, once you’re homeless, heroin is a cheap way to escape how miserable it is), and if that’s where you want to be then your employment potential is unlikely to be high.

    3) the criminality around drug use restricts employability in sensitive professions from day one, in all professions if you end up in court, and doing much outside of manual labour if you end up in jail.

    As far as the criminality thing goes, your prediction doesn’t make any sense: the reason violent criminals make good drug dealers now is because you can’t report people to the cops if they rip you off, beat you up or steal your drugs. Once there are legal sanctions to all of those behaviours, the competitive advantage of being a violent criminal goes away.

    (it’s possible that some people who are currently violent criminals in the drugs business might choose to remain in the drugs business given their knowledge of supply and demand, but it’d make much more sense for them to do so within the legal framework than outside it. This is broadly how the legalised gambling industry has worked.)

  12. @JohnB ‘SMFS: one in eight is significantly lower than the % of people in developed societies who use illegal drugs, so that’s not a very good argument.’

    One reads these sorts of figures, but – speaking as a legaliser – I just don’t believe that one in eight people in this country use drugs.

    Strip out the under-10s (say) and (say) most of the over-50s; then remove the timid, those who are tested at work, those who are against drugs on moral or religious grounds, those who live in remote villages where drugs … Nah. No way.

    ‘Have used’, maybe, but they are not users – and certainly not of opium, and not in the sense that SMFS (I assume) meant.

    ‘James James: anyone who wishes to get hold of drugs in a developed society can do so easily.’

    Define ‘easily’? In some places, they’re easy; in others there are lots of legal, social, and practical constraints. Then there’s the cost. I think anyone *can* do it; I don’t think it is ‘easy’.

  13. @JohnB: ‘Blokeinfrance: that’s utter arse. Drugs and work mix as well as alcohol (which has stronger effects and is more addictive than most illegal drugs)

    You might have a point if blokeinfrance had said: ‘Unlike alcohol, drugs and work don’t mix.’ But he didn’t.

    ‘you can be dependent on them to the point where they have a significant negative health impact and still hold down a job.’

    Some jobs, yes. Others not so much.

    ‘You believe otherwise because:
    1) the people who take drugs and hold down jobs don’t tell people like you, because they’re worried you’ll throw an eppie; ‘

    Do you know him? I assume you do. Anyway, if he had said ‘no-one who takes drugs works and I know this because I’ve asked everyone’ you might have a point. But he didn’t.

    ‘3) the criminality around drug use restricts employability in sensitive professions from day one, in all professions if you end up in court, and doing much outside of manual labour if you end up in jail.’

    How is that different from saying (OK – some kinds of) work and drugs don’t mix?

  14. I once, unknowingly, employed a heroin user. He was, albeit slightly unreliable, really quite good at his job. Unfortunately, given that he was in a sensitive role, he ended up getting the sack (after we paid to put him through treatment and he flunked it.)

    If he hadn’t been a criminal and subject to blackmail, we’d have probably kept him on – possibly in a slightly different role.

  15. Having been around drugs all my life from my mid teens, either peripherally or not so – it went with the territory, I’ve always seen the major problem with illegality has been there’s little chance for a drug use etiquette to develop. I’ll try to explain:
    Alcohol’s a drug. A legal one. It’s use is largely controlled by the acceptance of it’s use. There’s all sorts of levels of intoxication that are acceptable depending on situation. From a quick lunchtime beer to a full on stag night piss-up. And most people drink within those acceptable parameters. There’s no reason you can’t do the same for other substances. Both for degree of intoxication or appropriateness of substance of choice. A quick spliff in pleasant company. A bracing line to add some zip when needed. But dropping acid isn’t exactly a work enhancer.
    And there’s no reason to believe an etiquette wouldn’t develop. The far end of booze is the pissing the pants alky but very few people take it to that extent. The vast majority tipple to the acceptable parameters. So why wouldn’t they do with other mood enhancers? Because of illegality it’s an all or nothing. The people on the stuff are, almost by definition, the ones who can’t handle it. And half the time, they get like that because there’s no constraints other than the law.

  16. JuliaM,

    And they’d all take up golf or macramé instead?

    They’re morally ambivalent, money-grabbing scum who have no problem with sleeping at night after ordering questionable acts of violence. I think politics is more likely.

  17. If the normally enlightened readers of this site, who so forcefully object to the state interfering in their lives in so many ways, think drug prohibition is a good idea, believe the state has the right, on pain of severe legal sanctions, to control what they ingest in their bodies, then it is clear it is going to remain for the foreseeable future.

    I would just say that soon tobacco will be added to the list, and alcohol will effectively be prohibited for tens of millions of people in this country, by the minimum pricing mechanism that posh twat Cameron is going to introduce. So careful what you wish for.

  18. So Much For Subtlety – ‘Mexico’s problem is that it is a corrupt, incompetant, quasi-failed state.’ And much of the corruption, I suspect, comes from the drug barons’ ability to bribe government officials.

    JuliaM – ‘And they’d all take up golf or macramé instead?’ Well, what happened in 1930s America? Violence plummeted. Sure, the drug barons would go into some illegal trade, but many dealers and producers get sucked in because the trade is so obscenely profitable (being illegal).

  19. Ian Reid is correct. Drug “prohibition” is tyranny pure and simple. You may think that the state is saving poor simpletons from themselves with their drug control antics. Well, very soon they are going to be protecting you from yourselves in the matter of tobacco, alcohol and God-knows what else. In fact, freedom is (in the view of political scum) just dangerous licence for foolish and incapable people like yourselves and they are going to save you like it or not.

  20. Matthew L: “That’s one of the most disgusting opinions I’ve ever heard.”

    Yes, yes, well done, you’ve displayed the correct opinions.

    I suspect if you’d been hassled for spare change by not one, but TWO druggie waster down and outs this morning on the way in to work, you might have a different outlook.

    And it’s always possible lurking amongst the criminal detritus is the next Einstein, I suppose. But is it worth the risk that there isn’t?

  21. I’m sure Julia knows eactly what her co-workers have ingested over the last few days. In her limited worldview, all drug-users must carry a visible sign or something.

  22. Stop all the clocks, Arnald’s made a worthwhile comment! Thanks for that reminder. Here’s Noel Edmonds:

    ‘What is Cake? Well, it has an active ingredient which is a dangerous psychoactive compound known as dimesmeric andersonphosphate. It stimulates the part of the brain called Shatner’s Bassoon. And that’s the bit of the brain that deals with time perception. So, a second feels like a month. Well, it almost sounds like fun…unless you’re the Prague schoolboy who walked out into the street straight in front of a tram. He thought he’d got a month to cross the street.’

  23. Any current drug dealers would go legit if drugs were legalized and they would do very well as entrepreneurs. Just because they handle an illegal item doesn’t make them stupid.

    Julia, whats the difference between walking past alcoholics and druggies. Both are at the extreme end of drug taking culture.

  24. SBML, not a hell of a lot, since there’s plenty of those where I work too! At least while it’s warm out – winter is coming. They’ll soon disappear.

  25. I suspect if you’d been hassled for spare change by not one, but TWO druggie waster down and outs this morning on the way in to work, you might have a different outlook.

    I was hassled by a bottle-carrying alcoholic on the way home the other day. Death to wine drinkers! Machine-gun the off-license! Who cares about the customers and the people walking past on the street – they’re not innocent, they’re filthy drug users.

  26. SBML @ 26
    If they’re any good, that’s what happens. If you make a lot of dosh dealing, you need to legitimise it. So you run a business. Odds on you don’t make a bad fist of the business, until there’s so much money coming in legit, the dealing’s superfluous. I can think of one well known company started that way

  27. JuliaM, you’re happy to live in a place where bodies are dumped in the street and hung from bridges, but you don’t like having beggars around?

  28. I do respect the views of the neo-classical individualists on here. (Though Arnald being on your side is a bit of a canary.)

    But let’s think through the practicalities. Since Diageo, ToysRus and Boots are not going into the racket, it’ll have to be nationalised by the government.

    All this will take time: straightening out the supply chain, replacing hoodlums with bureaucrats, sorting (starting!) the Q.C. etc.

    An election intervenes and you’d better have some good slogans:
    “Vote for Dope!”
    “Opium is the religion of democrats.”
    I hope there are better suggestions. Anyone?

  29. Cannabis: legalize it under the same restrictions as tobacco. Impose a tax on THC content, light at first to encourage the legal trade.

    Ecstasy: legalize it under the same restrictions as paracetamol. Impose a tax on MDMA content, light at first to encourage the legal trade.

    That will do to start with; we can think about other drugs when we see how this is working. I think you’ll find there’ll be entrepreneurs wanting to exploit the opportunity.

  30. blokeinfrance – “If drugs were legalised, it’s quite likely criminals would still run the distribution. The networks are quite sophisticated and the drinks and tobacco company emphatically deny any interest in this market.”

    They would. But porn has gone mainstream – GE now owns a large chunk of it. And I bet a few short years ago they would have denied any interest in it as well. The Mob got squeezed out of most of Los Vegas. Just because they could not compete with the ruthlessness of real businesses. I expect the same would be true for hard drugs.

    11 john b – “one in eight is significantly lower than the % of people in developed societies who use illegal drugs, so that’s not a very good argument.”

    No. We have a mildly high figure for people who have tried drugs. For a wide variety of drugs. Not are regular users. It is an excellent argument. After all, we have ceased to actually enforce drug laws. So use has gone up. More people are jailed for their TV licence than for Class A drugs in the UK (or so a rumour I once heard goes). But the fact that so many people have tried marijuana suggests that there is a vast potential for legal heroin use out there.

    “anyone who wishes to get hold of drugs in a developed society can do so easily.”

    I don’t think so. Not easily. Not doubt they can find someone who will offer to sell them something, but they won’t know what. To find real drugs takes work and effort.

    12 Interested – “All drugs should be legalised. Who’s business is it if I want to stick coke up my nose all day long?”

    Clinical trials on drugs like thalidomide are a waste of time? If my doctor recommends that I take a new drug, without testing, I should be allowed to?

    13 john b – “that’s utter arse. Drugs and work mix as well as alcohol (which has stronger effects and is more addictive than most illegal drugs) and work, which is to say you can be dependent on them to the point where they have a significant negative health impact and still hold down a job.”

    I think we have a wealth of evidence that strongly suggests to the contrary. Yes, some people use drugs and can hold down a job. At least for a little while. But no one familiar with, say, the history of the Rolling Stones or the Mamas and Papas can seriously assert serious drug use and any sort of life are compatible.

    “1) the people who take drugs and hold down jobs don’t tell people like you, because they’re worried you’ll throw an eppie;”

    Or more likely they simply do not exist.

    “(people rarely become homeless because of drug abuse – rather, once you’re homeless, heroin is a cheap way to escape how miserable it is)”

    Heroin is not cheap. Acquiring it takes a lot of work – more than getting a house. My limited experience of people with drug problems and a lack of housing says the drugs come first. In part because stealing your landlord’s TV often leads to homelessness.

    “Once there are legal sanctions to all of those behaviours, the competitive advantage of being a violent criminal goes away.”

    But the violent criminals will not. Where will they go?

  31. Joshua – “And much of the corruption, I suspect, comes from the drug barons’ ability to bribe government officials.”

    Because the rest of Latin America is such a law abiding paradise? Come on. Mexico was a sh!t hole a long time before the Zetas came along.

    “Well, what happened in 1930s America? Violence plummeted. Sure, the drug barons would go into some illegal trade, but many dealers and producers get sucked in because the trade is so obscenely profitable (being illegal).”

    Violence plummeted once Prohibition was imposed. Or at least the murder rate dropped once you control for the effects of cars. It was not actually a particularly violent time. No one gets sucked into anything. People choose. If they are amoral low life scumbags they choose to profit illegally from other people’s misery. But legalising that business won’t make them one iota less of an amoral low life scumbag. It will just make them harder to identify and prosecute.

    25 Interested – “Well, it almost sounds like fun…unless you’re the Prague schoolboy who walked out into the street straight in front of a tram. He thought he’d got a month to cross the street.’”

    This is a joke, right? Although if it isn’t, presumably the tram also had a month to get down the street. How can relative perception of time difference pose a threat to anyone?

    26 SadButMadLad – “Any current drug dealers would go legit if drugs were legalized and they would do very well as entrepreneurs. Just because they handle an illegal item doesn’t make them stupid.”

    I am sure. But they would hardly be any more moral about it. There are still vast areas of illegal activity we probably don’t want a large number of psychopaths moving into.

    Politics for instance. Had Joe Kennedy been properly prosecuted, at least one girl would still be alive today. Two if you count Mary-Joe.

  32. 1) the people who take drugs and hold down jobs don’t tell people like you, because they’re worried you’ll throw an eppie;”

    Or more likely they simply do not exist.

    Of course they exist. You just don’t find out about it until they get caught.

  33. Very good, PaulB. Not just a sensible suggestion, but a sensible implementation:

    “That will do to start with; we can think about other drugs when we see how this is working.”

    Just imagine: Try something out and see how it’s working! Whatever next?

  34. @SMFS ’12 Interested – “All drugs should be legalised. Who’s business is it if I want to stick coke up my nose all day long?”

    Clinical trials on drugs like thalidomide are a waste of time? If my doctor recommends that I take a new drug, without testing, I should be allowed to?’

    I was (very obviously) talking about currently illegal recreational drugs.

    Though there’s a strong case for abolishing NICE, the FDA etc since you mention it, yes.

    And actually, the serious answer to the question: ‘If my doctor recommends that I take a new drug, without testing, I should be allowed to?’ is yes, of course you fucking should.

    The converse is that some cunt in Whitehall is *disallowing*you ie deciding for you what you put in your mouth. If you’re cool with that, bully for you, but I’d prefer to make my own decisions.

    Of course, being ‘allowed’ to do something is not the same as *is a good idea*, and my whole comment bears no relationship to clinical trials; obviously, these are excellent and vital. So many straw men and red herrings, so little time.

    I did make the point that legalisation of recreational drugs would only work if users had to take the consequences.

    The rest of that post I agree with, because you’re basically repeating what I said earlier.

  35. @SMFS ‘This is a joke, right? Although if it isn’t, presumably the tram also had a month to get down the street. How can relative perception of time difference pose a threat to anyone?’

    It is a joke, yes. A very famous one, made by a man called Chris Morris, on a TV programme called Brass Eye.

  36. Yes, Interested

    Even if it wasn’t cutting satire aimed at twats like smfs, I want him (it’s not a her, ffs) to justify “How can relative perception of time difference pose a threat to anyone?”

    And to have the temerity to understand substance abuse and socio-economic causility therewith.

    Also, Noel Edmonds.

    Jessop Jessop Jessop

    You blithering tool.

  37. The “You blithering…” is aimed at that twat smfs, repeatedly. It’s been doing it a long time and fooling no-one.

  38. So Much For Subtlety – ‘Because the rest of Latin America is such a law abiding paradise?’

    Obviously not. But then many other South American countries – Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, for example – are also involved in drug production, which may well have something to do with it.

    Clearly the place has never been a ‘law abiding paradise’ as you put it, but I suppose it’s coincidence that violence has surged since 2006, when Mexico intensified its drug war?

    ‘Violence plummeted once Prohibition was imposed. Or at least the murder rate dropped once you control for the effects of cars.’

    I don’t know where you got that information from, but it’s not what the evidence I’ve seen suggests. Googling ‘prohibition murder’ got me this:

    ‘The pre-Prohibition murder rate of 5.6 per 100,000 nearly doubled to almost 10. Other major crimes increased as well. Overall violent crime such as murders, batteries, and assaults increased by 13 percent… the only category of crime that saw a decrease during Prohibition was minor crimes such as swearing and vagrancy.’

    Incidentally, I believe the story of the Czech schoolboy killed by a tram is a reference to the fictitious drug ‘cake’, which features in Chris Morris’ superb Brass Eye drugs special (so yes, a joke).

  39. haha for the record the text on the screen is nothing to do with me, just the first youtube hit.

    i only have to say the word “cannabis” to get hung, drawn and quartered in 21st century Guernsey. The bastion of libertarian goodness.

  40. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “Of course they exist. You just don’t find out about it until they get caught.”

    Sorry but they were school teachers. That is, they were not holding down responsible jobs that required them to do more than turn up.

    38MellorSJ – “Try something out and see how it’s working! Whatever next?”

    They did this with heroin. They tried it and found that playing nice lead to an explosion in heroin addicts. The rate of increase has slowed since doctors were more or less stopped from prescribing it.

    39Interested – “I was (very obviously) talking about currently illegal recreational drugs.”

    What’s the difference?

    “Though there’s a strong case for abolishing NICE, the FDA etc since you mention it, yes.”

    What is the strong case?

    “And actually, the serious answer to the question: ‘If my doctor recommends that I take a new drug, without testing, I should be allowed to?’ is yes, of course you fucking should.”

    Well at least you’re consistent. And when something like Thalidomide comes along, who should pay compensation?

    “Of course, being ‘allowed’ to do something is not the same as *is a good idea*, and my whole comment bears no relationship to clinical trials; obviously, these are excellent and vital. So many straw men and red herrings, so little time.”

    Explain the difference. We have two drugs. One has no redeeming social value and the other is a possible medication. The government disallows the former. They allow the latter. The latter kills an utterly insignificant number of people – too few to turn up in clinical trials. A lot fewer than the former drug kills. It is banned. Call it Fen-fen. Why are you outraged by one and not the other?

    “I did make the point that legalisation of recreational drugs would only work if users had to take the consequences.”

    So if we lived in some alternate universe?

    41Arnald – “And to have the temerity to understand substance abuse and socio-economic causility therewith.”

    No you don’t Arnald. You are simply a slightly less famous WGCE like Ritchie. Explain the socio-economic causility that makes the Duke of whatever shoot up.

    43Joshua – “Obviously not. But then many other South American countries – Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, for example – are also involved in drug production, which may well have something to do with it.”

    It may – although drug productio in Peru and Bolivia is not illegal. On the other hand corruption is not unknown in places like Nicaragua or Uraguay that have little to no drug production. Violence is bad, and even perhaps worst in Latin America, in places like Honduras that have little drug trade. But they do have any number of sociopaths deported from the US. Go figure.

    “I suppose it’s coincidence that violence has surged since 2006, when Mexico intensified its drug war?”

    Who knows? It may work the other way around – the surge in violence caused the crack down. Whatever, the problem they have is that they are too incompetent to keep law and order. Someone would leap in to exploit that at some point.

    “I don’t know where you got that information from, but it’s not what the evidence I’ve seen suggests. Googling ‘prohibition murder’ got me this:”

    As I understand it, once you adjust for the new categories of vehicle-related homicide, the murder rate went down.

  41. late edit…causality…

    So Much For Schmuckery

    yeah, yeah…you’re right, everyone else is wrong, you’re God etc..

    Jesus weeps. Can anyone get any more behind the curve than you? You’re a pisstake, right? Right?

  42. Explain the difference. We have two drugs. One has no redeeming social value and the other is a possible medication.

    Heroin is one of the most effective cough medicines known to mankind.

  43. Arnald: That would be the JuliaM solution. Much better than having to deal with filthy mendicants on the street. Here’s an interview with a hardened drug criminal, and an article about how those disgusting little urchin beggars are being justly wiped from the streets, and especially for JuliaM, a picture of what in a just world would happen to the vicious little beggars pestering you for your loose change. That last link is not safe for work, or for your stomach contents, unless you think that the execution murder of a three year old boy and two teenage girls is worth it to make marijuana slightly harder to get.

  44. 39Interested – “I was (very obviously) talking about currently illegal recreational drugs.”
    What’s the difference? [etc]

    I’m tempted simply to reply: ‘Shatner’s Bassoon’.

    But, fuck it, I’ve got a few minutes.

    It all depends by what you mean by ‘What’s the difference?’

    My reference to ‘currently illegal recreational drugs’ was only made in response to your logic-stretching leap that somehow my post meant I thought that ‘Clinical trials on drugs like thalidomide are a waste of time’.

    How you got to this, I’m not sure. Perhaps you’ve been overdoing the dimesmeric andersonphosphate.

    To clarify – and while I can explain it to you, I can’t understand it for you – I think that coke should be legal, *and* that clinical trials on thalidomide are a good idea (*and* – and this will blow your mind – also on cocaine).

    But I *also* believe that I, as a free adult, should be able to make the decision as to whether I take any given drug, whether or not it is believed to have pharmaceutical properties, irrespective of whether there have been clinical trials, or what those trials might say.

    The strong case for abolishing the FDA and NICE (though this is partly where my caveat about the NHS applies) is that it is no business of the people employed by these bodies what I decide to ingest.

    (There are also various very well-known inequities in the NICE system, and, in the case of the FDA, it is essentially a way of imposing faux tariffs on non-US medicines, to the detriment of those adult Americans who might like to prescribe or take them.)

    You then go on to ask: ‘And when something like Thalidomide comes along, who should pay compensation?’

    Again, I’m not sure where this left-field stuff fits in, really, but the answer is pretty obvious, within various parameters.

    If I have taken something like thalidomide *pre-clinical trials*, and it fucks me up, then that was at my own risk, as an adult, and there should be no compensation *as of right*, though given that that particular drug affected children who were not involved in any of the decisions I think the State (it has its uses) or some fund paid for by, I dunno, pharma, should help out.

    If I have taken something like thalidomide *after clinical trials*, and it fucks me up, then it all depends on how honestly and rigorously the trials were carried out and the results reported.

    If the pharma co lied about their results, they should give me all of their money and all the directors should go to jail. If they made honest mistakes, I refer you to the earlier answer.

    Explain the difference. We have two drugs. One has no redeeming social value and the other is a possible medication. The government disallows the former. They allow the latter. The latter kills an utterly insignificant number of people – too few to turn up in clinical trials. A lot fewer than the former drug kills. It is banned. Call it Fen-fen. Why are you outraged by one and not the other?

    Leaving aside exactly who it is who gets to decide whether a substance has any ‘redeeming social value’ (and even how you define that), my point is that if Fen-Fen has killed a lot of people there is no need to have an enormous bureaucracy set up to ban it, because people won’t take it. (And as for compo, read above.)

    If it kills an ‘utterly insignificant number of people’ (in other words, if there is a known but unquantifiable/unquantified risk), ditto.

    If there is a known but *quantified* risk then adults, in conjunction with their doctors, can decide for themselves whether the benefits of taking Fen-Fen outweigh the risk.

    Can I go now?

  45. By the way:

    1 That was a response to So Much For Subtlety – perhaps the most appropriate username on here.

    2 Before s/he fires back another load of incoherent guff, although I’m in favour of legalisation I can see there would be certain difficulties – next door being up all night, all week, ingesting industrial quantities of crack, for instance – and with legalisation would have to come proper enforcement of laws against harming other people. It’s the laws against harming yourself I don’t like.

  46. I work in the head office of a major multi-national company, in a group of 20 people. My boss smokes marijuana every day. He is in fact growing a plant on his desk. I know of 3 or 4 more colleagues who smoke dope on a fairly regular basis. 2 or 3 have mentioned taking ecstasy. I used to find mephedrone was a very effective drug when I needed an energy boost late in the afternoon – but then the bansters came along. I suspect that some people here take coke reasonably often. One is probably a borderline alcoholic. These are just the people I know about – roughly 50% of the group. I suspect mthe percentage would hold for any similar group. Thank God for the war on drugs: it is so effective, isn’t it!

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