back to article Report: Legalising drugs would save UK plc huge packet

New research has confirmed a reality which is obvious to many, but which can seldom be acknowledged in British mainstream politics: that it is primarily the fact of drugs being illegal which makes them so damaging to society. Furthermore, if drugs were legalised - even assuming a huge increase in their use - the public purse …

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  1. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    £13.9 crime ->£3.7bn drugs purchased

    Drugs are not necessarily bad. The huge number of annoying, possibly violent crimes commited by desperate addicts are.

    Something to think about when your DVD/Big screen TV/PC goes walkies out your back door. Or your car goes missing. Again.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Skunk-fearing Guardian liberals?

    As I write this there is an entirely reasonable article and three pages of largely well-intentioned and mostly well-informed reader comments and discussion, none as yet that I can see from "skunk-fearing liberals".

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/apr/07/drugs-policy-legalisation-report

    Sorry Lewis, that was uncalled for and unnecessary.

    Now if you'd said "skunk-fearing BBC producers" that could have been entirely appropriate. There's no mention of the Transform report on the BBC news website, in the same way as Mr Peston's Organ forgot to mention the recent "Barclays makes £1bn/year from taxdodging" exposed via Vince Cable, which was reported everywhere from the Daily Mail to the FT. The BBC's silence on the subject was entirely unrelated to the Barclays chairman who is a senior BBC board member, obviously.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/biographies/biogs/directors/marcus_agius.shtml

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1162148/Barclays-makes-1bn-year-tax-avoidance-schemes.html

  3. abigsmurf
    Thumb Down

    Questionable conclusions

    ok, many drug users turn to crime to feed their expensive habbits... How will this change if you legalise the drugs then heavily tax them making them just as or almost as expensive?

    If you legalise cannabis, would the dealers really decide that they no longer want to make money from crime and give up rather than moving on to dealing harder drugs (or taking up an alternative type of crime) to continue making money?

  4. Cameron Colley

    I don't know why they bothered writing the report.

    Everyone with an ounce of common sense has known this for decades.

    It's just a shame that the frightened children that make up the majority of this country's voting public will never see that.

    After all, Terrorists and Pedo's are responsible for drugs -- Everyone knows that!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Paul

    What about the taxes ?

    Whilst the cost of legalised drugs may start off cheaper than today once the Govt have started to see it as a cash cow where will the price end up ?

    "Those guys think they're tough businessmen, but they wouldn't stand a chance against the likes of Glaxo and British American Tobacco."

    Do the Glaxo and BAT reps carry uzis then ?

  6. General A. Annoying

    Seems like common sense...

    therefore will be ignored entirely by this, and any subsequent government for the foreseeable future.

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    Follow the money

    The drug barons will be prepared to spend many millions to make sure that drugs are not legalised, as that would destroy their trade.

    But naturally our wonderfully upright and honest politicians would have nothing to do with that sort of thing.

  8. BatCat
    Thumb Up

    And I thought it was just me...

    I've though this way for years. I'd go further and actually supply drugs for free on the NHS for those unfortunate enough to become addicted - often substitutes such as methadone just don't work well enough. There would be no need for addicts to then commit crime to finance a habit.

    This should be coupled with adequate, open and truthful education programmes so people grow up fully aware of the risks. Also, a total ban on recreational drug advertising including alcohol - imagine how much harder it makes things for an alcoholic when they're bombarded with alcohol advertising everywhere...

    It'll never happen though :o(

  9. Robert Grant

    Rather than being a selectively quoting opposite extreme, how about...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view

  10. jason

    And how would Wall Street make money then?

    The U.S. invaded a whole country in order to re-gain access to opium, and you think the U.K. will legalise drugs?

    U.K. is not as smart as the Netherlands to do that. They just want to make money out of drugs, not solve the problem.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/01/AR2006120101654.html

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the other catch...

    ... as soon as someone died or got addicted to heroin or cocaine they (or their family) would try and sue the government for letting them have the stuff. If the government legalises drugs then they're effectively saying it's OK to use them. This may be the case for some of them (ecstasy, marijuana or whatever) but for some (heroin, cocaine) it isn't. Yes, alcohol isn't too safe either but (fortunately) it's been a part of our civilisation for so long now (even Jesus drank wine) it's kind of exempt...

  12. Ben Smith
    Thumb Up

    Lots of common sense here

    Especially the bit:

    "the fact that a certain proportion of people would rather lie about off their faces all day than get on with their lives - and will do that more or less regardless of the cost to themselves and those around them even if there's nothing better than cider or glue on offer. A certain proportion of these people will also go mad - become schizophrenic - though this has no measurable connection with cannabis use."

    However, it doesn't matter how much sense it makes. Internationally, I can't see this happening, and unilaterally, no major country is going to dare to do it.

    In the meantime, demand doesn't go away, education doesn't, dealers deal, gangsters make millions. We fail to face up to the fact that people will do as they want to, given their propensity to want to f*ck themselves up.

    This argument will run and run and run and go...nowhere.

    I expect to see the same conclusions, in a different report, every year or so until I die.

    Mine's the one with a torn Rizla in the pocket

  13. Steve

    Gang violence

    There's also the eradication of the violence associated with the supply chain.

    The drug trade is almost entirely run on credit and the violence arises because there's no legal way to enforce debts.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Good point...

    ...well made.

  15. paul
    Coat

    Daily Mail Comment

    If they legalise drugs - there will be a nice industry for some home grown jobs for all our white working class people.

    Then because of the bloody EU - the gypsies , polish , insert race here will come and take them all away.

  16. Dennis

    I would post something clever......................

    but I need to finish this bag of crisps and then the big bar of chocolate. Before I start on the next bag of flaming hot Munster Munch......

    Sorry what was I saying.

    I would like it happen but in a country where you can't take a photograph on the street, all your details are stored on a government database and all your personal details are sold to the highest bidder, I don't think so.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @abigsmrf

    RTFM. Nowhere was it said drugs would be heavily taxed; the opposite was explicitly stated.

    As for maintaining the status quo because criminals need to be "employed" here and not somewhere else is simply ludicrous - it's not even an argument (tho very topical for justifying political troughing). It's where some Grauniadistas are indistinguishable from some Daily Failures.

  18. b
    Go

    false choices...

    "many drug users turn to crime to feed their expensive habbits... How will this change if you legalise the drugs then heavily tax"

    You're assuming that this is what would happen. Why not instead give addicts a prescription, so that's essentially free? The market for heroin collapses, dealers are put out of business and the rate of acquisitive crime drops like a stone.

    You could pay for this by a (small) tax on softer drugs....

  19. Richard

    @abigsmurf

    Did you RTFA?

    The point was that you DON'T need to tax the drugs you knob. You're still in profit even without tax revenue.

    The other point was that the article legalised ALL drugs not just cannabis you dick.

    You don't see a lot of dealing in homegrown tobacco or moonshine whisky do you? These things happen as a result of prohibition.

    The path is simple legalise all drugs, get big Pharma onside to produce products (they'd have a whale of a time a lot of imaginative scientists with a whole bunch of new toys to play with) you get a cleaner cheaper product, you could even start with a tax rate it'd be cheaper and better than the dealers current product.

    Huge numbers of jobs would be produced as a result of effectively a new industry, jobs which would be available for a lot of the little dealers running around previously.

    I'm not particularly interested in taking the drugs myself, maybe to try, but I know I get quite easily addicted to things.

  20. Danny Silver badge

    Great article

    The street price of drugs is almost entirely due to the fact they are illegal. If you were allowed to grow the herb cannabis in your garden the price would effectively be zero. Legalisation would slash alcohol consumption in the UK instantly. There is still time to watch the excellent Horizon programme on cannabis that points out ordinary cannabis contains an anti-psychotic element.

  21. Jim Kirby
    Coat

    Shut up

    @abigsmurf: are you dumb or just ignorant? read TFA. Even if legal drugs are taxed at 200% they'll still be 90% cheaper than they are under prohibition. Ok I paraphrase, but reality is closer to my hyperbole than yours.

    Besides, legalize cannaibs and I'll grow my own. No cost to you or me or society. And Dow Chemical and f-off.

    Mine's the one multicolored Nehru jacket with the giant spliff in the pocket.

  22. Rob
    Flame

    Sounds like lies, damn lies and statistics to me

    "dangerous alcohol and tobacco are regulated but permitted, and comparatively innocuous substances such as ecstasy and cannabis forbidden" - where do they come up with these things? Sure tobacco is dangerous but then they reckon cannabis even smoked pure has the same carcenogenic effects. And as for ecstacy well considering the increased heart rate, blood pressure and effects on the brain I fail to see how that has no dangers either.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    hmmm

    @"If you legalise cannabis, would the dealers really decide that they no longer want to make money from crime and give up rather than moving on to dealing harder drugs (or taking up an alternative type of crime) to continue making money?"

    no, people could legally grow their own. in their back gardens/under HPS lights. dealers would become obsolete as it would just be people growing their own and giving away (yes, we would give it away as if you can legally grow why not grow plenty), who would buy of some dodgy geezer when your mate can help you out until your next crop comes in.

    you people still dont see that heroine = burglary. alcohol = murder, rape, violence. the vast majority of VOILENT crime is performed by people on alcohol.

    to me the gov is hypocritical as it happily taxes booze and alcohol to death (i.e. its happy to make money from the No.1 source of violent crime and No.1 source of cancer/serious illness) yet seems to think 'skunk' is such a danger we need locking up to protect ourselves. do they know what prison is like?

    also, i would love to see the word 'skunk' dropped. its bollocks. and even the most hardened smokers have probably never smoked it. nobody grows skunk, its all blueberry, Northern lights, Caly orange etc.

    personally i prefer my weed much milder. there are plenty of mellow strains out there that are similar strength to resin of old (i cite Voodoo and Flo as great examples - very coherant mellow smoke)

    the whole drugs thing makes me very mad. after being sentenced to 18 months for having some pills i was meeting people who were doing <= 18 months for:

    :: rape! (amazing i know!)

    :: molesting babies (and getting a smaller sentence than me!)

    :: violent assault on old ladies

    then we read the lancet and they bascially say that E is so minorly dangerous you are far more likely to hurt yourself riding a horse!

    and yes, some people who are mentally deficient get mental problems, that they attribute to cannabis. how the hell do they KNOW that is the cause? if 25% of the population has some form of mental breakdown at some point in their lives (medical fact) that means that many people who will never smoke will have an episode. personally i think its all down to high pressure living, long working hours and the breakdown of society.

    one last word: Bees kill more people that E in this country - yet we are supposed to be increasing the population.....

  24. Jonathan

    Its all well and good

    But it will never happen. Not here, especially not in America.

    Which is somewhat ironic for the States - I mean, given that they like to preach freedom, in that you are free to own guns, free to run a business, free to run for president, you would think they would allow you to decide what substances you put into your own body.

    Not that I have ever or will ever use drugs of any kind, but it gets kind of ridiculous. So many gangs, and gang related violence, would disappear overnight. It would be great!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @abigsmurf

    I won't make claims about what might happen to crime.

    What have the studies shown, if anything, about what happens when the "heavy tax" is used for a) education, b) treatment, c) guaranteeing the drugs in question are not just baking powder, rat poison, or worse?

    Getting the criminal element out of the drug supply chain has to be good for something. I suspect they're there because it's easy, and maybe the alternative types of crime are harder. Enough harder that it's not worth it? I've heard that some of the meth lab operators were brilliant chemists. Who knows what they could accomplish in a real job if there was no lure of easy money running a meth lab.

  26. Evil Graham

    @abigsmurf

    That's a good point - the crime rate might not go down as much as the article proposes, as a lot of criminal activity is a result of the search for "easy money". So I agree, if drugs were legal then at least some criminal gangs would look for new criminal opportunities.

    However, I don't agree with your point about the tax on legal drugs making them as expensive as illegal ones. Tobacco and alcohol are heavily taxed, yet still relatively affordable compared to (say) a heroin habit, where you regularly hear of people doing £300 a day. If it comes down to it, I'd happily fund heroin on the NHS if it meant junkies weren't breaking into my house or mugging me on the street.

    History ought to tell us that laws eventually become unenforcable when they aren't supported by enough of the population - American prohibition of alcohol being a prime example. Whatever the Dail Mail or Guardian might say, there are plenty people in this country doing a spliff, or a line, or whatever - and creating a massive demand for the product. As they show no signs of stopping, then the government's "war" on drugs is doomed to failure in the long term.

    Sadly, this government has demonstrated repeatedly that it has no intention of even listening to its own researchers and it seems to me they are actually moving in the opposite direction to what is really required.

  27. FlatSpot

    Supply

    "In the year 1970, the UK had fewer than 2000 dependent heroin and cocaine users; by the turn of the century there were 100,000 in government treatment programmes and as many as 200,000 more in the population."

    Let me think.. err would this be supply availability and nothing to do with legality at all! Fewer people moving between countries and therefore fewer drug mules = higher cost to buy.

    To imply that making it legal would reduce this is complete rubbish.

    All dealers and users shouldnt go to prison but be sent off to some remote island 40 miles off shore away from the rest of us. Job done...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cost of policy

    As mentioned in the article, drug policy does not work.

    It is the only state policy that costs more year on year, yet is never questioned.

    If any other policy demonstrated this economic behaviour, we (or parliment) would at least talk about it. (e.g. the NHS costs more and more each year so it is discussed at great length).

    There is too much mis-information spread about drugs, particularly to group them all together as 'Drugs'... which makes (at least) my mum think that smoking canabis is like being a heroin addict but happily continues with a "harmless" tipple of gin every now and again.

  29. Nomen Publicus
    Happy

    The prohibition experiment has been done already

    When the US introduced prohibition, the obvious happened. People still wanted a drink and criminals fed that need making fortunes by doing so.

    Why should anybody expect something different to happen with "drugs"?

    It's widely assumed that criminals are at least part funding the anti-legalisation lobbies specifically so they can continue to control the market place.

  30. Mr Riddle

    People don't steal to buy cannabis

    People don't steal to buy cannabis so that is non-issue.

    The report recommends the prescription of cocaine and heroin, which could be priced at a cost equivalent to that spent by an alcoholic.

    It would also mean we wouldn't have to have troops fighting in Afghanistan to stop drug growing as the opium could be purchased and prescribed to users in the UK.

  31. Michael Fremlins

    Re-legalise drugs now!

    Naturally there is not a snowball's chance in hell of this happening. The "powers that be" won't listen to either reason or scientific evidence. They have made up their minds and will not change them.

    Take the recent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommendation that ecstasy be downgraded to class B. Cue the ham acting of government ministers: gnashing of teeth, hands being flung into the air, shock and horror on the look on their faces. "The government firmly believes ecstasy should remain a class A drug," a Home Office spokesman said.

    What is this "belief" based on? What other things does this spokesman "believe" in? Which religion has it written down in some holy book that ecstasy should be classified as a class A drug?

    It's time to remove the shackles and give us back our liberty.

  32. Joe K
    Dead Vulture

    Ummm.

    I hate the Daily Mail and all its readers myself, but i certainly don't want to live in a country where its legal to be a smackhead.

    Heroin is instantly addictive, and once it gets a grip you are fucked. The public can't be trusted with this type of thing, no matter what the monetary benefits.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Legalise it!!

    Then a charge £20 for a henry, prices these days are just too high. £25 where I live!! I spend most of my days now entertaining sailors as I need to raise that extra fiver everytime I wanna smoke :(

  34. Lewis Benzie
    Thumb Up

    Tax away

    Must admit I wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous Coward the BBC is shambolic in the integrity of its news reporting.

    Abigsmurf - Alcohol and cigarettes are heavily taxed, you dont see Mr Kensitas standing on a street corner peddling bags of baccy though do you ? Mass manufacture and transit for what is essentially raw crops (for the organics) and tank production (as opposed to bath tub) of chemicals (LSD, Ectasy etc) would eliminate overheads.

    Roughly very roughly, Wheat was £18 a bushel (60lbs) given the different growing conditions and requirements (shoulda used tomatoes as an example :D) we shall double the price for commericially grown marijuana and add a little to make that £40 for 60lbs. Current street price is £10 for a 1/8th of an ounce, 16 ounces in a pound times 60, comes to £76,800.

    Thats a hell of a markup the dealers and distributors are making. Im pretty sure that could be undercut whilst the regions that these plants grow naturally in tend to be third world countries and would be happy for the income.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Its the Journalists, not the readers!

    Having spent the last 10 years lobbying for a policy of "prescribe heroin first", ( Note not legalise drugs) I, together with others in key roles, including Home office civil servants, senior police chiefs and politicians have concluded that the ONLY reason there has not been a policy change is because three journalists, Phillips, Heffer and Littlejohn savage anyone senior for daring to propose anything other than total vilification of heroin. These journalists claim the "Zeitgeist" of the public even though survey after survey indicates that the general public are every bit as frustrated by the continued pursuit of failed policies.

    Some also use the red herring of international treaties that stop "legalisation of drugs". However, prescription heroin does not get caught by this.

    One has to wonder if the drug lords exert some influence on these journalists, as without them their business would practically disappear over night!

    Prescription heroin is a tried and tested treatment for managing addiction. Ironically, it is called the "English Treatment" ! Until the 1960.

    Portugal and Switzerland are already a long way down this strategy with dramatic results in both management of addicts and the reduction in crime.

    So, How do you neutralise three rogue journalists?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ipswich Murders

    Government by reasoned logic!

    the thing that swung it for me was the Ipswich Murders, the insight into how those girls lived - at constant risk from everything, gangs, AIDS, pimps, the police, overdose, contamination, everything - no wonder they sought solace from it all, god knows what prompted them to get into Heroin, but who can say that they would have turned it down, having gone through whatever they went through?

    Anyway, what is it that society so fears about allowing these people to take strong drugs that we condemn them to this sort of a life??? As a society we are terribly conscious to reduce suffering, even tying the language in knots so as not to even mildly offend sensitive citizens, yet we hang this lot out to dry. In cases of physical self-harm we are compassionate as can be, but with heroin we adopt the compassion of a barnados workhouse.

    A good article - and i applaud the lambasting of caring Grauniad readers, they should think harder.

  37. Alexander

    Guardian's reponse?

    I agree with AC - the Guardian's response to this report seems neutral and balanced, and isn't trying to hide it.

    abigsmirf: The idea is to legalise the lot, including the hard stuff. It's quite possible that the dealers would move to other crimes, but they're small in number compared to the number of drug-driven thieves and muggers.

    Good article. I'm trying to work out where I stand on this issue and so appreciate the taboo information.

  38. Eddie Edwards
    Unhappy

    Policy choice?

    Hardly. We're signatories to endless international agreements about these substances. Unilaterally breaking all of those would be a political nightmare, even if someone in the HoC had the will, which they don't.

  39. Kevin Bailey

    I know money is said to be the root evil

    but the current prohibition is causing so much pain and chaos.

    You have South America producing drugs - the USA consuming vast quantities - and South America and the USA are basket cases. Look at how many people are locked up in the USA due to the illegality of drugs.

    Whole areas of the USA are no-go due to drugs. Actually, whole parts of the world are no-go areas due to drugs. Drugs are the relatively easy way for criminals to fund themselves.

    And where does all the billions/trillions of dollars of drug money go to - hospitals, transport, renewable energy, exploring space? Nope, it's used by cartels to pay for weapons, technology, ships, guns etc which they use to fight the trillions of dollars worth of kit which us taxpayers pay for so our armed forces can fight the 'War on Drugs'.

    Maybe the human race will stop being so stupid - I bet no-one will care about the legality of drugs when the water has risen 100ft and we're trying to live in boats.

  40. Ben
    Joke

    Well it's worth a try...

    Nobody's working anyway.

  41. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    Retarded comment is retarded

    >> If you legalise cannabis, would the dealers really decide that they no longer want to make money from crime and give up rather than moving on to dealing harder drugs (or taking up an alternative type of crime) to continue making money?

    Because "dealers" are nefarious never-do-wells that, once the economic basis on which they primarily subsist has been removed, are bound to re-skill to more dangerous illegal activities, like dealing harder and harder drugs, dealing in weapons, women and illegal immigrants or maybe going into politics (which begs the question of whether there are re-employment programs for dealers put out of business by changes in government policies)

  42. Lewis Benzie
    Thumb Up

    Decriminilation

    As BatCat states open and truthful education policies would actually put people off drug useage.

    And yes Glaxo do carry Uzis. Mercenary companies frequently work for and with drug companies due to the nature of their business in unstable regions.

  43. Tim Hughes
    Thumb Up

    @abigsmurf

    Re prices: There's a thing referred to as the "risk premium".

    If cocaine were marked up and taxed the same as coffee (another columbian export) the street price could be expected to drop by around 97%.

    Heroin: Almost the same - 98%.

    Cannabis: >70%.

    Re criminals: We might all want to be Formula 1 drivers, or pilots, but the size of the market dictates how many can make a living doing so. If the market disappears, you have to do something else. To get the kind of money you were getting from importing drugs, you have to start knocking over banks, or operating large frauds, neither of which is particularly easy.

  44. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Supply

    >All dealers and users shouldnt go to prison but be sent off to some remote island 40 miles off shore away from the rest of us. Job done...

    Thank you FlatSpot for that thoughtful and constructive comment.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    they ARE saving the economy

    what about the Defense Industry?

    No more spending on Radars, arms, communications for the police, Policemen payroll, helicopters, prisons, law courts, Lawyers!..

    Don´t forget money laundering, tax inspectors, banks...

    And the Press? How many pages per month on or about Drugs? == sq foot for advertisement.

  46. ElFatbob

    certainly good to have a debate...

    My biggest concern and one that doesn't seem to have been adequately considered is the law of unintended consequences...

    If you take away the lucrative drugs money away from organised crime, what do they target next?

    No doubt that the current situation is shit, but the alternative may be shitter...

  47. Liam

    hmmmmmm

    @"And as for ecstacy well considering the increased heart rate, blood pressure and effects on the brain I fail to see how that has no dangers either."

    - so, lets ban all sports and sex too then?

    @"All dealers and users shouldnt go to prison but be sent off to some remote island 40 miles off shore away from the rest of us. Job done..."

    - erm, no. i smoke weed, and plenty of it. yet i can hold down a decent job and pay bucket loads of tax. why dont you fuck off to your little island and leave us normal people behind. and dont forget to take the daily heil with with you.... we are all sick of you telling us what to do!

  48. Robin
    Coat

    Chosen Life?

    Trainspotting wouldn't have been as good without prohibition.

    Renton : I'm just going to Boots for some skag.

    Spud : Nice one, can you get me some too please?

    Begbie : Can you get me four cans of Special Brew from the offie please, I don't do drugs. I'll still fight somebody later though because I have a violent personality.

    Later...

    Keith Allen : That'll be £14.99 please. Do you have an Advantage card?

    Renton : No. Here you go, £15. Put the change in the charity collection tin. Bye.

    etc.

  49. Hate2Register
    Alert

    On pharma-psychology

    The gulf between traditional prohibitionists (who fear a massive societal problems from a wave of legalised drug use) and social scientists, who may believe that there are better ways of managing people's desire to get 'off their heads', than creating a permanent crime culture through incarceration. The essential problem is that the current zero-tolerance drug policy, like other Westminster initiatives, is not subject to an cost-effect auditing process.

    The need for a cost-effect auditing process is demonstrated by the oft-quoted experiment establishing mandatory drug-testing in the prison system. In this test, inmates were given monthly cannabis drug-tests, with harsh penalties for positive results. Cannabis use dropped off, and the test was hailed a success. However, a few months later, heroin use was seen to have shot up, (it wasn't being tested for), and a bigger problem was created.

    This conflict is routed in our political system, which values quick-fix solutions, because they are seen as producing the most immediate results for the incumbent policy-maker. The historic response of policy-makers is to include more and more substances in the controlled-substance regime, but of course this merely drives the creation of new substances.

    Cost-effect auditors might suggest a change of regime to a licensing/taxation model, where drugs can be bought safely through legal channels, (whether that be Boots, or a licensed night-club supplier). The benefits for health are obvious, but also, the cost-burden of providing services to drug users would be transferred to the drug users themselves. Also, the treasury would benefit from a new tax-income stream.

    But the real problem is the absence of cost-effect auditing in social policy. Until we get it, we must trust politicians to know best in how to deal with complex societal problems. And since politicians are not required to take exams, it's doubtful that they do. Thus our best solution is to push for auditing for social policy. That at least will provide a framework where policies that work are promoted, and policies that don't, or have hidden costs, can be dropped.

    hatetoregister - Oxford

  50. Michael Fremlins

    @Joe K

    Wrong, utterly wrong about heroin. You've been listening to too many ill-informed and lies-spreading panic-monkeys. One snort/shot/puff does not a heroin addict make.

  51. Lan ser

    Libertarianism?

    A land where we are all indivdually responsible for our own actions?

    We could also legalise prostitution that would kill the illicit sex trade too.

  52. Alexander

    another pile of claptrap

    Having been brought up on a rather bleak council estate in Glasgow , this garbage that legalising drugs would some how get rid of crime or help addicts is utter garbage but what I would have bigger concerns about is the vast amount of habitual user's of cannabis or ecstasy or cocaine that we have in this nation.

    I have watched some of my piers stuck in a go slow for 20 year's watching their life’s robbed of ambition, desires and hope, I am 37 years old and have buried twice the amount of friends that my 82 yr old mother has, I use to use cannabis as a young lad but quickly grew tired of it when it was getting in the of my life.

    I have had a very successful career and am currently Head of Operations And a Director in a company I helped found, but most of my friends I had as young lads have had very different life’s all because they surrendered the future not to drug dealers or criminals but to drugs so whether they are legal or illegal is mute.

    There is many things the young people of this country need , but free or legal drugs is not one.

  53. Stuart Castle

    Niaivity...

    Everyone who thinks that legalising drugs will make them cheaper, I'd like to say the following:

    Drug dealers (talking about the "big wigs" here, not the street dealers) have got used to making a very nice living out of drugs. Do you think they will give that up (they would need to to have a signifiiant effect on street prices)? OK, so the street delears also sometimes make a nice profit. This is something I have seen evidence of: an old friend\s boyfriend made a very nice living out of selling Es and LSD to her and her mates. Enough that after one weekend deal, he could buy a £1,200 HiFi. Do you think these street level dealers are going to take a cut in profits?

    Once you've answered that, answer me this. The Government will inevitably tax drugs assuming they legalise them. When you bear both those conditions in mind, can you *honestly* say you think legalising drugs will make them cheaper?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tim Hughes

    "you have to start knocking over banks, or operating large frauds, neither of which is particularly easy."

    Fred Goodwin would disagree methinks.

  55. david

    re:Heroin is instantly addictive

    No it isn't, any more than alcohol or nicotine if you have the predisposition

    Psycological dependance (doing it because you like it) may come quiclkly. Physical dependance requires sustained use.

    http://www.recoverythroughsupport.com/factsheets/heroin.html

    "patients with chronic pain who need opiates to function (sometimes over extended periods) have few if any problems leaving opiates after their pain is resolved by other means"

    http://alcohol.sa.ucsb.edu/Students/InfoAlcoholnDrug/Heroin.aspx

    "Chronic use of heroin leads to physical dependence"

    I could find more but the most convincing story is from William Burroughs in Junkie. Get the story from the horses mouth.

    You need to be a bit more careful with your terms.

  56. Lewis Benzie
    Joke

    Dealers to Users ratio

    I'd rather all the dealers broke into my house than all the users.

    Mind you all the smackheads would fit easily :D

  57. netean
    Alert

    heroin and instant addiction

    Umm mistakenly stated:

    "heroin is instantly addictive".. sorry but scientifically this is actually NOT the case, heroin can be addictive but it is not instantaneous - nor is it with crack cocaine (although the latter can become more addictive more quickly)

    Heroin takes time and repeated use to become addictive.

    From a pharmacological point of view Codeine is much more addictive and you can pop down your locql supermarket and buy it!

  58. Sweep

    No title

    Hamsterdam here we come!

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Destroy All Monsters

    It's true, just look at Johnny Vaughn! After serving his time for drug dealing he now tortures people across the nation with his TV 'presenting'!

  60. Jimmy Floyd
    Dead Vulture

    Good notion, badly written

    Rather like the Tim Worstall article from November 2008 to which this story links, the ideas have a solid foundation but they've been incredibly badly argued:

    "This backfires, of course: as alcohol is mostly supplied by legal and regulated channels, a parent - for instance - actually has more visibility of and control over a teenager's alcohol consumption than his or her possible heroin, cocaine or skunk habit."

    Contradictory. Parental introduction works: witness the difference in attitudes to alcohol between Europe and the US; or cannabis attitudes between the Netherlands and the UK. Which culture irresponsibly binges? Equally, you might argue that skunk is (relatively) "safer" than alcohol but heroin?!? Lumping them together here is as bizarre as the governments own classification system.

    "A certain proportion of these people will also go mad - become schizophrenic - though this has no measurable connection with cannabis use."

    Just. Plain. Wrong. The report last year actually points out that people predisposed to mental illness - not just schizophrenia but a variety of psychoses - are far more likely to be tipped over the edge by cannabis. Those who aren't, probably won't - but even those who are often won't or can't admit it. Cannabis is generally fine for most people but for those who can't handle it the result is a gradual slide into a disturbed existence.

    Which also applies to alcohol. And heroin. And ecstasy. And cocaine. So legalise them, sure - but guarantee that the tax generated from it goes into supporting those people in trouble. This especially applies to alcohol.

    Like I said: right ideas but poorly argued.

  61. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: re:Heroin is instantly addictive

    People tend to develop drug problems because their lives are terrible. If you want to see fewer drug addicts (note: 'fewer', not 'a complete eradication of'), you have to work on making people's lives less terrible before they get to that point. But that's far too complicated and hard and takes too long and isn't easily measurable for a government.

    There's always, always more to it than the drugs.

  62. Paul Rogers
    Thumb Down

    yawn

    If you're a scrote and government legalises drugs, where do you get your drugs? The shop. How do you pay for your drugs? You mug old ladies, because THAT'S ALL THEY KNOW.

    What the hell would change? A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. At least with drugs illegal, I've a fair chance of getting my kids through adolecence and becoming decent strongly moralled human beings without them partaking in such a dangerous and anti-social past time.

    If it's everywhere and there's no resistence what really is to stop them? The main issue is the addictiveness of these drugs, if they're legal then they'll be easier to get hold of and mine and your kids will have a much greater chance of getting involved, hooked and ultimately end up screwing up their lives and all because some idiot takes offence at the general population despising them funding all manner of other criminal activities. If there was no demand there'd be no supply. It's the numpties who create the demand that we should be working on, not trying to drum manufacturers and dealers out of business.

  63. Codge
    Unhappy

    @ Tax away

    > Current street price is £10 for a 1/8th of an ounce,

    Not round here it isn't. More like £25..

    Could I have your dealer's number? :D

  64. Jez Burns
    Flame

    Elephant in the room.

    Another aspect of drug policy that been sidelined in these studies is that of addiction. Government policy has always assumed that addiction is a purely chemical thing, ignoring the contributing social and financial factors which are hugely exacerbated by the current stance on drugs. Simply put, the majority of heroin or crack addicts lead crap and monotonous lives, caught in a poverty trap caused largely by the need to fund their drug habit. If you have absolutely nothing else in your life, getting out of your head is an attractive prospect- it offers relief from boredom and an escape from reality. No amount of treatment for chemical addiction (the severity of the effects of which are usually exaggerated) will usually change this- class A drugs offer fairly effective pain relief for a painful life.

    You absolutely cannot prevent people from obtaining illegal drugs however. I live in a fairly typical small UK Market town, from which I could obtain heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, dope, amphetamines, crack and pretty much anything else without much effort. The only effect of the 'war on drugs' is that it puts the business in the hands of nasty, violent gangsters, introduces massive inconsistency in the quality and strength of the products available (leading to poisoning and overdoses), and most importantly to the point I'm trying to make, forces up the street price, keeping addicts in the poverty trap which leads them to drug addiction in the first place. Moreover, the kudos and perceived profitability of the drug trade attracts disenfranchised kids to the gangs in their drove. Government drug policy is the glue that holds these gangs together.

    Legalising drugs and making them available via the NHS for a fee probably wouldn't end the illegal drug trade, but it would fatally cripple drug gangs once drug users became aware that a cheaper, purer and safer alternative was available. Perhaps the payoff could be encouraging users to enroll in some kind of education, training and rehabilitation programme which could be funded from NHS drug profits. That's if such a rehibilitation programme would even be necessary. Solvents are legal, highly addictive, highly potent and cheap, yet their abuse is not particularly widespread, and generally frowned on by all sections of society.

    Sadly no change is likely to happen while the political and media elite bask in hypocritical self-righteousness and moral cowardice, often at the same time as swilling G&Ts and shovelling cocaine up their noses.

  65. Hate2Register
    Go

    Prohibition of drugs

    Nobody would suggest that the government stop taxing booze and fags. Taxation creates an economic mechanism where users can help pay for the societal problems that problem behaviour causes to society.

    Why not extend this taxation model to drugs. Pricing can be used to manipulate demand, and society gains control over a sector where it has none.

    Studies are needed so we can find out how many people do drugs for the illegal kick, and therefore how many users would move on to the next illegal substance.

    There will always be illegal substances. But having industry chemists formulate safe highs is a lot better than having them stirred in a vomit&shit-stained bathtub in Bagshot.

    But enough emoting. We need scientifically researched solutions to these problems. Any other policy is just sweeping personal problems into a locked room.

  66. david wilson

    @DestroyAllMonsters

    >>"Because "dealers" are nefarious never-do-wells that, once the economic basis on which they primarily subsist has been removed, are bound to re-skill to more dangerous illegal activities."

    Surely, the lowest-level dealers are often dealing substantially to fund their own use, and if that use became much cheaper, they'd have less need to engage in illegal activities.

    Moving higher up the pyramid, there are people who currently do make significant money by moving high-value goods around at relatively low risk.

    If there was something else they could do that had anything like the same reward/risk payoff, why wouldn't someone already be filling that niche?

    It's fairly hard for large numbers of people to move into prostitution, unless the demand can somehow be increased.

    Likewise, is there really a great unsatisfied demand for weapons out there? If anything, if a chuck of the illegal economy had the rug pulled from underneath it, you'd think that the demand for arms might actually fall.

    In the longer term, if the drugs-based entry route into crime for many youngsters wasn't there, might we not end up with rather fewer ne'er-do-wells?

    Seems like it's probably rather easier for someone to start off gradually by doing a little bit of dealing or a little couriering around on a bike than by doing a little bit of mugging or burglary.

    In any case, the resources currently used in chasing up drug crime could be redirected elsewhere, so even if some people did move into other illegal activities, there's the potential for using the now-free resources against them.

  67. This post has been deleted by its author

  68. Evil Graham

    @another pile of claptrap

    I grew up in a dump as well, although I can't claim to have reached the lofty heights of Head of Operations of anything. I knew people who died and I've also seen people waste their life away on drugs and / or booze. Probably most Reg readers have.

    But the legality (or otherwise) of the abused substance has very little to do with it - they would have got off their faces anyway. As Lewis quite humorously pointed out, there is always going to be a bunch of people who want to sit around and get wasted. For every one like you who climbs out of their disadvantaged social situation, there are many more who can't (or won't). It's hardly surprising that a lot of people in this position turn to drugs and alcohol.

    The problem is when you make blanket statements like this: "There is many things the young people of this country need , but free or legal drugs is not one." - then you aren't bringing anything to the argument. So far, we can't really say that the existing approach is working, in fact it seems to be making things worse. So tell us, what is it that these people do need? Prison? The Army? I'm all ears.

  69. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @Paul Rogers

    You entirely missed the point didn't you?

    That these things are NOT as harmful as the propaganda has been saying. That your children can actually do some of these things WITHOUT screwing up their lives and more than they're headed straight for the gutter when they have that first sip of beer.

    That thing your feeling right now, some sort of mixture of horror and indignation is there because you'll never believe me. It's there because you have bought, hook line and sinker, the idea that all "drugs" are necessarily harmful and their use is a moral failure.

    Enjoy your glass of wine/beer/whisky "to relax after work" later on. I know it'll never sink in that cannabis and some of the other soft drugs have been rated in government reports as even less harmful to the health than your little glass of stress-reliever there.

    But go on, keep justifying yourself. It must be kept illegal for the sake of the children!

    Your kids would be better off having the odd "magic" brownie than going off to uni and binge drinking until they vomit, as is the current mainstream fashion.

  70. abigsmurf
    Paris Hilton

    @Jim Kirby @Richard

    The report not only says that drugs could be taxed, it suggests levels of tax so don't tell me to shut up or call me an idiot.

    "An Independent Drug Monitoring Unit estimate, quoted in the report, suggests up to £1.3bn could be generated by a £1 per gram tax on cannabis resin and £2 per gram on skunk.".

    That's roughly £4 an 1/8 in tax on top of the other costs and profit margins.

    Oh, and people selling cigarettes with no tax paid on them is still a pretty big problem.

  71. Alexander

    time for some people to open their eyes

    @ jez and others

    Firstly criminal gangs where about before the so called modern drugs trade and they will survive long after it has gone, the mafia built one of the world large criminal organisation without the help of the drug trade, so it would be naive to think criminal organisations would just give up if drugs where made legal.

    As I said before I was brought up on a rather bleak council estate in Glasgow and the local criminals did control the drugs market but they had many other avenue for making money.

    And Sarah right is all about why people take drugs, what use is rehabilitation if all you’re doing is re- expose the user to the exact same environment that caused the drug use in the first place bit pointless.

    Yeah lets legalise drugs and use the tax from it to help the people who use, why not help them by giving them free drugs…like we do with methadone, oh that is right it does not work.

    Drugs like heroin and crack exhibit effects in users that are quickly noticeable and the deterioration of a person life is very visual, on the other hand cannabis and ecstasy are insidious and slowly robs the individual of the life they would have had and issue will arise in the longer term.

    My old mate williue mcolly summed it up rather aptly “mate I have tons of ideas,

    And I know what I need to do to make all happen”

    Willy died aged 24 of a heart attack, jobless and homeless and as he said all I take is a “wee smoke and a few pills”

  72. Rob
    Unhappy

    how did this happen?

    so does anyone actually know why cannabis and others are currently illegal, whereas the equally harmful tobacco and alcohol are not? -it's not like the weed is a new substance is it..

    -i'm pretty sure it wasn't always the case, there were those opium dens in ye olde days, and i think i read somewhere that the 'merkins banned hemp initially because it was so useful and hence pissed of the big corps that manufactured similar things, but that all seems a bit far fetched really..

    another eason i heard was that criminal cartels have so much money and power these days that the govt. pretty much has to try and keep them happy, not sure that's any more likely really..

  73. Luther Blissett

    @Sarah B - irony or what have you been smoking?

    > you have to work on making people's lives less terrible before they get to that point. But that's far too complicated and hard and takes too long and isn't easily measurable for a government.

    Jobs. Not so hard to measure, but hard to track as the government of the day fiddles the statistics. There would be another effect of full employment - the health of the nation in general would greatly improve. So what is the problem about creating jobs? Right - a different dogmatically held mythology. Here we go round the mulberry bush.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't be arsed to form my own opinions, here's some quotes:

    You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when it's waving a razor-sharp hunting knife in your eye. - Hunter Thompson

    Luckily, the amount of heroin I use is harmless, I inject about once a month on a purely recreational basis. Fine. But what about other people less stable, less educated, less middle-class than me? Builders or blacks for example. If you're one of those, my advice is leave well alone. Good luck. - Chris Morris

  75. Richard
    Flame

    @Paul Rogers

    Are you some kind of knob?

    "What the hell would change? A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. At least with drugs illegal, I've a fair chance of getting my kids through adolecence and becoming decent strongly moralled human beings without them partaking in such a dangerous and anti-social past time"

    Since when have drugs been anti-social you bell-end clearly the only way you could have this perception is if you yourself have not had any contact with drugs.

    A criminal is a criminal because the law says so, why the hell would someone need to mug an old lady for what they can afford to buy with their dole money? The fact is it's too damned expensive to be a junkie with the inflated prices of illegal drugs, so they have to steal to get enough junk to feed their habit.

    Why do you seem to think that making drugs legal is going to change whether you can get your kids through adolescence any different to with them being illegal? If they're legal and they get their hands on some then they're not criminals, wheras if they get their hands on some at the moment they're criminals. You've currently got more chance of getting your children through adolescence with a criminal record for posession.

    What the fuck is strongly moralled supposed to mean? Someone who turns away at the sight of a naked ankle, muttering under their breath about the godless heathens? Why are drugs bad you pretentious moron?

    Drug addicts are criminals because society has said so, if it changed it's mind and decided that once you reach an adult age you can put whatever you like into your own body then they would no longer be criminals. More likely they would be in gainful employment by a pharmaceutical company or one of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created for skilled and unskilled workers in the newly created recreational drug industry.

    Some of the comments are just blinkered NIMBY type comments where there are some that make some sense, Paul Rogers I've no doubt is a NIMBY

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Alexander

    > the mafia built one of the world large criminal organisation without the help of the drug trade,

    erm actually it was the prohibition of alcohol and the broad sanctioning by society of these helpful little bootleggers that gave America a BIG problem with the Mafia for at least 50 years, killing presidents, that sort of thing.

    That is the risk, if you legislate against "consenting adults in private" then a good proportion of your society will turn against their rulers. This then opens the door . Nothing cuts crime as much as universal disapproval, look at Japan for instance, but you need all your laws to be fair and reasonable for the public to accept them wholeheartedly.

  77. Cameron Colley

    @Stuart Castle

    I'm afraid I read and re-read your comment and I can't make sense of it. How, exactly, will making drugs available from Boots at £10 for a month's prescription be affected by street dealers?

    @Sweep: Bubbles seemed to do OK out of it at least.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @alexander

    "time for some people to open their eyes"

    these drugs are illegal.

    criminal gangs exists

    people get addicted

    rehab is not done properly

    problem continues

    ... etc

    well, you are making the very obvious proposition that the current policies DO NOT WORK...

    What exactly is your point with this? How is your argument substantiating a critique of the proposal?

    Perhaps it is time for you to open your eyes?

  79. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Real Live Skunks ...... Rotten Porkers ...... Stinking Phish

    "The report not only says that drugs could be taxed, it suggests levels of tax so don't tell me to shut up or call me an idiot.

    "An Independent Drug Monitoring Unit estimate, quoted in the report, suggests up to £1.3bn could be generated by a £1 per gram tax on cannabis resin and £2 per gram on skunk."." .... By abigsmurf Posted Tuesday 7th April 2009 15:03 GMT

    Err .... excuse me, but you are all missing the really big picture here, and you will not get me asking or implying that that is because you are all stoned or high or tripping or stupid, but you may have to accept that you are just well programmed to not think too deeply and effectively for yourselves about how one is cynically abused/used.

    Why add a tax to anything which then has to be collected/avoided/despised, whenever if any money is needed to run things for the great unwashed and uneducated masses, which is presumably what taxes are for, and not for pocketing as dodgy expenses, then one can just pop down to the bank and get them to print off what is needed, for isn't that a awful lot easier..... although I do realise that the power of money control would then be smashed and money controllers would be the new plague to be dealt with, but hey, they know what they have been doing all your life, making everyone's life a misery, whilst they have a ball effectively for free, with everything which the working man and woman has made/delivered/created/grown.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    neutral

    Why are neutral points sometimes raised as if they're bad? For example people saying that drugs will ruin your life whether they're legal or not, as if that is an argument against legalisation. That is a neutral point (the clue is in "whether ... or not").

  81. Justin Clements

    Eh?

    Can't believe people here are suggesting heroin should be on the NHS - why the F**K should I pay for junkies to get out of their minds on the tax that I have to pay? Just because they get themselves hooked, I see no reason why we should pay for it.

    As for cannabis and the rest being having no consequence - has anyone read the medical reports - the ones that the drug community does its best to ignore - the ones that show that drugs users have weakened immune systems, and the psychologic effects that weed has on the mind.

    Anyway, what's wrong with alcohol?

  82. Jez Burns

    Eyes are wide open I reckon..

    @ Alexander

    All fair points, but I'm still not convinced the criminalisation of drugs does anything to help anyone. This argument doesn't come from any kind of drugs are good / bad viewpoint- that's a totally different issue. My point is that criminalising drugs creates an underground industry that sucks people in and keeps them there. Legalising drugs would put an end to this industry, bring addicts out into the open, give them some dignity and allow them to function like anyone else.

    I'd like to see evidence that any other criminal enterprise has anywhere near the same influence on society as the drug trade. By it's nature, this industry is a pyramid scheme of huge proportions, needing to constantly enlarge and pull in more and more dealers and addicts to keep itself going. Sure, a lot of criminals higher up the pyramid would go into other enterprises (hopefully eliminating each other in competition), but I can't think of any other illegal industry where the numbers of people affected are anywhere near so large.

    The fact that your mate managed to get hold of the drugs that wrecked his life, regardless of the fact that they were illegal kind of proves my point. It makes absolutely no difference that drugs are illegal- if people want to use them, they will. They'll just spend more money on more dangerous products, and sink themselves further into a hole.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skunk fearing liberals?

    Eh? What? Typo? Weird....

  84. Alex D
    Flame

    The most basic flaw in the argument

    Is that people assume that when drugs are illegal people don't take them, and that when they are made legal, that the numbers taking them wil sky rocket.

    saying that drugs are bad for you and you shouldnt take them has got nothing what-so-ever to do with if they should be legal/illegal. As the number of Canabis smokers in the UK and the Netherlands shows... about 2x as many smokers in the UK (illegal) Vs Netherlands (legal).

    For the crime issue.., selling drugs is generally pretty easy, and thought of as victimless by those engaged. Committing burglary takes a lot more effort and (im)moral conviction than selling an 1/8th to your mate. Yes some criminal enterprises will move on to other areas, but they often need skills that are not easily transferable from dealing... they arn't all going to start writing the next conflicker...

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Rob

    "so does anyone actually know why cannabis and others are currently illegal"

    Dunno about others, but I remember reading a convincing argument in a comic years ago which posited that the original reason for outlawing cannabis (and demonising it in films like "Reefer Madness") was to undermine the European hemp industry's domination of the supply of raw material to the paper-making industry. Once hemp had mostly disappeared, this left the industry dependent on timber-based cellulose produced by US companies which were felling primary forest to extract it. So it was all about money.

    I would quote more fully from the original argument, but, er, I can't remember where I stashed my drug subculture literature... <ahem>

  86. Richard
    Flame

    @abigsmurf

    From TFA - "Potential taxation revenue is assumed to be fairly small (for the non-prescribed opiate and cocaine market), in the region of tens of millions, once the inflationary pressures of prohibition are removed. These figures have not been calculated or included."

    also from TFA - "The benefits from cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamine taxation have not been included as the costs from their use have not been costed or analysed by Government."

    that's from the same paragraph that you got your figures. Glad to see you read TFA, shame you don't appear to take in any information, I'd put it down to having a small mental capacity, either that or you're a dick.

    The point is, without tax or with tax you're always going to be in pocket because of the savings in policing.

    So yes, until you know what you're talking about STFU.

    .

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whale-Shit for Mr. Rogers?

    > If you're a scrote and government legalises drugs, where do you get your drugs? The shop. How do you pay for your drugs? You mug old ladies, because THAT'S ALL THEY KNOW.

    This sentence you have written - I do not think it means what you think it means. According to you old ladies only know about getting mugged. That's a bit ageist isn't it?

    > What the hell would change? A criminal is a criminal is a criminal.

    Which is why the recipients of the 41,000,0000 speeding tickets issued per year are all criminals and are therefore tempted to mug old ladies, riot in the street and screw goats in church. These criminals, they're all the same.

    > At least with drugs illegal, I've a fair chance of getting my kids through adolecence and becoming decent strongly moralled human beings without them partaking in such a dangerous and anti-social past time.

    And when they're out of your sight they'll go completely off the rails because Daddy is no longer there to police them. Don't bother to try and give them any ideas about thinking for themselves or making their own decisions - Daddy will do it all for them like the fucked-up control-freak he is.

    > If it's everywhere and there's no resistence what really is to stop them?

    That sense of being 'strongly moralled' you were bleating about a moment ago. It's the same thing that prevents everyone getting pissed on alcohol all the time (alcohol being everywhere and legal, to boot).

    > The main issue is the addictiveness of these drugs,

    Which drugs would 'these' drugs be, then? Opiates? Barbiturates? Psychedelics? Uppers? Downers? Cake (that's a made-up drug in case you didn't know)?

    > if they're legal then they'll be easier to get hold of

    Just like tobacco is very easy to get hold of without proof of age (unless you're saying that you're the kind of parent who'd offer their children a puff on a cigarette and that this kind of behaviour is likely to increase if classified substances are declassified)?

    > and mine and your kids will have a much greater chance of getting involved, hooked and ultimately end up screwing up their lives and all because some idiot takes offence at the general population despising them funding all manner of other criminal activities.

    That's 'some idiots' because there's more than one person who's arguing this point of view.

    If that's the level of the debate we're going to have well fine, but it might be better if you took the beam out of your own eye first, idiot-boy.

    > If there was no demand there'd be no supply.

    Stop me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there's any demand for whale-shit.

    > It's the numpties who create the demand that we should be working on, not trying to drum manufacturers and dealers out of business.

    OK. Make sure you don't have a glass of that nasty alcoholic wine with your meal then, and no puffing on a nice cigar at Christmas. Only straight-laced Puritan living for you, you uncomprehending and incomprehensible twat.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Rogers

    please get an education.

  89. 4irw4y
    Coat

    Joint Stock For Green Environment?

    Xstasy = shoot yourself in the head.

    Heroin = shoot yourself in the dick.

    Alcohol = shoot government in government.

    Cannabis = http://rutube.ru/tracks/312579.html?v=cc388a9e954054e9111417b72e7dbc1b (Hymn of the USSR by Sergei Mikhalkov & Gabriel El Registan, remake by 5'NIZZA, New Year, 2004).

    Coat, because the environment is green.

    73

  90. John Smith Gold badge
    Coat

    @Tim Hughes

    "To get the kind of money you were getting from importing drugs, you have to start knocking over banks, or operating large frauds, neither of which is particularly easy."

    You forgot becoming a rapper.

    Mine's the one with copies of "Get rich or die trying" & "Notorious" in the pockets.

  91. Lukin Brewer

    @how did this happen? By Rob

    It was combination of tradition and the relative lobbying powers of the manufacturers and their opponents.

    In the case of cannabis, it was banned because it had been used for making paper and rope since historical times. William Randolph Hearst, the print baron, wanted to protect his investments in wood pulp paper manufacture. Du Pont Chemicals, who had developed the wood pulp process that he used, also wanted to sell their new-fangled nylon rope, a competitor to the traditional hemp rope. Hearst's main financial backer was Andrew J Mellon, bank owner and Treasury Secretary. Together, they were able to get cannabis outlawed, and appoint the first anti-drugs commissioner. The drug aspect was just an excuse. If cannabis had the THC but not the rope and paper making fibre, the political will to get it banned might never have come about.

  92. Alt0n
    Happy

    @ Justin Clements

    Why make hard drugs available on the NHS? Because it'd be /cheaper/. The users would be more able to contribute to society and make less demands on councils / police / healthcare / home insurers / etc.

  93. Mark SPLINTER
    Flame

    Alcohol a part of our culture for longer?

    Listen retards, marijuana grows out of the freaking ground, so do coca leaves and poppies. If you think that distilling fruit juice precedes eating plants in human history, you are retarded. Queen Victoria was high, not drunk, you retards. Our culture is a drug culture and always has been and always will be. Unfortunately our culture is also retarded and will shoot itself in the face every day with ridiculous laws just because politicians are too embarassed to tell the truth and people are too retarded to listen to it. Some of the comments in this thread make me want to cry.

    If we could base this debate on facts only, and disqualify people when they make a factual error such as "alcohol is part of our culture, jesus drank wine, so therefore cannabis should be illegal"... in other words if we could BAN RETARDED LOGIC and we might get somewhere. Jesus healed the sick. I'd be willing to bet my left index finger that he had a big sheaf of weed in his doctors bag.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    It's a strong feelings kidney whichever way you slice it

    I personally feel that we've got a lot of societal changes to make before we're actually going to advance civilisationally.

    One of those advances is allowing the majority of people to act in ways that they see fit, as long as they do not directly endanger others with their behaviour. If they accidentally damage others when under the influence of anything (alcohol or drugs) then there are laws already in place to stop that.

    Where the direct danger exists only to themselves, as with alcohol. Then it's their business what they do. This includes cannabis, heroin, crack, whatever. (But not cake, it's a made up drug)

    People want to be able to help themselves relax. The law should either prohibit and classify all narcotic influences on our minds, or none. I feel that long term alcohol use is more hamful than cannabis use over a similar time.

    There are many arguments for and against, but for me there's only one that counts. Freedom, it's fundamental. We should be free to do what we like to ourselves in the privacy of our own homes, or in public where to do so would not cause a direct risk of harm (physical) to other members of society.

    After all, the only thing a person can really own is their body and mind. I don't think anyone has a right to restrict a persons right to use their body as they see fit.

    More people die from horse riding than E. Ban horse riding?

    I don't do it, so it wouldn't bother me, does that sound fair?

    Cars kill more than cannabis. Ban driving?

    Society and lack of community is the root cause of a great deal of social ills. Not drugs, drugs are an escape from the crap we all have to put up with every day. We should be free to self medicate.

    I have a job that pays the bills and I derive little satisfaction from, 3 wonderful children, that I love. I pay my taxes and contiribute to society in many ways. Yet I'm a criminal because I choose to smoke a little weed rather than climb into a bottle. My father may have been with me now if he'd chosen to smoke weed rather than dying at 57 of a heart condition and liver problems brought on by alcohol consumption to excessive levels.

    It's just another option, probably a less damaging one, we can no longer demonstrate the harm, but we keep the stupid outdated laws anyway.

    Don't kill the sacred cow. Milk it for all it's worth and never mind the hidden costs to society in terms of crime and criminalisation of normal people.

    Business as usual for shady government and corrupt corps. Nothing to see here, please move along.

    Flames, to light my peace pipe. (Only of an evening and only in moderation.)

  95. Evil Graham

    @Justin Clements

    "Anyway, what's wrong with alcohol?"

    Hmm. Stroll down the average British high street at 11:30 on a Saturday night. When you get out of hospital, let us know.

  96. John Smith Gold badge
    Boffin

    @Rob

    I'll take a whack at this one as it was outlined on a Channel4 Cannabis evening some time ago.

    My memory of things is a bit hazy but it dates to a world congress on drug use IIRC sometime after 1900 and before 1920. BTW at this time the Coke still had extract of Coca leaf in it (Coke really did add life) and Irvin Berlin's "I get a kick out of you" did not include Champagne.

    Various drugs were on the table (metaphorically) but it was the Egyptians who were having trouble with (in their opinion) too many stoner Arabs (Egypt was still part of the British empire at the time). They described it as a drug that was highly addictive, caused madness and eventual death and needed banning world wide, now.

    Heroin less sure about but may have also happened then. Laundenum (Opium in alcohol) had been on sale in the UK throughout the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries at least. Very popular in the Fenns apparently as there's not much to do in Norfolk apart from sleep with your relatives.

    No idea about cocaine.

    Amphetamines were on sale over the counter in the US from 1945 onward (looking at some old Reader's Digest can be hilarious for this) but things did tighten up in the 1960s. The death of a British Cyclist in the Tour De France after having downed 6-8 pills seems to have pushed the UK to make it Class A. I'm not sure MDMA (the active ingredient of E) had even been synthesised at that time.

    BTW ever noticed that legal drugs tend to need quite carefully cultivated plants for raw material but illegal ones seem to be more weed and creeper like?

  97. david wilson

    @Justin Clements

    >>"Can't believe people here are suggesting heroin should be on the NHS - why the F**K should I pay for junkies to get out of their minds on the tax that I have to pay? Just because they get themselves hooked, I see no reason why we should pay for it."

    We're already paying pretty dearly for *not* doing it.

    It costs very little to provide clean heroin. How much do you think it costs the NHS to deal with the problems that come from illegal use?

    Even ignoring the reduction in crime, and the possibility of people being more useful members of society, if it's cheaper for me to have someone getting a maintenance dose of clean heroin than to have them injecting all kinds of crap, I don't count the possibility they might actually be happier on the clean heroin as a reason for not doing it.

  98. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    But watch out for that lethal skunk

    It'll kill you. It's *true*. Gordon Brown said so in a speech.

  99. Alexander
    Thumb Down

    face reality or it will slowly kill you

    I am sorry but there seems to be lot cowards on here, step up … criminal organisations will be with us whether drug are illegal or legal….cigarettes are legal but criminals still traffic in them, so are movies criminals still traffic in them , cars are legal criminals still traffic in them...etc etc.

    Making drugs legal wont help, and stupid but misguided free the weed teenagers miss some very obvious point.., lets take alcohol for instance more people in the uk die of alcohol related illness than drug related, more violent crime is committed under the influence of alcohol than drugs, there are 5 times the amount of registered alcoholics (addicts) than registered drug addicts.

    Yeah man that is cause drugs are cool, no that is because alcohol is “legal” you change drugs status to legal and you would see problems of epidemic proportions.

    @ By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 7th April 2009 16:16 GMT

    Your out about a few thousand miles and a century here or there the mafia or the cosa nostra( our thing) are Sicilian and where rather big before they hit the states , just like the triads know your history young coward.

    @By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 7th April 2009 16:35 GMT

    What we have now is unfortunately is as bad as we should let it get, the problems with both alcohol and drugs is that there are a large number of disaffected young people who have no interest in life bar getting wasted as they don’t see them self as part of our society , that is the problem mr silly coward no hope no options so what you are saying is adding the option of legal drug will solve our nations problems …your sir are a fool .

    @the cannabis crowd

    Sick to death of the cannabis is harmless, absolute garbage if you’re smoking it your doing 5x the amount of damage to your body smoking ciggies would, me and my buddies all started on the d’herd, 3 died chocking on their vomit within feet of each though over the space of a year , 2 died of heroin overdoses, 2 committed suicide, 1 crashed his car into a motorway stanchion believing the MI5 where chasing him, and 2 where murdered.

    Paul stanolus 25

    Mark mcgowan 26

    Mark pringle 26

    Billy lowe 27

    Donnie mckinnon 21

    Willy mcolly 24

    Alex Bradley 19

    Gary rolston 19

    john murray 28

    john murray 22

    ( the last have 2 have the same names because they where cusions and both died in the same bed of herion overdoses 4 weeks apart)

    Not just f**king statistics, human beings each with a family and all started on just a wee harmless puff, problem is if you need the puff in the first place then eventually once your body gets used to it , then it is not enough to block out the purgatorial shit pit you live in and then you just keep climbing the ladder adding different monkeys on your back.

    Cannabis in my opinion is one of the worst drugs as it is sneaky and insidious, it creeps up on you robbing you of ambition and drive, yeah sure famous people smoke the d’herb but they are not famous because it helped them they are famous in spite of it , it does 5x the amount of damage than smoking does alone and often leads to nastier things, granted it’s addiction is on par with cigarettes and most likely wont lead to crime, but this one example a mine would no drive 50 miles to his uncle funeral because he said he could not afford the petrol , but later that night he drove a 90 mile return trip to pick up a bag of weed, and their lye’s the problem with weed it comes before everything include self.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alexander

    > Drugs like heroin and crack exhibit effects in users that are quickly noticeable and the

    > deterioration of a person life is very visual,

    No they don't.

    Drugs like Heroin and Cocaine (even crack) actually exhibit very few detrimental effects unless taken chronically in fairly large doses.

    The muck that is sold on the streets under the name of "Heroin" is another matter, of course. God only knows what's in some of that.

    But by far the most damaging aspect is not the drug at all - it's the chaotic lifestyle that accompanies trying to pay for a very expensive substance.

    So to prevent the harm of street drugs, what you really need to do is to make clean drugs available at a realistic price - then the user needs only face the substance itsefl, not the materials used to cu it, nor the desperate lifestyle associated with its prohibition.

    Oh look - exactly what the report suggested.

  101. A J Stiles
    Stop

    A Thought Experiment

    To all who like the idea of prohibition:

    We have a problem with obesity in this country, especially childhood obesity. One way to reduce obesity levels would be to reduce the consumption of fatty fried foods. So let's suppose that we successfully lobby the government for a ban on the cooking and eating of chips.

    Today, the chip industry is regulated. Chip shops have to satisfy certain minimum standards enforced by local environmental health authorities; including safe working practices, proper food handling procedures, regular inspection of premises and equipment, and so forth.

    Can you tell me with a straight face that once chips were banned, a black market would not spring up almost overnight to meet the demand? Do you expect that there would not be a speck of fallout from the new, illegal chip industry? Do you honestly imagine that there would not be a single fatal electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning or fire attributable to a poorly-maintained frier in an "underground" chip shop? That there would be no cases of poisoning from unsafe food handling practices or the use of home-made vinegar substitute? That the countryside would not end up becoming polluted through the improper disposal of used cooking fat?

    And do you really believe that such a situation (chips still quite readily available, but from criminals at inflated prices and with greater health risk to chip-eaters , and with collateral damage impacting on non-chip-eaters) would be preferable to the situation we have now?

  102. Richard
    Flame

    @Alexander

    Yes, making drugs legal will help, it will boost industry, create jobs, result in fewer criminals and open up legitimate trade routes with a number of third world countries.

    "Yeah man that is cause drugs are cool, no that is because alcohol is “legal” you change drugs status to legal and you would see problems of epidemic proportions."

    How do you know that? Why do you seem to think that everyone is going to immediately go out and get themselves out of their heads on any kind of drug? Do you think everyone (except yourself of course) are mindless zombies unable to stop themselves? You lackwit.

    "Sick to death of the cannabis is harmless, absolute garbage if you’re smoking it your doing 5x the amount of damage to your body smoking ciggies would, me and my buddies all started on the d’herd, 3 died chocking on their vomit within feet of each though over the space of a year , 2 died of heroin overdoses, 2 committed suicide, 1 crashed his car into a motorway stanchion believing the MI5 where chasing him, and 2 where murdered."

    I call bullshit on this one, not only that, but you seem to have confused facts with opinion, and the 2 that were allegedly murdered, is that drug related? Is it because they were dealing with nefarious types to obtain illegal drugs perhaps? I can't exactly see the guy behind the counter at boots leaping over the counter to stab some junkie because they pinched a couple of hits of drugs. Perhaps also those overdoses may have been less likely if they'd known exactly what they were taking and how much. Choking on their vomit eh? Nice, what was that from? A bad burrito? You fucking knob, people vomit all the time without dying and without taking drugs, people die from choking on their vomit from alcohol poisoning.

    If your alleged friends (I don't believe you've ever had any) were able to be educated and the substances were controlled rather than prohibited there would have been fewer deaths from the sample you have provided.

    Of course, what with it being illegal it still fucking happened you dickhead, even if it were true, how would legalisation have made it worse? There is no "worse" than dead.

    Drug driving is a problem, as much as drink driving, it could be policed in a similar manner though also it allows education and limits to be placed.

    "Cannabis in my opinion is one of the worst drugs as it is sneaky and insidious" your opinion is wrong.

    "it does 5x the amount of damage than smoking does alone and often leads to nastier things"

    that's your opinion confused with fact again and once again wrong.

    "but this one example a mine would no drive 50 miles to his uncle funeral because he said he could not afford the petrol , but later that night he drove a 90 mile return trip to pick up a bag of weed, and their lye’s the problem with weed it comes before everything include self."

    He wasn't particularly close to his uncle and didn't want to go to a boring depressing funeral (who can blame him, those things are dull) so he lied about not being able to afford the petrol, big fat hairy deal, nothing to do with the weed you knobcheese.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Alexander - I may be a fool

    "What we have now is unfortunately is as bad as we should let it get, the problems with both alcohol and drugs is that there are a large number of disaffected young people who have no interest in life bar getting wasted as they don’t see them self as part of our society , that is the problem mr silly coward no hope no options so what you are saying is adding the option of legal drug will solve our nations problems …your sir are a fool ."

    1. Are you suggesting that the reason for why there "are a large number of disaffected young people who have no interest in life bar getting wasted as they don’t see them self as part of our society" - and that this is because of drugs? - So these "disaffected young people" would not be disaffected if they had no access to drugs? I would have thought that perhaps one significant reason for using drugs might be found in the experience of personal frustration and dissafection? At least this is not unknown in discussions about alcoholism - inability to cope with the personal situation in life etc. We also know that people who are experiencing extreme frustration and dissaffection in life are well represented among those who suffer from a "nervous breakdown" - no drugs necessary. Mental instability and extreme stress can be found as an influential factor when it comes to violence etc drugs not required here either.

    2. I did not suggest that legalising drugs would solve our nations problems. Please do not put words in my mouth and read what I actually did write! I would argue that the criminalisation of drugs did not solve our nations problems - that is however a different argument. What I am against is the naive agenda which promotes the very simplistic idea that if drugs are not available our societal problems will dissappear! I do think that such an argument is a completely nonsensical one. The problem with drugs is yet another issue which is being oversimplistically dealt with both by many of those who are for drugs and by many of those who are against. There are problems and the solution to them is not as simple as making drugs illegal or legal. The underpinning problems need to be dealt with as the use of drugs themselves are more often than not a symptom of much wider problems.

    3. I am against the lazyness that often is demonstrated in these discussions. The issue is a complex one and the solution is not simple. I am also against the idea that treating the symptoms is the appropriate long term way forward. Some people do not want to engage in the real world as it would require effort and resources - they prefer their own personal simple solutions which they think would make the world "a better place". No matter if those "solutions" have proven themselves not to be working. I am against the idea that more of the same will "fix things" - I may very well be a fool - but I do not think that existing strategy is satisfactory or worth while my support.

  104. Evil Graham

    @Alexander - so what's your plan?

    I still don't see what point you are making. You had a lot of mates who died, but drugs were already illegal.

    What are you proposing? Making them *more* illegal? Stiffer sentences?

    If so, it's already been tried. China has the death penalty for drug offences (and many other offences) and guess what - they execute people by the truckload and it still doesn't stop them.

  105. Alexander
    Thumb Down

    cowardly fools , why not stand up ?

    puff last post sadden by the stupidity and ingnorance of some of the cowards, again another coward surrprise.

    "clean drugs"

    what are you on about , most herion user's that are killed by herion overdoses die because it is to pure and not contaiminated , know what your talking about before you post crap.

    Oh and sure legal drugs are all fine nobody every dies of sleeping pil overdose's..ah that is right 75% of people who die from drug overdoses in this country are from legal drugs, check national the office of statistics.

    and overdoses are not the problem consumption is and making it cheaper, which is a myth just like weed in amsterdam, black market weed is cheaper not most costly .

    let me reinforce this for one last time we are meant to live in the first world yet in some of the poorest areas in our country life expectancy for young men is dropping to under 40? some third world countries have a better life expectancy than this,

    quote

    "But by far the most damaging aspect is not the drug at all - it's the chaotic lifestyle that accompanies trying to pay for a very expensive substance"

    No the damaging aspect is the deprived and no porspect lifestyle that leads to drugs, drugs are a symptom not the problem so time to wake up , addicts had lifestyle before drugs and that is what lead them to drugs, not drugs leading them to a lifestyle...unless your rich or middle class.

  106. Richard
    Flame

    @Alexander

    WTF - "puff last post sadden by the stupidity and ingnorance of some of the cowards, again another coward surrprise" - that makes less sense than amanfromMars

    heroin supplied by pharma companies would have stated known doses, this results in less chance of unintentional overdose. People can overdose sure, but as you've already stated 75% of people who die from drug overdoses are from legal drugs, I would hazard a guess that most of these types of fatalities are called "suicides" you may have heard of them, that's illegal too, something I always found most bizarre.

    "No the damaging aspect is the deprived and no porspect lifestyle that leads to drugs, drugs are a symptom not the problem so time to wake up , addicts had lifestyle before drugs and that is what lead them to drugs, not drugs leading them to a lifestyle...unless your rich or middle class."

    How about following a different train of thought in that drugs are a medication rather than a symptom, there will always be people who see themselves as lonely/deprived/no prospects, it's part of the human condition, perhaps you should stop treating them like fucking criminals and idiots, I would expect that would make them feel better in itself.

    I'm going to have to give up now because you're a Troll and I shouldn't be feeding you.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alexander

    If your capacity for comprehension were to come anywhere near your desire for belligerence, we might get a bit further...

    > what are you on about , most herion user's that are killed by herion overdoses die because it is to

    > pure and not contaiminated

    Actually, no - most overdoses occur because the user is shooting up on his own in some shitty little hovel without knowing what he's actually taking. But that's not the point.

    But if you read my post - even the few words you quoted - you'll see I said "clean drugs". I didn't mention purity or concentration - I'm well aware that 100% Heroin would then to be more problematic than it's worth. But a little attention to detail would tell you that there's a world of difference between the words "clean" and "pure".

    > know what your talking about before you post crap.

    Perhaps you'd like to revisit that little sputum of vitriol, given that it was based on an entirely incorrect and somewhat arrogant premise.

    > and overdoses are not the problem consumption is

    Yes. That's why a number of us here are attempting to promote safer consumption. Take a look at your claimed list of dead friends & see how far attempts to *prevent* consumption actually got.

    > No the damaging aspect is the deprived and no porspect lifestyle that leads to drugs, drugs are

    > a symptom not the problem

    You have no evidence for that - and I'm pretty sure you can't find any, because I'm pretty sure you're wrong; the problem with drugs is not that people take them, it's that they tend to be damaged when they become regular users. And that damage is almost always due either to injecting god knows what (because there is no quality control in the supply), or it's because their lives become especially degraded and degrading by virtue of trying to maintain that supply - both of which are easily fixed by controlled access to clean drugs.

    Now you could argue - in fact, I think you have, although it's tricky to see through all that bile - that if people were happier to start with, they might not want druigs anyway. I wouldn't contend that - it might be right. So all you need to do is to find a way to make everyone on every sink estate so blissfully happy that they wouldn't dream of doing anything even slightly nefarious. Got a plan for that yet? In the meantime, expect people to use narcotics (both legal and illegal) recreationally - as they have done for millenia.

    And as for why I'm posting anonymously? Because I know a lot of people who use drugs. And, given that my name is somewhat less commonly found than yours, it might be possible to identify my social group from what I say here. Now I understand that anonymity is not going to protect me from a serious attempt by law enforcement types to discover my identity, but it does at least stop possibly embarrassing revelations to casual readers.

  108. Alexander

    got to have one last word

    wow

    @richard

    has your dealer gone on holiday and left with not kit, or are you the usally joint smoking waster spending your whole life defending something that is robbing you of actuall expriencing life.

    somking 1 joint of green with no filter is the euqivelent to 5 gigges, somking hashish with no filter get that times by 2 , so start studying up on lung cancer, ephazimna etc beacuse they will become your friends ..you might have a great pair of kidneys but no lungs

    FYI

    The 2 lads that where murder , where behead in thialand on the opimun trail by some bandits or rebels , the 3 boys the choked to death all died taking temgeisic or jellies(legal sleeping pils) as we call them up mix it with booze or weed it is most leathal , the 2 lads the die of Overdoses 1 was most likely suicide as he blame himself for his younger cousins demise. and the chap that crashed his car had taken ounce of speed in the form of quater balls and had forgotten to eat anything for 3 days.

    quote

    "He wasn't particularly close to his uncle and didn't want to go to a boring depressing funeral (who can blame him, those things are dull) so he lied about not being able to afford the petrol, big fat hairy deal, nothing to do with the weed you knobcheese."

    when you grow up a get pubic hair,you migth just get to understand stick to watch button moon or finger mouse growne up debates are not for you little man.

    To all the others I am not saying i have any answers and in an ideal world yes there should be freedom of choice, but until we address the issues of poverty and social depravtion within or communites, legal drugs is a no go that will just destroy more lifes. the status quo is no ideal but by far it is better the alternatives

  109. david wilson

    @Alexander

    It would seem that from the account you give, your friends were unbelievably unlucky.

    If smoking cannabis was generally anywhere near *that* dangerous, dealers would rapidly be running out of customers, and we'd have rather more than the distorted "It's 10x stronger than it was 10 years ago" arguments coming up every 10 years when it comes to discussions over the the classification.

  110. david wilson
    Paris Hilton

    @Alexander

    >>"what are you on about , most herion user's that are killed by herion overdoses die because it is to pure and not contaiminated , know what your talking about before you post crap."

    People die of overdoses not because drugs are pure, but because drugs are *unexpectedly* pure - they're used to watered-down stuff, and can OD if they get anything decent and don't try it out for strength before taking their regular dose.

    One of the points about clean drugs is not only that they're not full of Christ-know-what, but that they are of predictable strength, and therefore much harder to OD on unless someone mis-measures them.

    It's even *harder* to overdose if someone is getting a daily prescription (to avoid the chance of them selling anything), and harder still if they take their daily dose in a centre under supervision.

    >>"Oh and sure legal drugs are all fine nobody every dies of sleeping pil overdose's..ah that is right 75% of people who die from drug overdoses in this country are from legal drugs, check national the office of statistics."

    I think you're deliberately conflating accidental overdoses and suicides, which are, of course, completely different things.

    >>"addicts had lifestyle before drugs and that is what lead them to drugs, not drugs leading them to a lifestyle...unless your rich or middle class."

    So, they were serial shoplifters, burglars, and prostitutes making a decent income that they *didn't* spend on drugs, and then decided to blow it all and start a smack habit?

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Alexander

    I'm sorry for your long list of losses.

    But you still haven't explained how keeping illegal drugs illegal helped those people.

    In fact it sounds from your accounts like some of them died specifically because of the legal situation and the associated lack of help or information. They stayed underground, took impure substances, dangerous cocktails, got involved with criminal organisations.

    Some of it (driving on speed) was just plain stupid, sorry.

    Some of your friends (if a single word of your story is true anyway) would still be alive today in a different legislative climate.

    Let me spell this out to you one last time - regardless of the health implications, regardless of what you think is moral or not, regardless of what you think is a good idea or not - prohibition is doing more harm than good. Even to the people in your stories.

  112. Hate2Register
    Heart

    Prison is no cure for drug users.

    It's a real, terrible human tragedy that so many of Alexander's young friends died, while doing crazy young man stuff, while under the influence. Perhaps some of these people would have benefited from institutional care. But many would be drawn further into drugs in prison. Perhaps some other type of rehab?

    Emoting on this subject, although completely human and understandable, does not fix the situation.

    · Social change could fix the problem. That would be education and proper rehab.

    · Controlling the drug supply could fix the problem. Gov'm't could intervene in the market.

    Thusly, the choice is down to intervening on supply or demand side. Either you intervene on the demand side, which means driving down demand through education, or punitive punishments for drug use. This approach is currently being used, and is not very effective. The other, largely untested as yet method, is to intervene on the supply side. Attempts to close down the coca growers in Columbia are only moderately successful, and depend on local cooperation. But if the government intervenes in drug supply market directly, through licensed distribution of safely manufactured drugs, then users only have to be able to read the label.

    Viagra increases heart rate and body temperature, just like E, but nobody calls for that to be banned. Night club proprietors should be required to train staff to deal with overdoses. If addicts go to Boots to get their fix, their details can be recorded for the NHS. If the government and NHS get involved in the drug world, then at least the worst users can be registered, recorded, monitored.

    At least try out the scheme in a controlled environment.

    The authorities already distribute clean needles and condoms. Now they should distribute drugs that will not kill anyone. And the police can concentrate on making sure no-one drives while under the influence. The government and drug companies will make oodles of cash, and users can look forward to a spread of new substances that make you see like Picasso, or Vermeer.

    Everyone a winner!

  113. 4irw4y

    At Late Evening Only (From Medical Prescription, 2012)

    You are smoking weed. Not weed is smoking you. That's what my dad told me once some time ago.

    If one moves from hemp to opiates, he probably masturbates too much. Did Bob Marley masturbate too much? I guess not, because he was a positive mood itself, women just piss hot about people of such kind. Ask me how I know that (-: ?

    Generally, a very provocative article it was... it's great to see there are so many comments here. Though that right now there is night, cognac, sliced lemon and chocolate in my case. IT's bad that you can't smoke this screen... again re-addressing to http://rutube.ru/tracks/312579.html?v=cc388a9e954054e9111417b72e7dbc1b , enjoy everybody.

    I'd say again that every sleek dolphin which you move through the vein is 99 % lethal shit. Only the strongest/the truly loved/the really positive may hold on using it once a month, but what a great punch at liver each injection is!

    73

  114. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    @4irw4y

    Come on guys. Enough with the AMFM simulator trials.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I know of one political party that would legalise it in Britain...

    The British Libertarian Party (LPUK). These guys would legalise recreational drugs, no problem. They're into personal freedom and personal responsibility. Their manifesto appears at http://www.lpuk.org

  116. 4irw4y
    Black Helicopters

    Press Standby And LED Eye Turns Red

    An option. Planning to go Montana?

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    alexander

    I am a coward. This is true. I freely admit it.

    You have an emotional tale to tell.

    I can see that there is no point in saying anything else beyond that, so goodbye.

  118. Bryan W
    Heart

    Cause and effect

    The biggest point, that alot of you liberal monkeys are missing is this:

    Drug users, and the things that they are (being poor, unmotivated, robbers, w/e stereotype you get spoon fed from the idiot box) are not so much a result of them using drugs, but more the very cause of it. I'm not saying getting stoned makes things better, usually, it disables some particular component of your consciousness, causing erratic (and quite enjoyable) effects, often amplifying social problems in people with problems to begin with. But like alcohol, I do believe that when moderated and used responsibly, it can be just another recreational option, instead of some sinister evil in our society.

    On top of that, this "war on drugs" has done little but waste tax money, and drive people into the circles of criminals. Because they are illegal, drugs tailor to those who are disenfranchised with society or the current authority they are under. Its one more way to give it the finger, and have a bit of out-of-your-mind "fun" in the process.

    If you take away the evil label (and that's a pretty much impossible battle because all these morons are die-hard against that, 30-years of government programming will do that), and useless policy, you will effectively change the nature of the whole beast. On top of taxing it (getting money from it, instead of wasting money combating it all-out), a change in the public will occur. People, who drink recreationaly, are typically educated enough in the subject to keep it at that level. I believe the same can be achieved with drugs. Or at least some of them. Cannabis is one that really sticks out. Its less toxic than alcohol or tobacco, yet, for some weird reason, its a bad drug? Inconsistent, and quite honestly, just moronic.

  119. Mike
    Happy

    argument is void if we lose trade ties.

    The MPs know this is the only viable solution. The problem is that none of them want to be seen as 'soft'. Nevermind the fact they are all a bunch of sponges which are inherintely soft anyway.

    Theres also the fact that It wont work until the USA says so. If we broke away from all the conventions regarding drug (ab)use we would lose trade ties and the whole economic argument is blown into the water anyway.

    Does anyone think the US will ever legalize drugs? - IRAN CONTRA is still happening. Why is heroin now rife in Afghanistan after the Taliban wiped it out?

    Drugs also make an excellent propaganda piece- the commies, Muslims, <insert enemy here> are flooding our streets with poison and killing the kids!

    btw you can find this report on the BBC website, but only in Mark Eastons blog. It seems it wasnt newsworthy enough to make the main headlines. It seems that 'High speed sex in Norway' is more important than saving the UK economy billions. figures.

    smiley icon as it would be great if e's were as good as back in the early rave era.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Why not go all the way?

    Get governments to supply all drugs? The idea that the state or government should do this or that is flawed. The government should have a 'hands off' approach to everything, leave people to decide for themselves, just because the governments says murder is wrong and punishable it does not stop murder, and if the government stopped punishing murderers would it increase cases of murder?

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