the war on drugs


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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Pego » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:37 am

Blues wrote:
mump boy wrote:
SQUACKEE wrote:I think you still have crime problem even if make heroin cheap, because the heroin user cant work at all and has no money but a huge habit.


I read a very long article once (i think it was in Vanity Fair) about highly functional professional Heroin addicts who worked on Wall St. I'm not advocating it but you can very well manage a smack habit if you have to money to do so


I'd be curious to know just how long they could successfully "manage" their smack habits... Because of the phenomenon of tolerance with narcotics (where chronic use requires higher and higher doses to cause the same effect), the habit would get more and more expensive as time went on, quite possibly becoming unaffordable at some point. The risk of an overdose occurring would be a possibility too, especially since drug strength wouldn't always be predictable... And I'd hate to see them if they were ever unable to obtain the stuff for some reason and had to miss a few doses...


Agreed on all accounts. Heroin withdrawal sure ain't pretty. Of the ones I have seen, this would be my order of magnitude.

1. Alcohol
2. Heroin
3. Tie between short-acting barbiturates and short-acting benzodiazapines.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby shivfan » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:15 am

I find myself largely agreeing with Marlow's posts on this thread....

I was only drunk twice in my life, and both times as a university student. I felt so ill the day after, that I've never felt the urge to drink too much again. I might have a glass of rum and coke, or a Red Stripe beer, once a month, and that's it. I smoked a cigarette once or twice in Uni, and never felt the urge to do so again.

And yet, when I speak to folks here in England, the assumption is that just because I come from Jamaica, I have smoked ganja/marijuana. However, I must say the prospect of smoking anything - ganja or otherwise - never appealed to me, even when I went to parties and saw others doing it.

But should some drugs remain criminalised, while others aren't? There is a case of double-standards here, that I just can't argue with justification....
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Blues » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:02 am

shivfan wrote:
But should some drugs remain criminalised, while others aren't? There is a case of double-standards here, that I just can't argue with justification....


If all recreational drugs had the exact same degree of risk involved with usage, I might be inclined to agree.. But the adverse effects and risks of addiction vary greatly among the various substances involved, which is why some are deemed safe enough (at least on a per capita usage basis) to be legally used without medical supervision, and others aren't. I'd never be in favor of legalizing hard drugs with high degrees of abuse, addiction, or overdose potential, or that posed other serious health risks, and if we go the other way and say that the sale of alcohol or tobacco should be prohibited too, I'd like to see how many votes a politician running on that platform would get... Unfortunately it's hard go backwards and take things away, but it's better than making things worse to avoid the appearance of a possible double standard...

On a side note since the Prohibition era has been mentioned previously in the thread, I seriously wonder if the bootleg related crime during prohibition would have been as severe if people hadn't been legally permitted to purchase alcohol before prohibition... There were already many legal users when Prohibition took effect, and they could no longer legally purchase their recreational drug of choice. And since prohibition outlawed the manufacture, transportation, and sale but not the consumption of alcohol, I also wonder if the fact that consumption was still legally permitted resulted in a higher demand for illegal suppliers during the era..

Unlike a few others in the thread, I really believe that if a drug is made legal to purchase and consume, significantly more people will be willing to try it or use it (and not just because they don't have to worry about being arrested).. I don't think education is the answer to preventing significant problems if habit forming drugs are legalized either.. Education has decreased the rate of tobacco usage, but when we consider the severity of the health risks involved and the astronomical healthcare costs to all of us resulting from tobacco related diseases, it's still amazing how many people still choose to use tobacco on a regular basis, despite all the attempts to educate regarding the risks... The rate of abuse of legally available alcohol provides a similar example. And as we know, when one is under the effects of many of these drugs it's not always possible to make safe or intelligent decisions, so I think the problems and risks involved if they were made legal would definitely exceed the benefits.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:32 am

Blues, I think I'm on the same page with you for the most part. I would draw the line at drugs that have a high propensity for addiction and abuse and I'm pretty sure that percentage of heroin abusers/addicts among heroin users is much, much higher than the percentage of alcohol abusers/alcoholics among alcohol users. I also see no problem with double standards about the way different drugs are regulated. The government has double standards with in other areas, so I don't see why drug regulation should be immune. For example, the government allows us to buy small weapons such as rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers on demand, but heavy weapons such as bazookas, RGS's and mortars as well as fully-automatic weapons are forbidden.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Cooter Brown » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:33 am

Blues wrote: Unlike a few others in the thread, I really believe that if a drug is made legal to purchase and consume, significantly more people will be willing to try it or use it (and not just because they don't have to worry about being arrested).. I don't think education is the answer to preventing significant problems if habit forming drugs are legalized either...


Our one real world example proves the opposite...

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:46 am

Cooter Brown wrote:[i]Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half...

Interesting article, but this from Wiki, since the decriminalization was instituted:

[Portugal] reported lifetime use of "all illicit drugs" increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine use more than doubled, from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy nearly doubled from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin increased from 0.7% to 1.1%


They also have a large number on their methadone treatment rolls, so perhaps the idea of a free mild high from the gov't was an incentive.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:35 am

Blues wrote:I don't think education is the answer to preventing significant problems if habit forming drugs are legalized either.. Education has decreased the rate of tobacco usage, but when we consider the severity of the health risks involved and the astronomical healthcare costs to all of us resulting from tobacco related diseases, it's still amazing how many people still choose to use tobacco on a regular basis, despite all the attempts to educate regarding the risks.

Considering the fact that tobacco use in the U.S. hasn't plateaued yet, it's still declining, why do you think education would be any less effective with drugs than it is with tobacco?
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:01 am

How's this for an enlightened view (from me)?

After I'm dead, I hope that we find an 'answer' to this issue that everyone finds reasonable.
I, however, do not want to have to be here for the 'working out' of the policy, which I greatly fear will eventuate in some very tragic consequences. And if ANYone I know gets negatively affected by the implementation, I WILL come back and wreak my dreadful vengeance on whoever perpetrates such misfortune! :evil: As of today, zero people in my greater extended family has ever had a negative consequence from the current laws and policies. The people I knew in college and the Navy who were greatly negatively affected by their drug use (having nothing to do with the legality aspects) compel me to this position.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:25 am

Marlow wrote:
Cooter Brown wrote:[i]Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half...

Interesting article, but this from Wiki, since the decriminalization was instituted:

[Portugal] reported lifetime use of "all illicit drugs" increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine use more than doubled, from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy nearly doubled from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin increased from 0.7% to 1.1%


They also have a large number on their methadone treatment rolls, so perhaps the idea of a free mild high from the gov't was an incentive.

It would helpful if someone did a study on how crime and the penal system in Portugal has been affected since drugs were decriminalized. Decriminalization only makes sense if you're going to benefit in these other areas.
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Blues » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:32 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Considering the fact that tobacco use in the U.S. hasn't plateaued yet, it's still declining, why do you think education would be any less effective with drugs than it is with tobacco?


Actually, considering the major health risks of tobacco use, I think the success of education when it comes to curtailing tobacco use has sucked, at least when we consider that we've been trying to educate people about the risks for almost 50 years now, and that here in the US almost 1 in 4 high school seniors and 1 in 3 young adults under 26 still smoke, and that they began to smoke despite the education.. I admit that our smoking rates have slowly decreased (although they seem to be decreasing at a slower rate in recent years) but whether those decreases are due entirely to health related education as opposed to also being due to legal restrictions (including advertising restrictions) placed on the tobacco companies and to restrictions involving where smoking is permitted, I'm not sure. Smoking can be more offensive to others due to mucous membrane irritation and to the health risks and odor from second hand smoke too, so social pressure could influence some people not to start smoking, or to quit if they've started. But if almost 50 years of education regarding the risks of tobacco use to oneself (and others) can't stop a third of young American adults from smoking, I doubt whether we'll have much more success if we legalize certain drugs, especially highly addictive drugs that possess more severe withdrawal symptoms and that are even harder habits than tobacco use to kick.

Also, if opiates like opium, heroin, and other habit forming narcotics are made legal, (as well as other habit forming drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, and even benzodiazepines), I think our addiction rates will end up like the opium addiction rate in Iran, which is the highest in the world, primarily because opium is customarily smoked there, especially at social gatherings. Opium is illegal there, but it isn't restricted by the government anywhere near as much as alcohol is and it's also cheap. My close friend is from an upper middle class family in Tehran, and 2 of his older brothers have required methadone detox because of addiction from smoking opium.. The Iranian government estimates that 4 tons of opium are consumed daily in Tehran alone... I think a similar increase in addiction rates is what we're looking at if we remove restrictions on those types of drugs in the USA... You guys have interested me in the situation in Portugal and I'll be curious to see what additional research turns up..

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/r ... ummary.pdf
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby Blues » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:52 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:
Blues wrote: Unlike a few others in the thread, I really believe that if a drug is made legal to purchase and consume, significantly more people will be willing to try it or use it (and not just because they don't have to worry about being arrested).. I don't think education is the answer to preventing significant problems if habit forming drugs are legalized either...


Our one real world example proves the opposite...

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/


But we also have to keep in mind that what Portugal did DIDN'T legalize drug use, and it seems that the changes we've been discussing here may be a little different than how the system there works:

"Portugal's move to decriminalize does not mean people can carry around, use, and sell drugs free from police interference. That would be legalization. Rather, all drugs are "decriminalized," meaning drug possession, distribution, and use is still illegal. While distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense, possession and use is moved out of criminal courts and into a special court where each offender's unique situation is judged by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Treatment and further action is decided in these courts, where addicts and drug use is treated as a public health service rather than referring it to the justice system (like the US)...."
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Re: the war on drugs

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:28 pm

As a surprising set of findings on smoking consider this:

A number of states and cities instituted smoking bans. Studies covering those 'natural experiments' found surprisingly substantial effects. The emergency room docs could tell the difference within three months. Within a year the number of heart attacks declined by (about, memory not great here) 11% (maybe a bit more) and after 3 years, were down about 34% (again, going from memory, but approximately right). In one or two instances, the prohibitions were overturned and the changes were relatively quickly reversed.

What is so stunning is the much if not most of this change comes from the reduction in second-hand smoke, as there was only a small decrease in smoking or the number of smokers.
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