Clubbers continue to use mephedrone despite ban
The only thing that surprises me is that people would go for mephdrone when there's some excellent MDMA doing the rounds in London at the moment. Apparently.
“I like it,” he said. “It’s not as strong as MDMA, and it’s not like mushrooms. They used to be legal and they really f*** you up.”
Fair enough. When I lived in Edinburgh, there was a "head shop" around the corner that used to sell fresh mushrooms. I can't say that they ever did anything much other than make me laugh and laugh for hours**.
But wow! Who'da thunk it?—banning stuff doesn't stop people taking it. In fact...
Two other clubbers who had not taken the drug said that they would be willing to try. One, 34, a graphic designer, said that criminalising the drug had encouraged him to give it a go.
“It’s just going to make people want it more. If you start to legalise it, people will realise it actually works.
“Legal drugs, you think they’re just herbal stuff,” said his companion. “This just shows everybody that it actually does something.”
... banning things just encourages people to take it.
As many of you will know, Portugal decriminalised all dugs in 2001, and actually saw a reduction in the number of people taking what had previously been illegal drugs.
Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal's decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents—from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for "drug tourists"—has occurred.
The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies—such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage—have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens—enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.
The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.
As readers will know, your humble Devil supports the full legalisation—not just decriminalisation—of all drugs. This has numerous advantages:
- Under decriminalisation, the supply of drugs is still illegal. This fails to address the harm done by impurities in the drugs; it also fails to address the problem of criminal gangs fighting over turf.
- A large amount of money must still be expended in attempting to deal with these criminals—both in catching them and pursuing them through the criminal courts.
- Legalisation would allow for the regulation of drug purity; it would also allow the state to impose a Pigou tax on the drugs to pay for any societal costs, e.g. rehabilitation of addicts.
But Portugal has taken a large step in the right direction, whilst our government—ruled, as it is, by the baying mob of the media—continues to move in the diametrically opposite one.
The "war on drugs" is completely wrong—from philosophical, moral, health and economic viewpoint. It is absolute insanity and should be stopped immediately.
* I know, I know—but nothing else has quite the impact, eh?
** Although I would say that I don't recommend watching Cube whilst high on mushrooms.