Friday, January 09, 2009

Making a hash of it

Even by Unity's normal standards, this article, detailing the way in which the state and the media have colluded to hide the true damage done by the illegality of recreational drugs, is extremely long (some 15,000 words, in fact).

However, as is typical for Unity, it is very well researched and incredibly comprehensive—especially on the subject of heroin (which is many people's sticking point as far as legalisation goes)—and is well worth a read in full.

However, I shall spoil it for you by quoting his conclusion.
For the last forty years and more, the British people have been systematically lied to and mislead as to the basis on which the country’s laws and policies relating to the recreational use of drugs have been been formulated and drawn up, not only by the government - and that means every government since the late 1960s - by by our supposedly independent and free press which has actively colluded in a lie of gargantuan proportions. That lie, as we saw when we looked at the history of the heroin black market, turned a small but well managed group of a few hundred drug users into an epidemic of 300-500,000 chaotic users who, between them, its been estimated, may account for anything up to 85% of shoplifting (the Home Office estimates the total economic and social cost of shoplifiting to be around £3.1 billion a year) 70-80% of burglaries (domestic - £2.7 billion a year, commercial - £2.6 billion), and 54% of robberies (at a mere £2 billion a year) - and I make that an estimated total economic and social cost to the UK, including the cost of dealing with offender through the criminal justice system, of around £7.7 billion a year, to which we can tack on another £1.2 billion that the Home Office estimates as the cost of drug offences making an estimated cost of £8.9 billion a year, without even attempting to figure out how much of the costs associated with violent crime (£16.8 billion a year) might be relate to drug use.

Talk about a success story, eh? Anything from a 6,000 to 10,000 per cent increase in heroin users and an annual bill just shy of £9 billion a year for the privilege of feeling all moral and self-righteous about drug use and keeping the Daily Mail in editorial copy.

The only reason that this isn’t a huge story is precisely because the media’s collusion in this lie has meant that no one ever gets to see the full story, even though everything that’s needed to piece it together and tell it like it really is, is already out there if only you look at things critically and take the time to put the piece of the jigsaw together.

It's an absolute fucking scandal (and it still would be even were I not an advocate of legalising recreational drugs) and deserves to be exposed.

The state is bad enough but, as this article shows, our media have an awful lot to answer for too...


Guthrum said...

illegality = sexy ?

Anonymous said...

Very good point DK. As a GP I see the casualties of the drugs epidemic,largely deliberately incited by members of the British government,on a daily basis.

My angle is the medical one. The cost to society via crime and the agencies required to deal with it, to say nothing of the opportunity cost of it all, must now run into hundreds of billions.

All largely avoidable.

Mark Wadsworth said...

15,000 words? Unity writes some cracking stuff but I'm glad you cut and pasted the (inevitable) conclusion that the war on drugs is complete and utter madness.

Cato said...

DK et al, I'm sorry to disagree with you here but I worked as a copper in London for nearly 30 years and I saw at first hand the results of allowing, condoning, call it what you will, the use (or should it be misuse?) of 'recreational' drugs.

Would someone kindly enlighten me as to the definition of a 'recreational' drug? To my mind there is no difference between Crack, Marijuana or Ecstacy..except in their potency.

They are all dangerous and all have caused innumerable problems in this country.

But there you go...whatever floats your boat, cloud, whatever.

Martin said...

I promise you, many of those problems you associate with drug use are in fact rooted in prohibition.

Nick said...

One success story is Switzerland.

The deal on drugs there, is that if you want to inject, you have to inject in a drugs center. Either plastic chairs, formica et, or at a caravan parked up.

There are always two nurses on duty.

If you're caught with drugs, then the police will arrest you unless they know you.

The result is this.

1. Addicts go to the centres. Drugs are tested, and you get clean needles etc there. Result is a drop in infection rates from shared needles.

2. If addicts OD, then the staff are there to revive them. End result is a drop in the number of deaths.

3. Herion is available, but you have to use in the centers. Substitutes are availble such as methadone or buprenorphine.

4. Lastly, and its perhaps the biggest part, its not particularly cool to go to a center to inject etc. Result is a reduction, year on year, of the number of drug users. 5-10% per annum

5. Heroin is actually very cheap. If you look at the cost of such drugs as a prescription, the cost of supply would be low.

I think this is a policy that could work well.

No need to shop lift, burgle, etc.

whoops said...

of course. but the idea isn't to get people off drugs is it? otherwise they'd ban tobacco and alcohol. the idea is to get as many people through the criminal justice system as possible, with their dna sampled etc. get you all on the database. meanwhile all the clever children and those that are natural leaders are classified as "hyperactive" and doped up to the eyeballs on prescription drugs.

El Draque said...

I don't think the increase in drug use, by itself, is evidence of the failure of prohibition.
But the best statement for me is this:
If drugs are dangerous, why do we restrict the distribution to ruthless criminals?

chris said...

Heroin is actually very cheap

A bit of an understatement. If I remember right where it supplied on prescription the NHS would actually make a profit on the prescription charges.

Ian B said...

Well, the site appears to be down so can't read the article. One thing to note from what you've posted, though- we should be cautious of estimations of "drug related crime". The problem is that officially anyone who uses drugs is considered an addict, and and any crime committed by someone who uses drugs is considered to be "drug related" and thus caused by drugs. But that ain't necessarily so.

Drug use is very common. Just scrote who pops pills hasn't necessarily been driven to crime by drugs; the drugs and the crime are just a part of his glorious scrotey lifestyle. It's the same as talking up "alcohol related" crime; anyone who's had a drink and commits a crime is put in that statistic and then the drink is blamed by Temperance Campaigners (i.e. the entire ruling class, pretty much) for the crime. It's like noting whether or not people who've been arrested have drunk coffee recently, then creating a "coffee related crime" statistic.

Pogo said...

"Ian B" - "drink is blamed by Temperance Campaigners (i.e. the entire ruling class, pretty much)..."

I don't think so... Many of them go at the booze as if they're expecting "staggering about talking bollocks" to be the next Olympic sport. Perhaps what you mean is "the entire ruling class campaigning for Temperance for The Proles"?

Ian B said...

Well, the site came back up. It's a good and interesting article, but it leaves one unsatisfied. We may observe that the press collude with prohibitionist sentiment, but we are left wondering why.

Let's be Gramscian- because the Gramscian analysis is something anyone can use, not just marxists. This is an example of ideological hegemony. The press act to maintain the hegemonic discourse. But why is it in their interests to do so? Who, behind them, is maintaining this ideological hegemony?

Here is where I think our libertarian urge to blame "the state" is insufficient. Yes, the government are prohibitionist- but then we have this curious fact of the 20th century that all governments, and all parties, from wherever in the political spectrum they come, are prohibitionists. It should be more remarkable to us that the New Labour cabal, who arose from the dope smokin' New Left, are as committed prohibitionists as the crustiest old tory. You are left with the feeling that they are unable to present any other view even should they want to. And yet, we know that even the most despised of things can be habilitated by a consistent Gramscian counterhegemonic cultural assault. Homosexuality, utterly despised less than two generations ago (and still privately despised by many) is now ideologically hegemonic. Even right wing traditionalist politicians dare not insult gays- and all this since the New Left arose. So why isn't the ideological hegemony on drugs being dismantled by those you'd expect to at least have some sympathy with the idea?

Who is pulling the strings, culturally? Who is ensuring that governments and bureaucracies and the media and the entire massive cloud of modern internationalised governance are marching in lockstep?

Media compliance is symptomatic, not causative. What's the deeper story?

The Penguin said...

There's a whole raft of people whose salary depends on keeping and enlarging the status quo. Same as all those wellpaid bastards at the larger charities - if they actually eradicated Cancer or whatever, they'd be looking for a new job.

The Penguin

Sickened said...

Hmmm not sure about this.

So the government lie to us......this is new?

The issue is that heroin is an addictive drug.

People who cannot afford to fund a drug habit become addicted to heroin.

To fund their drug habit these low income addicts commit crime.

Would legalising heroin reduce crime? If the answer is yes, then legalise it. Oh but wait...who foots the bill for the free heroin? The rest of us......

Alternatively, hang all the scumbags that are committing crime to fund a drug habit they otherwise cannot afford.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would legalise drugs tomorrow - if we took away the welfare state, too. Currently, I make the bed that these people lie in, and it kind of pisses me off.

Garry said...

I agree with the Swiss way. It would kill off the drug trade,and those bastards peddling drugs outside the school gates.

Assegai Mike said...

Cato the Copper. Definition of recreational drugs: How about recreational drugs are heroin, dope, cocaine, ecstasy, booze, ciggies etc. Non-recreational drugs are aspirin, statins, cough medicine etc. Okay? Apart from race-inclusiveness, pulling sickies, filling forms and harassing the law-abiding, don't they teach anything useful at Hendon?

Legalising all recreational drugs may have other positive side-effects too, like helping solve the Afghanistan problem.

John B said...

"Oh but wait...who foots the bill for the free heroin? The rest of us......"

True, but supplying a junkie with a year's worth of medical heroin costs under gbp300. Even assuming legalisation would do nothing to cut user numbers, that's less than gbp1bn for all of them - or 1/9 what we're spending to keep it illegal.

[and Unity's data doesn't even include the current medical costs of dealing with junkies.]

Nick said...

300 quid is cheap compared to the colateral damage to us from them theiving.

Very cheap compared to the 250K that the Blears spends on getting some chavs out of bed in the morning.

It goes back to the major problem with the tossers in Labour. Their mantra is something has to be done, and everything must be done.

At somepoint you have to draw the line and admit that your fighting a losing case. The problem with 250K on getting chavs out of bed in the morning isn't the fact that the chav doesn't want to get out of bed, its with the tossers who've decided to spend the 250K a year doing it.

Ian B said...

Um, free heroin? Whatever for? Should we have the state give away free beer as well?

Why can't it just be sold in Sainsburys, like other products?

James Higham said...

That's a pretty vital post. Needs to be linked.

Sickened said...

John B......why should junkies be treated? Let them die.....or help them die.

Sickened said...

Ian all means sell it at Sainsburys........but it would have to be out of sight so kids aren't tempted to take it up.....cos that will work for cigs won't it? ;)

Blue Eyes said...

A very well argued piece, DK, but your sample of one is misleading. There are countries who manage to have virtually no addiction whatsoever. I am not arguing the "ideological" point of whether it is right that people should be free to screw up but the practical point that it is possible to eradicate addiction if the political will is there.

Anonymous said...

Another important point that the media often ignores is that most people who try heroin, either don't like it(it just makes them feel tired) or simply bail out when the going gets tough. As this brilliant little article from ,oddly enough, the sports columnist for The Times, who appears to have once been a junky, pointed out:

"Nobody becomes a casual heroin user. It is too much like hard work. It is the most determined act you will attempt all year. You think you've got it tough putting up shelves or laying a new patio? Try getting whacked out on horse. It is a commitment. It is the whole day gone."

From my experience its people who already have existing emotional and mental pain who get the most relief from heroin. In other words-the more screwed up you are the more you're going to enjoy heroin and stay committed to it.

Anonymous said...

Or for the Times article just google:

"Heroin is hard work. You don't drift into it."

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