back to article Snort coke, shaft the environment, say boffins

Snorting cocaine is an environmental crime whatever your views on drug use, scientists declared last week. A panel of scientists meeting at the Natural History Museum in London last week detailed how the production of the drug and its trafficking affect biodiversity and contribute to climate change. The production of a gram …

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  1. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Marie Celestes Adrift and all at Sea in TEMPESTuous Waters/Chill dDepths/Hot Encounters

    "Snort coke, shaft the environment, say boffins"

    Nice BootStrap headline, El Reg/Barbara. What is not in dDoubt, is that snorting coke shifts the environment, says AI boffinry?

  2. A J Stiles
    Flame

    Not quite

    It's NOT the cocaine that's causing the problems. It's the fact that it's illegal.

    If a cocaine producer were to be careful about the chemicals they use to maintain their crop and process it into the end product, there is no reason for cocaine to be any worse for the environment than coffee or potatoes. However, the present legal situation ACTIVELY ENCOURAGES the worst kind of irresponsible behaviour in cocaine production. Using one's own land, purchasing approved pesticides via the official channels and disposing of chemical solvents properly all rather tend to attract attention -- which, given the nature of the operation, is invariably undesirable. So instead, clandestine cultivation takes place in hastily-cut-down native forest, black-market agricultural chemicals are used, and waste products are dumped illegally.

    As long as there is a stronger incentive to break the law than to comply with the law, this situation will persist. The best thing that Colombia could do would be to legalise the production of cocaine and regulate it just like any other industry.

  3. John H Woods Silver badge
    Coat

    Ban coke, shaft the environment

    The damage done to the economy, society and the environment by illegal drugs is largely caused by their illegality. Governments are almost never held to account for their key role in this situation.

    If chocolate were made illegal, people who remained in the cocoa trade would become rich overnight, and swathes of environmental damage would be caused at every level --- during growing, transport, manufacturing and distribution.

    Cocoa barons would become immensely rich and powerful, driving other organized crime and funding terrorism. Chocoholics would become a total pain in the arse, committing millions of petty crimes to fund their habits, eating contaminated chocolate 'cut' with other substances, and turning to prostitution --- basically becoming a huge burden on the health and welfare systems.

    Worst of all, chocolate dealers would deliberately target children to get them into the habit, so they could fund their own habits or finance their own criminal activities.

    And then the government could say it was all down to the evils of chocolate, without even considering that the problems were all of their own making.

  4. Insane Reindeer
    Thumb Up

    Not a galloping shock

    But still a very well written piece on the subject none the less. And I am sure that this will be of a thought provoking nature to many people and will offer some insight to a problem that is too easy to ignore when compared to the more "public" problems caused by cocaine.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Matware
    Paris Hilton

    Bad as an absolute, but in relative terms

    I have no idea what the figures are, but I'd love to see cocaine vs wheat, sugar, corn, chicken, beef, etc. just to give some real perspective...

    But more importantly, I think you guys have just identified a market for Organic Fair Trade Cocaine, for the discerning super model trying to help the planet in any way they can.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    But surely the reason that producers use illegal damaging methods of production is because the product is illegal? If the product was not illegal production could be regulated and controlled in much the same way as alcohol, tobacco, petrol, soy beans etc..

    This means that it does matter what your views on prohibition are. Ending prohibiton would enable control and regulation - one beneficiary of which would be the environment.

  7. John Parker
    Happy

    "...the UK is one of the world’s largest consumption markets for cocaine..."

    "...the UK is one of the world’s largest consumption markets for cocaine..."

    ...and we do loads of binge drinking too... whatever people say, us Brits don't muck about when it comes to getting leathered :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's that old legalise it debate again...

    If the production of cocaine were legal, as coffee is, then there's no reason that the cocoa plants couldn't be grown in similarly environmentally friendly fashion. It's actually the legal/illegal landscape that's causing the problem, and because cocaine production is all illegal it cannot be regulated. I don't think snorting cocaine is a particularly good idea, but there's obviously a truly vast market worldwide that finds otherwise.

    Although I would always counsel people to not bother with them, if someone wants to put alkaloids into their bodies I can't really see why they shouldn't if they really insist upon it. Smoking is a pretty dumb pastime, but the amount it raises in tax pays for the health problems several times over. Alcohol is much the same.

    Paris has probably had a snoot-full in her time.

  9. Edward Pearson
    Flame

    Fear and Loathing

    What about a nice carbon neutral smack habit?

    On a unrelated note, the government have fucked up, we'll only take issues seriously for so long, now that "the environment" is a political football, and when the reports we're constantly bombarded with tend to be alarmist propaganda with little substance, it will confuse people into apathy.

    Lets take Cannabis as an example, we're given so much conflicting information, it's impossible to make an informed decision on its dangers, simply because we have anti-cannabis politicians lying hijacking reports, and pro-cannabis activists hijacking reports. As a result, the level of use in the country is higher than that of the Netherlands (where it remains legal). It may well be EXTREMELY bad for you, however people KNOW that they cannot trust reports from born from either side of the argument, becuase they will will most likely be spin.

    We're living in a perpetual case of a political "the boy who cried wolf", and until we can come to trust our leaders, we'll make encouraging noises, and then totally ignore everything they do.

    If you want the public to take an issue seriously, then don't abuse the privilage.

  10. leslie
    Paris Hilton

    But what about

    The paris hilton angle?

    Does she do coke or coffee?

    So, high caffeine drinks are better for the planet than coke snorting, can I get my geek pride saves the planet t-shirt out of the wash?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So the drug on wars, err, war on drugs is working huh?

    And surely this means the war on drugs must be pushed even harder, by that retarded logic that characterizes most governments? Can't they realise that their futile attempts at repression actually contribute to the damage instead of reducing it? All of the mentioned examples of adverse impact to the environment are a direct consequence of the criminalization of cocaine production. If cocaine production were legalized and adequately regulated, all these side effects would be effectively eliminated. But no, no government would do that in the foreseeable future because: 1) They must keep the facade of caring for the health of the people (and the children!!!!), even though the measures often do more harm than good and a pragmatic approach would work better 2) Corrupt government officials in production countries benefit from it.

  12. HeavyLight
    Dead Vulture

    Huh?

    Just about every environmentally-negative effect listed is purely due to the *prohibition* of cocaine, so shouldn't the headline be "Enforcing pointless cocaine laws is killing the planet"?

  13. Graham Dawson

    Hah!

    That'll be a dilemma for the Kensington set. Watch out for the BBC to suddenly turn sceptic. Or skeptic.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Peru

    Peru is where they grow it and Colombia is where they process it.Read stupids read. Do you think considering the price of cocaine anyone would grow stinking coffee if they had a choice.

  15. Tom

    I'm surprised this hasn't come up before

    When was the last time you were offered an organic line? Or an organic cigarette for that matter?

    Unfortunately, one of the characteristics of an addict is not seeing the wider consequences of their habit. I therefore doubt that someone who doesn't care that they're boring all around them with inane chatter will be particularly bothered by another 4 m^2 of Colombian forest gone up their nostril.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yep..

    Yeah, The environment will be the one thing a coke addict will worry about.

    Paris, because..

  17. Murray Pearson
    Alien

    Unfair comparisons

    Your points about the environmental destruction of the drug industry are correct, and not at all limited to the rainforest, cf. the toxic mess of a methamphetamine lab.

    What would be the fastest way to correct this? Legalization and regulation, FFS. Prohibition means the most short-term-lucrative and easily concealed producers are the ones who succeed, and toss the rest of the planet.

    Meanwhile, you compare the worst-practice cocaine labs with the most sustainable coffee plantations, then act like you're stating a significant fact when you point out that the latter has less impact than the former. If coffee was banned like coca, would it be cultivated the same way? Not on your life.

    The GWOD is antithetical to human nature and is as unlikely to succeed as Prohibition. It's also responsible for the colossal epidemics of violent crime in the US and for the fact that one PERCENT of their entire population is now incarcerated.

    Meanwhile, the GWOD places substantial barriers to the economic feasibility of hemp, which could singlehandedly reduce humanity's planetary impact. But it remains banned despite the plainly obvious fact it was banned in the first place because it threatened the wood pulp industry. THC was a scapegoat.

    When will this lunacy stop?

  18. Uwe Dippel
    Paris Hilton

    And others??

    Very interesting point, but I'd rather like to know the impact of hops and cannabis on the environment, please.

    Paris, because she knows a hell of a lot about some substances

  19. b166er

    No-one's screaming at Coca-Cola

    They make amounts of pharmaceutical grade cocaine every year as a by-product of the manufacture of Coca-Cola. Allegedly.

    If we'd only learned to imbibe the stuff traditionally, rather than distill it into something that could get through our thick skulls, the South Americans would have a legal cash crop and if it was marketed properly, a competitor to tea and coffee, and we'd have a lot less arrogant delusionals running the world.

    I once saw an image stuck to the side of a coffee machine at Nortel, it showed the effects various compounds had on spiders spinning their webs. The spider who was dosed with Carbon Monoxide, made a right mess out of it, the spider dosed with cannabis, obviously couldn't really be bothered, the one dosed with cocaine, completed in record time and the one dosed with coffee, produced an erratic web not too dissimilar to the CO dosed spider. The point being made was, and it stated this at the bottom, "tea drinkers are more productive". Not very scientific, granted, there was no spider dosed with tea for a comparison. But it made me laugh.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies

    Dammed lies

    and statistics.

    Oh, and for every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

    I am not now, and never have been a coke user, however, I do drive a car.

    These people obviously don't have a substantive job and should be sacked.

    rant not even started.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well

    if you just let the farmers grow their cash crop legally I'm sure there'd be far less impact.

    Or if we made other crops more profitable instead of screwing them over on taxes. Yes you can make dirt cheap coffee beans or cocoa - but if you start to process it well... visit tax heaven becouse you wont be able to ship that stuff to Europe or the states.

    Cocain and Heroine (coca and poppy) are only grown becouse other crops are worthless. Of course there is criminal compulstion however farmers would be far less willing to put up with that if the could make similar sums selling other crops.

    But that'll never happen becouse the west doesn't want to lose its strangle hold on the production side (the end products you buy in the supermarkets and local stores.) So until it's worth while growing other crops it's all about the coca and the poppy. (yeah yeah South American and Afghanistan far apart but the reasons are more or less identical.)

  22. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Sans lois de drogue

    "Snorting cocaine is an environmental crime whatever your views on drug use, scientists declared last week."

    It is easy to arrive at this conclusion when production and consumption are illegal and these activities are forced into the shadows. If illicit drugs were manufactured in state of the art facilities with modern methods and waste treatment there is no reason it wouldn't be any more environmentally harmful than any other drug. Further, when legal, it is possible for the investment in permanent high efficiency production facilities and global competition would override the power of local gangs and drug cartels. The government would get tax revenue from the sale and distribution that could be placed into a trust fund for the recovery of addicts and politicians can still raid the fund for their own pet projects to keep the status quo.

    Then again, "the scientists" probably weren't interested in determining if legal drug manufacturing was environmentally harmful and it's only a matter of time before coffee is linked to some sort of degenerative condition and banned on the pretext of public health or "for the children." Bah, who cares, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors are on me kids.

  23. D
    Happy

    Seems like another case against the US led "War on Drugs"

    as all the problems outlined could be eliminated with government regulated farms and "fair trade" coke.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing New. . .

    "Growers then move to other areas, clear the native vegetation and start all over again."

    This is nothing new I remember a 1987 National Geographic article detailing how the clamp down resulted in this behaviour. Ultimately this is why so much land is cleared. There's obviously just too much duplicity in this new organic, low carbon, powder snorting lifestyle.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    War On Drugs

    I'm not going to defend obnoxious yuppies, but like most problems blamed on drugs, this actually appears to be because they are illegal. If drugs were legal the people growing them would be called farmers, you wouldn't need to raze rainforests to grow them and you could build modern processing plants that recycled the solvents used.

    Think carefully every time a story like this comes up, would the problem be solvable if we weren't engaged in this ridiculous, destructive, unwinnable war on drugs?

  26. Paul Talbot
    Alert

    Shocked...

    3rd world farming techniques might not be friendly to the environment? Producers of an illegal drug might not be concerned about using banned herbicides and other chemicals? Producers of a product legal everywhere and sold by multinational corporations are more likely to be eco-friendly?

    Shocking...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    how to make cocaine production more eco friendy

    "Finally, the Colombian government's efforts to eradicate the plantations only serve to exacerbate the situation. They use planes to spray herbicides over coca plantations, with predictably gruesome consequences for insects, amphibians and other plants in the area. Growers then move to other areas, clear the native vegetation and start all over again."

    stop destroying the crop then maybe they wont need to keep moving and therefore stop then native vegetation from been destroyed thus cutting down on the CO2 emissions, etc from the planes flying and spray herbicides, the growers not having to clear vegetation as well as from the extra transportation emissions moving to the new hide out :)

  28. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    Go drugs

    Yay, seems like we have a majority for the legalizion of drugs here (compromize, let's call it 'decriminalization', okay?). I am all for it, lived in Zürich back in the days and they solved their drug+petty and not so pretty crime problem within weeks by handing out the drugs for free. Ten years and counting, but the message seems to slowly spread.

    P.S.: Good one, John H Woods, time we did something about the chocolate problem. All the teeth that could be saved!

  29. number-g
    Dead Vulture

    blood

    aside from the environmental cost - how many murders per m^2 of plantation by the time it gets into british noses?

    nice nosebleed you got there buddy

  30. Chris G Silver badge

    Psylocybin

    Is home grown, amusing and illegal but there doesn't appear to be vast swathes of the UK being decimated by swarthy hippies. If coke was legal the situation may be a little better environmentally but not by much. With legality , overnight the cartels would be exterminated by the drug companies ( who are much bigger and more powerful) and they would be raping S. American countries instead . Legalisation would just move the money around a bit.

    It is very interesting to note that most of the posts on this issue have a kind of supporting tone for coke. If you really want to know what is good or bad for you don't read the papers or watch TV , subscribe to one or more of the excellent free science mags online, they are generally without political bias.

  31. ImaGnuber
    Paris Hilton

    It makes you weep

    Yup, it's the war on drugs that is damaging the environment so better legalise drugs.

    Morons.

  32. J Ford
    Thumb Up

    Is this not a good opportunity....

    ...to set up a discreet offsetting scheme for celebrities and media types to assuage their guilt. What's the going rate for 4m2 of reforestation work?

  33. ImaGnuber
    Thumb Down

    No I'm not finished

    What kind of airy-fairy world do you people live in? Have you never seen the destruction of a friend or family member or whoever by drug use? Maybe you should get out into the real world.

    Perhaps you are of that silly Puritan mindset that thinks only weak (sinful) people can be adversely affected by the use of these 'recreational' drugs. Meaning of course that someone as wonderful as you would never be affected? Idiots. The success of these drugs is based on their addictiveness. Or are you dim enough to think that factor would be eliminated by legalising them?

    Perhaps you think that legalising these drugs would allow their regulation? Honestly? Suddenly you have faith in government bureaucracy?

    Comments about the 'poor third world farmers' make me laugh. It doesn't matter how much harm is done to other people (to your society) as long as that picturesque family can get by?

    The more I read comments here the more I think "Bring on the surveillance cameras, give the police more rights to stop and search. It's the only way to protect ourselves from these idiots."

    You want to see an end of the War On Drugs? Carpet bomb any area found to be producing them.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    By b166er's Spider

    The Caff in Tea is the same as that in an Expresso. So your Tea Spider would be just as screwed up. Drink Water (tap Water)

  35. Evil Graham
    Boffin

    Hollywood and Red Ken have got it covered

    You guys need to relax more. Obviously supermodels, actors and the like have already thought of this in advance, hence the popularity of the Toyota Prius over there. What they are doing (and forgive me for claiming this phrase as my own) is what we climate experts call "Cocaine Offsetting". The maths are much too complicated for you to worry about, but basically it boils down to "drive a smaller car so you can snort more coke".

    Same thing in London. Everyone knows that's where most of the charlie goes, because that's where the media and banking industries are, so Ken is just increasing the various environmental taxes and cramming you into tubes and buses so that you can all have a toot without feeling guilty.

  36. Rick Damiani
    Pirate

    Illegal enterprises aren't concerned about their environmental impact?

    I'll bet they don't offer health insurance or retirement plans, either. How shocking.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about...

    Cigarettes? Or pretty much anything else that involves manufacturing and later putting in a dump or on the street?

    Humans shaft the environment, as do volcanoes, so quit trying to make a few of us who really don't care start caring, as it just makes us even less likely to care when we suffer through a frikkin' cold winter...

    Still, now I have another silly reason to keep people away from Coke.

  38. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Up

    Clearly what we need...

    ...is Tesco 'Finest' Organic Cocaine, hand grown by wizened ancient masters in a strictly controlled 'appellation' system, with single-forest premium varieties available. Certified Fairtrade and approved by Greenpeace.

    carefully separated in marketing from Tesco Value Cocaine, for the proles...

  39. Rob
    Happy

    the drugs

    actually gnuber, contrary to what gmtv seems to have taught you NOT everyone who tries "drugs" instantly becomes hooked and dies, THAT is utter nonsense, why would anyone try it?!? It takes a bit of effort to develop a dependancy on anything other than the truly addictive (and nasty) stuff like heroin or crack

  40. John Latham
    Happy

    @ImaGnuber

    Yes, I have seen family members damaged by drug use. Yes, it was their own stupid fault.

    It's unbelievable that anyone can live in the UK without understanding the health risks of cocaine. Not only are they well described in school, but even the trashy gossip mags carry pics of septum-less celebutards (sorry) to ram home the message.

    If adults of normal intelligence CHOOSE to take cocaine, and then get addicted, and ruin their lives, I could care less. Really. It's a risky activity, everyone knows this.

    And if you're pointing the finger at puritans, you might look at the source of the main thrust of the war of drugs - the USA. That's been about as successful as the other "wars on stuff". Hasn't coke production soared in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion? Great result chaps.

    Besides, what's the carbon footprint of a M1 Abrams tank?

  41. Paul Talbot
    Stop

    re: No I'm not finished

    @ImaGnuber:

    "Have you never seen the destruction of a friend or family member or whoever by drug use? Maybe you should get out into the real world."

    Yup. Alcohol did that.

    Oh wait, you're implying that the only drugs that can destroy families are the ones that our guardians have deemed illegal, and it's impossible for people to have a good time with no long-lasting effects with those drugs.

    Maybe you're the one who should stop being foolish and stop trying to apply black and white morality to a complex subject. The real world is much more complex than that. Maybe you should get out into it a bit more.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Pro Coke - why?

    Anyone pro coke obviously hasn't been confronted with a knife wielding pleb, high as a kite. Coke is bad for society. Don't dress it up any differently.

    Personally the 4sq metres of rainforest are the least of our worries. It's the psychosis some people suffer when they take it that kills other people, and the fact that people rob homes to obtain the necessary funds to take it.

    Weed on the other hand turns people into dribbling hippies - so it's not all bad.

  43. Graham Jordan

    @Gnuber

    Hold the phone there sunshine. I'm an avid cocaine user and I'm not a mess.

    I turned to drugs as a means of escaping the real life following a rough break up. During the height of my drug fueled days i spent many a weekend dribbling in a corner whacked out of my face on Ecstasy, Speed, Cocaine and Mushrooms. On the very rare occasion Ketermin.

    Every Monday morning I returned to work on time and did as required of my job. I hurt no one in the process, in fact, according to my boss the one time I took phet during the working day my work improved dramitcally.

    I've been clean from Pills, phet and Ket for four years this July but I still enjoy the odd bout of coke.

    The crap education system that fuels "all drugs are bad" is the reason I experimented with Cocaine in the first place. Ecstasy didn't kill me. I suffered no perminant memory loss and I had me a bloody good time. When I failed to get addicted to Cocaine despite hoovering in a weekend more than your average touring funk band manage in a year I'd say its a fair assumption you and every other person is fed complete and utter bollocks from the government.

    You want scary drug storys? Ok how about the idiot who got behind the wheel of a car and killed another? http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=drunk+driver+kills&meta= (1,910,000 results)

    Do some research sunshine. If some one you know got addicted to drugs (with the exception of smack) its because he/she had an addictive personality...

  44. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    Yes, but.....

    ....can you make biofuel out of it?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gnubber

    Drugs are bad mm'kay...

    But the question is really do you treat the problem as a legal issue thereby criminalising the users and suppliers thereby getting them to do bad stuff on the sides.. Or do you treat it as a health issue and sort out the people who get problems in a medical setting?

    Prohibition is clearly impossible, even with the entire population guarded under lock and key with a plethora of cctv cameras even prisons are still awash with drugs.

    No matter how mean and nasty you may think the cigarette companies are they're a darn sight more pleasing to deal with than a criminal drug cartel.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AmanfromMars make more sense than some people here

    Ok decriminalise drugs, and let the goverment tax it, yeah that will solve the problem

    I have known quite a few people who are now either dead, in incredibly poor health (mental & physical). I even know a couple of people who are perfectly fine and happy. However the safe & sane ones are in the minority (by quite a large factor). You cannot predict who will become an addict and who will be the casual user until the damage is potentially done. The majority will fall into the damaged catagory.

    The decriminalised method works incredibly well (having worked in Amsterdam for a considerable period in the 80s) there was never any drug influenced prostution, muggings, theft, buglarly or killings whatsoever. The authoritys did turn a pretty blind eye to the hardcore drugs and not just canabis. Oh sorry that statement differed slightly from reality.

    For legalistation, the products would be highly taxed (considerably more so than alcohol or cigarettes), so there will always be a huge illegal market (look at illegal alcohol and tobacco in the UK) for the cheaper version. There was a lot of research done on this in regard to cannabis and a figure of about 12 - 15 quid per joint was predicted. So the illegal market will still continue.

    Most of us know theres no such a thing as an instant addict, having been dosed with morphine (for a genuine medical reason). I would have no wish to repeat feeling and cannot understand how anybody would ever choose to use an opiate a 2nd time. Yeah an ex junkie friend described the same nausia the first few times he used heroin.

    @Gnuber

    I don't often agree with you but for once I will make an exception ;)

    @Graham Jordan

    So you took drugs big deal get over yourself and be quiet about your love afair with them. It's a bit like saying that every smoker has an addictive personality and thats the only reason they smoke. You are obviously stupid both in both word and action.

    What about the others that your dealer supplied to that where not so fortunite, and the shit that those unfortuniate individuals cause the world at large, do they not count becasue it wasn't you? Sounds like you are still in love.

    If it feels good you do it till you get tired of it, most people don't get tired of it until they lose everything. Weekends arn't enough, evenings arnt enough. Then you either lose your job or are not earning enough. So what then?

  47. Steve

    @ Gnuber

    "What kind of airy-fairy world do you people live in? Have you never seen the destruction of a friend or family member or whoever by drug use? Maybe you should get out into the real world."

    No, I have never seen that destruction desoite having watched friends and family members take copious amounts of various drugs. They can not only drink sensibly, they can also smoke, snort and swallow sensibly.

    You're trying to warn people of the unavoidable and inevitable consequences of drugs and their hidden dangers, but the very people that you are trying to convince disprove your argument by their very existence!

    "Perhaps you think that legalising these drugs would allow their regulation? Honestly? Suddenly you have faith in government bureaucracy?"

    No I don't have faith in government bureaucracy which is the precise reason that I don't listen to their obvious FUD around drug us. You, however seem to be fuly signed up Daily Mail subscriber.

    By the way, the success of these drugs is not "based on their addictiveness", it's based on their effectiveness.

  48. Spleen

    Two words: Fairtrade Coke

    "Anyone pro coke obviously hasn't been confronted with a knife wielding pleb, high as a kite."

    Kind of. Only he was drunk rather than high. And yet I'm not for the banning of alcohol. Guess what - some of us actually define our political opinions through reasoned thought and research, rather than taking half from personal experience and half from the Daily Heil.

    "Coke is bad for society. Don't dress it up any differently."

    So is religion. Like alcohol, it's used safely by millions, and occasionally some moron high on it goes and kills people. Although with religion the bodycount tends to be much higher. We already have laws preventing cokeheads (and drunks and fanatics) going out and killing people, they have snappy names like 'murder' and 'assault' and 'rape'. Prohibition laws are about government power and have nothing to do with prevention of crime (real crime, the kind that hurts other people).

  49. David Evans

    @anonymous

    "Anyone pro coke obviously hasn't been confronted with a knife wielding pleb, high as a kite. Coke is bad for society. Don't dress it up any differently"

    No, but I've been confronted by plenty of plebs off their face on cheap lager. You can argue (correctly) ANY drug is bad for society, but then you can actually live in the real world and accept that people are going to do it anyway. Legalise it, make a shedload of tax revenue off it, kill the illegal distribution networks at a stroke, accept there are going to be casualites. But of course no government would have the balls, because we have to think of the children.

    We really need a Maude Flanders icon...

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ The make drugs legal team

    Yes make drugs legal, sounds like the answer then the sad people who resort to this will be able to afford their habit more easily and won't have to go round stealing etc to feed their habit...it all makes sense.

    Alternatively, those sad people with a habit could be less selfish and stop, cocaine could be eliminated altogether and then there would be one less thing to kill the environment. Imagine a world without drugs, I'd have thought it would be a nice place.

    Now if the drugs barons aren't going to come quietly, we'll have to send Chuck Norris into Columbia (again) and harm the environment by blowing shit out of cocaine farms.

    Another note, drug lords are tax dodgers!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Release the inner fascist

    There are personal horror stories to be told about all kinds of things - booze and other drugs, cars, bikes, physical volence etc. etc. Shit happens. That's life. It's terminal in case you hadn't heard.

    However don't lose sight of the fact that no one has the right to tell anyone else what they can or can't do with own nervous system. It's immoral, indefensible, unenforceable and worst of all, it's the slippery slope which we are already sliding down towards a well-meaning fascist state, where we all spy on each other, you can punished for thinking the wrong thoughts and heaven forbid you choose to have an opinion which doesn't have the Daily Mail's seal of approval.

    It's my nervous system - you do not have the right to impose your views of right and wrong over what I choose to do with it. I take responsibility for my actions, you take responsibility for yours. Leave your little inner fascist out of it.

  52. Graham Jordan

    @AC

    @AC

    Your argument is based on personal opinion and not fact. You've been unlucky to see such tragedys. Thats all it is though. I've not been lucky, you've been unlucky.

    Nicotene is physically addictive as is Heroin. Cocaine isn't and thats fact. You can find yourself mentally dependent on it but it all balls down to your personality on if you fall into a trap or not.

    I'm sorry i think you may have my dealer confused with one from a TV show or something because he has no dependents on the or any other drug.

    People who ruin their lives blame drugs for doing so. Thats bullshit. No one forces drugs upon you, its a choice you make. If you choose to abuse drugs to an extreme you have emotional problems and should seek help. I guarentee there's just as many people abusing alcohol for that same reason as there is all illegal drugs combined.

  53. jai

    illegal/legal won't make a difference

    i don't see why legalising concaine would result in the cocaine growers suddenly switching to environmentally friendly methods

    you guys are clearly snorting the charlie if you think so

    the producers of concaine are in it for the money. if concaine suddenly becomes legal, then these people aren't suddenly going to go legit and pay their taxes. they'll keep producing it illegally because it's cheaper that way. also, they'll cut their costs to remain in the competition and undercut the legal producers (who have to pay taxes and employee healthcare and drug rehab schemes).

    and the cheaper methods of production are going to be even more environmentally damaging than their current methods

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Jai

    If it becomes legal, then the reasoning would go that it would be regulated and taxed.

    The regulated bit means that standards and such would be applied, and that things would be carefully monitored.

    Doesn't mean it would happen, but that is the reasoning.

  55. ImaGnuber

    Various

    "Oh wait, you're implying that the only drugs that can destroy families are the ones that our guardians have deemed illegal, "

    No. We are talking about the illegal drugs so that is what I commented on. Stay in focus.

    "If adults of normal intelligence CHOOSE to take cocaine, and then get addicted, and ruin their lives, I could care less."

    No comment required.

    "actually gnuber, contrary to what gmtv

    What's gmtv?

    seems to have taught you NOT everyone who tries "drugs" instantly becomes hooked and dies, THAT is utter nonsense, why would anyone try it?!?

    Yeah kids are so good at making those decisions. From the look of some streets near me I'd must say I'm not optimistic about adult abilities either.

    "It takes a bit of effort to develop a dependancy on anything other than the truly addictive (and nasty) stuff like heroin or crack"

    Right and Coca fields will still be there, and spreading, to produce crack. Poppy fields for heroin. Drug cartels and distribution networks won't vanish. Carpet bomb'em.

    "Hold the phone there sunshine. I'm an avid cocaine user and I'm not a mess."

    Wow. Someone who got away without serious consequences (I'm happy to take your word on that. Seriously). So I guess it's ok to legalise so everyone can start 'hoovering it up' without personal or legal consequences. Maybe when they start advertising their products you can start another career as product spokesperson. You know, the cool guy in the ad!

    And there was that comment about the environmental impact of the Abrams Tank? Typical & WTF.

    Pointless discussion really. Those who have dealt with the consequences will feel one way, those who want to party will go the other way... and never the twain shall meet.

    I'm outa here.

  56. ImaGnuber

    Full disclosure sorta

    I said I was outa here but one last comment:

    I'm an older guy (no surprise there) and it was my generation that made recreational drug use socially acceptable on a broad scale. I was part of that idiocy and said many of the same things that pro-legalisation people are saying here. Now I look around and see the consequences (ignore the criminal and look at the social) and it is one of the big regrets of my life.

    The sad thing is that each generation is as stupid and arrogant as the ones preceeding it and thinks that it knows what is going on, what should be done, and what the consequences will be.

    Sigh.

  57. David Evans

    @Jai

    Legalise the drug and you create a legitimate market. Believe it or not, people will naturally prefer to buy their drugs with a bit of a quality control guarantee. There may continue to be a smugglers market, but it won't be financed by the producers, it will be at the duty avoidance end as it is with booze and fags or by internet counterfeiters selling crap to gullible idiots. And if you think the coke producers won't go legit, you're mad. Even if they paid taxes, there are still huge fortunes to be made because the market would be larger and their end cost of distribution would drop through the floor, more than offsetting the increased taxes, coupled with a dramtically increased opportunity for them to actually live long enough to enjoy their profits.

    This isn't just supposition, we have the real example of the end of prohibition in the US to show us what would happen; no doubt, just like in the US, a lot of rich former drug runners turned legit would turn to politics, just like a certain family from Massachusetts who made their fortune in the bootlegging business.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @ Graham Jordan.

    I see those years of drug abuse have totally destroyed your ability to spell. A cracking advert for drug use.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thats fine

    @Graham Jordan

    Either you didn't read it properly or chose not to understand.

    I never said that your dealer was an addict, I was referring to his/her other customers (does he vet them for suitability) does he do a credit check to see if they can afford his wares? does he care where the money comes from? (the fu*k he does)

    Physical or psychological addiction is irrevelant it's a dependance. Just as some people depend on masturbation. Like those rats having their pleasure centres stimulated.

    All too often it's the psychological addictions which are the hardest ones to break. Look at anorexia and it's related disorders.

    TBH I don't give too much of a shit if people destroy their own lives (though it's sad) but it's their choice. But I do really give a shit when they destroy those around them to get the funds for their selfish pleasures.

    Yeah I hate the little shites in hoodies that beat on people to fund their cheap larger & buckfast, just as much, but thats a different topic. As is what I think should be done to drink (or drug drivers) whom I loathe (lost a friend to them too)

    I salute your good fortune on more than one level (I actually do). But just becasue it worked OK for you (so far) dosn't mean that the rest of the world is 100% wrong. Even if there are few instant addicts there are still way too many addicts (and I agree that the goverment saying "just don't do it2 simply dosn't work either)

    Everybody has their own pet drug (though I notice some drug snobbery). I won't even go into the horror story of the last person I heard coming out with coke is fine but heroin is evil.

    As RA Wilson said it's actually a war on SOME drugs. But sometimes you have to decide what is a really bad idea and try to do something about it.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ImaGnuber

    I too am an older person. I too went through the '60s. I didn't 'do' any drugs. As I was in the RN the mind altering substances of choice for matelows were beer & fags. I partook of these in quantity. :)

    Now I don't smoke. Anyone else wants to smoke - go ahead, you know the risks & it's your life.

    I still drink. You want a drink, find; touch my pint & you suffer :)

    People have the right to make their own mistakes, it's called learning. you do not and should not have the right to tell me what I can and cannot do. That is a dictatorship.

    The American experiment with prohibition showed the foolishness of trying to ban something that was wanted by a large portion of the population. Similarly, when these 'recreational' drugs are legalised then the situation will improve. It will never be perfect, people aren't perfect. Someone will always screw up and abuse anything that is enjoyed peaceably by millions (just look at Phorm).

    With legalisation though the problems will be more exposed. treatments can become easier to obtain as they should be the tax revenue to support them.

    A lot of damage to health from drugs is caused by the substances used to cut the original drug, and by the varying quality / strength of the drug itself. having pharmaceutical companies produce these drugs will give a reliable product at a reasonable price. The price hikes will be due to the greedy politicians over taxing them.

    All in all there are too many benefits for legalising drugs and not enough for maintaining their illegal status. They will be legalised, it is just a matter of when.

  61. Rob
    Alien

    R A Wilson

    Robert Anton Wilson is (/was :( ) awesome

    I don't think anything should be illegal because someone may get psychologically addicted to it, as someone could get psychologically addicted to ANYTHING, there was a woman who became psychologically addicted to DRINKING WATER! Ban this sick filth now, we must destroy all remaining h2o!! its our only hope..

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Decide what is a really bad idea and try to do something about it.

    But what if when you decide to do something about it, you actually create a worse problem.

    The bomb 'em guy, presumably doesn't also support blowing away the consumers in his own country? Is it just what them foreigners are doing that deserves carpet bombing?

    The fact is that even when we put people in an environment as locked down as prison we can't stop them getting drugs.

    The crime associated with drugs is largely an artifact of the illegality of drugs, legal drugs would be cheaper and therefore less theft to fund them would occur and help would be available to those who need it (now they worry about getting locked up) there would be no territorial wars between rival drug dealers, while on the downside the health issues would probably be greater.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Another distraction...

    ...what a load of bullshit...so much hypocrisy... look into the amount of land being cleared for Biofuel crops, another fucking pipedream from the wet dream wonderland of modern Covenment. But no, it's cocaine, and don't you know it's bad for you? Like when you smoke cannabis somewhere god kills an Iraqi.. Oh no, hang on, that would be our troops...what a crock of shit. Don't take cocaine because it destroys the rainforest - oh fuck off - they clear rainforests for all sorts of crap far less entertaining than coke, I say that and I don't even buy the shit anymore, since I figured out most of the money was going to government agencies and not `terrorists`...hang on....AAhhh now I see....

    Another thing, seeing as they seem to care so much about the environment at present, maybe they should stop spraying paraquat and all manner of other lethal (to everything living) chemicals as part of their `show` they they are really trying to stop this `evil` trade....ah I can't be bothered.... what's the point, we're all doomed with these muppets in charge. 28 Weeks later, Orwell, here we come.

  64. RaelianWingnut
    Pirate

    War on Drugs

    The War on Drugs is partly maintained because it's a political hot potato - there are still enough tards around who believe the party line that all drug use is automatically bad.

    It's also financially and politically profitable. From a US standpoint, it helps to politically destabilise South America. The 'Drug Czar' holds a cabinet-level post in the US government. Untold numbers of jobs are tied into this matter. Finally, can you *imagine* how much profit is made by the parties who prosecute the 'War'?

    It might be interesting to follow the money trails from the involved companies back to wherever...

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price drops

    Some chance of the price going down, it will be taxed to buggery and back again. More likely the price will go up

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    A solution!

    Right heres my plan

    1) Legalise it

    2) Apply Fair Trade product Standards

    3) Go Organic for the premium stuff

    4) Tax the crap out of it

    5) Use the profits to build myself a new Prime Ministers Palace and finance a few wars to pass the time

    6) Save the planet.

    I imagine only a couple of them are practical.

    Paris - She would be a good spoke woman whose knowledge and experience of the product you could trust - allegedly

  67. J
    Pirate

    @Not quite

    AJ Styles and many others, I sure agree with what you said. Being illegal makes a bigger mess, etc..

    But I'd like to point out that going legal would most probably NOT help the environmental causes, logical thinking notwithstanding.

    You see, that is South America. Regulations exist to be ignored, specially the ones dealing with environmental issues. (big capital loves to look "social" in such cases: "we should not care about monkeys when children are starving!!!") I am from Brazil, but I'm pretty sure Colombia is in the same situation. Do you think the LEGAL activities do not destroy our part of the Amazon forest at an amazing pace? Do you think our legal and "regulated" industries refrain from dumping chemicals wherever they want? You should see out rivers in São Paulo. No need to see, just smell it...

    For example, the diesel we use there has concentrations of sulfur hundreds of times higher than what's considered adequate in "developed" countries. Great stuff for your lungs, asthmatics love it (not). And that's the legal situation. Imagine when things are done ignoring the law.

  68. Daniel B.
    Stop

    Drugs ...

    @ImaGnuber:

    "Have you never seen the destruction of a friend or family member or whoever by drug use? Maybe you should get out into the real world."

    As some others said, there are some legal ones that kill: Alcohol and tobacco come into mind. If you agree to keep the ban on coke/marijuana/whatever, then you should agree to ban tobacco. Why?

    - That crap sticks in your lungs FOREVER.

    - Second-hand smoke will affect everyone NEARBY, unlike coke snorters where they waste only themselves.

    Legalize marijuana, coke; ban tobacco!!! ;)

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    the war, on drugs

    ImaGnuber, just stop, please just shut up and keep your nanny-fannying for those nearest and weirdest to you. The "I've lived through the 60's" rubbish doesn't give you any better or worse perspective than anyone else. I lived through punk and rave ... can I lecture you on the evils of whizz and discos ? Of course I can but I'm not, please also try not to be an arse.

    The two basic problems you haven't addressed with pro-prohibition are the institutional insubordination inherent after personally experiencing a pleasant drug experience following years of government anti-drug propoganda, and the shattering of millions of lives as a result of getting mixed up in the perfectly understandable, excusable human desire to get high - so becoming a criminal, getting caught and being locked up and being really unable to hold a job down and being a real drain on society and fulfilling all of the fears you attribute to drugs and their over-hyped addictive quality.

    Very few illegal drugs can cause physical dependency quickly, many are capable of inducing an extremely pleasant feeling that leaves a strong mental desire to take a drug again, or over and over - eventually creating physical dependency of a sort, but the big problem is the human brain and its poorly constructed reward mechanism which cannot discriminate between genuine and fake induced emotion. The ego also adapts too quickly to a new experience or situation and sets up a mental tolerance far quicker than any physical immunity. Why do we have such mental shortcomings ? Because unfortunately a benevolent creator did not build us out of handy lego bricks instead we are a semi-random collection of mutated fleshy bits that worked well enough to get sex and reproduce (and die by 30) on the plains of Africa but have no facilities specifically to function beyond.

    In short criminalisation, like imasaddeludedgruber, is wrong. VERY WRONG.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Whilst it's true to say...

    ... that the majority of problems caused by drugs are as a result of prohibition rather than the direct effects of the drugs, legalisation would not make all the problems go away and drugs do have a negative effect on personality and behaviour no matter what spin and propaganda the pro-drugs (read people who profit from the sale of drugs (and drug users)) will tell you.

    And whilst it's true that many people take drugs purely because they are illegal and people want to rebel against authority, if drugs were legal, more people would take drugs with the excuse of "it's legal, so why shouldn't I?"

    Whether you take cocaine or not, whether you support legalisation of cocaine or not, it's hard to deny that schoolchildren carrying and using cocaine routinely, being sold it from cars outside the school gates, is an extremely bad state of affairs.

  71. steven

    notice:

    lots of comments you junkie bastards!

    ;)

  72. steven

    thc....

    is better - wooo

    BOO!

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