Saturday night being a rather quiet one this weekend, Eva is visiting her grandson in Stockholm, I decided to "educate" myself and watch a gemusing BBC documentary (presumably aimed at discouraging people under 30 from taking drugs) "How Do Drugs Work?".
The subject being cocaine, the documentary followed a few characters around as they happily snorted coke at various times/venues (eg at a party, in a pub car park, in the street etc).
It gave a potted (pardon the pun) history of coke, seemingly it was the medical "cure all" of the late 19th century; being used as an anaesthetic, headache cure, haemorrhoid cure and even put into tooth paste (that would certainly encourage people to brush their teeth more regularly!).
Anyhoo, as we all know, during the Edwardian era the "morality movement" took centre stage in the UK and USA. The USA banned all drugs and booze (thus creating the modern day mafia), whilst the UK stopped short of banning booze but did ban drugs.
Has this worked?
Ermmm....not at all, seemingly around 1.5M people snort coke in the UK (even leading politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have admitted/refused to deny that they have used it).
Aside from following a few users about their daily business, the programme also showed the police in part of Kent testing people entering nightclubs for contact with the drug (a skin "swatch" can tell if the person has touched it in the last 24 hours).
This seemingly rather pointless testing of people (without reasonable grounds for suspicion of possession) did not catch many people with the drug on them, but did identify that nearly all the people going clubbing had been in contact with the drug in the last 24 hours.
A valuable use of police resources!
Anyhoo, a list of the effects of the drug was duly rattled off during the course of the programme:
- it elevates mood
- it increases self confidence
- it increases sexual desire (although, just like booze, it can cause erectile floppiness)
- it increases the heat rate
- it increases blood pressure
- it can cause heart attacks and strokes
- people feel "down" when the rug wears off
- it damages the nasal cavities (if taken regularly)
- it can be addictive (although it does not cause the same withdrawal symptoms as other class A drugs)
Now, aside from the nasal cavity issues unless you get a lot of champagne bubbles up your nose), does the above list not sound awfully familiar?
Think about it?
Yes, that's right, the list is also applicable to alcohol. Although, it should be noted that alcohol is very fattening, whilst cocaine is not.
Is it therefore not a trifle odd (dare I say hypocritical) that drugs are illegal, yet booze (which, if misused, can also be extremely harmful) is legal? In theory, possession of a small amount of cocaine (even solely for personal use) can attract a prison sentence of several years (unless you are the likes of Paris Hilton).
Is there not something really very wrong here, where 1.5 million people cheerfully disregard the law and our leading politicians have taken/still take the stuff, where we still have a law in place (that is clearly failing) brought about by the past actions of the now long dead "morality movement"?
Is it not time that the law was brought into line with reality?
Pleasure is a short-term reward for doing what your body wants. It is largely about fulfilling basic human needs.
We do many things in life, including eating, having sex, gambling and risk taking, because doing them results in our brains being flooded by feel-good dopamine
Pleasure is vital for our survival - without it we wouldn't eat or have sex, and would soon die out as a species.
Nanny's drugs policy is a shambles, and is destined to fail. Using the law to enforce certain people's views on "morality" never works in the long run.
Do remember loyal readers that our government, that continues to advocate the current drugs policy, is made up of a number of highly placed people who have used (and maybe continue to use) several illegal drugs (not "just" whacky backy).
1 The semi civil war in Mexico over drugs, that is now spilling over into the USA, will eventually force legislators there to legalise drugs in order to cut the legs off the criminal drugs lords who are destroying the country.
2 Leading politicians on both sides of the Atlantic (a President and a Prime Minister) have admitted to, or have almost admitted to, taking a variety on illegal substances. Yet they have managed to lead fulfilling, non self destructive lives. How is they seek to maintain a ban on substances that they have taken?
3 Drugs finance terrorist economies, eg Afghanistan. Legalise drugs and the terrorist economy is decapitated.
I say again, without any lack of clarity or fudging of the issue, drugs should be legalised.
Once legalised, they can be taxed and the public properly educated as to their effects.
The legalisation will bring about the end of the stranglehold that the criminal gangs currently have on many of the run down estates in this country. The ending of their supply of easy money will remove their power, kudos and "bling"; their power over others will end.
That surely is a good thing?
Is it not ironic that those who would most strongly resist the legalisation of drugs are those who currently make money of them?
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