Friday, September 26, 2008

Ecstasy

I would like to point out that Ecstasy is a drug, the primary effect of which is to make you feel incredibly euphoric. So, obviously, I support this proposal.
The body that advises the government on illegal drugs is meeting to discuss whether ecstasy should be downgraded from a Class A drug to Class B.

At the same time, I am utterly unsurprised at this comment...
As part of the discussions, panel members will consider the submission from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), stating that transferring ecstasy to class B would send out an "unfortunate message".

Yup. The unfortunate message would be that being happy is perfectly OK.

It isn't, alright?

Being happy might mean that you no longer look to the state to assauge your aching sense of loss and might just realise that the state makes you miserable.

Additionally, you might realise that taking Ecstasy will not lead to you begging on the streets to feed your hopeless heroin addiction within mere hours, and instead you might find yourself dancing, having fun and wanting to end your night hugging someone rather than bottling them.

No! No fun. You must not have fun, do you understand?

You must labour at the coalface and pay your taxes so that MPs can spend them. You must not be happy, and you definitely must not realise that taking a drug that enhances music and makes you feel a sense of community with your fellow man might, in fact, be a good thing.

Now, go to work, you drones: your government is in control...

UPDATE: I do love to post these sorts of things occasionally, just to bring out the reactionary fear that so many of you seem to have about drugs. It's actually pretty funny. Still, I shall attempt to reply (again) to the same old, same old objections that are raised every time that I post about drugs.

Let's start with Miss Snuffleupagus's first contribution.
The point is that happiness should come from that which makes life worth living. It should not be induced by a drug!

That's pretty much what I have said to my Prozac-popping mother.
And the Government should not be encouraging people to seek happiness in a packet of pills, instead of living decent lives and seeking a sense of moral duty.

Wow! I must say that the phrases "decent lives" and "moral duty" really don't conjure up images of happiness to me, I must say.

I think that most people do live their lives like that anyway—but some people like to have a bit of fun occasionally.

A staunch opponent of drugs is our old friend, Wrinkled Weasel.
Sorry DK but if you need drugs to be happy then I feel sorry for you. Oh, and you are also a knob, an arsehole and a wanker.

Well, thank you but I don't need your pity and I certainly wouldn't accept it after you have just wheeled out the lamest argument in the book. I am happy (generally) when I am not on drugs: it so happens that this particular drug induces euphoria. But drugs in general are good at providing an alternative perception.

Go to a rock gig sober, and then go on MDMA; in the latter case you will find the whole experience so much more thrilling and immersive and powerful. You can feel the music and the atmosphere in a way that simply doesn't happen when sober. Most people get drunk in order to recreate that feeling but not only is that nowhere near as good, but lots of drink and lots of people crowded together often leads to trouble.
Please get real. Everyone who has been through this knows you have to stop or it will fuck you.

Sure, and as I have consistently said before, I and those with whom I took said drugs have, in the main, given them up. We like to indulge occasionally, but not with the regularity with which we once did. Many drugs are somewhat self-limiting anyway.
The argument for legalising drugs to ensure quality control does not take account of the fact that 80% of the population are morons. If you want to drive to work, knowing that most of the other commuters are off their faces or that the guy next door might kill you because he is of his face or that you cant have a sensible conversation will a call-centre worker because she is off her face...etc.

That applies equally to alcohol. And your point is?

Back to Miss Snuffleupagus who plumps for the "won't someone think of the chiiiiildren" route.
You think children should be allowed to make decisions to take drugs so that they can be happy? Wrinkled Weasel is right about adults too. But even if you disagree with him about adults, you cannot possibly think that all children should be allowed to do anything they want without any restriction!

Do you think that children should be able to do whatever they like? No? Good: the law agrees with you. The clue is in the difference elicited by the words "child" and "adult".

Do we let children take the decision whether to smoke and drink as much as they like? No. Why then should we feel that the same applies to drugs? They are powerful, I have never denied that; I have always maintained that drugs should be treated with respect.

Yes, come downs can be bad but everything in life has a price, even in the most mundane way. You want to make sure that you are home to read to your child every night—then you won't be able to do the overtime and your career will suffer. Or, you want to focus on your career, and your child will barely know you.

Everything has a price, and that price is not always paid in money.

Freeman goes with the old "drugs help you ignore your problems" line too.

You see, you can always tell those who don't really have a handle on drugs because they always assume that taking drugs must be a habitual thing. The idea that you might treat yourself to drugs in the same way that you might occasionally buy a really good single malt as opposed to the bog-standard blended stuff just does not seem to occur to them.

They all assume that, in the same way that they will come home from work and have a glass of wine, a "druggie" will come home and have a pill. It doesn't work like that for the vast majority of those who take drugs.

These people all assume (many of whom will be sipping their glass of wine as they post) that one takes drugs to mask some deep unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This is a deeply pusillanimous way of thinking. Drugs are simply a different experience: you might go out to a party and get a little bit merry—would I then be justified in turning around to you and lecturing you about trying to run away from your problems?

I do wish you people would attempt to understand these things before posting comments. But then, I wouldn't have so much to laugh at.

58 comments:

leg-iron said...

They can't reasonably legislate on the effects of something unless they've tried it and determined what the effects are.

So pass some around the panel. Then we'll see some imaginative legislation.

(and if anyone films it, I'll buy a copy).

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

!!! The point is that happiness should come from that which makes life worth living. It should not be induced by a drug! And the Government should not be encouraging people to seek happiness in a packet of pills, instead of living decent lives and seeking a sense of moral duty.

And we can all find happiness, irrespective of the amount of state control. Happiness is to be found within.

Tut tut DK!!

Newmania said...

This is the place where you and I part company DK. What so great about being happy anyway. Cows are happy ( well I assume so , for all I know they hate grass which would be unfortunate )

By the way I had a bit of an epiphany today. I looked at the ghastly brilliantined fizzog of Donal wierdo Blaney read his latest bumptious missive and thought ,I really vcannot stand some Tories .
Time for a change perhaps

Benjamin Gray said...

Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Sorry DK but if you need drugs to be happy then I feel sorry for you. Oh, and you are also a knob, an arsehole and a wanker.

I have said it before and I say it again..I was in the sixties and I do remember it, even though I dabbled. Everyone who talked like you, and I knew a few of them (and was once married to one), ended up dead or mental or selling the big issue next to a dog on a piece of string. The only people who did not think they were The Angel Gabriel on a Stick was everyone but themselves. They were, by any yardstick, deluded. And so are you.

I am only bothering to say this because I think you are capable of understanding that I am trying to talk you out of it and not score points.

There is a bit of transference here; my son recently told me he had taken LSD. My reaction was to say that these drugs have no Quality Control and that it can end up fucking with your head to the extent that you can write utter drivel and marry a one legged soft porn star who takes all your money.

I did not chuck him out, express mock disgust or tell him not to do it but I already have concerns about his mental health and this did not assuage those concerns.

Please get real. Everyone who has been through this knows you have to stop or it will fuck you.

leg-iron said...

The main reason most of the kids now, and most of the kids in the past, do/did any of the things adults find shocking is because adults find it shocking.

They dye their hair or pierce their noses or wear those chains between nose and ear because it's shocking. They dress up as Goths or Punks or, in the past Teds, Mods, Rockers etc because it's shocking.

They carry knives more than ever precisely because it's illegal. It's a rebellion thing. I'd be surprised if most of the commenters here didn't do something in their youth for no other reason than to say 'I am here. I have an opinion and I am going to make sure you notice me'.

Then we grow up and we have to work and pay bills and tax and we'd really rather not be noticed by the powers that be. We forget what it meant to be young and angry at the world. Instead we are old and angry at the young, because they are young and they are doing things we can't do now.

So the new youngsters behave exactly as we did. They shout and rail at the establishment and make sure we notice them.

The more we ban the young from smoking, the more they want to do it. The more we stop them drinking, the more they drink. Banning things, to an adult, means we moan about it but we stop doing it because we don't want to wreck our careers with a conviction.

To the young, banning things makes them more determined to try it. They don't believe in mortality and tax and electricity and gas bills. They live just to live.

Makng these drugs illegal means they are extremely attractive to the young. As you said, Weasel, being illegal they have no quality control and no dose information. The young will still experiment with them for one reason - they've been told not to.

I would prefer that drugs like ecstacy, cocaine, heroin etc didn't exist at all but they do. I'd live longer if that swine Drake hadn't brought tobacco back from his travels. But he did. The things are here and we have to deal with them.

Banning things doesn't work. It never has. It just makes people think 'What's that about then' and makes them want to try it. Look at books like 'The Satanic Verses' and 'Spycatcher'. Did banning them make them go away, or did it boost sales to incredible levels? What really happened when guns were banned?

I'm not for drug use in any way but I see where DK is coming from here. If they are legal then they can be controlled, quality checked and dose information given. It won't save everyone - sleeping pills and even paracetamol overdoses still happen - but it will allow for informed choice rather than back-of-the-bikeshed guesswork.

The way to put kids off drugs isn't to ban them. It's to make them non-shocking. Tell them stockbrokers and investment bankers take those drugs and if they keep it up they'll end up wearing a suit and tie just like everyone else they hate.

If it's ordinary it's not rebellion.

Okay, I'm not in favour of dropping all the legislation at once. I would be in favour of testing the idea with one, relatively low-risk drug.

Someone else can choose which one. I haven't tried any of them.

(I haven't tried mountain climbing or bungee jumping or F1 racing either but I'm not going to stop anyone else risking their lives with those things if they so choose).

Gareth said...

benjamin gray said: "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied."

How about if Rebecca Loos lent a hand?

Tim said...

Miss Snuffles, Wrinkled Weasle, etc: Have you not slightly missed the point? That is, if you don't approve, then don't take ecstacy. There's plenty of things I don't like, and so don't indulge in (for example, socialism, gay sex, listening to Fallout Boy) but I don't think they should be banned (even if they're dangerous, like the former).

Furthermore, wouldn't legalising drugs create a kind of quality control, even if there weren't any regulation? I could kill someone with home-distilled vodka, but if I did it commercially and openly people would notice that they shouldn't buy off me - so why not the same with drugs?

The Filthy Smoker said...

Ecstasy is the one drug that I can say - without qualification - has enhanced my life, broadened my mind and done all the things that good drugs are supposed to do.

Can't say I do it much these days (if you need proof - it's 1.30am and I'm sat at home on a fucking computer) but I loved every minute when I did and I'm old enough to know if it has done any long term harm. It hasn't, of course, nor has it harmed any of the many, many people who sailed that ship with me.

A few too many rough come-downs led me to call it a day. Still, it's not too long till New Year's Eve...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

The argument for legalising drugs to ensure quality control does not take account of the fact that 80% of the population are morons. If you want to drive to work, knowing that most of the other commuters are off their faces or that the guy next door might kill you because he is of his face or that you cant have a sensible conversation will a call-centre worker because she is off her face...etc.

If you legalise drugs, a lot of people will take drugs, just like they eat deep fried pizzas and chicken nuggets made of shit and get pissed and piss in phone boxes. Even a pragmatist would see that the costs to the public infrastructure would be enormous and crippling.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Oh, and I forgot to say. If drugs were legalised, the next step is making them free to poor hard-working families and then you have just another layer of social control. Brave New World is the OTHER book that is coming true.

Anonymous Coward said...

What the hell? Are tobacco and alcohol made free to poor hard-working families? Are these addictive and dangerous substances used as instruments of social control? Well?

I'm sorry, I just can't stand this limp-wristed wibbling. Either ban everything that could do harm - and tobacco is far more dangerous than good ecstacy - or regulate these easily-obtained substances and hope for the best.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

The argument for legalising drugs to ensure quality control does not take account of the fact that 80% of the population are morons.

Nothing elitist or snobbish about you then?

If you want to drive to work, knowing that most of the other commuters are off their faces

Does the fact that alcohol is legally available mean that "most of the other commuters" are pissed? No. Then shut the fuck up.

or that the guy next door might kill you because he is of his face

Might kill you?!! You've never taken ecstasy have you? Seriously, shut the fuck up. You know nothing. Keep it to yourself.

or that you cant [sic] have a sensible conversation will [sic] a call-centre worker because she is off her face...etc.

She? Are all call centre staff female or was that a feminist affectation? Either way, don't ever expect to have a sensible conversation with these cunts, with or without drugs.


If you legalise drugs, a lot of people will take drugs, just like they eat deep fried pizzas and chicken nuggets made of shit

Shall we ban them too? I imagine the answer will be yes, by the sounds of you and with prohibitionism being the slippery slope that it is.

and get pissed and piss in phone boxes.

Because that's what all people who drink do isn't it? In all my years as a lover of the hop and the grape I can honestly say I have never lost control of my bladder on any British Telecom property.

Even a pragmatist would see that the costs to the public infrastructure would be enormous and crippling.

A pragmatist would see that legalising a drug that is - unadulterated by fucking drug dealers - harmless, would be a good thing. The fact that its users become affable and friendly (albeit to an excessive, and arguably annoying, extent) seems to me to be a very good reason to legalise it.

Then again, I might not be one of the elite 20% of humanity who are not "morons". How is Calvinism going, by the way?

leg-iron said...

The argument for legalising drugs to ensure quality control does not take account of the fact that 80% of the population are morons.

Very generous of you. I'd put that figure at 98% myself. Still, shouldn't they be allowed to make any decisions for themselves at all? If they are continually coddled and protected, they can never develop from moronhood.

If you want to drive to work, knowing that most of the other commuters are off their faces or that the guy next door might kill you because he is of his face or that you cant have a sensible conversation will a call-centre worker because she is off her face...etc.

Driving under the influence is already illegal and you'd get put away for it (unless you're a famous rock star) and that would make no difference whether you were boozed up or high. Just as dangerous, same penalty. In the same way, turning up to work drunk would get you a P45 on the spot. Same if you turned up babbling about badger-eating fish while trying to eat the curtains. No difference, except one will get you prosecuted and the other won't.

Oh, and being drunk in a public place is actually illegal already, including in a pub. The druggie is no different in that respect. If you've never, ever staggered home from the pub, you can take a righteous stance on this.

I can't. I've been carried home a few times in my rebellious youth.

Smoking might kill me. Drinking whisky might kill me. I know the risks and I choose to take the risk, just as the bungee jumper knows the rope might break one day but enjoys it enough to take the risk.

If I were to deny anyone the same choice I would have to label myself 'hypocrite'.

I won't. Not even if they are morons.

leg-iron said...

Filthy smoker

I'm not elitist really. I'm just a cunt.



But I'm in the top 2% of cunts.

xelent said...

I have to agree with the filthy smoker... Ecstasy is a wonderful drug... And like his good self I decided to wrap it up as a meaningful past time... But some of the miseries on here could try a dose to lighten their loads...

The reaosn the govt wants to downgrade this drug is because too many people are taking it... clogs up the courts...

Oswald Bastable said...

"All adults, as the legitimate owners of their own lives and bodies, have the right to ingest whatever substances they please, on the condition they do not violate the rights of others and they take responsibility for their actions."

Take particular note of the last six words!

http://www.libertarianz.org.nz/?policy=drugs

Elby the Beserk said...

Spot on Mr. Bastable. I am regular user of all sorts of drugs, and have been all my life, which has included bringing up four splendid children, out in the world on their own two feet, and working for 25 years in the IT business.

Regular weed smoker, and occasional - 3, 4 mebbe 5 times a year consumer of MDMA (only the best crunchy crystal will do) and mushrooms (god bless the Dutch). These are factored into my life so that they do *not* take a toll on anything or anyone else.

My bizzo what slots down me gob. But I would advise anyone against ever taking cake

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Tim
You think children should be allowed to make decisions to take drugs so that they can be happy? Wrinkled Weasel is right about adults too. But even if you disagree with him about adults, you cannot possibly think that all children should be allowed to do anything they want without any restriction!

We cannot have a society which promotes the use of drugs to attain a state which can ONLY be achieved by the pursuit of a virtuous life. Similarly, we would be wrong to tell children that a BMW will make them happy.

Drugs take away the very reason for living. And while you and DK may think you are fighting for freedom and liberty from the state, if you do this to the children, you take away any freedom they may have to make any decisions at all.

dixon_cox said...

This is most definitly worth buying and reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PiHKAL

One time in the 90s I was chatting to a police officer outside a rave. he said "if I had my way everyone would be necking E instead of boozing...it all comes from on high...the politicians...they never have to sort out pissed up drunks like I do"

Lilith said...

Ms Snuffleupagus. Drugs do not simply "take away the very reason for living." Drugs are medicine as well as poison, and that is true whether they are legal or not.

All this demonising of "Ecstasy" is beside the point. We should focus on getting it approved for use in cognitive therapy for victims of trauma. It is a valuable drug. Should be treated with great respect and manufactured to the highest standards, IMHO. I have taken it, so I know what it does. Doesn't appeal to me now, but it had its place in my education.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the EU has not mandated the free distribution of Ecstasy, like Soma in "Brave New World".

Nothing like happy pills to keep the masses giggly and unattentive to what their masters are doing. Is DK really an advance agent for Brussels?

Freeman too said...

Not sure I think people taking drugs really helps much. The problems in their lives of the takers remain, sadly, while they consume or inject -- and while putting people outside of themselves temporarily seems a good idea it is surely just another way of helping to continue the problems.

Not only are drug-takers faced with the same routines and (dare I say it) personal as well as state imposed difficulties while they come down or the effects wear off, but they now have another need in their lives that takes time and money to meet.

And why deal with difficulties when you can put them behind you for a few hours? Yes, it seems like a good idea for a while but doesn't really move lives forward.

Happiness too isn't really from a tablet or substance or a material possession (just as Miss Snuffleupagus says above - after all a BMW is really just metal pressed into different shapes). The illusion of escape from a life of burdens is one thing, but the reality is that it isn't real. Drugs can't make the world a better place, or improve the long-term prospects of its people. Happiness must surely come from something other than a purchase and consuming.

Ultimately, we can only tend our own gardens, so it is up to people what they do. But for me, electing to take a drug doesn't really make things better.

haddock said...

DK, you left one party seen by many to be a 'single issue party' to help form another party.
Readers of your blog will get the idea that Libertarianism and being a Libertine is the same thing ( a point I've made here before ).... and that the greatest ill in our lives, the biggest single issue, is the restriction on taking drugs or an excess of alcohol.
As for 'being responsible for your actions'..... I thought that in the main the effect of alcohol or other drugs is to remove that sense of responsibility.
If I am to be in a single-issue party then getting out of the EU is more worthy of my effort than campaigning for the right of people to live in a drug fuelled world.



And you called the rest of us cunts.....

Old Holborn said...

If you need to take Soma voluntarily, that is your choice.

Personally speaking, I'm surprised the State doesn't pump it in the water supply.

Not for me though. I prefer to simply do things that make me happy, instead of trying to chemically fool my brain that everything is simply wonderful

Tomrat said...

DK,

Haddock has a very good point; your actions in supporting the use of an illegal substance is strictly libertine, not libertarianism, where the support of the rule of law, no matter how much of an ass it is, is paramount.

I am dead against this legislation for 2 reasons:

1. I want to see drugs legalised, regulated and putting something back into the country in much the same way big pharma does with block-buster drugs, lowering prices for life-saving treatments, etc..lowering its legal classification so that it becomes "less illegal" is repugnant idea and what makes such wonderful destinations as Amsterdam such fetid poopholes; decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation.

2. It puts to bed any idea that the law is something to be respected, let alone obeyed; whatever people think of the police there job is to uphold the rule of law - something that is being made that much harder when you start to remove a street-police's ability to exercise good judgement by controlling said judgement with whitehall diktat.
"ooh thats more illegal than this particular action."
"really? this week?"
"your right..let me check the rule book - hold there a minute sir...oh; he's gone."

An illegal action is an illegal action; whether you agree with the status or not we should respect that there is little room other than self-judgement to act on such things in practice. Arguing for decriminalisation is arguing from a point of weakness and I will never do that; legalise drugs, take them out of the hands of gangsters, traffickers and other criminal low-life, regulate the purity so you dont see OD's in stronger forms (heroin, would practically disappear, as it is actually a combination of several unrefined opiates which could be reformulated to be safe, enjoyable and ultimately a social good; morphine is currently synthesised - you could have a stable, natural source reducing the burden on a finite resource) and finally put some money into government coffers which could feed into treating the negative effects of drug use (something that would also be reduced; drugs would be a lot more easy to study if they were legal).

Finally in dealing with the Wrinkled Weasel's gambit yes people WILL abuse drugs, and as a result people will abuse people, children, the rule of law and so forth, but I would prefer to be a poilce officer in a country which could effectively identify the difference between right and wrong than have to consult a rulebook and let it pass me by; being high on drugs would no longer be seen as an excuse to your negative actions - their would be no disconnect as you would know what you were getting into and would be expected to be responsible for your actions as the government is responsible for dealing with their consequences.

DK this is a poor arguement; arguing for decriminalisation is the libertine's arguement and is from a point of weakness - you put confusion and complexity into the mix like this and your arguement dies, maybe not at this hurdle but soon. This same arguement applies to all areas of psuedo-criminalisation, like prostitution for example.

ENGLISHMAN said...

A few hours of happieness?while the longing for something inside remains unanswered and un satisfied,and tomorrow we shall do it all again,because the horror is still here,and we are not who we thought we were last night.Drugs are no solution to the desperation that leads to this fight or flight,the only answer is to find the source of the discomfort within you,greet him as a friend and transmute him into something that is truly wonderful, the one.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

TWO Fiskings in one thread!Shall we try for a third?

In this instance there is nothing you can say that will change my mind about it. I say that as someone who is generally open to seeing both sides but I have been around druggies for over 30 years and I know. Drugs fuck you up. It is interesting how those who have taken drugs and do regularly, somehow think I have had my head up my arse when friends have died of heroin overdoses and when they have sat there all evening boring the shit out of me in the belief they are omniscient.

(I was once at a party where everyone was on drugs but me. We were on a large boat. All of a sudden the police were crawling over the deck with dogs. It was me that had the presence of mind to pop my head outside to enquire, oh so very politely, how I could help them. It turned out they were searching for an escaped criminal. All I was concerned about was making sure they did not go below and find a lot of very silly people being very obviously drugged.)

The truth is, people who take illegal drugs are largely irresponsible and short on self-awareness. (I am not sure if that is a side-effect of the drugs, or they were like that to start with.)

I see that opinion on the percentage of morons in the population are at variance, but the fact is, if you allow the hoi-polloi to do what they like, they will not only destroy themselves, they will destroy others.(Africa and AIDS springs to mind)

(And yes I am in the top two percent and yes that is how it looks from here. It gives me a migraine headache just thinking down to your level)

Smokers..you have the right to die slowly and painfully because it is legal (just). I would have thought that smoking is an object lesson in how people will damage themselves with substance abuse, given the chance. I am not going to get into statistics, but I accept that smokers who deliberately self-harm will die early and thus relieve the burden on the NHS.

Please don't mistake my opinion for judgement. Frankly druggies can fuck off and die for all I care. I just think that your logic is flawed, not surprisingly.

Somebody picked up on my comment about Brave New World. If you really want to know what concerns me it is that if "they" have control of recreational drugs "they" will use it as a method of social control. Crikey! you can't buy more than 16 aspirins these days in case you try and top yourself. Do you really think that, once these drugs are legalised, you will be able to do what you like?

It is breathtakingly naive to demand legalisation of ecstacy and it is promulgated by those who should first clean themselves up and take a long look at reality.

Dave H. said...

I'm too old and boring to be bothered trying Ecstacy -wrecking my health with booze is more my idea of fun.

Hardcore piss-artists, however, do usually make it at least to their fifties. MDMA hasn't been widely used as a recreational drug long enough for the long-term effects of (heavy) use to show up.

I've heard rumours of some very nasty neurological changes.

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Lilith
Of course drugs in general have their uses. And some which are considered illegal can be used for medical purposes. This is not what DK is suggesting. Wrinkled Weasel makes the argument far better than I ever could.

It is irresponsible thinking like that which I am reading on here and in DK's post that creates some of the chaos in our inner cities. Normally it is the far Left that thinks in this manner. Clearly not today.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you Snuffy.

I had a talk about this with Dr Weasel and out of that came a thought...

There is a difference between social restraint and social control.

Now, lesser mortals, go figure.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the prohibitionists here smoke, or drink. You are arguing for these drugs to be banned also, right? It would seem bizarre if not, given both are infinitely more dangerous than ecstasy (100,000 tobacco deaths per year, and several tens of thousands from alcohol).

Of course, this was a rhetorical question. Nobody would argue for alcohol to be banned, because everyone knows it wouldn't work, as the US proved. That has become a byword for counterproductive moralist legislation: the quadrupling of alcohol poisining deaths, no fall in consumption (by the end of Prohibition alcohol use was at 1917 levels and increasing), massive corruption, massive increase in crime etc.

The criminalisation of (some) drugs directly leads to all of these, yet doesn't actually lower consumption at all. The Dutch and Portugese see much lower rates of cannabis use than we do, and without the literally several hundreds of thousands given a criminal record for smoking a pretty harmless plant (ruining their career prospects, of course). More importantly, the Dutch approach gives them a total drugs death rate per capita 13x lower than ours. The correlation is pretty consistent if you look internationally - eg a big Swedish crackdown on drugs a few years back led to a ballooning of drugs deaths.

Still, never mind. Can't go for a different approach. After all, things were so much worse before we had drugs laws in the 60s. Oh, no wait, they weren't. We essentially had no drugs deaths at all back then, and astronomically lower levels of consumption.

The drugs laws have failed. Completely. Disastrously. Massively counterproductively. It's been obvious for at least twenty years now - why should we expect a change in outcome? Time for a new approach.

pagar said...

I rather thought that the comment section of this post would be illuminating as it would unmask those who are happy to jump on the libertarian wagon when it suits them but are in fact rather authoritarian fellow travellers at heart. It looks like there are plenty!!!

The point is that whether or not you like drugs or those who take them is irrelevant. If someone does take them (and many do) that is there decision and is neither your business nor should it be that of the state.

Snuffle, Weasel, Tomrat, Haddock- whether or not DK is a libertine is entirely irrelevant except that your use of the word suggests you are making an uninformed judgement based on your own moral compass.

The legalisation of drugs is a fundamental libertarian policy. If you don't agree with it perhaps you should look for another wagon.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Oh, I doubt if western civilisation is ready to collapse because clubbers prefer dancing and talking at 100 mph ?

Of course one or two casualties end up in A&E.
They usually tell staff that they feel "weird", or can "feel their own heartbeat" after taking several 'E's' plus a few other goodies - we try to keep a straight face but it's not always easy given shit they start spouting.

My own preferred option would be to construct several warehouses and fill one with heroin, say another with cannabis, another with 'E's', etc.

Customers could then take copious quantities of their preferred substance in peace [if that's what they wanted to do] or, they could simply top up before hitting the bars and clubs of the local high street.

I've heard the cost of drug prevention put at £19 billion - more than the entire budget for education.
And Britain already tops the OECD table [including the USA] when it comes expenditure on Law & Order
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/09/07/britain-spends-more.html

Now that sort of doh buys a lot gear, so if diverted to 'warehouse schemes' up and down the country not only would it reduce the number of criminals [by around 50% if we accept stats on current levels of drug related offending] but it might, just might finally remove the epidemic of used syringes that plague the stairwell of our tower blocks and council estates.
http://www.tdpf.org.uk/MediaNews_FactResearchGuide_prisons.htm

What I want to know is why it is taking everybody else so long to cotton onto such a sure fire winner ?

Devil's Kitchen said...

"What I want to know is why it is taking everybody else so long to cotton onto such a sure fire winner ?"

Because, my dear A&E, of the attitudes of the kind of people who have posted above.

Oh, and the education budget is in the region of £60 billion, so I doubt that your quoted £19 bn is more than that.

DK

archduke said...

one aspect of ectasy i thoroughly enjoy is not the euphoria.

it's the unbelievable levels of EMPATHY with other human beings. it is remarkable in that respect - its actually the complete opposite to cocaine. rather than "me me me", you end up focusing on the friends with you. its one heck of a conservational ice breaker.

as far as i know, psychologists in America are now prescribing ecstasy to American troops suffering from post-traumatic stress, with great results - they come out of their shells and speak about their problems to the psychologists. and it certainly is helping with their healing process.

i dropped some pills for the first time in ten years a few weeks ago at a private party.. no clubbing. (since i'm in my late thirties, i'm a bit too old for clubbing)

just a bunch of good friends , listening to music, and chatting about life , the universe and everything.

staying-in on ecstasy can be one heck of a blast.

archduke said...

errgh.. typo

"conversational ice breaker" is of course what i meant to say.

and for the record, i'm in favour of full and complete legalisation of all drugs.

wouldnt it be better for the government of columbia to export cocaine, rather than criminal drugs cartels?

or the government of afghanistan exporting heroin... rather than the Taliban?

and the "dear Leader" in N.Korea would have far less hard currency if amphetamines were legal.

Panopticon Britain said...

It may seem odd to some people, naming no names that a person could favour drug legalization, but not be a drug user themselves, such as I am, however, what is the difference between that and supporting freedom of speech for those with different views?

Jack shit as far as I can see.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

ok pagar. I take the bait. Explain how, just how you would legalise recreational drugs, and which ones?

FYI I am a libertarian. I just happen to disagree on the drug issue. On almost all other lib subjects I am at one with the party. That does not make me an outsider, it makes me somebody who has a brain and thinks for himself. What the fuck are you?

V said...

I've only taken ecstasy once - 8 years ago - and I still remember the night out as one of the best ever!

These comments really go to show that democracy really is a bad idea at times! Having the majority of the voters not really having a clue what they are talking about, but still having the same weight in votes is not going to bring the right answer - just the most popular!

Tim said...

So weasel, you have a brain and think for yourself? Somewhat curious that you don't want other people to be allowed to do the same, then...

pagar said...

Weasel

You are NOT a libertarian.

A libertarian believes in individual freedom. You are saying that the state shoud have the right to proscribe substances that I might choose to ingest. Why?

You cannot hold this view and be a libertarian.

Sorry.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Pagar - I am not a libertarian although I do think libertarians hold increasingly important views about the erosion of our freedom[s].

But you seem to be saying the state has NO role in determining what drugs should [or should not] be available to the public.
Do you extend this concept to prescribed drugs, such as antibiotics, bearing in mind all the attendant risks of growing resistance through overuse ?

And presumably if the principle holds with drugs then surely it should extend to everything else ?

So, how would you run a police force, school, army, or medical services if we decide that a free for all is the most appropriate political model ?

Do libertarians think it is OK to eat our dead if one or two individuals have a penchant for cannibalism and the recently deceased gave the the thumbs up before being placed under a low light ?

Anonymous said...

I think all drugs should be legalised. Having said that, I am currently in the process of persuading my partner to give up heroin and helping her fight her addiction.

Knowing I am trying to stop her makes me feel somewhat two faced. Still, one day it will work and I have a promise to have her inject me with heroin so I can try it too.

I was so close a couple of nights ago to try smoking it, I had the foil in my hand all ready to go.

Once her addiction is resolved, I expect that she will continue to use it on a less regular basis, maybe monthly and I am very likely to be joining her.

I dont care what rules corrupt police officers and politicians want or make. What I do is none of their business or anyone else's. I harm no one.

I like young people, they brighten up the place. I find them to be generally polite and well behaved. What is really needed is for politicians to stop lying about drugs, to let the real story out and to fuck off out of my private life.

The police can be reminded about their role in the world, to enforce the law, not make it. Maybe crime would reduce if we had less of them.

My needle awaits, but not for a short while yet.

Oh, and I am looking forward to watching her pump heroin in my arm and waiting to feel the effects.

Dodgy Geezer said...

"Please get real. Everyone who has been through this knows you have to stop or it will fuck you..."

I've been on a much worse drug |(alcohol) for all of my life, and it hasn't fucked me up....

pagar said...

A&E

But you seem to be saying the state has NO role in determining what drugs should [or should not] be available to the public.
Do you extend this concept to prescribed drugs, such as antibiotics, bearing in mind all the attendant risks of growing resistance through overuse ?


Yes. I had a dose of pharyngitis recently. In order to combat it I needed antibiotics but in order to get them I had to go to my GP's surgery- wasting his time, my time and a great deal of taxpayers money. This could all have been avoided if I had been able to buy my penicillin over the counter (as I could have done in many other countries). Looking around the surgery my strong suspicion was that probably only 10% of the patients needed to be there and this is an example of the colossal waste of resources when the state provides free health care. If I take antiobiotics when they are not required and, because of this, they cease to be effective that is a consequence of my stupidity for which I accept responsibility.


So, how would you run a police force, school, army, or medical services if we decide that a free for all is the most appropriate political model ?

Schools and the Health Service would be run by private enterprise. The police and army would be controlled by the Government and funded by indirect taxation.
I personally believe Chiefs of Police should be elected locally.

Do libertarians think it is OK to eat our dead if one or two individuals have a penchant for cannibalism and the recently deceased gave the the thumbs up before being placed under a low light ?

Of course. If my wife decides that she would like me to eat her following her death (and I am agreeable) what business is it of anyone else? I have to say that I would not relish this particular dish on the grounds of indigestability but that is irrelevant.

A few years ago a group of sado-masochists were convicted of crimes as a result of their entirely consensual activities. Like cannibalism, most people would undoubtedly find such activity unpalatable, but once you deny consenting adults freedom to live there lives as they wish to, you become authoritarian.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Pagar - 80% of upper respiratory tract infections are viral, so will not respond to antibiotics.

But taking antibiotics would be simple enough if punters took penicillin for no good [clinical] reason providing this behaviour only affected them, but the point is, of course, it DOESN'T.

The way microbes evolve/mutate depends [in part] on exposure to various antibiotics: ultimately other individuals suffer because the bugs which cause infection become resistant over time] to most, or even more worryingly ALL antibiotics.

This process is accelerated by the culture of self prescribing leading to nasty bugs being exported to other countries.

We need state regulation for such drug usage in my opinion: the real problem in my book is criminalising the universal [and transcultural] need to a chemically tamper with our neurons.

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E does have a point: should we restrict access to antibiotics as a public good?

The increasing resistance is very worrying and it is mainly caused through people failing to take the whole damn course of antibiotics. One of my colleagues had done that recently and I nearly went spare at him (it's a minor bugbear of mine).

Penicillin is a moot point: the way in which it destroys bacteria (and the nature of the bacteria that it affects) makes it relatively difficult for said organisms to develop resistance.

Anti-virals and gram-negative anti-bacterials are losing their efficacy far more quickly, and this is a worry.

DK

pagar said...

A&E

Of course you're correct re viral causes of infection but as I had had the infection for a week before presenting to the doctor I began to suspect a bacteriological cause. Anyway what did the doctor do- he prescribed penicillin!!!

You also make an excellent point re mutating bugs and I have to admit that this kind of area (where my actions do not directly impact on another individual but may have a more general impact on society or the world at large)is challenging to libertarian theory.

The most obvious example is anthropogenically caused climate change. Whilst I agree that the science is not entirely proven I have to admit to suspecting there may be a connection between carbon emmissions and climate change and, if the connection exists, there is no point in denying it because it poses a problem for our political stance.

So how does libertarianism cope with situations where there is an obvious need for social resposibility?

Well,firstly,there are some people who will act altruistically and that's fine. Most won't however and my suggestion is that their behaviour can be modified, where absolutely neccessary, by the appropriate application of indirect taxation.

Thus I should be free to purchase and drive a big 4x4 car but may have to accept that I pay a social premium for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Wrinkled Weasel I've got news for you. You are most certainly no libertarian.

You call yourself a libertarian but you presume to tell me I can't smoke a spliff. Fuck you, you are a cunt, not a libertarian. And learn English.

Z

archduke said...

just looked at how fucked Columbia has become because we have decided that their formerly totally legal export, cocaine, was to be "banned".

same goes with afghanistan.

the british even managed to end up ruling one quarter of the planet , in an era when all drugs were legal.

prohibition doesnt work. its time to end it.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Wot Pagar said at 1:43am

WW's comments remind me of a fuckwit of the American persuasion who defended smoking bans with the line "I'm a Libertarian but smoking needs to be controlled for the sake of our children ... plus I'm happy that I don't have to smell it in bars and restaurants anymore" (elipsis added for comedic effect)

One can't pick and choose which liberties are to be allowed when describing oneself as a Libertarian IMO.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"You call yourself a libertarian but you presume to tell me I can't smoke a spliff. Fuck you, you are a cunt, not a libertarian. And learn English"

I never said that.

Oh, you are so deluded. You did not read what I said.

If you lot are representative of the Libertarian Alliance, then you are more Stalinist than the Labour Party and I want nothing to do with it.

As I said, I have opinions base on experience, something you wankers in your mom's bedrooms do not have and never will have.

I believe in the application of restraint. As for smoking spliffs, my son is comfortable enough to ask me if I will join him in one. I decline. It merely means I exercise a choice. How you extrapolate that I don't know.

Maybe you are the cunt. You are certainly not exercising social responsibility and probably do not know what that means or that it would be the building block of any Libertarian manifesto, as indeed it is.

I think smokers are idiots, but I don't care if they smoke and I do not want to ban it or make their lives more difficult than it already is.

Gosh, what twats you all are and that is my last word. It is too tiresome even thinking down to your level.

pagar said...

Please don't mistake my opinion for judgement. Frankly druggies can fuck off and die for all I care.

That's what you said, Weasel, and that's the problem. If it's any consolation, I don't mistake your opinion for judgement.

Roger Thornhill said...

Remember that alcohol is not even general use - age is the restriction. For other things, it might be required to be administered by a qualified person. Still, I could have taken all 12 of my antibiotics in one day.

The logical conclusion of all this is "medication time" at the Cuckoo's Nest...for us all. All part of Destination Socialism.

sloshed_nurse said...

Like many other kids, I spent the early 90s dancing around in fields. Never took E - I just liked the new, magnificently strange music. That and being out all night.

But I've always been rather suspicious of anything that has the potential to screw with memory. Happiness can be a subtle and fragile thing...

Elby the Beserk said...

@Anonymous Freeman too said...
//
Not only are drug-takers faced with the same routines and (dare I say it) personal as well as state imposed difficulties while they come down or the effects wear off, but they now have another need in their lives that takes time and money to meet
//
Clearly you are not a drug taker. Regardless, the above is bollocks. Sigh. Yes, it is a problem for those for who it is a problem. Like booze. But it is not a problem for all.

As Lilith pointed out, the psychedelics and empathogens can be extraordinary medicines for the spirit.

Don't knock what you don't know about. That is just plain ignorant.

Ecstasy drug addictions said...

Ecstasy is the common and street name of drug MDMA. It is a semi synthetic member of the amphetamine class. Ecstasy drug is a psychoactive drug. Ecstasy drug addictions is a large kind of substance which includes the drug is such as stimulants, psychedelics, and the empathogenicentactogens. If you want to more information about the ecstasy drug addictions so you can visit the web site.

http://www.edrugrehabs.com/SubstanceAbuse/Ecstasy-Addiction-Treatments/Rehabs/index.html