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Should drugs be legalised?

Should drugs be legalised?  

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  1. 1. Should drugs be legalised?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Its not a yes/no question
    • Undecided

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Research published earlier this year found people who smoked one cannabis joint a day had a higher risk of lung cancer than those who smoked 20 cigarettes a day.


Reefer madness still alive and kicking I see. :roll:



People who smoked more marijuana were not at any increased risk compared with those who smoked less marijuana or none at all.



Keep digging though.....

http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Marijuana :wink:

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"People ask how a former cop could say drugs should be legalized, but it's precisely because I love police and love police work that I'm saying it. The drug war stops real cops from doing real police work. It's corrupting. It's wasteful. And it has wrecked communities."


These aren't stoners. They're former public servants, and many risked their lives for a cause they now say is mistaken.


That's powerful stuff. When a guy tells you he regrets what he's done for most of his career -- and what he could well have died for -- his words take on a unique credibility and urgency.



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Here is another a story about the police wanting to legalise drugs




And another




some frontline officers attending last week’s national conference of the Scottish Police Federation demanded the legalisation of hard drugs. They proposed a licensing scheme that would make drugs available to addicts under controlled circumstances. Inspector Jim Duffy of Strathclyde Police said: “We are not winning this war or anywhere close to it. The status quo is not an option. If the current rules of engagement do not change we are destined to continue to fail.â€
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Am I the only one who reads through this thread (and "Drugs in Shetland") with a weird sense of unreality and deja vu as the two sides circle, hurling insult and abuse at one another without ever resolving anything? The "anti" camp appear to believe whatever tosh the news media foist upon us: I'm sure many of them still believe fabricated falsehoods like "cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs", or that "modern cannabis is x times stronger than" ... etc. etc. Too often, too, the "pro" camp seem to espouse the view that no drug ever really did anyone any harm, it was just the taker's strange biology making them prone to going out of control when they were high.


The one thing everyone ought to agree on is that the present legal structure is about as complete a failure as can be imagined. In the 37 years since 1971 when the current structure came in, the number of registered addicts in the UK has risen a hundredfold - hardly what the authors intended, I suspect, and not counting the ???,000 unregistered ones. The very illegality of the drugs helps to make them "forbidden fruit", thus all the more attractive to the rebellious youngster, then, when something goes wrong, the users and their friends are more reluctant to seek medical advice on account of the same illegality making them think that the doctors are certain to report them. In the absence of a legal supply, users are forced to buy from what is now a very well established underground industry, and one which is quite happy to cut otherwise physically harmless substances with cheap, harmful ones simply to increase its profit.


Fjool has mentioned more than once that the object of drug legislation ought to be the reduction of harm. If only. Current legislation appears to work (?) by attempting to increase the harm, or at least the perception of it, without limit. Define any contact with any proscribed drug as intrinsically criminal, no matter that humanity has used psychoactive agents since the dawn of history. Make it impossible for a user to obtain drugs of known purity, no matter that they will then take God knows what along with it to the detriment of their health. Spread stories of hair raising horror about what drugs have done to ruin some innocent young life, when had that innocent young life had access to pure substances and factual information they would themselves have been able to avoid that horror. In short, make them eat sh*t, then kick them when it makes them ill (or worse). Oh, and make sure their neighbours treat them with the same revulsion.


I'm not saying that taking drugs is a risk-free adventure, far from it. I've known one or two people who have made a complete mess of their lives ... but I've also known a lot more whose use of a fair old range of illicit substances has never given them any problems at all. However, for a government to try to close down all discussion of the subject - apart from polluting it with their own nonsensical non-arguments, of course - is indefensible. By preventing people, in particular young people, from either knowing the facts about these substances or ever being able to access the pure drug, they are guaranteeing a continuing supply of "drug shock horror" stories with which to pollute the discussion. Perhaps this is intentional, and intended to drive people over to the - exceedingly dangerous - drugs on which they collect a considerable amount of tax. Whatever, it is dishonest and degenerate.


If you voted "No" in the poll, and have ever been drunk, maybe you should reflect that you have yourself used a very dangerous drug - maybe more than once! - and, apparently, survived. Why do you want other people to be criminalised or made very ill or dead simply because they prefer a different - and almost certainly intrinsically less dangerous - way of getting "out of it"? I'm not saying that teenagers (still less sub-teenagers) should be taking any of this stuff, by the way: that is a quite separate issue, again fuelled by the complete absence of societal control over "controlled" drugs, as already disparaged. The crime is not in the possession or use of any substance, the crime is in making the whole subject so riddled with half truths and downright lies that the kids think "WTF" and head off to the nearest purveyor of ... whatever dodgy stuff somebody's profiting from at the moment. They're not stupid. They know most of their friends take this stuff and don't die. They know the government is talking rubbish.


Fjool's absolutely right about trying to minimise harm. In the current legal and social climate, though, that's a bit like trying to listen to the still small voice within when you're standing next to the stage at a rock concert.


Also, if you voted "No", try reading these, then ask yourself why you did so:



Can't recall whether they've been mentioned before, but they ought to be mentioned often.


OK, rant over. You can go back to circling round and hurling insults now, while I head off and smoke a really dangerous drug. (As you were, Sherlock, it costs me about £8 for a 50g pack, and AFAIK no Vietnamese children were involved in making it. :) )

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^ Apart from your first paragraph, which I think is a bit unfair to people involved in the discussion so far, I thought you made some very good points, DS.


Unfortunately, the issue is never going to reach a point where we all agree. I am unlikely to be convinced that our current policies are working and should be pursued with ever increasing vigour, for example. I realise that there are posters here who are unlikely to shift their position from 'drugs are evil'. That we may not move from our respective positions doesn't mean that the debate is going nowhere. If other, perhaps less vociferous people have read this thread and their understanding has been broadened, then we have a positive result.


My aim in both these threads (and other places) is to provide some kind of counter to the hysteria surrounding the drugs issue. It's not useful to panic; not helpful to lie or ignore the facts; not possible to tolerate the status quo.


I certainly do not espouse the view that drugs never did anyone any harm; I know too many people who have had problems with legal, illegal and proscription drugs. It appears to be the case that certain substances are problematic for certain people. Whether a particular drug is legal or not doesn't appear to make much difference to whether someone is likely to have problems with it. Indeed it can be shown that many currently illegal drugs are problematic precisely because they are illegal.


Every case is different, and this is something I return to often. No one drug behaves the same for everybody. The relationship between drug, user and circumstance is incredibly complicated. Users of the same substance report different effects, and the same user often reports different effects depending on their mood, or dose, or even the amount of sleep they previously had. Pigeon-holing substances as 'good' or 'bad' is an unhelpful approach.


Furthermore, if the aim is to eradicate drug use entirely, we will fail. There is no point wasting time and effort pursuing unrealistic, unachievable goals. Practical, workable approaches are desperately needed before real progress can be made. As the police officer in Koy's video suggests, legalisation is primarily about resolving our violence and crime issues. Once we've solved those, we are properly able to focus on solving the drug issue.


I believe that we will only make real progress against drug problems when we have a pragmatic and compassionate strategy which deals first with education; then safety; and, ultimately, support for those who, despite everything, continue to have problems. It is nothing short of naive to believe that recreational drugs can be 'uninvented' or that we will ever have a society free of drug problems. This is where my advocacy of 'harm reduction' comes in.


The term 'controlled substance' is an enormous misnomer; they are presently anything but controlled. Control has been handed to people who have no conscience about selling to children, or selling impure, poorly manufactured skag. To talk of 'control' is a misunderstanding at best. I would call it an outright lie.


As is becoming my standard disclaimer when talking on this issue, I will always recommend that folks should avoid taking recreational drugs. It does rather make me a hypocrite though because I intend to go home this evening and have a beer with my dinner.


At least both sides of this debate can have hypocrisy in common. ;)

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... a bit unfair to people involved in the discussion so far ...

No unfairness intended. Put it down to the jaded soul reflecting on decades of watching (and taking part in) this idiot dance.


It's not useful to panic; not helpful to lie or ignore the facts; not possible to tolerate the status quo.

This should be printed in large letters of every government paper on the topic.


If I gave the impression that I thought you espoused the view that drugs never did anyone any harm, I unreservedly apologise. Far from it - I think you ought to be moderating the discussions in the corridors of power, you might make them come to their senses.


As you say, in every case it's the interaction between the user and the drug. I write this as my GP and I try to find a painkiller which works and doesn't clash with my high blood pressure, both knowing that if I could legally use cannabis it would deal with both of those and help me sleep. Mind you, this would mean three regular prescriptions less for the pharmaceutical industry, who I believe have a little more influence where it matters than the pot lobby.


I sometimes wonder whether your "pragmatic and compassionate strategy" might not be well implemented with licencing. Most of the contra-indications between common drugs and specific physical conditions must already be known so, for those who really felt they had to experiment, their doctor could warn them of significant dangers in some detail, advise on dosage (which, with a controlled supply would actually be known) and give them a permit - perhaps, like the driving licence, provisional at first - to use substances not incompatible with their biology. At the pharmacy (specified on the permit, to discourage overdosing?), bring back the old "poisons register", and keep the name!


As for generally advising against, yes, of course - but as you say, it's going to happen anyway - and that quite apart from those who share my own irritation with not being allowed to use a safer, natural stuff to keep me moving about than the unholy brew of opiates and synthetics which try to do the job at the moment. Give those who need or want to try a drug a checkup, the knowledge and licenced access to pure substances, and where's the problem? At last, a measure of control and, while the party animals, trainee shamans and herbal medicine enthusiasts get on with it in relative safety, the police can concentrate on the truly dangerous drugs, like crack, and those who, with or without drugs, cause the most problems.


As for hypocrisy, let it join bone-headed obstinacy, belligerence, intolerance, and all those other delightful things which make us the all too fallible creatures we are. Enjoy your drink. It's illegal in much of the Middle East, you know ...


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Had a interesting conversation with a former tagging officer, now security officer at northlink. Ice or crystal meth is one of things that scares her most. It's interesting to hear from someone who works (or in her cast worked) with addicts when they reach their lowest. For most of us the only sort of reference to crystal meth are American TV shows like Quincy which was made over 30years ago.


I still think that drug dealers who deal these sort of drugs are EVIL. As a former barmaid and someone who used to order in and sell alcohol from a local shop there is a big difference. There is a big legal responsibility on you when selling alcohol, hence the "think 21 scheme" adopted in most large stores. You should legally refuse alcohol to anyone you feel is intoxicated. You have a responsibility that your customers are not drink driving, though if when you refuse them service and they drive off, you phone the police with registration they phone back 5hours later to see if they're still in the car.

I wouldn't like to sell anything I considered dangerous and in the shop I worked in we never sold any of the designer shots, and only a limited number of alco-pops. These despite what the portman group may say are designed for the younger drinker and their sweeter taste is to encourage people to drink more.


DamnSaxon - I have yet to discover any prescription medication that works like cannabis, cannabis is not a pain killer per-say, more it "moves" the pain making it more manageable. I have been put on some of the most amazing concoctions of pain killers over the years, fortunately my general health is quite good. I found that the "strong painkillers" especially the more modern ones are actually no better than taking a dummy pill, though I know these same pills work for other people. One I discovered worked wonders is co-dydramol a mild to moderate painkiller, unfortunately I can't seem it get it prescribed up here. For many I've spoken to they find it works so much better than say co-codamol (for severe pain) and doesn't interfere with blood pressure medication and is safe to take if you cant take anti-inflammatories, but can be taken with them if you can. It also carries less health warnings. If you haven't tried it ask your doctor, if you have, good luck as it can take years to find something that work for each individual.

My other suggestion doesn't really apply up here but maybe you might find a way if you're interested. Pretty sure I read somewhere you attended a Waldorf school so you maybe more open to anthroposophical medication. Camphill Medical Practice in Aberdeen is a NHS practice that takes in referrals from other practices, there is a one off fee of around 20quid. Freefield chemist has told me in the past should I need a homeopathic prescription they would have no problem trying to fill it for me. I'm not suggesting dropping your conventional medication and the doctors there would never suggest it (they are well educated doctors with real qualifications) but when in pain you usually want to explore every avenue.

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AND another one that shouldn't be legalised ...

/head in hands

And I thought you had been paying attention, DS. :cry:


I still think that drug dealers who deal these sort of drugs are EVIL. As a former barmaid and someone who used to order in and sell alcohol from a local shop there is a big difference.

Licensed traders always say things like this. And you are absolutely right! There is a big difference - alcohol is legal. This is the big difference.


It is only because alcohol is properly regulated that you can have this moral high-ground. You have the law on your side and the licensed trade has incentives to cooperate. Why, if you don't your license is removed and you could go to prison. If you sold to children, or sold dangerous, badly produced alcohol then there would be serious repercussions.


All other things being equal, however, you are morally no different from someone selling heroin to someone who wants it. Same for tobacconists who, ultimately, are making money from the addictions of others. There used to be a bloke who came up to school at breaktime to sell cigarettes to the kids. He is morally reprehensible, and it's not the legality of the substance which makes him so, but his desire to profit regardless of the means.


Some drug dealers are evil, yes, but it is the nature of our present system which ensures that this is almost certainly going to be the case. Those who have qualms about breaking the law in the first place aren't likely to set up as drug dealers, so the folks with no morals are the ones who are left to run the show.


annabis is not a pain killer per-say, more it "moves" the pain making it more manageable

It is a 'dissociative anaesthetic'; like Entonox.

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Okay put it this way. Selling alcohol I used the drug I was selling on a regular basis, probably 3 or 4 drinks a week, same with tobacco aound 5 cigarettes a day and the occational cigar. I also had NRT information available for those who were interested.

There is a school of thought that you can't be a dealer and a user, but if your not willing to use the substance you sell is that not a bit hypocritical? should you not be able to garuntee your products safety, ie it's not full of things that shouldn't be there? Providing a substance in a quantity that could quite easily kill should be a worry. But addicts are ten a penny as one dies there's always another mug to take their place.

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^ You are merely describing reasons for properly regulating the substance though, MJ. Tobacco and alcohol sit on one side of the divide, and for no particularly good reason. The fact that they are able to be properly legislated, however, makes them much safer than they would otherwise be. This allows those who sell them to be much more confident as to their quality and safety. Having said this, if tobacconists are representative of the population then most of them don't smoke.


There is a school of thought that you can't be a dealer and a user

It is a flawed school of thought, of course - you were dealing alcohol and using it. Many 'dealers' are small-time, recreational users, supplying limited quantities of cannabis to their mates as a favour. There are as many situations as there are people; such broad generalisations as you make are only useful for painting bleak pictures which sell newspapers.

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