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back to article Junkie sues pusher over heart attack

A Canadian former drug addict has successfully sued the dealer who supplied the crystal methamphetamine that triggered a heart attack and put her in a coma for 11 days, the Times reports. Sandra Bergen, 23, of Biggar, Saskatchewan, alleged that "her nursery-school classmate Clinton Davey got her addicted to crystal …

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Why is it...

that all I can think of in this is those injury lawyer lot touting for new business. Heck, the ambulance chasers already have offices in hospitals now (have in our local one anyhow), so whats next, down every back ally we'll find discout lawyers "pfft, wanna sue him".

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Bob

It sets a precedent alright...

How big a reach is it from here to suing the brewery/bartenders for health problems related to over indulging in the old amber nectar? The dealer should have been arrested as a matter of course as it was, it shouldn't have to come to this.

I mean the next step is claims direct adverts announcing, "Have you got a habit that wasn't your fault?"

Arrest him, beat him till he gives the name of his supplier, lock him up and go after the next; wash, rinse, repeat. Then give her a slap for wasting the courts time with her petty greedy claims. If she doesn't expect much then surely she could have just reported him to police and help with the prosecution because it would be the right thing to do...damn greedy cow.

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P
Alert

Wait ... What?

We are now allowing criminals to sue other criminals for illegal activity? And this is a good thing?

Let us, for the moment, ignore the facts on the 'War on Drugs' and consider instead how busy the legal system is - we are choked with cases, real and imagined, and now we are going to allow admitted criminals to sue other <assumed> criminals becase the first criminal suffered while engaged in illegal activity? WHAT?

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Hmm, seller responsible, even though it's illegal use,,,

So does that mean ISP's will be responsible for selling the bandwidth the hacker uses to mount attacks? And Starbucks are responsible for my caffeine induced heart flutter? How about me sueing cannon for making the camera that captured the image that appeared on YouTube?

The judge should have slung them all out on their arse with a contempt charge for wasting time.

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Retailers beware

What an absolutely ridiculous lawsuit. On the basis of this, if I go to a chemist and buy paracetamol, which I know to be a dangerous drug when taken in large amounts, and subsequently suffer liver failure from the overdose I take, I can therefore sue the chemist for supplying me the drug?

The plaintiff in this case was well aware of the dangers of the drug she was using, the same as I am aware of the dangers of taking huge amounts of paracetamol. If I overdose on paracetamol then whose fault is it? Mine or the chemist who supplied me the drug? It's a no-brainer really... isn't it?

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Ash
Pirate

DUH...

I IS TOO STOOPID TO ASHOOM RESPIN... RESPOSE... REPOSES... BLAME FOR MY AKSHUNZ AND NEED DA GOVUNMINT TO DO IT 4 ME.

Knuckle-dragging idiot.

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He should countersue...

After all, she's damaging the reputation he has with all of his other clients who've not ended up in a coma. I also don't understand why dealers are called "pushers" - no-one ever gave me drugs I didn't want and the buyers are normally the people chasing up the dealers. I've seen a dealer smash his mobile to pieces just to get some peace and quiet.

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Stop

RE: Analogy

Excuse me, but that is categorically not the same; a chemist supplying paracetemol as a legitimate pain killer which can be used in moderation is not the same as, for example, crack/meths/heroin being used in any quantity - addictive and causes damage as well as giving a high.

I'm increasingly finding comments on posts are not being well prepared or thought out before posted; can you please, PLEASE, re-read articles and consider your supposed opinion before posting the drivel which simply contributes to responses such as this which shouldn't really be required. The drugs mentioned in the case and drug dealers are by nature of the article illegal, so the fact she's sued someone due to the acquientance nature of the case is actually quite well thought out.

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Anonymous Coward

I see the Daily Mail brigade is out in full today

Ok, she's not very bright and / or has not had a very easy life. She was addicted at 13 (legally not her fault), she beats addiction, he takes advantage of her at a low-point, she sues. A bit American but hardly deserving of the holier-than-thou vitriol above. Any who thinks a drug user isn't a victim in some sense needs to find some compassion.

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Anonymous Coward

@Retailers beware

Seems more like if a drug manufacturer were to advertise and sell a medicine after ignoring evidence that it causes heart failure. Yes, they did an illegal thing by not disclosing that information to the FDA, but I think most courts would be happy to hear civil cases against them by the victims. I think you will find that paracetamol suppliers go to some lengths to ensure that they can prove they warned you about potential dangers. Just saying that the person taking the medicine should have researched it herself before taking it doesn't count for much.

It is completely normal for someone to go to both criminal court and civil court for the same action, and I'm not sure why people are acting all surprised about it.

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Err...

As mentioned above, it's like sueing MacDonalds for making you fat, CiggiesCo for getting you hooked on the fags or a brewers for making you alcoholic, all of which (I think, not sure about the brewers) have happened.

Also: "...However, Davey refused to name "John Doe" in pre-trial discovery, "putting him at risk of a contempt-of-court charge"..."

But crucially not putting him at risk of a broken legs charge, dealt by Mr J Doe. Who says there isn't honour amongst crims: Nobody likes a grass.

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WOOHOO!

ok, so now i can find a dealer, get addicted to whatever i want and when i want to kick the habbit, i can sue my dealer?

this is a dream come true for any druggie!

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Makes sense

At the start I thought this was a foolish case but the more I think about it the more it makes sense.

At the moment someone selling nasty shit like meth or heroin will be prosecuted for selling class A drugs. That has some pretty serious penalties but comes under the same heading as coke and ecstasy with, although they can be dangerous, aren't in the same league.

If a dealer could find themselves facing a murder charge they might think twice.

cheers

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Silver badge
Coat

Are Rizla to blame . . .

. . . for the holes in my t-shirt?

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@Anonymous Coward

"Excuse me, but that is categorically not the same; a chemist supplying paracetemol as a legitimate pain killer which can be used in moderation is not the same as, for example, crack/meths/heroin being used in any quantity - addictive and causes damage as well as giving a high."

Did I say I was going to use it in moderation? No. I said that I was going to use it in dangerous doses - just as any amount, no matter how small, of meth amphetamine is "a dangerous dose". The plaintiff was aware of the dangers, just as I am aware of the dangers of paracetamol.

Chemists supply far more dangerous drugs than drug-dealers. For a start, they supply all of the drugs that drug-dealers regularly supply with the possible exception of marijuana. Pretty much everything else, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamines are regularly prescribed to people, there are probably some medical conditions which benefit from MDMA too. But one of the most dangerous drugs a chemist will ever supply to the vast majority of people is paracetamol - it's deadly, make no mistake about it.

It is exactly the same situation - the only difference is that we tend not to discriminate against chemists and can not call them scum-of-the-earth drug-dealers like we can the people who sell illegal drugs though there is no real difference there either.

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Key difference

I think the key difference here is that she only got the stuff from the one supplier (therefore conclusively proving the cause) and more to the point the supplier deliberately gave a free sample in order to get her addicted and physically craving more... which he then duely sold her at profit.

At the end of the day though she is a competant adult and it was her own choice to accept the free sample and take it and she was well aware of the fact that the drug was very addicted and would leave her wanting more therefore she knew the risks and unless he forced her to do it then it is her fault and it seems a ridiculous lawsuit.

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Dead Vulture

Kicked the habit

Addicted at 13, and then clean for eight months before her 20th birthday, so in other words she had been using for six years. Willpower is a wonderful thing, but chemical addiction can overrule it.

I hope she wins, except for the fact that if she does, she's had it, I can see her falling off the wagon suddenly if she gets a windfall out of it.

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Sueing him because she likes to take crack?

OK, girl sues guy for getting her addicted to crack at 13, causing her years of problems with addiction -- I could understand that.

Guy deliberately gets 13 year old addicted to crack, girl recovers and, as an adult, still hangs out with the scumbag? The case should be thrown out of court -- if someone gets you addicted to a drug so that they can exploit you and you continue to hang around with them, you deserve all you get.

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@Paul Buxton's strange claims.......

Oh deary me Paul. Bit convenient for you to not mention the following:

Paracetamol is limited to sales of packets per person. So you can't just go on to a chemist and buy as many as you want, they won't let you. Of course, you could visit multiple chemists and buy the maximum allowed but I'd like to see you make a claim on that basis of prior intent. By the way, Pharmacists can sell more up to a limit of 100 in specific circumstances. Which don't include you just asking them, so please don't spin that old yarn.

Pharmacists do have available medical version of certain drugs used by addicts, such as morphine (heroin). However seeing as these are rather less tainted than the 'street version' and distributed in a prescribed amount for specific treatments makes the point about you mentioning them a bit, erm, pointless really.

Finally, Pharmacists don't 'sell' these drugs. They're prescribed. By a Doctor. Remember them? So, comparing them to drug dealers is a little like doing the same with your mum and Myra Hindley. Yep, just a little bit cretinous.

As for this person suing the dealer, I say go for it. Make the bastards poor. Might hurt sales of BMWs and Mercedes for a while but I'm sure they'll get over it.

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Stupidity on a whole new level

So this woman became addicted to crystal meth at age 13th, was addicted for 6 to 7 years, then kicked the habit for 8 months. She then (by her own admission) voluntarily started using the drugs again.

1) Where does a 13-year-old through 19-year-old get enough money to feed a crystal meth addiction?

2) By her own admission, she did this voluntarily. As such, it is entirely her own responsibility. Nobody forced her to do it, so nobody else is to blame.

As for her brilliant statement "I have gotten sober. I think that's taking responsibility for my actions. I don't think I should have to take responsibility for both of our actions. I think he should meet me half way. That's what this lawsuit is about.", I completely agree with the second part. The dealer needs to accept responsibility for selling the drugs. However, SHE needs to accept responsibility for voluntarily BUYING and USING the drugs.

The first part of her statement is complete rubbish. Getting sober has no relation to taking responsibility for your actions. If I use a knife to cut off my fingers, then I get rid of the knife, do you consider that taking responsibility for my actions? Of course not. This is the same thing. Eliminating the source of your problems is complete separate from accepting responsibility for your actions.

The bad part is that this will tie up court systems which are already overtaxed with stupid and frivolous lawsuits. The good part is that the drug dealers (or there associates/partners) will likely kill the "victims" in cases like this, so that might send a message to others to not pursue the same course of action.

As for the "Daily Mail" comment above -- if she was able to afford a crystal meth addiction starting at the age of 13, I doubt very much that she "has not had a very easy life". Regardless, I *DO* deserve to have a holier-than-thou attitude. I take personal responsibility for all of my actions and decisions, the good and the bad. I don't look to blame others. So yes, that *DOES* give me the right to take such an attitude. But I will agree with you that all drug users are victims. I just happen to think that, unless they were forced to become addicted by another person, they are victims of themselves, and as such, have only themselves to blame.

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Bronze badge

@ Pete Jones

<<Paracetamol is limited to sales of packets per person>>

OK if there was only one pharmacy to visit....

D'ohhhhh!!!!! Dullard of the week winner.

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Unhappy

Personal responsibility?

What ever happened to the concept of taking responsibility for your own actions?

Was there an ordinance passed that I missed?

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Paris Hilton

@Cameron Colley

Read the story again, the repost.

it was Crystal Meth, not crack.

No for some lessons about drug addiction - Crystal Meth is one of the most addictive substances on earth, you become physically and mentally dependent on it. you also never recover. Like any drug, alcohol, tobacco, smack or crack, you will always be an addict and addicts behave very strangely.

Do you, or anyone you know, smoke? Have you or you acquaintance every tried to give up? It's not easy is it, now try with someone many, many times stronger.

You also can't blame the girl, drugs pushers are very persuasive people, that's why they're so good at the game, they play on your insecurities (13 year old girls have many), offer you free samples, get you hooked, then they bleed you dry. Scum of the earth, like estate agents, only worse...

Paris because most of the posters here have displayed about her level of sense 7 compassion (see Rwandan Orphans stories)

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Stop

Please just lock her up for waiting the courts time

Wow it gets worse everyday. Natural selection please.......

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Dan
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The war on drugs has been a complete failure

despite enthusiastic and brutal enforcement, so I'm not convinced that the Canadian civil courts are really going to change anything. It just sets a ridiculous precedent that allows the litigious to abdicate the need for personal responsibility.

I guess Canadian drug dealers will have to start walking around with a pocket full of disclaimers for their customers to sign.

I'm going to be suing my local for the distress and suffering of my hangover on New Years day. They just kept selling me the beer, with no questions asked and no regard for my welfare..

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re: Personal responsibility.

It's dead, didn't you get the memo? Thank the yuppies and their desire to round every jagged edge, take away all personal freedoms and throw away any sense of personal responsibility. Fuck them, they're worse than the baby boomers.

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Linux

Compassion?

Compassion shouldn't really be entering into these comments as surely what we're looking at here is a lawsuit, not a therapy class. As a lawsuit this should instantly be thrown out, in fact, it should never even have been glanced at!

There's no denying that this is a sad case and I'm sure none of us could deny we feel compassion for the girl - addicted to drugs, victim of a sex attack, starts to get clean and then...bam!

However, to try and push this through the courts given that she willingly took the drug again after getting clean seems ridiculous. She comments that she is sober and that's taking responsibility for her actions - how is she now taking any of his responsibility? This should be a matter for the police - guy selling drugs = bad and should be dealt with. Girl taking drugs = bad and is now clean, fine. End of story. Anyone see a court case in that?

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Bob

@ Alan Gregson

As someone else pointed out above she says she got clean but then just before her 20th birthday she met him again and voluntarily took meth again.

Yes she was an addict, yes she always will be and that makes her do silly things but as has been said, this sets a dangerous precedent. What if in a year from now she decides to spend some of this potential windfall on more - will she then sue this next guy?

While every dealer off the streets is a good thing, this is going to cause problems for people in other ways.

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@Alan Gregson

Yup, my bad, I forgot that in the US whizz is known as crystal meth.

I smoked for 5 years and gave up fairly easily. I've also tried a few more serious substance (including crystal meth) and not had any problems. That's not my point, however.

My point was, and is, that she knew this guy was a scumbag who pushed drugs on 13 year old kids for his own gain -- but she still chose to hang around with him. Anyone stupid enough to hang around a "pusher" after they're clean deserves what they get. She should, instead, of shopped the guy and his supplier anonymously, had she wanted some "justice".

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This isn't new

This is just like:

1) That US Woman suing McDs because they coffee burned her (supposedly).....who woulda thought that coffee might be hot? (Rocket science)

2) A thief breaking into your house then slipping on ice in your driveway while running away, then suing you (even though they were trespassing and stealing from you).

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I think I've take personal responsibility ???

If she had she wouldn't be shifting blame to the dealer. This is the kind of thinking that led to her relapse in the first place. With more that 12yrs sober, I know of which I speak. It's what's know in the world of recovery as "stinking thinking" and this stinks to high heaven!

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@ Andus McCoatover

First, top name! Wish I'd thought of that

Second, read the post. You might see I said exactly that. Of course there's nothing to stop you visiting more than one pharmacist.

Third, it's Friday. Isn't it time we all went home?

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Oh dear

Comment 1

[if she was able to afford a crystal meth addiction starting at the age of 13, I doubt very much that she "has not had a very easy life". ]

You seem to be inferring that drug users invariably have the financial means to abuse drugs? I am afraid it just doesn't work like that. It was unlikely she ever had the money to afford an addiction - she would have been given free drugs to get her addicted, and then used theft, drug dealing, prostitution etc to fund it. Unless your definition of "an easy life" includes one working as a child prostitute then I must disagree.

Comment 2

[OK if there was only one pharmacy to visit....

D'ohhhhh!!!!! Dullard of the week winner]

*sigh*

Did you read the comment it was in response to? I guess not. The (ridiculous) claim was that if this woman can sue her dealer for selling her illegal drugs which damage her then the poster must be able to sue his pharmacist for selling him paracetamol that he then goes on to OD on. See the difference?

In case you missed it, the pharmacist is acting perfectly legally and *responsibly*, and will tell you that you can't buy 200 paracetamol without a prescription (here in the UK anyway) if you try. If you ignore that advice, and the advice on the usage notes inside the packet and OD and need a new liver (best of luck) then the pharmacist has acted entirely reasonably and so you have no complaint.

Nobody is claiming paracetamol isn't dangerous - hell, too much of *anything* is dangerous (water poisoning anyone?) - we're examining the difference between an irresponsible seller interested only in making a sale, to hell with the clients health, and a responsible seller who is interested in making a legal sale if it is in the buyers interest.

Yes she seems messed up, no I don't necessarily agree with this particular case but those comments are just plain silly, and belong in a Polly Toynbee column.

I guess this was posted as an "only in America" story?

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This war on drugs might work

So this person profited from selling an illegal drug to a minor. A 13 year old is not a legal adult making adult choices.

Civil law in North America has no greater target than those that profit in the harm of others. Canada is not as rabid about this as America but the writing is on the wall.

Really though, seeing as police action is not stopping dangerous drug use why not encourage such things.

It is only by making drugs unprofitable that people will stop producing them.

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Paris Hilton

the important thing...

What's the Paris Hilton angle here? I fail to see it.

Addicts should not be criminals. They are, for the most part, victims. Pushers, however, especially those that aren't going it to fuel their own addiction, deserve a special kind of hell.

It would certainly be nice if Canada and other countries started telling the Americans to fuck off with their utter failure of a "War On Drugs". Be great if they started doing the right thing: legalize it all, control it, tax it, and treat the victims as medical problems not criminal ones. In one fell swoop extensive and very dangerous criminal organizations would come tumbling down. Of course, it's unlikely to happen given the lobbying that these same criminal organizations put toward making sure all drugs remain illegal, and thus much more profitable.

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Go

A good thing

I reckon its a stupid case but it might just stop people dealing (then again it might not). Getting a bit of pokey for dealing is an occupational hazard, once you're out you just carry on where you left off.

but if instead you get tied up with litigation for years, endless hearings, lawyers bills and risk having to pay out a load of damages, the brighter ones are gonna think there are easier ways of making money (fraud, robbery etc). Most of these crims aren't too sharp, but getting bogged down in a lawsuit for years is probably worse than porridge.

Get suing!

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Dan

That's ironic, because a pub can in fact (at least theoretically) get in rather a lot of trouble for continuing to sell alcohol to someone who is already clearly drunk. They're not supposed to do it, and if they do it repeatedly they can lose their licence.

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Anonymous Coward

Scumbag dealer deserves all he gets (or loses)

This guy is a typical scumbag hard drug dealer who deliberately targets vulnerable people ,such as a 13 year old girl, and then even after she kicks the habit he knows full well she is still vulnerable and targets her again. This reminds me of a scumbag I know of . What he deserves, is a bullet in his brain !. I see everyone on here making excuses for him. If he is guilty then he is scum, end of !.

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Pirate

amazing

I really belief that drugs in any way, shape, or form is the takers own responcibility. You eighter say Yes or you say No thanks.

Also any straight thinking person would not call a drugs dealer friend and i wonder what her parents were doing while she was taking meth at age 13!?. If my kid would display sympthoms of drug use I would try anything to get her/him off it. And also try to find out who gave it and have him arrested for drugs trade and whatever els i could find to sue him with.

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Bronze badge

Well, given that...

... people HAVE successfully sued fast food restaurants for making them fat.

There is no logical conclusion of this case, this case is a logical conclusion of other cases. Whether or not cases are brought against pubs for selling beer which is bad for you is not going to be affected by this case but by the cases which led to this case.

When somebody is acquitted and successfully sues the judge who refused bail this culture of blame will end. Not until. In the meantime we might as well celebrate the few good things it gives us, like this.

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Ed
Stop

Re-read a bit and the story is much different...

"However, Davey refused to name "John Doe" in pre-trial discovery, "putting him at risk of a contempt-of-court charge", and the judge duly entered a default judgment against him."

She won the suit by default because the defendant ignored an order to name his supplier. Not at all precedent setting, just silly.

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Next

Coming soon:

Man sues GM for selling him a car, which gave him the ability to have an accident at 117 MPH, leaving him paralysed.

Runner sues New Balance for selling her shoes which she was wearing when she tripped over a curb, spraining her ankle.

Patient sues physician for prescribing pain medication after patient complained of extreme chronic back pain.

Victim's family sues gun manufacturer after victim is shot by criminal (oh wait, that one already happened)

RIDICULOUS!!

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Paris Hilton

Strange

Like the B-Man said "what don't they understand about illegal"

He broke the law in the acquisition and sale and she in the acquisition and use (unless Saskatchewan has legitimized nazi dope use)

If user gets caught first time user goes to rehab and if proven pusher goes to jail.

If user gets caught again dealer and user go to jail. (unless user is powerful politican, celebutard or wealthy business type then proceed to slap on wrist or beating with wet noodle followed by rehab)

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Bronze badge
Stop

If you can't pass a law, set a precedent

because even though the court fines and stuff are enforced if necessary by police and the legal system like "real" laws, and you lose liberty and property over lawsuits like "real laws" it's still not a "real" law. Which means you can do whatever you want by setting a "precedent".

So, in America, "precendent" makes it de-facto illegal to:

speak your mind to a protected racial group.

sell hot coffee (and not just in games!)

allow stupid people into your warehouse store

have a barking dog/noisy cat

manufacturing cigarettes

manufacturing firearms

owning a swimming pool

the list goes on.

But even worse, this is a Lady Justice with the blindfold taken off. Winning a lawsuit depends on chance, on the skill and price of the lawyer and the biases and perception of other people. The richer and better off or best connected have the best representation. A barking dog that gets one family sued into the streets, when owned by a political powerhouse...the complainant ends up in the street. manufacture cigarettes and get sued...but then spend enough money to change the ruling later. Got enough resources, it's "legal" to run P2P and copy music and movies. If not, then it's "illegal".

I absolutely *hate* drug dealers, pushers-no matter what the poison. I'm the type that would support "John Clark"-style (See Tom Clancy's "Without Remorse") vigilanteism (an independent citizen who'd face serious legal problems if caught) long before I'd ever be comfortable with the sort of legal lawyerism-based maneuvering such as this. Wrongness in law by individuals is one thing-institutionalized wrongness is many many times worse.

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J

Legalize it all

It might create a bit of chaos in the beginning, but after selection we might end up much better off. Although I'm not completely sure legalizing would really end the whole mess -- but it would sure improve a lot. I mean, kids always find a way to get tobacco or booze one way or another, so it would probably be not very different with other drugs.

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Michael

yes, because crystal meth has so many legitimate, non-health damaging uses, your analogy is perfect.

no, wait...

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Re 'read the article'

The 'scumbag dealer who sells to 13-year olds' was, as he was her school classmate, probably 13 at the time as well. And, most likely, not dealing, but procuring for friends. Anyway, who the fuck do you think a 13 year-old dealer IS going to sell to? That's right; other 13 year-olds. Most street level dealers are doing it merely to support their own habits.

It's her own fault. If you have a drug habit, it's your fault. I had one, it was my fault. I got rid of it. Before I did, I nearly killed myself via overdoses on several occasions. They were my fault as well. 'What's this gear like?'

'Really fucking strong, mate.'

'Excellent, I'll take two bags please.'

*cook up, shoot up, turn blue, fall over, wake up to be told about mouth-to-mouth, panic,etc.*

'Waaaaah! I'm gonna sue!'

Er, no. My fault, you see.

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Anonymous Coward

The only way to quit

is for you to quit you not someone else you I know this from hard experience the minute you go blaming someone else you have lost.

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Anonymous Coward

@Adam

Funny you should say that Adam they use amphetamines for ADD (adderall) and methamphetamine is one of those it's also used for narcolepsy under the brand name of Desoxyn. In fact most meth use has died in the states as people line up for their attention deficit drugs.

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@anonymous coward 05:59

one, that has to be prescribed. You don't buy it on a street corner. Hence you still can't fairly draw an analogy to GM, New Balance, Smith and Wesson or whoever.

two, crystal meth is a *substantially* nastier substance both in terms of physical effects and the likelihood and severity of addiction in comparison to regular illegal amphetamines, never mind the stuff that is sold on prescription.

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