Thursday, April 01, 2010
Pussycat Pussycat II
As predicted the other day, Nanny has been roused to action by the shouty media and dog whistle politicians into banning Miaow Miaow (aka mephedrone).
This substance has allegedly been involved in the deaths of a number of people, yet there are no toxicology reports to back these claims up and there is heavy circumstantial evidence to suggest that the users were also taking other substances at the time.
However, facts and emotions tend not to mix and Nanny prefers to look busy rather than contemplative; therefore Nanny is trying to ban Miaow Miaow before mid April.
As with all of Nanny's "brilliant" plans there are a few flies in her oinkment.
Professor David Nutt, who was sacked as ACMD (Nanny's drug advisers) chairman after saying ecstasy was less harmful than alcohol, said that Nanny should have waited for the results of a study from The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, which is due to report in July.
He noted that it was "very difficult to support criminalisation of people who are using drugs which are less dangerous than alcohol".
"These knee-jerk reactions aren't dealing with the core of the problem.
They need to have a proper, mature debate about how best to deal with drugs.
Why don't we at least think about alternatives and allow people like me to mention them without being vilified.
We regulate other drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Why are we so hostile to (regulating) new drugs?
One way of reducing drug harm may be to regulate their use in controlled environments.
Maybe we would allow clubs to sell small amounts of drugs, like mephedrone and ecstasy, in a safe environment, just like we sell alcohol.
There is no scientific reason why mephedrone and alcohol should be seen as different.
I hope that we start doing some very careful assessments of the consequences of making it illegal.
We have to make sure there is not a rise in criminality, with gangs getting involved.
We've heard already the Chinese are gearing up to make another drug.
We will be in the same boat in a few more months, possibly with a more dangerous drug."
In a nutshell (pardon the appalling pun):
1 Booze, caffeine and fags are all drugs. Yet these drugs are part of our mainstream culture, and are used (one or more) by the majority of the population on a daily basis.
2 Drink, smoke or take caffeine in sufficiently high enough and regular doses, and you will become addicted.
3 Drink, smoke or take caffeine in sufficiently excessive doses, and you will die.
Can not the same be said of all other drugs (ie those that are illegal, or about to be made illegal)?
What am I missing here?
Why are some drugs illegal, yet the "holy trinity" not?
Answer: social acceptability and shouty media organisations crushing any attempt to discuss the issue calmly and rationally.
Factoid: at the turn of the 19th/20th century Harrods sold "Welcome To London" kits.
What did these contain?
Answer: Cocaine and a syringe
The prohibition movement (anti drugs, anti booze), which was growing at the time on the back of a "morality movement", managed to ban drugs but failed (in the UK at any rate) to ban booze.
Booze was banned in the US, with the consequences for organised crime that the US and the rest of the world still live with today.
Ban a substance and the only people who benefit are the drug dealers, who use the money they make from drugs to run their criminal empires and to inflict misery on the local populations that they supply.
However, Nanny doesn't care so long as she continues to be supported by the shouty media and dog whistle politicians.
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