Legalising drugs will kill more people


By Stephen Pollard
September 6, 2010
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I've just read a superb piece on drugs in yesterday's Observer, in which Antonio Maria Costa, the former executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the past eight years, simply rips apart the dangerously sloppy thinking from those who argue for the legalisation of hard (and soft) drugs.

I urge you to read it.

COMMENTS

Joshua18

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 15:04

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I agree totally. So why should alcohol get a pass? I call on you to lead a campaign ("Volstead 2") to ban it.


JLCohen

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 15:43

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Yet Glenn Greenwald, attorney and author of a report on Portugal's drugs laws, states that "Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," as reported by Time Magazine. In the same article, we learn that "deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half."

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has a notoriously conservative attitude when it comes to drugs, a fact commonly attributed to the influence of the USA - a nation which suffers greatly from problems caused by drugs: 39.8% of Americans aged over 12 have used cannabis. Yet in Portugal, just 10% of people aged over 15 have used the drug.

Reactionaries may say anything they want about Portugal's brave experiment, but prohibition never works whereas the figures appear to suggest legalisation decreases drug use.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html


DLeigh-Ellis

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 17:56

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Sorry to disagree with you again so soon Stephen but I could argue against this article until the cows come home... (I won't so don't worry.)

All I will say is that humankind has always enjoyed experimentation with narcotics and despite the best efforts of governments throughout history to suppress it, drugs have continued to be an important part of many individual's lives.

Unfairly penalising the millions of well-balanced, hard working people who choose to use drugs recreationally because of the problems of addiction encountered by some has been proved to only entice the lure of drugs.

Governments have tried to portray drugs as a source of deprivation and misery however for most users this is simply not the case. Governments may wonder why people enjoy using them so much. Personally, I believe that if you have spent your whole life being told that the infamous 'gateway' drug cannabis will turn you into a rape-crazy, violent and depressed fiend, when you do try a spliff and realise that this whole suggestion was in fact a lie, why would the individual then believe the rhetoric about all the other drugs that government continues to spout.

In recent months we have seen a number of specialist drug experts resigning from the government's advisory panel because of the refusal of political figures to listen to their statements. When a huge number of the population plus experts are calling for a change in the legal framework regarding drugs and the government then continue to ignore it, it just serves to make their own position look more irrational and uncompromising.

Like it or not, drugs are here to stay, best the government realise this and start taxing it, rather than letting millions of dollars go into the hands of unscrupulous gangsters and continuing to criminalise users.

Ah, the cows are on the horizon.... I should shut up... But yes, if you think the call for legalisation is based on 'sloppy thinking,' I sincerely urge you to do some research and look at the reasons that drugs were criminalised in the first place.... Because there you will find thinking that is so sloppy it's spilling over the sides of the barrel of reason into the realm of sheer absurdity.


DLeigh-Ellis

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 18:02

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Might add, I've already blogged on this subject when the m-kat debate was going on....

''It is unsurprising that so many young (and older) people are so disillusioned with government drug policy that still conforms to the isolationist and uncompromising ideology of Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs.’ Furthermore, when the press are so keen to promote the governments line without research or even time to allow a coroners report to be published, evidence of emotional manipluation of the public is clearly present.

In this country there are crimes which cause far greater upset than those brought about by dependence on drugs. Murder, rape and child abuse destroy lives far more dramatically than addiction yet there is no high minded rhetoric of a ‘war on rape.’ The branding of an ongoing ‘war on drugs,’ is a crux leaned upon by those who wish to stifle any progressive debate on the subject. It is a term that aims to indentify all drug users, whether they be addicts, doctors, lawyers or any other professional as part of the seedy underbelly of society. This is a false narrative, a narrative that has been reinforced in the run-up to the general election by a government desperate to grab hold of a bit more of the ‘daily mail’ vote. Cannabis, by way of an example is reported to have been used by possibly 7.5% of the population within the last month, 12% in the last year. This ‘de facto’ criminalisation of up to one tenth of the British population perhaps serves to explain why drugs and crime are so closely associated. This is because drugs are crime, to be using is a crime. By being a user, one is automatically a criminal. Further branding of drugs as directly linked to terrorism is also a non sequitor. Cannabis is the most popular illegal substance used in the UK, yet it is now estimated that up to 80% is ‘home-grown’ in factories around the UK, mostly by south-east asian criminal gangs. There has never been any proven link between these organisations and the extreme Islamists that threaten Western society. The meme, like all the prohibitionists statements is an emotive and manipulative way of impressing upon those citizens who have no contact with drug culture, that those who do are not only junkie losers, but also potentially dangerous traitors.

Prohibition never works, it did not work with regard to alcohol in 1930’s America. It cannot work with regard to Europe’s issues with drugs. I am not advocating on this page wholesale legalisation of all narcotic. However, I am keen to see debate on the subject no longer blocked by high minded but often misleading rhetoric''

full blog : http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/miaow-miaow-the-latest-craze-addicts-prohi...


DLeigh-Ellis

Mon, 09/06/2010 - 18:15

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Might also add, the article certainly does make many good points of which I do agree with... (Although his figures seem dubious.)

I just don't think that what you are saying represents what he is saying..


Macairt

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 14:04

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I don't see how legalising marijuana will kill more people. It's less dangerous than alcohol. If people were weaned more off alcohol to pot, there would be less teenage crime and fights on Saturday nights in every town in Britain.

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug of all, and the British are the worst at controlling themselves.


Macairt

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 14:06

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The British are the most overweight, the most addicted to alcohol in Europe.


mattpryor

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:35

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Speak for yourself Macairt, I'm quite trim and hardly drink much these days thanks. Maybe it's the Welsh pushing up the national average? ;)


DLeigh-Ellis

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 17:43

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Not sure about that Matt.. At least half my genes are Welsh and I think I've probably had less than five drinks this year.... Most of which were at that folk festival the other weekend:)

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