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Yannick
This has been brought up in a few other topics, so I thought I'd just make a thread to discuss it in. Basically, should we legalize drugs? Why/why not?

Personally, I'm in favor of decriminalizing all narcotics, and generally anything else that would only effect the user, which for whatever reason the government has decided it has complete control over. Why should the government control what we can and cannot do with our bodies? I don't see it stepping in and stopping consenting adults from having every other meal at McDonalds, prohibiting dangerous surgeries/body modifications/etc., making crazy extreme sports illegal, or really preventing what we do to ourselves in any other way. Why draw the line at drugs?

Problems I can see with this and why they aren't really problems at all/how to prevent the problem:
1. People are going to die (by hurting themselves).
...Well. Good? Survival of the fittest, guys. Those capable of avoiding drugs or using in moderation will continue to thrive, reproduce, and create fit offspring. Those with addictive personalities, drug abuse problems, and aren't capable of limiting themselves will die or have complications. This will prevent with people with 'unfit genes' (sorry, terming this as nicely as possible, no offense druggies!) from reproducing, and people we don't particularly need from being born. Also, population control.

2. Drugs won't stay in homes. Innocent people are going to die.
Yeah, and that sucks. That's why we threaten people with maximum sentences (I'm thinking life in prison/death penalty, depending on the crime) for anything stupid they do/anyone they hurt whilst operating under the influence. People will think twice before being stoned to capacity in public.

3. We don't have the money to trial and imprison druggies.
Which is why we impose ridiculously high taxes. Drugs can be fairly expensive as it is, so if you tax like 50% or something, you should get enough money to go to any drug related accidents.

4. That doesn't stop people from selling drugs on the black market to avoid taxes.
Nah, but for most people it'd be easier to just go to a gas station or something, pick up some whatever, and go home than dealing with dealers. Make loads of anti-black-market propaganda, discourage it completely, and you'll be fine. Individual drug production will stop as the generations go on, because kids will grow up just buying whatever than learning how to make it themselves. (Think back to when alcohol was criminalized. People had to learn to make their own, because they couldn't get it elsewhere. Nowadays, how many people do you know actually brewing their own beer and fermenting their own wine?)

Actual benefits:
Reduction of organized crime.
Drug waste will be easier to dispose of.
Drug education will undoubtedly increase.
Health benefits, because you'll get market-quality stuff, clean needles, etc.
Illegal drugs are part of the Christian's war against private pleasure. C'mon, can we piss 'em off just a bit more? Pwease? (Haha, joking. tongue.gif )
Happy people. biggrin.gif

There's probably stuff I'm forgetting, for pros and cons, but meh. Everyone else's thoughts on this?
Pikasyuu
QUOTE
This will prevent with people with 'unfit genes' (sorry, terming this as nicely as possible, no offense druggies!) from reproducing, and people we don't particularly need from being born. Also, population control.


Addictive personalities don't make drugs addictive. Drugs are addictive all by themselves, by nature and design. Opioids, for instance, gradually create a tolerance in the user's body, prompting the user to take more and more to eliminate the problem. After a while, you wind up with an addiction that takes a toll on not only your own life, but the lives of your family members and friends. Some people struggle with this for years, and you can't simplify it as 'They shouldn't have taken it in the first place!' There are chronic pain conditions that can effect your ability to live a normal life that need to be managed. Even if you stay within the normal dosage on even the weakest synthetic pain killers, your body will become addicted, and you will deal with hell.

QUOTE
2. Drugs won't stay in homes. Innocent people are going to die.
Yeah, and that sucks. That's why we threaten people with maximum sentences (I'm thinking life in prison/death penalty, depending on the crime) for anything stupid they do/anyone they hurt whilst operating under the influence. People will think twice before being stoned to capacity in public.


There's a maximum sentence for murder, rape, and robbery, that all still happens regularly. Certain drugs inhibit a person's ability to make judgment calls, such as, maybe I shouldn't be stoned to capacity in public. Marijuana is illegal, that doesn't stop anybody where I live from being baked out of their minds 24/7. We've had more than a few deaths based on judgment calls people made under the influence. But, you know, that being legal, people will automatically think about these things! What about death doesn't shoot your argument down? Why would something be legalised with the logic 'some people will die, but that's cool.'

QUOTE
3. We don't have the money to trial and imprison druggies.
Which is why we impose ridiculously high taxes. Drugs can be fairly expensive as it is, so if you tax like 50% or something, you should get enough money to go to any drug related accidents.


Usually, something is legalised because its positive aspects outweigh the negative. I'm not seeing this here. At all.

I'll try and make a more accurate argument later, but seriously? People have never, ever known their own limit, and even in the illegal market, I don't think I've ever seen drugs have a 100% positive impact on the people that take them - even if you have, the negatives are overwhelming. Meth itself is a pretty solid argument for why drugs shouldn't be legal. If you honestly think that what would come out of this is a bunch of happy high people, you're sadly mistaken. Drugs have ruined tons of families and lives, just like alcohol. Why is alcohol legal? I don't know. And for the record, I do think people who go to McDonalds every single day and eat themselves into obesity should be limited. Difference is, obesity tends to effect other people less than drug use does - not that it doesn't, but that it does less.
believe
Ooh, ooh, me, pick! *bounces up and down and waves hand*

QUOTE
This will prevent with people with 'unfit genes' (sorry, terming this as nicely as possible, no offense druggies!) from reproducing, and people we don't particularly need from being born. Also, population control.


Have you every actually spent time with addicts? Visited a rehab or jail? Well, anything? I've worked at residential rehab for four years. They have no trouble reproducing. Their genes are past on often and frequently. Children are produced that are more likely to go into foster care, the child welfare system, social welfare systems and eventually jail. These children are also very likely to be abused (physically, sexually and mentally. The costs of untreated drug addiction are huge. You think we can't afford the costs we have now? Those costs increase vastly as addiction does and I'm not sure I agree that jail would decrease, but I will get into that later. But I'll tell the children to start sucking it up, as survival of the fittest makes it okay that mommy forgets to feed you. wink.gif

QUOTE
moderation


If people were good at moderation, we wouldn't have the drug problems we do today. Moderation could really be called russian roulette. You might be lucky to escape for the few times or years, but if you continue to play wtih fire with narcotics, meth, etc? Doesn't tend to turn out so well. Either you end up addicted, overdosing or doing idiotic things. if you've been around people that are high, common sense really goes along with that.

QUOTE
That's why we threaten people with maximum sentences (I'm thinking life in prison/death penalty, depending on the crime) for anything stupid they do/anyone they hurt whilst operating under the influence.


While there's definitely people I wouldn't mind seeing face the death penalty, do you see it working now? At least in the US if you know anything about that. Crime is much less in Saudi Arabia et all, though it still happens. But let's go back to the 'common sense while high'. So the people that are high and drunk will be able to control themselves, use in moderation (because that's happening so well now!) and realize 'oh, this could get a high penalty, I better use common sense and not do this crime'? I mean, wouldn't it be more efficiently to just stage mass shootings of people you don't like rather than arrange their deaths to prove darwinian theory?

QUOTE
Which is why we impose ridiculously high taxes. Drugs can be fairly expensive as it is, so if you tax like 50% or something, you should get enough money to go to any drug related accidents.


If you were talking about pot, I might believe you. But let's factor in the added child welfare costs, the medical costs, the costs of accidents, drug fueled crime (higher taxes means it's harder to afford the drugs you're addicted to) and then see if there is really that much money saved.
Daria
Syuu:
QUOTE
And for the record, I do think people who go to McDonalds every single day and eat themselves into obesity should be limited.

I would freak out at the government telling me to limit the amount of times I went to eat at a particular place- there is no need for government or legislation to intervene at that level.
Eeeenyway: to the topic at hand.
I think many drugs should be decriminalised. I don't see a problem with people smoking weed or taking ecstasy on a night out just as they would drink alcohol. Humans, over the ages, have shown that they like getting off their faces and that escapism could also be linked with why we're so damn attatched to religion and believing there is something else out there (UFOs anyone?). However, you can't put all drugs on the same level. Opiates, cocaine and meth are three kinds of drugs that I would never ever touch and it disturbs me when I see close friends of mine even snorting lines of coke. It's not cool, you turn into a horrible person and everyone temporarily hates you for being a jerk. As mentioned by Syuu, opiates cause you to be addicted because of the tolerance they build up and the withdrawal symptoms you get. It's said that with heroin, the first hit is always the best and after that you're just trying to get the same hit but failing (only I'm pretty sure that the person who first said it was more poetic).
My brother has a pretty addictive personality and a lust for escaping life- he started smoking when he was 14, started smoking weed when he was 15, ended up an alcoholic aged 16 and slowly but surely went onto harder stuff. Ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, coke, crack, to the point where he was smoking heroin. He was like a completely different person. When someone comes into a room, they have a vibe and a presence. It was as though his was shrunk inside him, and my brother who was 18 years old had shrunk too- he wasn't there and when you were talking to him, he seemed so far away. He finally decided to come off drugs when he had a bad trip on mushrooms and was sat in his room convinced that the family had been massacred in their beds.
From discussion with friends who live in the Netherlands, and from my own experience there, I don't see why marijuana can't be decriminalised. I also feel that if ecstasy was legalised, it could be produced much more carefully and the dosage could also be set. There wouldn't be a worry that it's cut with brickdust or vetinary drugs, and if people were taught properly how much water to drink etc then you would get fewer than the already just a handful of deaths that you get each year from people taking it.

Izzy, I'd suggest you read High Society by Ben Elton. It's a book that follows different people's stories including that of a girl who ran away from an abusing father, only to be homeless and picked up by some pimp who injected her with heroin- and that of an MP who is trying to pass a bill to legalise drugs. And then try reading Trainspotting.
It's very easy to say "well, why can't we legalise [X]" but usually the answer is "we can't because people are crap and don't work like robots who we can judge their behaviour".
Calantyr
Google "Portugal Drug Legalization" if you get the opportunity.

Time did a piece on the subject if you want a quick summary.

Basicly in 2001 all personal drug use was decriminalized in Portugal. Instead of continuing the War on Drugs (which was viewed as an abject failure in all cases) the government instead offered free rehabilitation, education, and programmes to ween individuals off drugs. This approach was mocked in far more conservative countries who throught Portugal would drown in a sea of drug-fueled pandemonia.

8 years later and drug use has lowered in all areas of society, the prisons are less full, crime has lowered, the rate of HIV infection has diminished, and the country has saved a huge ammount of cash they could plough into other needed services.

This simply proves what people, including police on the front line in the War on Drugs, have been saying for years. The Drugs War does not help and instead makes things worse. If you want to lower drug use, don't make drug users criminals. It just drives them underground and worsens the situation.
Yannick
I was reading Wiki's Controlled Substance Act two nights ago, and do you know how really got me? The super harmless stuff, like weed and MDMA (seriously, the OD rate for humans is so high virtually no one knows it), the moderate stuff like psilocybin/shrooms (legal in Florida with a loop hole tongue.gif) and LSD are Schedule I, while cocaine and opiates are Schedule II. Stuff I would personally never f**k with: meth, cocaine, heroin, and opiates.
believe
QUOTE
However, he notes that Portugal is a small country and that the cyclical nature of drug epidemics which tends to occur no matter what policies are in place may account for the declines in heroin use and deaths.


I found that in the article.

But.. I have to say it was very interesting and gave me a lot of food thought. Personally, I agree with a lot of it already. Drug treatment is far more effective than prison, especially when it happens -before- prison. Every dollar spent on treatment saves 7 dollars in prison costs, for example. I certainly wouldn't argue that the US focus is skewed and the drug policy is clearly not working. I'd rather they try a diversion program like Portugal's -before- legalization, but that definitely gave me a lot of food for thought.
voices_in_my_head
Do I think all drugs should be legalised? No.

Why? Because as it's been stated before, drugs can really, really, really F*ck up a person's life.
I can personally testify that - My sister, much like Daria's brother, started smoking at 14, Smoking pot soon after, and then, soon after, Smoking meth, doing X, and snorting coke. She turned into such a dramatically different person that it's still, to this day, painful for me to talk about (mind, this was all happening in my 7th and 8th grade years) and even more painful for me to think about the fact that there are still people out there causing the same pain to their family and friends. She was suddenly violent, failed her classes, and gave up on all of her previously enjoyed activities, all because of the Meth.
Luckily for her, she was able to quit pretty easily.

But this isn't the case for most people - they can want to quit, they can try and try, but with drugs like Meth, and even more so with Heroin, once you've done it, there's a strong chance that you're going to be doing it for a long time to come.

However, I do approve the legalisation of Marijuana, and think it's something that should have been done a much longer time ago.
Why? Because:
1) There is a low addiction rate, as far as I know (if you have any proof otherwise, I will gladly look into this claim)
2) It shows a significant decrease in violence amoung users, unlike other drugs.
and the most important:
3) With things like the nausea caused by chemotherapy, Lupis, Disorders with no cure that cause awful pain, and even in some mental issues, it can really, truely help people in need. I don't believe in anything in excess, but there are people out there who could really benefit from this drug on occasion.
At least, those are my beliefs.

It's a relatively odd standpoint to have on drugs, I'm aware, because i'm so staunchly against the use of pretty much any other drug...but anyway, those are my thoughts.
I'll run along now.
Yannick
QUOTE (syuu @ May 11 2009, 01:43 AM) *
Why is alcohol legal? I don't know.

Because the prohibition didn't work at all?
Phyllis
QUOTE (believe @ May 11 2009, 06:50 AM) *
Have you every actually spent time with addicts? Visited a rehab or jail? Well, anything? I've worked at residential rehab for four years. They have no trouble reproducing. Their genes are passed on often and frequently.

Yup. Just because a drug addict dies young, it doesn't mean s/he doesn't already have children. The addicts I've known personally have almost all had multiple kids. I'm not exactly sure what it is about their genes that is supposed to make us glad if they aren't passed on. I tend to think it's a tragedy when a person dies young -- drug addicts included.

QUOTE (Daria @ May 11 2009, 08:33 AM) *
I would freak out at the government telling me to limit the amount of times I went to eat at a particular place- there is no need for government or legislation to intervene at that level.

Yeaaah. I don't even like fast food, but I would not be comfortable with that level of government involvement in my personal affairs. Katii, you still smoke, right? Would you be okay with the government saying "Tobacco is legal, but it's just so gosh darn unhealthy! All smokers are now limited to x number of cigarettes per day for their own good."?

QUOTE
That's why we threaten people with maximum sentences (I'm thinking life in prison/death penalty, depending on the crime) for anything stupid they do/anyone they hurt whilst operating under the influence. People will think twice before being stoned to capacity in public.

No, they won't. The death penalty is not a deterrent. Well, we don't even have the death penalty where I currently live (thank goodness). The way it is administered in the United States is ineffective and racially biased. This isn't a debate on the death penalty, so I won't go on about it, but I really don't think it would have the effect you want.

QUOTE
Happy people. biggrin.gif

Yeah, because crystal meth makes people such a freaking delight to be around. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE
I think many drugs should be decriminalised. I don't see a problem with people smoking weed or taking ecstasy on a night out just as they would drink alcohol. [...] However, you can't put all drugs on the same level. Opiates, cocaine and meth are three kinds of drugs that I would never ever touch and it disturbs me when I see close friends of mine even snorting lines of coke. It's not cool, you turn into a horrible person and everyone temporarily hates you for being a jerk.

I agree. I don't think I could ever get behind the legalisation of stuff like opiates and meth, but I'd be fine with things like marijuana being legal.

I also agree with whoever it was who said that jail time doesn't do a whole lot of good for addicts. I tend to think that people who get arrested for personal use of dangerous narcotics should spend time in rehab, and jail sentences should be reserved for those who are producing/selling on a large scale.
leopold
As far as drugs are concerned, I'd decriminalise marijuana and mushrooms. But that's pretty much it.

QUOTE (Daria @ May 11 2009, 08:33 AM) *
High Society by Ben Elton

I've read this book twice. It makes a very strong case for the legalisation of drugs (such as having governmental control, reducing the criminal element from the sale of drugs, controling the dosage in the product, curbing the spread of disease) but there's a few elements which it overlooks.

Number one, which is in the book, is the MP seeing the druggie behind the theatre injecting the drug into his penis, because it's the only remaining vein not completely wrecked by drug use. A nasty image, granted, but it highlights just how pathetic these class A drugs render their victims and thus highlights exactly why we shouldn't make them more available to harshly ravage more lives.

Number two, which isn't really covered, is that even if legalised, where do we get the supply from? Unless I'm mistaken, the countries we'd get it from are all a bit dubious and run by cartels, so crime would still profit. To cut them out, we'd need to produce a harmful, highly addictive and ultimately lethal drug ourselves. Hardly an ethical business!

QUOTE (Yannick @ May 12 2009, 04:55 AM) *
QUOTE (syuu @ May 11 2009, 01:43 AM) *
Why is alcohol legal? I don't know.

Because the prohibition didn't work at all?

True, prohibition didn't work, but then alcohol was legal before that. I suspect that alcohol was legalised at a time when it was felt that it wasn't a great problem. Even now, it's hard to ban it on the basis of addiction, because the addiction anyone has to alcohol is psychological (ie. that it's needed to get through the day, or to enjoy a night out, or to blot out an horrific life incident) and not chemical. The alcohol-related problems we have now are probably more to do with the chemicals used in the process - having had sight of the brewing process and the chemicals involved, I've gone right off the booze.

Cigarettes are another case in point. These were actively encouraged to help reduce the effects of lung disorders at one time in the dim and distant past - even being prescribed by doctors - and it's only relatively recently that we've been enlightened to just how bad they are for you. But to criminalise them now would be to lose lots of tax money and to turn over the whole industry to the crime lords, as people aren't going to give them up lightly - which is pretty much exactly what happened with prohibition.

QUOTE (candice @ May 12 2009, 11:08 AM) *
Yup. Just because a drug addict dies young, it doesn't mean s/he doesn't already have children. The addicts I've known personally have almost all had multiple kids. I'm not exactly sure what it is about their genes that is supposed to make us glad if they aren't passed on. I tend to think it's a tragedy when a person dies young -- drug addicts included.

I'd even go as far as to say that drug addiction isn't genetic. So it's not a point whether they reproduce or not, because their genes won't make their child an addict.

However, I agree it's sad to see a young person die. Such a waste of all that potential life, especially when it's thrown away on the artificial high of drugs.
Felander
I just wanted to add my two pennies to this thread.

I recently watched a documentary (Channel 4's 'The Hospital') which outlined the burden on the UK's National Health Service of self-destructive patients, focusing on alcohol (and its abuse), teenage pregnancy and obesity. The alcohol episode really struck a chord with me. It was estimated that 80% of patients admitted to A & E from Friday through to Monday were done so due to alcohol related incidents.

It occured to me that we have become so desensitised to the use of legal drugs (such as alcohol and nicotine) that their abuse has become more and more, dare I say it, socially acceptable. I can't help but feel that, even with the best of intentions, newly legalised drugs would only follow the same path. Mankind is inherently stupid, and it is from this that my lack of faith in any drug legalisation programme stems.
Yannick
QUOTE (leopold @ May 12 2009, 09:40 AM) *
As far as drugs are concerned, I'd decriminalise marijuana and mushrooms. But that's pretty much it.

What about MDMA and LSD?

QUOTE
Number two, which isn't really covered, is that even if legalised, where do we get the supply from?

The government can either buy it from dealers already in the country, or create factories to produce their own. Really, if they start mass-producing drugs, the profit they make (which is really all the government cares about anyway) would be immense. Sort of like plastic - make it for a few cents, sell it for loads.

QUOTE
I'd even go as far as to say that drug addiction isn't genetic. So it's not a point whether they reproduce or not, because their genes won't make their child an addict.

Oh, good. Well, I was actually thinking about kids being born as alcoholics because of alcohol abuse during pregnancy, but that can be overcome anyway. So.. yeah.
leopold
QUOTE (Felander @ May 12 2009, 02:50 PM) *
It occured to me that we have become so desensitised to the use of legal drugs (such as alcohol and nicotine) that their abuse has become more and more, dare I say it, socially acceptable. I can't help but feel that, even with the best of intentions, newly legalised drugs would only follow the same path. Mankind is inherently stupid, and it is from this that my lack of faith in any drug legalisation programme stems.

Quite. I've argued the same point myself, although I wasn't as eloquent.

QUOTE (Yannick @ May 12 2009, 03:39 PM) *
QUOTE (leopold @ May 12 2009, 09:40 AM) *
As far as drugs are concerned, I'd decriminalise marijuana and mushrooms. But that's pretty much it.
What about MDMA and LSD?

Good point. I take back the decriminalisation of mushrooms, I'm not so sure that use of psychedelics is such a good idea. I've seen the paranoia phase for myself, it's not the best place to be and in one instance the level of paranoia displayed was pretty serious (he was a big guy and prone to violence). Cannabis in it's normal form (ie. not skunk or any of those other modified forms) I'd still decriminalise, though.

QUOTE (Yannick @ May 12 2009, 03:39 PM) *
QUOTE
Number two, which isn't really covered, is that even if legalised, where do we get the supply from?
The government can either buy it from dealers already in the country, or create factories to produce their own. Really, if they start mass-producing drugs, the profit they make (which is really all the government cares about anyway) would be immense. Sort of like plastic - make it for a few cents, sell it for loads.

What, buy from a drug cartel? I can't see that going down particularly well, especially since we're talking about people who are morally deprived and would think nothing of holding a country to ransom.

And even considering the upsides (profit, job creation, potential export revenue) of creating our own drug factories, I still can't see it being approved by the masses. If we aren't prepared to tolerate tobacco production or nuclear facilities, there's no way a crack factory is going to get installed without a fight!

QUOTE (Yannick @ May 12 2009, 03:39 PM) *
QUOTE
I'd even go as far as to say that drug addiction isn't genetic. So it's not a point whether they reproduce or not, because their genes won't make their child an addict.
Oh, good. Well, I was actually thinking about kids being born as alcoholics because of alcohol abuse during pregnancy, but that can be overcome anyway. So.. yeah.

Again, it's unlikely that a child born of an alcoholic will become one themselves. This child would more likely be born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Yannick
QUOTE (leopold @ May 12 2009, 12:11 PM) *
I take back the decriminalisation of mushrooms, I'm not so sure that use of psychedelics is such a good idea.

Dude, what? Hallucinogens are by far the best drugs. If you think LSD or DMT or something similar is too powerful, well, okay, but shrooms are fine, just avoid bad trips. Psilocin (the stuff in shrooms that makes you hallucinate) is NOT physically harmful to the body or brain. Psychological conditions can rarely arise from a very profound experience, but no physical harm is done by psilocin even in higher dosages.

QUOTE
And even considering the upsides (profit, job creation, potential export revenue) of creating our own drug factories, I still can't see it being approved by the masses. If we aren't prepared to tolerate tobacco production or nuclear facilities, there's no way a crack factory is going to get installed without a fight!

The government is fairly good at deception and persuasiveness, I can see it happening. Businesses can be put in private names, so the government doesn't exist on paper, but they're still pulling the strings. There are ways to get around (almost) anything.
Phyllis
QUOTE (leopold @ May 12 2009, 05:11 PM) *
Again, it's unlikely that a child born of an alcoholic will become one themselves.

Well, no, not exactly. Addiction is complex, and it can't be pinned down completely to any one factor. There are some addictions that appear to run in families (alcoholism being one). I'm not saying this in favour of Izzy's attitude re: addicts passing on their genes, mind you. That seems a bit too close to eugenics for my liking. I'm just saying that you can't completely rule out genetics as a contributing factor when discussing the causes of addiction, either.

QUOTE
The government is fairly good at deception and persuasiveness, I can see it happening. Businesses can be put in private names, so the government doesn't exist on paper, but they're still pulling the strings. There are ways to get around (almost) anything.

Perhaps, but why would you advocate them doing such things? I'd generally prefer it if my government didn't do business with drug cartels.
believe
I have to go nap before various things, so this will be a shoooort post. I will catch up tonight!

Leopold:
QUOTE
Again, it's unlikely that a child born of an alcoholic will become one themselves.


Er. What are you basing this on? Like Cand said, having alcoholism and/or other addictions can increase the likelihood of the child being an addict or alcoholic. Some of is surely social factors and upbringing, but there's a strong familial component whatever the source. If nothing else, read up on wives of alcoholics. Many of them come from an alcoholic family and often unintentionally end up with another alcoholic. It's fascinating and tragic at the same time.
Pikasyuu
QUOTE
I would freak out at the government telling me to limit the amount of times I went to eat at a particular place- there is no need for government or legislation to intervene at that level.

Yeaaah. I don't even like fast food, but I would not be comfortable with that level of government involvement in my personal affairs. Katii, you still smoke, right? Would you be okay with the government saying "Tobacco is legal, but it's just so gosh darn unhealthy! All smokers are now limited to x number of cigarettes per day for their own good."?


You're right, I was wrong about that - I didn't explicitly mean that the government should limit it, I think what I meant to say, without getting anywhere near the mark, was that certain parts of the fast food regimen (or restaurants for that matter) should be downsized. After supersize me came out, McDonalds eliminated the option because they realized nobody needs that much food.

Or tax it to death, like cigarettes. In the last month, they've risen a dollar at least.

QUOTE
Because the prohibition didn't work at all?


Yes, I know. I should have clarified that I wasn't asking why it was legal, more that I was acknowledging how much harm it can cause.
Yannick
QUOTE (syuu @ May 12 2009, 05:19 PM) *
Yes, I know. I should have clarified that I wasn't asking why it was legal, more that I was acknowledging how much harm it can cause.

Uh-huh. So why is stuff that does less harm than alcohol illegal?
Pikasyuu
QUOTE
Uh-huh. So why is stuff that does less harm than alcohol illegal?


How much harm a drug does depends on the individual. I know people that have sold their televisions, apartments, and other belongings specifically to get weed and wound up, in the end, with nothing at all except for marijuana. He is still homeless. I have another friend who would rather sit around all day and smoke up than get a job, socialize, or do anything besides that - he is nothing like he used to be, and honestly, I miss him.

But according to most people, weed is so totally harmless! Yeah, maybe, but like all other drugs and alcohol, it has the tendency to get out of control because the user is irresponsible. Just because you think you can handle drugs doesn't mean everybody would treat them responsibly.
Daria
Leo: I'd make MDMA legal, I think. Just thought I'd mention that.
Izzy: whilst not being harmful to the brain (the chemical that causes hallucinations) just having them creates new pathways between synapses that may have not been there before due to how the drug works. That means that because the pathway has been set, it is easier to move down it again. ALSO the mental condition of the person taking the drug really REALLY affects how the person who takes it reacts. Remember kids, never do it with strangers, in a strange place or with people you don't trust wink.gif
voices_in_my_head
QUOTE (believe @ May 12 2009, 01:59 PM) *
Er. What are you basing this on? Like Cand said, having alcoholism and/or other addictions can increase the likelihood of the child being an addict or alcoholic. Some of is surely social factors and upbringing, but there's a strong familial component whatever the source. If nothing else, read up on wives of alcoholics. Many of them come from an alcoholic family and often unintentionally end up with another alcoholic. It's fascinating and tragic at the same time.


My therapist was talking to me about this the other day. (I know, it sounds a bit odd to quote your therapist, but she's a very smart lay-day.)
Apparently, people are born with certain levels of the different basic chemicals in their brain - testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, serotonin, ect. When a person has too much or too little of these certain chemicals, their likeliness to be addicted to specific drugs increases. For example, a person with low serotonin is likely to do uppers, and so on. Because of this, it's possible for doctors to predict what drug a person is most likely to become addicted to in the future.
However, that is only if the person chooses to be addicted (Aka, they choose to try the drug in the first place) - therefore, I think that children of drug addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves, but only if they try drugs in the first place.
But of course, this isn't to say that children of non-users are any less likely to become addicts, either.
Daria
I have too much testosterone in my body. BRING IT ON, WEE MAN!

/end strange spam. Kudos if you understand both references. Hint: anteater.
Anyway: point about "Why was alcohol ever legalised?"
Well, alcohol has been around long before any government existed, long before any laws and long before anyone decided on meddling with how, what, where and when you live your life. As have drugs such as marijuana, opiates, peyote and mushrooms. The thing is, they don't really fit with the view most people hold of today's society and how it should be run.
leopold
QUOTE (believe @ May 12 2009, 07:59 PM) *
Leopold:
QUOTE
Again, it's unlikely that a child born of an alcoholic will become one themselves.

Er. What are you basing this on? Like Cand said, having alcoholism and/or other addictions can increase the likelihood of the child being an addict or alcoholic. Some of is surely social factors and upbringing, but there's a strong familial component whatever the source. If nothing else, read up on wives of alcoholics. Many of them come from an alcoholic family and often unintentionally end up with another alcoholic. It's fascinating and tragic at the same time.

After a discussion with someone who knows about foetal alcohol syndrome, following a situation that happened in my life which I'm not willing to discuss on an open forum. I was advised that a child of an alcoholic parent would likely become an alcoholic more due to the parental influence than anything passed on to them. As the child in question no longer has that parental influence, I'm keen to see if this pans out.

I am a child of an ex-alcoholic, and yet I don't feel any urge to partake in excessive drinking. 99.9% of the time, I don't feel any desire to drink at all. Does that make me the odd man out? I'd be surprised if it did. My brother isn't one either.
oxym0ronical
QUOTE (leopold @ May 13 2009, 03:00 AM) *
QUOTE (believe @ May 12 2009, 07:59 PM) *
Leopold:
QUOTE
Again, it's unlikely that a child born of an alcoholic will become one themselves.

Er. What are you basing this on? Like Cand said, having alcoholism and/or other addictions can increase the likelihood of the child being an addict or alcoholic. Some of is surely social factors and upbringing, but there's a strong familial component whatever the source. If nothing else, read up on wives of alcoholics. Many of them come from an alcoholic family and often unintentionally end up with another alcoholic. It's fascinating and tragic at the same time.

After a discussion with someone who knows about foetal alcohol syndrome, following a situation that happened in my life which I'm not willing to discuss on an open forum. I was advised that a child of an alcoholic parent would likely become an alcoholic more due to the parental influence than anything passed on to them. As the child in question no longer has that parental influence, I'm keen to see if this pans out.

I am a child of an ex-alcoholic, and yet I don't feel any urge to partake in excessive drinking. 99.9% of the time, I don't feel any desire to drink at all. Does that make me the odd man out? I'd be surprised if it did. My brother isn't one either.


I am a child of an alcoholic. There are 5 of us kids and I am the only one who has not had addiction issues. My brother is both an alcoholic and ex meth junkie. My oldest sister is addicted to pain pills and alcohol. My middle sister is addicted to meth. My other sister is an alcoholic and can't go more than a few hours without smoking marijuana. All of the above also smoke cigarettes. I don't smoke, very rarely drink, and have never tried drugs. As an aside, my brother's oldest kids are all alcoholics, smoke marijuana, and use (or have used) meth - much like their mom & dad.

I don't think we quite know the extent genetics play in the equation, but I don't think it can be disregarded either. I have seen studies where children born to parents who are addicts, but then adopted into families with no drug use, alcoholism, etc, still end up becoming addicts/alcoholics later on. I agree that the environment makes a huge impact as well.
leopold
In that case, I have no idea... I've heard that alcoholics were born and not made, but I'd never considered this an especially wholesome viewpoint.
gothictheysay
Honestly, ecstasy scares the daylights out of me, because often what it's cut with is very dangerous. I'm pretty positive you can take ecstasy and while the MDMA may not be harmful, what it's cut with could kill you right then and there. Then again, i don't know how educated I am about ecstasy to begin with.
Phyllis
QUOTE (leopold @ May 13 2009, 04:54 PM) *
I've heard that alcoholics were born and not made, but I'd never considered this an especially wholesome viewpoint.

Nor do I. I was just saying that it's one of many factors that can lead to someone becoming an addict. I don't think anyone was suggesting that all children of addicts are bound to be the same, just that you can't dismiss genetics as having no role at all.
voices_in_my_head
Of course, it could be along the lines of a taught behavior instead of an inherited one - if you are raised by someone who treats their problems by drinking/doing drugs, then it's possible that you'll use the same way of treating your own issues.
Daria
QUOTE (gothictheysay @ May 13 2009, 10:01 PM) *
Honestly, ecstasy scares the daylights out of me, because often what it's cut with is very dangerous. I'm pretty positive you can take ecstasy and while the MDMA may not be harmful, what it's cut with could kill you right then and there. Then again, i don't know how educated I am about ecstasy to begin with.

One of the reasons why I think that if it was legalised, it could be safer. It's only ever, to my knowledge, used as a party drug. You're not likely going to find people loved up and in the streets during the day, or at work, or behind the wheel of a car.
Yannick
QUOTE (gothictheysay @ May 13 2009, 05:01 PM) *
Honestly, ecstasy scares the daylights out of me, because often what it's cut with is very dangerous. I'm pretty positive you can take ecstasy and while the MDMA may not be harmful, what it's cut with could kill you right then and there. Then again, i don't know how educated I am about ecstasy to begin with.

Well, typically, when you cut a drug, it's to increase profit. So, while your ecstasy can contain heroin/cocaine/other dangerous stuff, it almost certainly won't unless you request it. It's just sort of a risk you take with home-made drugs. If you're going to do it, either talk to the dealer and find out exactly what it's cut with (be wary of lies), buy from a close friend, or make your own.
Daria
QUOTE (Yannick @ May 13 2009, 10:29 PM) *
QUOTE (gothictheysay @ May 13 2009, 05:01 PM) *
Honestly, ecstasy scares the daylights out of me, because often what it's cut with is very dangerous. I'm pretty positive you can take ecstasy and while the MDMA may not be harmful, what it's cut with could kill you right then and there. Then again, i don't know how educated I am about ecstasy to begin with.

Well, typically, when you cut a drug, it's to increase profit. So, while your ecstasy can contain heroin/cocaine/other dangerous stuff, it almost certainly won't unless you request it. It's just sort of a risk you take with home-made drugs. If you're going to do it, either talk to the dealer and find out exactly what it's cut with (be wary of lies), buy from a close friend, or make your own.

Ecstasy is rarely cut with harder drugs, Izzy. It's more like random powders, chalk dust, rat poison, vetinary drugs. Some of the time, you're being sold a pill that isn't ecstasy at all.
Yannick
Yeah, like I said, rarely. *shrugs* Just know your dealer, or know your drugs enough to either make them yourself or recognize what's in them.

(Hmm, random thought, and don't actually know if it's possible or not, though it should be, but. Say you buy some E off of someone, don't know what it's mixed with. Is there anyway to do something with it and extra pure MDMA?)
Phyllis
QUOTE (Daria @ May 13 2009, 10:34 PM) *
Ecstasy is rarely cut with harder drugs, Izzy. It's more like random powders, chalk dust, rat poison, vetinary drugs. Some of the time, you're being sold a pill that isn't ecstasy at all.

Oh, Lord. That just reminded me of some guys in my old apartment building. They paid $70 for what turned out to be a couple of tic tacs coloured with magic marker. It took an embarrassingly long time for them to admit that they weren't even remotely high. I know this, because they both came over to my apartment after splitting the first tic tac. It wasn't until one of their girlfriends examined the second one and said "Dude, it's a tic tac" that they realised what had happened.

I really hated living in that building most of the time, but at least there was entertainment. I had not one, but two village idiots a few doors down!
voices_in_my_head
Cand, that made me giggle like a moron.
It makes me laugh at how stupid they were at the same time as appriciating how horribly brilliant the "dealer" was.

If drugs were legalised, though, wouldn't there be a way to produce said drugs under certain safety standards, making the hazard of getting rat posion instead of X much lower?
believe
Leopold:
QUOTE
In that case, I have no idea... I've heard that alcoholics were born and not made, but I'd never considered this an especially wholesome viewpoint.


Like everything else (just about) it's nature -and- nuture. Some people find themselves drinking alcoholically from the -very first- drink, which hints at genetics. Some people are addicts by accident, ie a injury victim who's doctor doesn't warn them that, oh, oxycontin can be addictive. This has happened to a few of our clients. With some addicts/alcoholics there is no question that their upbringing (ie dad having a meth lab in a garage, another client example) had a huge role in their 1) future choices and 2) future associates. Drug use of parents is big predictor in whether someone will end up in residential treatment from my experience. That and mental illness or PTSD issues. Obviously some people don't have either of those risk factors, they are just very common ones.
leopold
I suppose it's possible that "addictive personality" can be a genetic thing, but I'd always considered personality traits to be determined by the makeup of the brain. I'd always thought that the brain was a very pliable thing and that synaptic responses were determined by your own experiences, rather than that of your antecedents. Ergo, if you were the child of an alcoholic, perhaps you might become one yourself by actually witnessing your parent(s) being one and considering that to be acceptable. Of course, I've nothing more to base that on than a parallel drawn from the same theory that suggests that children born into abusive families end up becoming the same (ie. child abuse, wife beating etc.) By that token, I suspect that my own lack of alcoholism may be due to my not discovering the truth until years later, after the problem had stopped, and therefore not being exposed to it as it happened.

If it is genetic, then I'm going to keep a close eye on the person who concerns me most.
believe
Leopold:
QUOTE
If it is genetic, then I'm going to keep a close eye on the person who concerns me most.


I'd worry more about behavior than genetics in the end. Genetics is a good reason to pay attention, but behavior's your biggest indicator.
gerbilfromhell
The genetics thing isn't a determining factor, but it does make addiction more likely. I don't know if addictive personalities are nature or nurture, but they do seem to be more easily passed from generations. Of course, tracing family histories doesn't answer the nature/nurture thing, but there are some pretty definite genetic traits that can make addiction easier, even simpler factors than things like 'addictive personality'--like tolerance. People with higher tolerance have an easier time gauging how much of whatever substance they consume to *appear* functional and allow them to justify any behavioral/social problems that develop as a result. I've had a few friends who've made this argument and gotten people to believe them for a long time before they dealt with their problems.

That being said, obviously genetics doesn't determine squat, even if it can increase likelihood. Leo, I think in any circumstance different people have different reactions. My dad(/a good bit of his family)'s alcoholism was explained to me before he actually got help, though admittedly not by more than a couple years, and I'd begun to figure it out myself before that. It was actually growing up with the idea that he could drink an absurdly large bottle of wine a day that made me realize how scarily easy it can be to hide this sort of problem from people if you have a high tolerance (though I only figured that out in hindsight after I saw the huge change in his behavior when he went to AA), and in turn made me more careful of myself cause of my family history and own high tolerance and cross-tolerance. But I definitely know people in the same situation who've turned out the opposite.


Cand: hahahaha, that's hilarious. Also that's happened to a couple kids I know (that or caffeine pills or something equally unnoticeable). Was pretty funny. Although a tic-tac sounds kind of noticeable as compared to, like, anything else? Good going on their part.

As for things ecstasy is cut with, while obviously data is at best patchy and hard to come by, there are a couple resources for gauging general purity in a given region. This site (http://www.pillreports.com/) is of people who send in pills they come by to get analyzed and the data is put up. Ecstasy definitely *is* (obviously not always or most of the time) cut with other and harder drugs (harder drugs would make sense since they're cheaper than safer counterparts; who would pay MORE money to cut something?), but as for dangerous factor or related deaths, I think they're pretty low (http://www.thegooddrugsguide.com/ecstasy/dangers.htm, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qi...6130742AAaRA28). After all, dead customers don't come back and their friends get angry.

For the legalization question, I can't decide...cause while most stuff has very little chance of harming anyone around the user (except if you're driving or somesuch thing), some things DEFINITELY make violent behavior in general more likely (methamphetamine for example). Then again, so does alcohol. Portugal has the laxest laws ever of Europe, inspired cause they had the worst drug problem, now the problem is a lot better. But that's cause they have some amazing rehab programs apparently. Dunno if that would work in the US though; Americans seem to have the habit of doing lots of anything new until they get bored of it quickly, then move onto something else, while the 'lots of anything new' period probably isn't good for anyone. I would probably say not legalize, but decriminalize (ie. there can still be restrictions on sale, distribution, use, possession, but they can't be serious charges. More like rehab/counseling/fine). People going to prison for petty possession charges and being beaten into being real criminals is a stupid problem.

Also o hai guys! smile.gif
believe
QUOTE
But that's cause they have some amazing rehab programs apparently. Dunno if that would work in the US though; Americans seem to have the habit of doing lots of anything new until they get bored of it quickly, then move onto something else, while the 'lots of anything new' period probably isn't good for anyone. I would probably say not legalize, but decriminalize (ie. there can still be restrictions on sale, distribution, use, possession, but they can't be serious charges. More like rehab/counseling/fine). People going to prison for petty possession charges and being beaten into being real criminals is a stupid problem.


I think it would be hard to separate whether the progress is from availability of treatment -or- legalization. I agree with the rest of your post. Once people have prison time, it can make it harder to treat them. The criminal lifestyle can be a hard thing to recover from on it's -own- even without drugs.
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
Hi Gerbil, welcome back
QUOTE
I would probably say not legalize, but decriminalize (ie. there can still be restrictions on sale, distribution, use, possession, but they can't be serious charges. More like rehab/counseling/fine). People going to prison for petty possession charges and being beaten into being real criminals is a stupid problem.

I pretty much agree with this. Jailing people for doing drugs is crazy imo. I don't think anybody should be put in prison unless they have committed a serious crime which shows they are a danger to other people.

I also think that the use of some of the more harmless, non-addictive drugs (such as cannabis) should be completely legalised.
believe
crazymat:
QUOTE
I don't think anybody should be put in prison unless they have committed a serious crime which shows they are a danger to other people.


It's a hard call. I know people (two co-workers in fact) that had to have jail time and intense, jail style treatment to save their lives and snap them out of their addictions. Jail should not be the first resort and I noted the harm it can cause in other posts, but there rare times people do need it to snap them out of it. There's also a few grey areas, such as when drug use leads to child neglect, abuse, battering, identity theft and so on. How do you think those cases should be handled? Based on harm caused..?
Yannick
I think if you're actually doing things like theft, battery, etc., regardless if you were on drugs, you should go to jail. I just don't think getting stoned/selling drugs should be reason enough to get in.
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
Yeah those are separate crimes and should be addressed seperately. Can't punish people for a crime they haven't committed yet. I think that if we willing to spend a load of money on those people anyway, why not actually try to fix their problems (rehab/counselling) so they can be more productive members of society.?
gerbilfromhell
QUOTE (Yannick @ May 15 2009, 08:20 PM) *
I think if you're actually doing things like theft, battery, etc., regardless if you were on drugs, you should go to jail. I just don't think getting stoned/selling drugs should be reason enough to get in.

But if you have a drug problem and you are, say, robbing people for money to buy more, then it's not just the immediate crime that needs to be addressed, but also the likelihood of future crimes if you don't get help for/otherwise solve your problem. Which is why a lot of people arrested in those situations can sometimes make deals for less jail time in exchange for treatment, but I think treatment should be mandatory for anyone arrested for a crime which can be reasonably proved to arise from a drug problem.

QUOTE
I think it would be hard to separate whether the progress is from availability of treatment -or- legalization. I agree with the rest of your post. Once people have prison time, it can make it harder to treat them. The criminal lifestyle can be a hard thing to recover from on it's -own- even without drugs.

Sorry, that's what I meant. As in, I don't think the U.S. has a high enough quality (not just availability of; we certainly have a very available rehab system) rehab system at the moment for legalization to have the same degree of positive effect that it did for Portugal.

QUOTE
Can't punish people for a crime they haven't committed yet.

I think that's a fair bit of the logic behind making the substances illegal--that if you haven't committed a crime yet, you're likely to, so why wait (of course I wouldn't agree with this or anything)?
Yannick
My friend linked me to this video today. It's pretty much all been said, but still worth a watch.
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