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Hard drugs and weak evidence

Mark Easton | 14:50 UK time, Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Over the past 12 years, the government has spent billions on tackling problem drug use. Has it been money well spent? The official answer, we learn today, is "haven't the foggiest".

Tackling problem drug use reportToday an influential all-party Commons committee said it was "unacceptable" that the government has never bothered to evaluate the measures on which huge sums have been lavished as part of its drugs strategy for England and Wales (see Tackling problem drug use [647KB PDF]).

In a short but pithy report, the MPs simply state that the Home Office "does not know how to most effectively tackle problem drug use".

The report concludes that:

"The Government spends £1.2 billion a year on measures aimed at tackling problem drug use, yet does not know what overall effect this spending is having."

Why? The Treasury demands that value for money audits are conducted on almost every aspect of public spending - except, it seems, when dealing with the "evil" of drugs. On this, it would seem, ministers have preferred to rely on instinct.

Twelve years after launching the first drugs strategy, the Home Office has now agreed "to produce an overall framework to evaluate and report on the value for money achieved from the strategy, with initial results from late 2011".

What will be interesting is whether the demand for evidence in this area will prompt ministers to consider ideas which, in Britain at least, are regarded as politically off-limits.

The billions which have been spent on the government "strategy" are based on the belief that the way to reduce drug-related crime is to get problem users into treatment. But the Home Office has been forced to admit that the theory is no more than that - an unproven theory.

"The Department said that it did not know whether the strategy had reduced the £13.9 billion cost of crimes committed by problem drug users and it could not prove a causal link between the measures in the strategy and the levels of offending by problem drug users."

NHS poster.jpgThis is a far cry from the mantra which for years underpinned the entire drugs strategy (see Tackling drugs, changing lives [289KB PDF]):

"Every £1 spent on treatment saves at least £9.50 in crime and health costs."

It was a no-brainer for ministers desperate for an answer to the drugs crisis and the phrase popped up all over the place.

But even while home secretaries were using the line to justify massive investment in the drug treatment programme, internal government documents admitted the claim was "out of date".

Many would argue that drug treatment is clearly better than no drug treatment and, for many people in crisis with their addiction, the support and help offered under the NTA scheme can be a life-saver.

It must also be true that, if someone is committing crime to fund a drug habit, an intervention which reduces or eradicates that addiction will probably reduce their crime.

But are we spending the money on the right kind of treatment for the right people? And, perhaps more importantly, is the answer to almost £14bn worth of drug-related crime simply more treatment or something more radical?

The National Treatment Agency (NTA), which runs the treatment programme for drug users in England and Wales, was asked whether their work cut crime.

NTA Chief Executive Paul Hayes replied that it had produced "very significant reductions in crime, and that is what has justified the huge increase in investment in drug treatment we have seen since 2001".

However Sir David Normington, the top civil servant at the Home Office, was asked for proof that recent falls in acquisitive crime could be attributed to treating addicts. "I cannot prove an absolute causal link but it is a fair bet", he replied.

When pressed, the NTA acknowledged that "over one-quarter of problem drug users showed a sharp increase in the volume of offending after entering treatment through the Drugs Intervention Programme".

Interestingly, for this group of largely heroin addicts, the Commons committee latched on to the idea of giving them free heroin. Here is the exchange between committee member Ian Davidson MP and Sir David:

Mr Davidson: "Have you considered giving them free drugs as a means of cutting crime in order to make everybody else's lives better?"

Sir David Normington: "There are those who think that should happen. That, of course, is absolutely not the Government's policy. I think it is a sort of counsel of despair because it does not take you anywhere. It means that you leave these people on drugs forever."

Mr Davidson: "It is not a counsel of despair for the people who are living beside them, whose houses are getting broken into, with respect."

The report also asserts that "measures to reduce problem drug use by young people have had limited impact".

The most recent strategy published in 2008, the MPs note, "reported that the prevalence of Class A drug use by young people has stayed relatively unchanged since the first strategy in 1998".

Another example of how hard it has proved to reduce drug harms is the recent rise in the number of people who die from illegal substances.

"The number of deaths among problem drug users has increased over the last five years to 1,620 in 2008-09", the report's authors point out, although the NTA suggested to them that "there would have been 2,500 drug related deaths in that year if drug treatment had not been increased over this time."

We are not to know what would have happened if the strategy had not existed, of course, but this is yet another report which questions whether our approach to drugs is actually the best way forward.

It is a vital debate for Britain and yet, as I suggested here yesterday, I doubt it will be discussed with any vigour during the election campaign.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:26pm on 07 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    So £1.2 billion spent each year with no measurable results. Value for money? Hmmm - don't think so. So add the £13.9 billion associated drug crime is supposed to cost each year then we have a total cost of over £15 billion.

    Would it not make more sense to legalise drugs. Put the manufacture in the hands of reputable companies so that the strength and quality can be controlled. The drugs could then be sold in chemists to over 18's only. The tax revenue would be enormous and fewer people would die due to poor quality drugs. It would also smash the monopoly the crime gangs have over drugs at present.

    One thing is sure - the war on drugs has been lost and over for years.

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  • 2. At 3:30pm on 07 Apr 2010, Forlornehope wrote:

    £1.2 billion a year is a lot of vested interests in the "war on drugs". How many peoples' careers have been spent in this industry? There is a horrible, symbiotic relationship between the drug cartels and the people who try and stop them. Legalising the use of drugs would put both out of work. The reality is that anyone who wants illegal drugs can get them so to pretend that legalising would make any difference to the level of use does not make sense. There is no need to be theoretical about this, Portugal has decriminalised the use of drugs and seen only benefits.

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  • 3. At 3:54pm on 07 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I wouldn't say they wont be discussed this election just when.

    I think James Morgan is doing something interesting Mark. voter views and all that maybe it will get brought up. :)

    but anyway something needs to fundamentally change in the way treatment is given I favour the Swiss model with hard drugs I know It will help stabilize a lot of addicts in my community.

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  • 4. At 4:12pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    But isn't it a bit daft?

    The gov never has had control over drugs and their use/misuse. Prohibition does not work - it seems impossible to drum that into politicians or the sensation-seeking media and those of the public who simply don't understand. Prohibition pushes the problem underground with several consequences: 1) you lose sight of the problem; 2) you have no idea how big the problem is; 3) you have no control of the quality of substances feeding into the market risking health probably more adverse than from the pure drug itself; 4) a worthwhile educational spearhead is lost. Current education is largely about scaring people with misinformation - and most people know it.

    All that against a backdrop of approved drugs that are known to do an enormous amount of harm directly and otherwise. How can a government be expected to push a serious message under such conditions? A total of 20 deaths possibly linked to methodrone where there are hundreds of deaths per week somehow connected to alcohol?

    If the government has no clue about the size and shape of the problem how on earth can it come up with a feasible programme let alone monitor its cost-effectiveness?

    This impasse is thus to be expected. The gov has sought an answer in criminalising increasing numbers of people, especially the young, while driving supply into criminal hands; rather than solve the problem.

    Common sense and initiative have always been missing in government over taboos, which is how they and the noisy minority of unenlightened see drugs. It was the same with porn: the country was suddenly going to turn into a seething mass of sex maniacs if it was legalised. It never happened once the taboo had been broken in a High Court.

    But you know politicians. They'll never learn.






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  • 5. At 4:30pm on 07 Apr 2010, Peter Galbavy wrote:

    The reason there are no metrics, measurables or comparisons is simply because, like in a sketch from Yes Minister, the authorities already know what any report would say and it would look bad. Very bad. Any report into how this money is spent would give a nod toward the legalisation of most controlled substances and would go against the preachy sermons that politicians of all the main parties have been chanting for years.

    The so called War On Drugs is simply an excuse to do an imitation of an Ostrich. Oh, and divert billions of public money to pet schemes, of course.

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  • 6. At 4:34pm on 07 Apr 2010, Steve Rolles wrote:

    Transform Drug Policy Foundation produced a briefing in 2002 titled 'What is the true cost of drug law enforcement? Why we need an audit' ( http://bit.ly/dkzZtV ) calling for precisely the sort of scrutiny of drug policy expenditure that the PAC are again now calling for. This was 8 years ago, and Transform's efforts on this front have continued ever since as detailed on the Transform blog, and elsewhere.

    It is also useful to see how other countries have addressed this issue, and the US, as the chief architect of global drug enforcement policy and the dominant influence on the evolution of UK drug policy, should be examined in order to inform our thinking. In 2001 the National Academy of Sciences produced a two hundred page report for the White House Office of Drug Control Policy called 'Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting US'. The report shows that the US faces many similar problems to the UK in evaluating effectiveness, with much of its analysis an uncanny echo of the new PAC report:

    "The committee finds that existing drug use monitoring systems are useful for some important purposes, yet they are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions the nation must make."

    "The central problem is a woeful lack of investment in programs of data collection and empirical research that would enable evaluation of the nations investment in enforcement."

    "Because of a lack of investment in data and research the country is in no better position to evaluate the effectiveness of its enforcement than it was twenty years ago."

    "It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether or to what extent it is having the desired effect."


    There is a simple reason why the Government is so reluctant to subject its drug policy to any serious scrutiny. It is because they know full well what such scrutiny would reveal, namely that the policy has been a hopeless failure on almost all meaningful measures and offers terrible value for money to the taxpayer, particularly the elements of the budget directed towards enforcement.

    They are terrified of where such an analysis would lead (i.e. to a politically unpalatable shift in drug policy away from the criminal justice led punitive prohibtionist paradigm) and so do whatever they need to, by way of obfuscation, spin and propaganda, to avoid facing the reality of their policies long term systemic failure.

    But as you say, we should not expect anything even remotely approaching a rational debate on drug policy in the election run up.

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  • 7. At 4:34pm on 07 Apr 2010, Flynn wrote:

    Outright prohibition has been tried before with alcohol in the states, and all it did was push production and distribution into the hands of criminal organisations, as well as criminalising otherwise law-abiding users. The movement in the states to have prohibition recognised as unworkable is strong but will never be listened to, maybe here we can apply a bit more common sense.

    http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php

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  • 8. At 4:40pm on 07 Apr 2010, df9864 wrote:

    Eventually, drugs will be legalised (not decriminalised) and sale controlled and heavily taxed by the authorities. Benefits are not only to be had with the huge tax revenues and a new industry to support the now 'legitimate' trade, but will put a whole swathe of criminals and their associates out of business over night + limit our and our children's interaction with this element.
    I don't think it will happen anytime soon. We are just not mature enough as a society to trust our own people with life choices and accept that the status quo is not tackling any real issues..
    Our great great grandchildren will consider our prohibition of drugs in the way that we think of the futile prohibition of alcohol in 1920's US.

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  • 9. At 4:46pm on 07 Apr 2010, calmandhope wrote:

    To quote the legendary Bill Hicks
    “No, I don't do drugs anymore, either. But I'll tell you something about drugs. I used to do drugs, but I'll tell you something honestly about drugs, honestly, and I know it's not a very popular idea, you don't hear it very often anymore, but it is the truth: I had a great time doing drugs. Sorry. Never murdered anyone, never robbed anyone, never raped anyone, never beat anyone, never lost a job, a car, a house, a wife or kids, laughed my ass off, and went about my day.”

    Prohibiting drugs does not work, and the majority of the population is starting to realize this.

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  • 10. At 4:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, EdwinaTS wrote:

    Those who think legalising drug use would solve the scourge of drugs have their heads in the clouds.
    Firstly, they seem to latch on to any apprarently good news about countries which legalised drug use, discounting the details. If these countries are so successful, wouldn't there be a vast number countries following suite? Wouldn't they be publicised and documentaries made about how successful they are?

    We aren't seeing that are we?

    In a country where the population has negligible inclination to use drugs, then I can see that legalising drugs makes no difference.

    But in our country, we have a huge proportion of people willing to use drugs even if they are expensive and illegal. There is something not right there.

    What is the harm of using drugs, it is beyond financial measure. The users hardly understand the harm, and it is left to their family and friends who suffer the consequence.

    If harsh sentences deter crime, why not narcotics use?

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  • 11. At 4:56pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    But isn't it a bit daft?

    The gov never has had control over drugs and their use/misuse. Prohibition does not work - it seems impossible to drum that into politicians or the sensation-seeking media and those of the public who simply don't understand. Prohibition pushes the problem underground with several consequences: 1) you lose sight of the problem; 2) you have no idea how big the problem is; 3) you have no control of the quality of substances feeding into the market risking health probably more adverse than from the pure drug itself; 4) a worthwhile educational spearhead is lost. Current education is largely about scaring people with misinformation - and most people know it.

    All that against a backdrop of approved drugs that are known to do an enormous amount of harm directly and otherwise. How can a government be expected to push a serious message under such conditions? A total of 20 deaths possibly linked to methodrone where there are hundreds of deaths per week somehow connected to alcohol?

    If the government has no clue about the size and shape of the problem how on earth can it come up with a feasible programme let alone monitor its cost-effectiveness?

    This impasse is thus to be expected. The gov has sought an answer in criminalising increasing numbers of people, especially the young, while driving supply into criminal hands; rather than solve the problem.

    Common sense and initiative have always been missing in government over taboos, which is how they and the noisy minority of unenlightened see drugs. It was the same with porn: the country was suddenly going to turn into a seething mass of sex maniacs if it was legalised. It never happened once the taboo had been broken in a High Court.






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  • 12. At 5:06pm on 07 Apr 2010, slightlyallthetime wrote:

    Comment number 1 says it all really,what else can you say,governments are idiots,we all know that,whoever gets in next will just provide us with what we've got already,including the same drug policies.
    Over the last 6 years I have attended 6 funerals for old friends,all in their 50's,all have died from the effects of excessive alcohol intake,at the last funeral in March,I met an old friend I haven't seen since 1972,he's been a heroin addict since 1970,when,incidentally there were only 1500 registered heroin addicts in the U.K,now it's probably more like 150,000; This friend,although he looks like he's been on heroin for forty years,with sunken eyes,lined face and no teeth,is still alive and still holds down a regular job.
    I can drive from my house in any direction and within half an hour arrive at a dealers house whereupon I can buy cannabis,cocaine,speed,ecstasy and any number of other new and questionable drugs on the market,all of which are unregulated and could have unknown and dangerous ingredients as part of their make up,I only use cannabis myself and have done so for over 40 years,never had any problem getting hold of it and never will,especially now that the home grown market has a foothold,competing with the imported stuff.
    The government drug policies past and present do not work and never will,ask a policeman who he'd rather deal with,a violent drunk or a stoned person,you know what the answers going to be,but the government are quite happy with the way things are because they rake in loads of money from alcohol sales and save loads of money on pensions they dont have to pay when alcohol users die young,it's quite outrageous really but it's a simple equation for a politician.
    Alcohol = ££££'s = early death = more ££££'s = power + self importance = idiot!!

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  • 13. At 5:23pm on 07 Apr 2010, downhome wrote:

    I work in IT doing capacity planning and I have a mantra which is also appropriate to this subject - you can't manage what you don't measure.

    Our society has alledgedly become safer thanks to huge numbers of CCTV cameras, stop and search laws, scanners, criminalisation, etc., but excessive use of these tools has simply forced the drug problem even further underground so that no one has a true picture of drug usage in the UK.

    Why can't we have some rational discussion about this subject? What can we learn from the experiences of, amongst others, the Dutch, the Swiss and the Portugese? Let's spend the money in a smarter way rather than following the knee-jerk reactions of an ex-postman (and hopefully soon an ex-minister). Trouble is, if the Tories win, we will have even less chance of a sensible debate on the subject.

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  • 14. At 5:49pm on 07 Apr 2010, circlingthedrain wrote:

    Whenever the case for legalising drugs is put forward, it's always stated that it will remove the criminal element of their distribution (with the implication that £x million of crime will be avoided).

    But, from the point of view of those criminals who have lost their revenue stream, do you think that they would just sit back and go 'It was fun having all that money while it lasted, but now we'll have to seriously cut back our lifestyle'?

    Any reduction in crime linked to drugs will simply be moved to another form of criminal activity - bank robbery, car theft, etc, etc - with possibly more impact on the general public.

    That's not to say that drugs shouldn't be legalised - just don't quote a reduction in crime as a reason for it.

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  • 15. At 6:05pm on 07 Apr 2010, pandatank wrote:

    #10 Edwina TS

    Your posting's a joke, right? Tongue in cheek? You really can't see the circularity and fallacies in your argument?
    A Govt. that would sack a scientist for stating (an indisputable fact)that more people die from horse riding than taking ecstacy and saying this "promotes legalisation/decriminalisation" is hardly likely to allow "that kind of pro-drugs propoganda" to be broadcast.
    More countries would follow Portugal & the Netherlands lead, but the investment and aid coming from the "war on drugs" (as well as the govt. looks much better with a "tough on drugs" stance)prevents that.
    Are you saying Portugal & Holland didn't have drug problems BEFORE they legalised/decriminalised? That's why they did it?
    There is more harm from their prohibition than from the drugs themselves. Prohibition actually promotes drug use and gives money & power to criminal gangs and terrorists.
    Capital punishment didn't stop people stealing sheep and they were only poor & hungry, why would harsher sentences deter an addict?

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  • 16. At 6:06pm on 07 Apr 2010, Sandy wrote:

    How to wreck the drug industry? Nationalise it!

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  • 17. At 6:06pm on 07 Apr 2010, Ralph124C41plus wrote:

    The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

    "It does what it says on the tin."

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  • 18. At 6:23pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    Mark Easton: We are not to know what would have happened if the strategy had not existed, of course, but this is yet another report which questions whether our approach to drugs is actually the best way forward.

    It might have let "the problem" come to a head sooner. As things stand, this problem has been increasing with the strategy in force so it's acted as smokescreen while the problem goes on festering in society unseen. It's no longer a question, it's obvious it isn't working properly. It needs a radical rethink. As another poster said, if you can't measure it you can't manage it - good-old FW Taylor stuff. The initiative so far has been a cobbling together of do-gooding whimsies based on prohibition. How can effectiveness even be monitored?

    It is a vital debate for Britain and yet, as I suggested here yesterday, I doubt it will be discussed with any vigour during the election campaign.

    Shame because it's one of the subjects I'd love to have debated. They say the economy is a big issue - well, obviously but no amount of rhetoric or mudslinging will convince anyone that any potential leader has the magic bullet - so it's issues like this: whether I'm getting value for my taxpayer money that concern me. And the fact that too many young people are being criminalised and the underworld gets away with its tax-free wealth...so indirectly my tax subsidises the illegal drug business.

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  • 19. At 6:39pm on 07 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    EdwinaTS wrote
    What is the harm of using drugs, it is beyond financial measure. The users hardly understand the harm, and it is left to their family and friends who suffer the consequence.

    Now is that a valid point or a symptom of a problem.

    'its beyond financial measure'
    Indeed what value does a human life have?
    None according to current prohibition. If it did have value above the cost of the drug and treatment then a young person would not be able to get addicted to or use a drug.
    Now how do you fix this problem.
    1 Kill all dealers?
    Would that still be okay if it was a 14 or 15 year old?
    a 12 year old running drugs for older gang members on an estate so they or the family dont get hurt?
    build more prisons give out life sentences at great cost to everyone in society(which I personally object to)?
    you could compare it to giving anyone who causes harm through driving being given the death penalty for their crime.
    That would soon sort out reckless driving would it not and reduce road accidents.?


    Stay as we are ?
    Heroin cocaine cannabis extasey bit of acid and a new age chemical market that is going to be massive beyond comprehension. This is already messed up with drugs of different harms and effects all bunched together in the wrong categories. all the current classification system is decide how much money will be involved on both sides of the market as cannabis recently proved both on the street and on the stock market, profits for both more than doubling over night. But did 1.5 million people give up cannabis or reduce smoking it I rather think not. So what happened instead .. oh that's right the humble home grower sprung up shops selling grow goods shops selling seeds.(can you ban a health food product?) in fact can you ban the sale of any item used in the growing of cannabis? So that's not going away ever no matter how much money you waste enforcing it, people will always turn to it especially as the price rises on cannabis and technology advances with LEDs and enviro lighting, even the strains are advancing with 10 week germination to flower/harvest. Cocaine has risen rapidly with 2 strengths available at different pricing and then the alternate crack market stemming from the cocaine trades. Then we have the explosion in heroin world wide, thankfully as were an isle we don't get the quantities some countries do get, but you only have to see that an illegal market cause great social problems. In Russia which boarders with Afghanistan there are 2.500.000 (million) addicts due to saturation of the market and domestic/socio economic climates. Then all this new stuff synthetics 100's of combinations on molecules with predictably bad outcomes for many users untried untested and soon to be banned only to be replaced the day before the ban...


    Use an exit strategy?
    No idea other than Transforms and my own personal beliefs from watching world wide drug issues.

    As yet the only thing untried but looks promising were its been allowed to happen.

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  • 20. At 6:44pm on 07 Apr 2010, Megan wrote:

    Maybe the wrong question is being asked.

    Instead of asking WHAT should the government be doing about drugs, perhaps we ought to ask IF they should be doing anything. Why is it their business what I choose to do, provided I don't harm anyone else as a result.

    It's just another area in which governments interfere without justification. Too much government appears to be the problem, even more than misdirected government.

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  • 21. At 6:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, Iain wrote:

    @EdwinaTS

    It depends on what you define as "the scourge of drug use". If that is simply people using drugs, then nothing will solve that. Ever. People have always consumed substances that make them feel better or happy and always will, and will do so whatever the potential punishment. Harsher sentences do not discourage crime; they simply make people more desperate not to be caught.

    If the "scourge of drug use" is crime, addiction and the physical dangers inherent in imbibing any drug (including tobacco and alcohol) then still, legalisation will not "solve" that, in the sense that these problems will still exist (as they do for tobacco and alcohol).

    The point is that legalisation enables society as a whole to manage the problems associated with drug use far more effectively than prohibition ever can, and without being a net drain on the budget. By bringing it into the open it can be regulated, taxed and made safer. People who are addicted to drugs can be offered rehabilitation (paid for by the tax on the sale of the drugs), in exactly the same way that the NHS supports smokers in giving up their habits.

    THe main reason that drug use is illegal in most countries is probably because legalisation is politically controversial, and every political party wants to hold on to power. The end result is that drug use is criminalised and pushed underground, out of sight of the "moral majority", and as a result significantly more harm is caused.

    The problem is that people confuse using drugs with the problems associated with drugs - it would be like, for example, saying that cars are bad and should be banned because of pollution and fatal accidents. The activity of taking drugs in itself harms no-one (except, in some instances, the person taking the drugs - and that's a choice and risk we should all be allowed to make). The problems are the crimes committed by those who are addicted to drugs; poor/uncertain quality and safety, leading to unnecessary deaths; the strain on policing and health services; criminal gangs seeking to control lucrative, unregulated markets and no control over access to drugs by children. None of those problems can be solved by prohibition and in many cases it simply makes them worse.

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  • 22. At 6:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, Geph wrote:

    My list of requests as to attitude on addictive drugs for candidates/canvassers; how do they propose:-

    1. AOD users be treated as human beings.

    2. OD users be supplied with quality-controlled substances under supervision by services.

    3. Decriminalisation of possession, how best swiftly to achieve it.

    As to EdwinaTS's remarks, I regret that I can only remark that there's none so blind as those that won't see.

    4. How to divert funds saved on policing, customs and legal work to redistribution of wealth.

    5. Research into why so many young people feel the need to be off their heads.

    6. Better education be delivered

    7. Realisation of early intervention be established.

    8. Achievement of destigmatisation.

    + Any more I think of, not necessarily in the order listed.

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  • 23. At 7:07pm on 07 Apr 2010, BradyFox wrote:

    No government has produced a workable policy on drugs. And when it doesn't work they just throw more money at it to show they are doing more.


    Much of the governments efforts to deter people from drugs by demonizing them has ill-effect, as the majority of the public know far more than the politicians do about what happens when you take them.

    When politicians read about the positive and negative experiences from taking a particular drug, they are merely reading words and have no concept as to what the user gets out of it. They see it so objectively that you cannot preach to someone who knows first hand what it's all about.

    All politicians know that the current stance on drugs does not work, they will all try and attempt to rehash the policy, but it still remains the same. And in the mean time, drug users have to buy from drug dealers, and are far less likely to seek medical and psychological assistance for doing something which is illegal.



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  • 24. At 7:19pm on 07 Apr 2010, The Curator wrote:

    Consecutive British and international Governments have their hands tied by the UN and, behind them, the US Government that have longstanding interests in maintaining a 'War on Drugs'. Whilst this statement smacks of conspiracy theories, the reality is that history links drug use with far reaching issues from immigration, female emancipation through to the US efforts to control South American communists. During the last fifteen years the Columbian Government has made efforts to explore alternative policies, however US sanctions made this unworkable, resulting in deficits that the country are still attempting to pay off. Where does this leave us?
    In the fog of international policy UK politicians have been content to hide behind headline grabbing sttements about being tough on drugs, when the reality has led to an open market controlled by criminality. In the meantime we are fed with contradictory statistics highlighting localised 'success' stories that do not equate to the bigger picture of a complete failure to tackle the risks associated with drug use and the criminality produced by prohibition. There needs to be a full debate on policy that brings in expert opinion, not politicians campaining in the run up to elections, or scientists who focus purely on purely medicalised responses to social and health issues

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  • 25. At 7:23pm on 07 Apr 2010, BradyFox wrote:

    circlingthedrain wrote:


    'Any reduction in crime linked to drugs will simply be moved to another form of criminal activity - bank robbery, car theft, etc, etc - with possibly more impact on the general public.'


    This will certainly be the case. However, the implementation of prohibition in effect cause organized crime. In order to sell drugs, you need a distribution network and a supplier, thus producing international criminal gangs. You cannot have the amount of drugs we see on the streets without being organized.

    Much of the old style crimes such as car theft, money robbery, prostitution have now all been implemented into this distribution system and are now impossible to stop. The revenue made from the sale of drugs globally is in the tens of billions, and this money goes into funding gangs setting up legitimate businesses and investments.


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  • 26. At 7:40pm on 07 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    EdwinaTS, number 10. Thank you for joining the discussion, I was beginning to think we'd run out of prohibition supporters (without whom there would be no point in the discussion). To answer your points I have to start at the very beginning.
    "Those who think legalising drug use would solve the scourge of drugs have their heads in the clouds."
    - Firstly the phrase "the scourge of drugs". This is far too simple a viewpoint and doesn't make the distinction between recreational or medicinal drugs, addictiveness, harm etc. I think that by now the phrase "all drugs are bad" has had its day - people have had the benefits of various drugs in a legal way for many decades, from novacaine when you need your teeth drilling pain-free (unless you enjoy pain)! Coffee for alertness and paracetamol for pain relief.
    Amongst the (currently) legal drugs we do have alcohol for altered perception but the problem with alcohol is that it tends to dull the senses and therefore cause boorishness and violence in those that overdo it and have some deep-seated resentments (which tend to be one and the same personality types, a bitter person wants to kick out). It's two main direct competitors are Ectasy, which makes you (over!)appreciate other people and cannabis, which breaks up repetitive behaviour, makes you feel great and leads to original thoughts and the ability to empathise with the other point of view. Just ask any policeman who they'd rather deal with, a drunk or a stoner. The answer will be pretty emphatic.

    "Firstly, they seem to latch on to any apparently good news about countries which legalised drug use, discounting the details. If these countries are so successful, wouldn't there be a vast number of countries following suite? Wouldn't they be publicised and documentaries made about how successful they are?"
    - The answer to this is that it depends on who stands to gain from this publicity. Documentaries cost money to make and influence to get through the system. There are many vested interests in keeping certain drugs illegal and the prohibition apparatus intself is one of them. Even as I speak I can see a helicopter hovering over the houses in the distance, probably looking for some poor thing that's growing a few cannabis plants illegally - because he can't do it legally, unlike in Czechovslovakia, a country which until recently had LESS freedom than us. Huge budgets are guarded jealously and if a documentary comes out that's too blatantly honest those holding the budgets will use their influence to block it, or at least dilute the effect.
    And that's why you're not seeing it - at least not in a big way yet, we (currently) have free speech on the internet.

    "In a country where the population has negligible inclination to use drugs, then I can see that legalising drugs makes no difference.
    But in our country, we have a huge proportion of people willing to use drugs even if they are expensive and illegal. There is something not right there."
    - I agree with both these statements but I think this proves that legalisation here WILL make a difference. The difference it makes depends on how it's done. My advice is to keep the classification system but redo those classifications to match the harm/addictiveness graph and remove the illegality. There should be a small range of properly produced and clinically-tested drugs on sale to ADULTS (with penalties to prevent sale to children).
    We should ban advertising of anything above a certain harm level - that level can be argued about between the health people, the industries involved and the advertising people. And we really need to bring cannabis out of the cold, irrespective of the big industries and their spineless politicians lobbying against it.
    Let doctors decide how best to treat addictions to the more harmful ones.

    "What is the harm of using drugs, it is beyond financial measure. The users hardly understand the harm, and it is left to their family and friends who suffer the consequence."
    - Again all you've showed here is the gutter press simplification of their favourite propanganda target. How can you say "the users hardly understand the harm" unless you separate the drugs you're talking about? If the drug is highly addictive, such as cigarettes, heroin or an extreme religion then those users probably learn to put the undoubted harm they inflict on others to one side to continue their addiction. Leaving it to organised crime will not work because it's in their interests to keep selling those very drugs.

    What needs to be realised is that society comes in many colours (something which people refused to recognise in a literal way until astonishingly recently) and that a fair proportion of people want to the freedom to use drugs in one way or another to add colour to their lives.
    Our job should be to try to gently turn people in the direction of the safest ones, and that will never work while they are all illegal.

    "If harsh sentences deter crime, why not narcotics use?"
    - Apologies, I didn't understand what point you were making here.

    BTW circlingthedrain, 14:
    "That's not to say that drugs shouldn't be legalised - just don't quote a reduction in crime as a reason for it."
    - We CAN predict a reduction in crime because when this is legalised the crimes committed will be those the whole population regard as REAL crimes, so the police's job gets easier. I'd report a thief, childbeater or reckless driver but wouldn't report a drug addict for what is essentially their own problem.

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  • 27. At 8:13pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    As with most prohibited things, the forbidden fruit effect comes into play. As marketeers know, the one way to sell something is to tell people they can't have it. The idea has been around since Adam and Eve.

    The government, for some moralistic reason, can't see that it's very prohibition programme probably adds more to the rank of addicts than if the thing were out in the open. Then we could start educating people sensibly, not along the current lines of scaremongering and uselessly tempting the unwary who will rely on peer advice and encouragement rather than the prattlings of politicians.


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  • 28. At 8:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, Framer wrote:

    What's a billion if it proves Labour cares by pointless interventionism and lots of middle class Lady and Lord Bountifuls get jobs advising the benighted.

    You should also add that the benefits drug and drink addicts get. maximum DLA (known as Drinkers Liquor Allowance) to hasten their end, with the top mobility component to pay for taxis to ferry drink from off-licences.

    But as addiction is an illness, according to Gordon Brown, these benefits must be paid in full.

    Many addicts get more in benefits than working people get gross p.a.

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  • 29. At 9:10pm on 07 Apr 2010, timk1969 wrote:

    Unfortunately I was hoping to read "Tackling problem drug use (674k Kb pdf) but it isn't a proper link.

    Drug prohibition is absurd and the sacking of Prof David Nutt last autumn monstrous behaviour on the part of Alan Johnson. Unfortunately not only is the continuation of the "war on drugs" politically expedient in order to calm certain ill-educated sections of the electorate, but also against the vested interests of the drinks industry, the tobacco industry, and the pharmaceutical industry. Sadly there will be no change while those interests hold the government in thrall to their money and power.

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  • 30. At 9:27pm on 07 Apr 2010, yellowsandydog wrote:

    "10. At 4:51pm on 07 Apr 2010, EdwinaTS wrote:
    Those who think legalising drug use would solve the scourge of drugs have their heads in the clouds.
    Firstly, they seem to latch on to any apprarently good news about countries which legalised drug use, discounting the details. If these countries are so successful, wouldn't there be a vast number countries following suite? Wouldn't they be publicised and documentaries made about how successful they are?"

    I agree with Edwina and find the hostility her posting has attracted to be sadly predictable. I was tempted not to read this article because I know what Mark Easton's approach to drug abuse is and I know every article he writes on the subject attracts the usual postings from his followers. I am glad I did, however. Treatment for drug addiction may not be cost effective, for all I know it may be cheaper to keep giving the addicts drugs until it kills them and maybe kills or traumatises a few other people in the process, but it is wrong. Anyway, it seems more like the choice between having my money stolen to pay for drugs or having it taken in tax to pay for drugs.
    Some posters write as if theft and drug dealing were the only crimes associated with drug abuse. Criminal damage, assault and murder are also common.

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  • 31. At 9:36pm on 07 Apr 2010, yellowsandydog wrote:

    "26. At 7:40pm on 07 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:
    - Firstly the phrase "the scourge of drugs". This is far too simple a viewpoint and doesn't make the distinction between recreational or medicinal drugs, addictiveness, harm etc. I think that by now the phrase "all drugs are bad" has had its day - people have had the benefits of various drugs in a legal way for many decades, from novacaine when you need your teeth drilling pain-free (unless you enjoy pain)! Coffee for alertness and paracetamol for pain relief."
    It should be clear that this discussion is about illegal drugs, not about medicines or coffee.

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  • 32. At 9:42pm on 07 Apr 2010, Geph wrote:

    Can Framer offer any evidence to support his assertion that many addicted benefit claimants receive more than working people earn gross p.a., please

    Specify the benefits receivable at which rates for example, and the cohort of working people to whom the are compared, whether these people are full time workers, and the median hourly rate paid to them, for example. DLA comes in three grades, from needing help to prepare one cooked meal a day, for which DLA of below £20 pw is paid, via the intermediate, which covers a higher level of personal assistance less than £90 pw, and the maximum, for those with the greatest mobiliy difficulties which I believe is another beneath £90 pw. So max DLA of say £200 pw is meant to buy you personal care and give you the ability to travel, on top of which you get the princely sum of £90 Incapacity Benefit, or thereabouts, to live Assuming that yoy don't have personal help with preparing meals you can by 4 take-aways, if you suffer with incontinence or cannot bathe or dress yourself you may well spend the £90 allowed for that, £90 might cover your transport costs. So, we're back to the basic £90 pw to live on, which is scarcely wealth beyond the dreams of Croesus, is it?

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  • 33. At 9:47pm on 07 Apr 2010, Greatreformact2011-2012 wrote:

    Yes, drugs policy is utterly nutty. I include alcohol in that. Drugs are personally and socially dangerous; their use needs to be carefully controlled. Despite this being obvious and widely recognised, alcohol is very lightly regulated and, as a result, available at low cost on virtually every street corner to whoever wants it whenever they want it.

    Equally, those drugs that are currently prohibited are left to a totally unregulated market of organised criminal gangs, with huge social costs across the supply chain. If supply is restricted by their illegality, it is not done so effectively, with those most vulnerable to misuse the most directly marketed too. This is not control, it is a twisted free market approach.

    Control of supply and regulation of usage with the specific aim of limiting social and personal harms should be the aim of drugs and alcohol policy. Legalisation of drug supply is an inevitable part of this. With some drugs this is easy, with some it is not; they should not be treated as a homogenous group.

    Legal availablility of heroin is by far the easiest decision. Available on presription to registered users, it would slash aquisitive crime rates and stabilise addicts, allowing for their underlying problems to be dealt with. It would also reduce the number of new users dramatically by killing the incentive for pushers to recruit the vulnerable. It really is obvious. Legalisation of something like cocaine (addictive and, unlike heroin, recreational) would be a far more complex and difficult step.

    Changes to the drugs laws should be matched by a tightening of alcohol laws. Legalisation does not have to be an argument for a free for all, it can be based on the view that ALL drugs, including alcohol, should be strictly controlled by the state, not left to the legal or illegal free markets to create havoc in our communities. Legalisation and nanny state are not mutually exclusive.

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  • 34. At 10:02pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    I noted the headline on the BBC News site:

    A ban on mephedrone and other so-called "legal highs" has been backed by MPs.

    Which about says it - always back to this outmoded, ecclesiastical, self-denying attitude that work is good for the soul and you should put up with it. Any allowance of pleasure outside that approved and tightly controlled by the government is outlawed. It might hook people on pleasure/escape and the last thing we want is people appreciating what their daily lives are really all about by dwelling on alternatives. Orignally it was "turn on, tune in and drop out", although drugs hardly explains the numbers of people who have dropped out. But those heady LSD days undermined the establishment. Democracy didn't come into it. An alternative democracy had to be stamped out.

    Why have so few people here emphasised the issue that really needs adressing: why do so many you people need to experiment with drugs?
    Is their life so bad (ironically when many are unlikely to own a home and have no role in society; have no youth clubs/centres, few approved passtimes, disinterested parents, have had all self-expression stamped out of them except violence)?

    Many are numbers doomed to work to earn money to consume while doped on television. That's their lot. For many, a bitter reality. Any kind of escape is better than facing a robotic life where people have no identity other than a name-plate. Unfortunately alcohol is stupefactive and releases pent-up inhibitions and urges uncontrollably.

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  • 35. At 10:08pm on 07 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    What prevents other countries going down the road of legalisation is the UN single treaty on narcotics. nothing more they are all allowed to work in the framework of their own drug acts. What is happening in some countries is they are wising up that normal people use drugs, this in turn coheirs countries as the user is no longer persecuted, will feel less threatened by the state and will overall tend to be more co operative with he state.

    The current attitude to drug users is the same as the attitudes towards Americas black population pre 1960. The imprisonment of individuals for drug use is no better than imprisoning gay men pre 1950's. Its also supported by the public this strange illusion that they are doing everyone a favour keeping drugs in the hands of organised crime.

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  • 36. At 10:09pm on 07 Apr 2010, Charles Jurcich wrote:

    People say we are not winning the war on drugs and therefore we should just give up.

    Just because people still get murdered in this country should we just give up the war on murder, or perhaps, give up the war on breaking the speed limit. The whole argument is illogical.

    Further many people seem to think that the only problem with drugs is crime (or indeed that it is a crime). This is wrong - Most of the people that have bullied me over the years ( and I get bullied alot) have been on drugs like cocaine when they have done it - and in most cases I have known this for a fact. Yet much of the bullying would never become a crime statistic, either because I could not prove it, or because technically it is not illegal, yet they have made my life a misery.

    Thirdly, Einstein has said that Not everything that counts can be measured! This is clearly true and often politicians have to deal with problems that cannot be measured - those that think they are clever by pointing this failure out, are not clever because they haven't yet realised such problems are a scientific inevitability which is why the world isn't run solely by scientists and economists - they should simply accept the world as it is.

    It is sad to see how so many people need to rationalise their addictions.

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  • 37. At 10:17pm on 07 Apr 2010, MikeVonDoom wrote:

    War on drugs, you say?
    Wouldn't want to go to war sober, that's as damn sure as mustard.

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  • 38. At 10:33pm on 07 Apr 2010, Doctor Bob wrote:

    We need an honest reckoning on why so many young people ever turn to drugs. If we refuse to tackle the root problem we'll never get anywhere.

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  • 39. At 11:30pm on 07 Apr 2010, Charles Jurcich wrote:

    Doctor Bob, I agree! I have been around people taking drugs for most of my life and I experimented when I was young ( i got out of it by the skin of my teeth!). I used to be a Computer Person and when I found a problem that seemed to be intractable I always assumed that there is more than one reason - that's why it's so difficult to solve, and most often it turned out to be a correct assumption.

    These are the possible reasons why young people take drugs (I could be wrong):Life is to complicated so I'll focus on being happy
    I don't understand pensions, how to keep a job, what the right thing to do is, so I'll try to have sex alot and take whatever drugs make me happy.
    If I find a job I like, I could get sacked the following month
    Because I won't find any real satisfaction in my job and no one cares if I am loyal. And If i'm good at my job I'll just get bullied by everyone else so - I'll try to have sex alot and take whatever drugs make me happy.
    My manager fancies me and keeps inviting me to his place and plying me with drugs - because his wife doesn't understand him
    I might as well take advantage of that, as I might get a promotion, and the sex and drugs make me feel better so I'll just go along with it.
    Perhaps you can think of other things to add to the list.

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  • 40. At 11:50pm on 07 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    doctor bob wrote:
    We need an honest reckoning on why so many young people ever turn to drugs.

    I think I may be able to answer that one Bob; because it's fun.

    I'm not a doctor but you can trust me on that one.

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  • 41. At 00:47am on 08 Apr 2010, Charles Jurcich wrote:

    Here is an explanation of why drugs prevent people from being able to socialise properly:

    In some imaginary past - where you'd go down the pub - the only thing you would really need to worry about is whether someone is drunk, sober or somewhere inbetween. That way you could adjust your behaviour so as not to cause offense or start a fight. You could do that quite easily because the other person is likely to be in only 3 possible states of mind.

    These days you have to watch out for

    • people who keep staring at other people, as they are probably going through the paranoia stage of being on coke - so you mustn't make eye contact or they'll think you are a threat;
    • people who keep coming up to you and telling you what your problem is - because they are over-confident and high on coke;
    • people who you've never met, yet call you a Geek or a Nerd just because of the way you look - this could be many different drugs

    And you have to determine all of this about the people around you just so you don't get beaten up - so that you can socialise normally.

    The more states of mind people are in - the less we can trust eachother and get on with eachother.

    More disturbingly, you have to carry out the same exercise in the work-place too.

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  • 42. At 00:55am on 08 Apr 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    #4 DoctorBob

    'It never happened once the taboo had been broken in a High Court.'

    Therein lies the answer, politicians will not (and cannot) do anything because they are answerable to the electorate, Judges however answer to a higher authority.
    The misuse of drugs act is predicated upon the advise of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). It has been shown that the current and previous Home Secratary has disregarded their advice bringing that whole area of law into disrepute.

    It is unlikely that a high court judge (looking to the future) will go against current government policy but the EU (who is not frightened of the UK Gov.) is more likely to see that the ACMD which was set up in response to UN guidelines holds more sway.

    They (the government) can hunker down in their bunker ignoring the inevitable or they can give the people what they want.

    Legalise it, Tax it and Regulate it.

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  • 43. At 01:24am on 08 Apr 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    29. At 9:10pm on 07 Apr 2010, timk1969 wrote:

    '.. Sadly there will be no change while those interests hold the government in thrall to their money and power.'

    Those interests, the drinks industry (alcohol), the tobacco industry (nicotine), and the pharmaceutical industry (various over the counter including caffeine in heart racing quantities in Lucozade Alert made available by GlaxoSmithKline) are no different to Shady Sam on the Street corner other than they pay taxes and (officially) frown upon organised crime in the UK.

    That they have immense lobbying power in Parliament and the media is without doubt but the more the link is made between them and ordinary 'drug dealing scum' (tm Daily Mail) the more those resources will be made available to the 'Legalise it, Tax it, Regulate it' movement.

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  • 44. At 08:53am on 08 Apr 2010, slightlyallthetime wrote:

    It seems to me that nothing much will change until we have a radical change in the way we all think as a society.
    Look at the recent child abuse scandal that has enveloped the Catholic church,500 Irish Catholic priests and "care" workers found guilty of systematic sexual and physical abuse towards children,supposedly in their "care",and not a single one of these perverts prosecuted,and this is probably only the tip of the iceberg,a closer examination of the system in this country would probably reveal much the same level of physical and mental abuse,all of this ruining childrens lives by people who are in positions of trust.
    Compare this to the level of attention given to eradicating drug use by children in this country,I watched one of those Police Zero Tolerance type programmes recently,roughly 10 coppers surround a house of a suspected drug dealer,the front door is smashed off it's hinges,the cops pour in shouting and screaming (all good TV for the Daily Mail reader),only to find about 10 quids worth of grass in a bag,which they then confiscate,I wonder how much that operation cost to implement.
    Which all leads me to,wouldn't these cops be better employed investigating the systematic child abuse dished out by these small minded,self deluded nasty little Catholics,who are indeed destroying childrens lives with their own brand of religious nonsense,with their recent new recruit ex PM Tony Blair and that Pope bloke at the helm,covering up all evidence of religious abuse.These perverts wield a huge amount of influence in this society and until they are marginalised and free thought can take a hold, we will have the situation we're in at the moment.
    Nothings going to change until we change the way we think,and as long as there is religion in society and small minded daily papers propagating their own brand of outrage,we've got ourselves a mentally sick society whereby a kiddy fiddling priest can escape prosecution and a teenager with a small bag of dope in his pocket could actually be imprisoned if the law was taken literally.

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  • 45. At 09:00am on 08 Apr 2010, Dukebluenose wrote:

    Yet more wasted billions by an inefficient, illiberal government that cares more about appeasing the media scaremongers and ignorant fascists than sensible policy. This is systematic of a political elite in this country (and much of Europe) that see themselves as some sort of guardian angel of the silly little citizens who need to be told what they can do with their own bodies.

    The prohibition of drugs does not work, and worse it criminalises a large number of otherwise law abiding and tax paying citizens and hands an enormously profitable and ever-expanding market to organised and dangerous criminals. Gun crime is almost exclusively drug related, and the gangs that cause much of the fear in this country are almost always funded by drugs.

    The worst thing is it would be relatively quick and easy to make an enormousely positive change to this country, but there are no politicians out there with the guts or wherewithall to do it.

    Legalise it: ensuring the supply is both pure and sourced from responsible suppliers - imagine how easily we good win hearts and minds in Afghanistan if we agreed to purchase opium directly from the people in return for them renouncing the taliban and supporting fair democratic elections (without US or western interference). Imagine how much better Mexico, Columbia etc would be if the all the people under the thumb of violent cartels were state employees supplying the western markets in return for fair wages and massive financial investment in their economies.

    Supply it: have efficiently run (no PC advisors/middle managers etc) state owned shops selling drugs to adults over the age of 18. The consumer is happy because he knows he is getting a good, safe product at a fair price that is legal.

    Tax it: The tax money made of drugs would be enormous, especially as you cut out all the criminal middlemen that take their cut. It only costs around $55 USD per kilogram to buy pure dry opium in Afghanistan - imagine the profit margin for the government if it was buyer, importer and supplier.

    Educate: Stop lying to both the public and children about drugs. It is a FACT that ecstacy, cannabis, steroids, amphetamins, LSD, MDMA, GHB and others are less harmful than both tobacco and alcohol, often by a long, long way. The papers need to stop reporting deaths as attributed to drugs when they are clearly not - of the 20 reported deaths linked to mephadrone, only one was proved, and that was due to a contaminated batch, which (probably) wouldn't happen if these drugs were legal and regulated like other consumer goods.

    And finally, to all those out there who want drugs banned because you feel they are harmful you are right, they are harmful - just like alcohol, cigarettes, kebabs, sweets etc but that doesn't give you the right to stop other people using them when all they are hurting are themselves. If you don't like something don't do it, don't try and stop others from exercising their rights as free people.

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  • 46. At 09:07am on 08 Apr 2010, HenriettaW wrote:

    Someone mentioned the failure of alcohol prohibition in the USA. If you read some of the novels of Raymond Chandler set just after the repeal of the Prohibition Act, it's still presented as 'cool' to be drinking all day, and alcohol consumption is thought really sophisticated. Nowadays I don't think many younger people in the USA think it's cool to be an alcoholic, and that view's gradually getting through here. We still get 'binge drinking' but increasingly it's seen as something very young or very stupid people do. If drugs were legalised it would take some time, but eventually they would not be seen as 'cool' by young people, as they wouldn't have the same aura of naughtiness and rebellion about them. To me there has always seemed something rather hysterical about the 'war on drugs' which reminds me of the homophobic rantings of some people - maybe they are protesting too much? Personally I've never taken illegal drugs and don't want to but if someone wants to try them in a safe and legal environment why should I be concerned, especially as legalising drugs would remove the power of criminals to control the trade and to get young people hooked. I have worked with police officers and I'm pretty sure that most of them would agree. Legalising drugs would not be a quick fix and the tabloid press would make a field day of any young person's subsequent drugs related crime or death, but in the long run it's surely the only workable strategy.

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  • 47. At 09:43am on 08 Apr 2010, U14414002 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 48. At 10:06am on 08 Apr 2010, U14414002 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 49. At 10:52am on 08 Apr 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    Still the mixed message problem.

    Is it a crime or is it an illness?

    People expect 'treatment' to have an effect on criminal behaviour and then get surprised when it does not.

    I'm just off with my knife to rob the first guy on the street that looks like he has a fat wallet. If I get caught, don't send me to jail, I'd like some 'treatment.' Or perhaps a free fat wallet each day, on the NHS. I'm sure this will make me better.

    Criminal behaviour presented as an illness - predictably not that likely to provide a good outcome.

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  • 50. At 10:53am on 08 Apr 2010, YOU ARE ALL INSIGNIFICANT WORMS wrote:

    '36. At 10:09pm on 07 Apr 2010, Charles Jurcich wrote:

    Just because people still get murdered in this country should we just give up the war on murder, or perhaps, give up the war on breaking the speed limit. The whole argument is illogical.'

    We don't have a "war on murder", we have laws to deal with murder when, sadly, the situation occurs - so YOUR whole argument is illogical.


    'Further many people seem to think that the only problem with drugs is crime (or indeed that it is a crime). This is wrong - Most of the people that have bullied me over the years ( and I get bullied alot) have been on drugs like cocaine when they have done it - and in most cases I have known this for a fact.'

    You get bullied a lot? Maybe getting bullied should be a crime.


    'Thirdly, Einstein has said that Not everything that counts can be measured! This is clearly true and often politicians have to deal with problems that cannot be measured - those that think they are clever by pointing this failure out, are not clever because they haven't yet realised such problems are a scientific inevitability which is why the world isn't run solely by scientists and economists - they should simply accept the world as it is.'

    A quote from Einstein then something about politicians dealing with problems, then people who think they are "clever" and that they are not because "such problems are a scientific inevitability"... and blah blah.


    'It is sad to see how so many people need to rationalise their addictions.'

    What, like your self-righteousness addiction?

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  • 51. At 10:54am on 08 Apr 2010, HardWorkingHobbes wrote:

    #41
    If you put a group of people in a room with unlimited alcohol they would get drunk, have a fight and throw up.
    If you put a group in a room with unlimited Cannabis they would get stoned, have a laugh and order pizza.

    Wouldn't you rather the bouncers at a club stopped bothering to search people outside the club for drugs but let them in and the bouncers spend their time inside the club making sure that anyone that does start to get violent gets caught, thrown out and prosicuted for GBH? That way responsible people can enjoy what they want in a safer environment.

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  • 52. At 11:06am on 08 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://ericcarlin.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/drug-politicking-“wash-up”/

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  • 53. At 11:13am on 08 Apr 2010, justlearning stuff wrote:

    Legalisation will not work, for a number of reasons as I see it.
    Speaking from experience, I have been clean now for 15 years, so I tend to know what I am talking about.
    When a person starts taking drugs for whatever reason the average out of 10 that will become a full blown addict is 2 in 10.
    Most will try it for a few years and then stop as it does change you very quickly.
    Nearly every addict I have come across in my life didnt wake up one morning and say I WANT TO BE AN ADDICT when I GROW UP!
    All I have met have issues ranging from abuse, to lack of parenting to anything you can imagine and possibly more.
    Many drugs apart from Cocaine and Alcohol do not make you violent as an addict I CAN tell you this. Speed does but an addict calls that poor mans coke!
    You have to take VAST amounts to get to that stage and for a LONG time in my experience. On the other hand Alcohol (which is a drug) you can manage it in one night.
    Drug addicts will steal to get what they want as MOST live in a world that you will NEVER see they live in hides and in secret, only knowing and mixing with eachother, like attracts like, they are paranoid, untrustworthy and unsociable.
    Saying this being an addict is no fun, you constantly need more and more whatever the drug once you are hooked and YES they know the consequences but the drive is far worse than the option of death, some even hope they do to escape, even though they will not admit it.
    It is a culture that has been around as long as anything else, but legalising it no, that will restrict the amount an addict needs and they will still do all the things they do to get it.
    The tolerance level gets unbelievable in some addicts, you cannot legalise because then you will get more addicts because its legal! as strange as that sounds, because most will not know that their hunger for the drug is going to rise rather quickly!
    Doing serious jail time is an option, But they cannot stop it in jails, I have known many gone in for soft drug abuse and came out with a hard drug habit, simply because it is out of your system quicker and cannot be tested so well.
    Went in for smoking pot came out as a burgler for heroine/coke.
    So I personally dont know what the answer is all I do know is that you will NEVER stop an addict unless you stop the source, or they WANT to stop.
    Same as people drinking you wont stop them until they want too.
    Plus an addict wouldnt want to buy from the Gvt as they would not pay tax on it. So they carry on stealing.
    I may have gone off topic a little and am sorry but people saying legalise should realise that legal will not make any difference at all, maybe a few I concede but not enough to make a difference.

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  • 54. At 11:35am on 08 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Charles Jurcich wrote:
    Here is an explanation of why drugs prevent people from being able to socialise properly:

    In some imaginary past - where you'd go down the pub - the only thing you would really need to worry about is whether someone is drunk, sober or somewhere in between. That way you could adjust your behaviour so as not to cause offense or start a fight. You could do that quite easily because the other person is likely to be in only 3 possible states of mind.

    Funny you should say that, I'm the person you really would not want to meet after one to many due to my mental health...

    So your pub drug is no good for me its no good for the people around me. I use pharmaceutical drugs to control my mental health but in the long run due to side affects which nearly ruined 20 years of marriage, I have HAD to turn to cannabis, after a life on pharmaceutical anti depressants and antipsychotics its a fair trade of and gives me a very stable life. Not for everyone but my community wouldn't say its a bad thing having me and my lifestyle/habits. We have achieved good things and improved quality of life. I don't like drugs I personally think they cause a great deal of harm in society and after a life of having to take them for mental well being wonder why people turn to them. My own brother spent a life addicted to class A drugs died eventually of a heroin overdose.

    I have to say though for all of it the only safe and long term logical course is to create a legal outlet for most drugs a clinical out let for heroin and sever cocaine/crack addictions and in turn bolster the prison terms for the dealing of drugs outside the state sanctioned network.

    There is nothing on this earth that will stop me using cannabis for my mental health problems, just as there are many other medical patients with many illness that are related to the human endocannabinoid network that cannabis helps who feel the same way.

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  • 55. At 1:32pm on 08 Apr 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    51. At 10:54am on 08 Apr 2010, HardWorkingHobbes wrote:
    #41
    If you put a group of people in a room with unlimited alcohol they would get drunk, have a fight and throw up.
    If you put a group in a room with unlimited Cannabis they would get stoned, have a laugh and order pizza.
    =============================================

    What if you put them in a room with unlimited amphetamines?

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  • 56. At 2:04pm on 08 Apr 2010, zaphod wrote:

    Im nurse who specialised in treatment of people with drug and alcohol problems for 15 years. I made the decision to get out and return to mental health nursing because I could no longer face working in a system which has little to do with people ceasing drug use. The Government/ NTA has spent money to increase the capacity of treatment services, which everyone working in the field welcomed.
    The promise was that the NTA would use a sound evidence base to find out what worked and then make sure it was funded. The problem was that from 1998 the “what worked” seemed to be strangely dominated by criminal justice views, with probation officers being given prominent positions in local DATs. The claim that people had choice, that treatment was tailored to individuals was in fact a PR invention only. People who in treatment for heroin dependence, the majority of those in treatment, had one option and that was Methadone or Buprenorphine maintainence. Continued illicit drug use, alcohol use or criminal activity was not seen as an indicator of a failing treatment.
    Doctors are encouraged to provide sick notes or support incapacity claims on the grounds that the those addicted are unable to work. Pilot schemes were set up providing injectable morphine, again as a maintenance treatment with no exit strategy or plan.
    Iillicit drug use, alcohol use or crime by those in community based drug treatment are seen as an indication that the person obviously needs more prescribed Methadone, Buprenorphine or Morphine.
    There is a reason the number of drug related deaths has increased and it is because more people are now being prescribed high doses of medication to “treat” drug problems, large amounts are provided in ”take away” prescriptions rather than supervised use.
    The key factors in drug related deaths from illicit drugs are always the same key players in different combinations Heroin Methadone Benzidiazipines Alcohol (now we have the new legal highs like Methadrone to join the list)

    Any individual Dr, Nurse or drug worker who tries to control the amounts of dangerous medications available, who wants to provide safe, controlled and supervised use is usually libel to have the regional NTA manager landing on them from a great height accusing them of not being person centred, not being receptive to the needs of the client, of being punitive if you have the brass neck to suggest to a individual that they should stop using heroin/crack/diazepam/alcohol whilst in treatment.
    Drug treatment in the last 13 years is not about stooping drug use, its about crime reduction and only crime reduction. People in drug treatment can get as much prescribed as they want for as long as they want. Until of course its proved that (what anyone working in drug treatment will tell you) the effects on reducing crime have been NIL.
    The only thing that’s changed is that people get caught less because they no longer commit crime whilst in a anxious, agitated state caused by withdrawal syndrome because they never go through withdrawal anymore thanks to free prescribed medications.
    Withdrawal and the negative effects of drug use on your health, lifestyle, relationships etc were the main reason people decided to make the choice to get help and eventually get of drugs. Crisis led to ending up drug free. Not anymore, people no longer reach crisis point.

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  • 57. At 4:30pm on 08 Apr 2010, HardWorkingHobbes wrote:

    #55
    =============================================

    What if you put them in a room with unlimited amphetamines?

    =============================================

    throw in a couple of exercise bikes hooked up to the national grid and you could probably power Swindon

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  • 58. At 5:13pm on 08 Apr 2010, YOU ARE ALL INSIGNIFICANT WORMS wrote:

    #55

    =============================================

    What if you put them in a room with unlimited amphetamines?

    =============================================

    ...or cheeseburgers.

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  • 59. At 6:15pm on 08 Apr 2010, telecasterdave wrote:

    Now we have Alan Johnson, who has no qualifications at all, well except being a union rep, making decisions on banning drugs. Johnson puts politics first.
    Labour just find experts or army chiefs that will toe the party line.
    Labour the party of deceipt and lies.

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  • 60. At 6:16pm on 08 Apr 2010, New Roads wrote:

    Addiction can be difficult to treat, there is no proven way for everyone. A lot of people can get out of the cycle. It is terrible to see...

    -Clay
    www.newroadstreatment.com

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  • 61. At 8:19pm on 08 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 62. At 05:37am on 09 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    A genuine conversation I had with a friend on a 'bus.

    "Hi Daisy, haven't see you in ages. How are you?"
    (blah, blah)
    "I have a new job!"
    (What's that then?)
    "I am a drugs tsar, or something, you know."
    (Who is that with?)
    "Oh, the government, or is it the NHS, or someone. I don't know, but it pays well!"
    (So where you off to now?)
    "Oh, a meeting. It's in a local college. There's lots of us and we meet twice a week."
    (What do you discuss?)
    "Oh, this and that, y'know. Mainly what we are supposed to be doing. They told me it would take a while to get to know what to do! But I have a two year contract so that's good isn't it!"
    (Didn't they tell you what you are doing in the job spec?)
    "S'pose so, but it was all so vague."
    (Well they must have thought you have got the right experience then?)
    "Well I did help Mum out with my younger brother and his solvent sniff didn't I. You remember that don't you. Big panic."
    (What else do you know about drugs then?)
    "I know what a spliff looks like don't I, ha ha ha. But really I took the job for the money and it is two years contract and I still have eighteen months left to run on it, and I am kinda important now, so ta ra..."

    Say no more.

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  • 63. At 11:07am on 09 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Mr Davidson: "Have you considered giving them free drugs as a means of cutting crime in order to make everybody else's lives better?"....

    What is this, sense coming from a MP, well I never thought I'd live too see this day, thank you Mr.Ian Davidson MP.

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  • 64. At 1:33pm on 09 Apr 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    58. At 5:13pm on 08 Apr 2010, Some other person with a comment wrote:
    #55

    =============================================

    What if you put them in a room with unlimited amphetamines?

    =============================================

    ...or cheeseburgers.

    -----------------------------------------

    Would the cheeseburgers be given away free, at tax payers expense, to obese people?

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  • 65. At 2:34pm on 09 Apr 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    jon112uk wrote:
    Would the cheeseburgers be given away free, at tax payers expense, to obese people?


    Isn't that what Jobseekers allowance is ?
    Our local McDonalds seems to be full of working age people time I go past (I'm retired), plenty of them look like they're a Happy Meal away from a heart attack and I'm guessing a fair few of them would be buying their burgers with the benefits they receive from us taxpayers.

    So yes, we do give cheeseburgers away for free, at taxpayer’s expense and to obese people. We just do it indirectly.

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  • 66. At 3:46pm on 09 Apr 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    #65

    Not sure that's the same as the 'free drugs' proposal we keep hearing from Mark and the drugs lobby. The free drugs proposal is rather more equivalent to...

    Free cheeseburgers, but only for obese people who's health is suffering. Skinny/healthy people would not get free cheeseburgers.

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  • 67. At 4:50pm on 09 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Swiss_heroin_model_reporting_benefits.html?cid=5423558
    Key facts
    Nearly 25,000 heroin addicts live in Switzerland.
    Two out of three users are in treatment programmes.
    14,500 addicts are being treated with methadone, 1,300 with heroin and 500 with buprenorphine.

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  • 68. At 6:27pm on 09 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    55. At 1:32pm on 08 Apr 2010, jon112uk wrote:
    "What if you put them in a room with unlimited amphetamines?"



    They certainly wouldn't order pizza.

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  • 69. At 9:00pm on 09 Apr 2010, PAMatt wrote:

    I don't think anyone has an answer to the treatment of Hard Drug users. Sadly they are generally beyond effective treatment unless they are determined to rid themselves of their self abuse. I'm not saying that they should be abandoned or consigned to the waste basket but that the only real hope lies within themselves. The only realistic solution for our society is to continue to try to stop the initial use of drugs and the transition to a drug culture in younger people. Unfortunately this is difficult because of the marketing of the designer drugs which are given the attributes of being cool and safe. Almost being the "brand leader" like any other superior "brand" be it clothing, trainers, games or electronic products. Unfortunately this brand kills, and very effectively. Sometimes because no one knows what the effects are for this week's chemical substitution on the synthetic drug core, but also because no one knows anything about the purity of its concoction. In Victorian times drugs were cut with arsenic, lead oxides and antimony but we are more sophisticated now and can cut with far more dangerous products. Somehow we must convince the young and vulnerable in our society that they can die or be permanently destroyed by their recreational drugs. They are no longer invulnerable even though that is what they believe.

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  • 70. At 10:41pm on 09 Apr 2010, mary james wrote:

    I'm glad that PAMatt raised the question of impurities since this and the occasional stronger batch is what causes most of the deaths from recreational drug use.
    There are many heroin users on a maintainance dose which allows them to live a normal life and contribute to society. We only hear of the tragic cases because that's the kind of "news" we are fed. The press has an interest in maintaining the fictions around illegal drugs because it is easy to manufacture "shock-horror" stories if the reader is largely ignorant of the facts. The government compounds this with sites like 'Talk to Frank'
    Now that the internet has helped spread knowledge, less people are fooled by the Reefer Madness prohibitionists and the content of the above Comments reflects this. The tired old stories have been comprehensively demolished time and time again and experiments in other countries (including the USA) have proved successful over a long time period.
    When I worked in the Middle East I was allowed to buy alcohol from a 'booze shop' sanctioned by the local government (Sharjah). My allowance was dependant on the amount of entertaining I was expected to do. I had a 'booze licence' which specified how much I could buy. I see no reason why recreational drugs could not be sold the same way by the government. It would guarantee standardisation of supply and give the government a foot in the door when they finally manage to impose ID cards and RFID chips on us all. Easy and cheap to set up and run....and very, very lucrative.
    Can't see Postman Al buying it though. Might endanger his peerage.

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  • 71. At 11:20pm on 09 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    49. At 10:52am on 08 Apr 2010, jon112uk wrote:
    Still the mixed message problem.

    Is it a crime or is it an illness?

    People expect 'treatment' to have an effect on criminal behaviour and then get surprised when it does not.

    I'm just off with my knife to rob the first guy on the street that looks like he has a fat wallet. If I get caught, don't send me to jail, I'd like some 'treatment.' Or perhaps a free fat wallet each day, on the NHS. I'm sure this will make me better.

    Criminal behaviour presented as an illness - predictably not that likely to provide a good outcome.

    =====================================================

    I think you will find drug taking is only a crime because some faceless bureaucrat has decided it is.

    Justifying a way of life purely on moral ground will always be full of pitfalls. Lets not go there.

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  • 72. At 01:23am on 10 Apr 2010, willow wrote:

    The arguments supporting the legalisation of currently illegal non-therapeutic drugs seem to me to miss an essential point.

    Currently alcohol and nicotine are the most significant legally available "recreational" drugs. These both cause large numbers of deaths. According to the ONS alcohol causes just under 10,000 a year and smoking over 110,000 premature deaths each year.

    The numbers of people drinking and smoking are, of course, very large numbers. There are, perhaps, 40 million drinkers and 8 million smokers.

    Statistically all the smokers and around one tenth of the drinkers are consuming harmful amounts.

    High volume illegal drugs like MDMA, cannabis, ampethamines and cocaine might have been used by anything up to 25% of the population.

    But, a massive but, the use of these drugs is severely restricted in practice. Users can always get access to the drugs but the rates of consumption are, in practice, far lower than those of legally available drugs.

    If recreational drugs were made easily available consumption must inevitably rise. In a legal market these drugs, most of which started as pharmaceuticals, would be produced at very low cost by efficient production techniques. As with alchohol Government would raise large tax revenues bringing the retail prices up to a higher level but certainly less than the current black market prices.

    With prices down, availability up, promotion possible and the product in demand sales would soar.

    Many, not all, recreational drugs induce powerful physical and psychological dependency. Many of these, alcohol for instance, require many exposures and other factors to be aligned before dependence becomes probable.

    Consumption rising must lead to a greater number of drug dependent users. Once drug dependent a whole range of health, social and other problems follow for the individual and the wider society.

    The desperate individuals will still need to find the money to pay for the drugs. Low level crime will not go away just because the user has to pay a legal supplier instead of an illegal one.

    As many have pointed out alcohol and nicotine do enormous damage. The scale of that damage is directly related to the scale of consumption.

    Legalisation means more consumption, which means more social and health damage.

    Please don't try to pretend that legalisation means anything less than uncontrolled supply to adults. Which means, in practice, virtually uncontrolled supply to children.

    Once permitted supply exists the system will leak like a sieve. I would be legally able to buy, say, heroin and then, illegally, sell it on to any foreign drug dealer who offered a decent markup. Great business for the dealers. No need to smuggle drugs half way around the world, buy them legally. We would find ourselves home to some of the wealthiest businessmen in the world, able to freely supply their goods and services across the EU. Excellent, a huge boost to the UK export trade.

    Doesn't seem to have removed the criminal element though. We would just have rebranded them as successful entrepreneurs.

    Advocates of legalisation say "prohibition doesn't work, look at America in the 1920s". Actually, if properly handled, prohibition does work. It is prohibited to smoke in any enclosed public space in the UK. The prohibition has worked just about perfectly and saved, according to the BBC, tens of thousands of people from heart attacks.

    Reverse the argument. Cannabis smoke is, despite local exceptions, rarely encountered at present by non-smokers. Cannabis smoke shares many known carcinogens with tobacco smoke. Make it legal and widely available and in ten or twenty years time tens of thousands will be dying each year from cancers of the mouth, throat and lungs.

    Personally, paradoxically, I find myself drawn towards a "liberal" attitude to recreational drugs. I dabbled a little, didn't really get into it but didn't think it was the big deal everyone seemed to think. I always worried more about the chances of getting glassed in a pub and avoided smoking because I didn't like the thought of dying from cancer.

    Then I got the Punk "straight edge" and became hard core clean.

    I'm still hard core clean and still a punk at heart. So, I don't too much care what you choose to do, so long as you don't give me a problem. I would express that more succinctly but moderation awaits.

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  • 73. At 02:50am on 10 Apr 2010, Bernie wrote:

    While their drugs policy is determined by the editor of the Daily Mail, little realistic prospect of progress exists.

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  • 74. At 09:32am on 10 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #72

    Why the pre-occupation with deaths my friend, or the harmful side of recreational pursuits. Smoke of any kind has the same lethal carcinogens wherever it comes from including a family car, a barbecue, or a cooker. And of course we have a very real issue with fertilisers and food, as demonstrated by the butchery of the humble honeybee.

    And isn't sugar a drug, salt a drug, exercise a drug, TV a drug, conversation a drug, and so on. How harmful can these be, in the wrong hands of course? They "cause" deaths, if you start looking for the "evidence" that is.

    Statistically we are certain to die; it is just the route that statistics haven't a hope in hell of producing, demonstrating and presenting as evidence. It is just that there is certain to be a "drug" somewhere along the line.

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  • 75. At 11:17am on 10 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    The Netherlands has a liberal attitude to drug taking and even they are having to take a firm stance against a new phenomenon called 'drug tourism'. In Roosendaal and Bergen-op-Zoom authorities are closing coffee shops in an attempt to disuade 25,000 French and Beligan 'drug tourists' from coming to the two towns. The authorities said they could no longer cope with the traffic congestion, crime and unlicenced dealing associated with the 'drug tourism'. Terneuzen has also announced that it is to tighten its local by-laws. It seems that legalisation has increased social problems in the Dutch border towns with Eschende being a prime example of receiving thousands of Germans each year just for the drugs. Maastricht is plagued with 1.5 million 'drug tourists' per year. There are 16 coffee shops and local police estimate that there are over 100 'soft drug supermarkets' (illegal stores where you can purchase more than the legal quantity). Police say the levels of crime are three times higher than in other metropolitan areas such as The Hague. So by the sounds of it legalising drugs doesn't reduce criminality in fact it brings even more problems.

    If the Netherlands is experiencing this surely the last thing we need to is be moving towards legalisation.

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  • 76. At 2:47pm on 10 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    OTT. The problems the Dutch face just show that even a half hearted approach doesn't work, neither does prohibition, so there is only one other solution, cross the board legalisation. Then at least the authorities can actually try and control who can access drugs, i.e. kiddies. I'm sure Holland has far less of a drug problem than the UK does, so it says something about the Dutch approach.

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  • 77. At 4:51pm on 10 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    willow_too wrote:
    But, a massive but, the use of these drugs is severely restricted in practice. Users can always get access to the drugs but the rates of consumption are, in practice, far lower than those of legally available drugs.


    If users can already get access to drugs then why would legalising them make the associated problems any worse ?

    By your own admission anyone who wants them can already get them so why would making them legally available result in more people using them ?

    Would you try Heroin just because it had been legalised ?
    I wouldn't.

    Alcohol is legally available yet I haven't touched it in over ten years, Cannabis isn't legally available yet I'm a regular smoker of the stuff, I spent about ten years regularly using ecstasy, LSD and Magic Mushrooms at weekends, the legality of it never affected my use and I only stopped using them because I wanted too.

    The legality of drugs has absolutely no influence on my decision to use them, it never has and never will and I suspect I'm not alone in feeling this way.



    "The available evidence suggests that those jurisdictions which have decriminalized personal cannabis use have not experienced any dramatic increase in prevalence of use." - National Drug and Alcohol Research Center. 1994. Patterns of cannabis use in Australia. Monograph Series No. 27, Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra, Australia.


    "The evidence is accumulating ... that liberalization does not increase cannabis use [and] that the total prohibition approach is costly [and] ineffective as a general deterrent."
    - L. Atkinson and D. McDonald. 1995. Cannabis, the Law and Social Impacts in Australia. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice 48.


    "It has been demonstrated that the more or less free sale of [marijuana] for personal use in the Netherlands has not given rise to levels of use significantly higher than in countries which pursue a highly repressive policy."
    - Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. 1995. Drugs: Policy in the Netherlands: Continuity and Change. The Hague.


    "General deterrence, or the impact of the threat of legal sanction on the cannabis use of the population at large, has been assessed in large scale surveys. These studies have compared jurisdictions in the USA and Australia where penalties have been reduced with those where they have not, and rates of use have been unaffected. ... Since no deterrent impact was found, this research illustrates a high-cost, low-benefit policy in action. Therefore, if any penalty is awarded, it should be a consistent minimum one. ... The greatest impact on reducing the harmful individual consequences of criminalization would be achieved by eliminating or greatly reducing the numbers of cannabis criminals processed in the first place."
    - P. Erickson and B. Fischer. 1997. Canadian cannabis policy: The impact of criminalization, the current reality and future policies. In: L. Bollinger (Ed.) Cannabis Science: From Prohibition to Human Right. Peter Lang, Frankfurt, Germany. 227-242.


    "The available data indicate that decriminalization measures substantially reduced enforcement costs, yet had little or no impact on rates of use in the United States. In the South Australian community, none of the studies have found an impact in cannabis use which is attributable to the introduction of the Cannabis Expiation Scheme [decriminalization.]"
    - E. Single et al. 2000. The Impact of Cannabis Decriminalisation in Australia and the United States. Journal of Public Health Policy 21: 157-186.


    "The Dutch experience, together with those of a few other countries with more modest policy changes, provides a moderately good empirical case that removal of criminal prohibitions on cannabis possession (decriminalization) will not increase the prevalence of marijuana or any other illicit drug; the argument for decriminalization is thus strong."
    - R. MacCoun and P. Reuter. 2001. Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes. British Journal of Psychiatry 178: 123-128.


    "Fear of apprehension, fear of being imprisoned, the cost of cannabis or the difficulty in obtaining cannabis do not appear to exert a strong influence on decisions about cannabis consumption. ... Those factors may limit cannabis use among frequent cannabis users, but there is no evidence, as of yet, to support this conjecture."
    - D. Weatherburn and C. Jones. 2001. Does prohibition deter cannabis use? New South Wales (Australia) Bureau of Crime Statistics: Sydney.

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  • 78. At 5:26pm on 10 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    #76. bansis

    Across the board legalisation is not the answer for three reasons. First it would cost us a lot of money, second it will not stop criminality as has been shown in The Netherlands and third the UK will become a centre for drug tourism and all its associated problems as has also been evident in The Netherlands.

    I hardly think being allowed to openly sell Cannabis without fear of prosecution is being half hearted. In fact the Dutch are reknowned for their liberal attitudes. I think even they are getting fed up now.

    So far I've not heard one convincing argument for legalisation.

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  • 79. At 6:08pm on 10 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    OTT so your happy as a tax payer enforcing these laws whilst the government hands over more money to organised crime.
    2007 cannabis markets were worth 4 billion in the UK at today's price its close to 9 billion, not to mention all equipment has taxes payed on it.
    Cannabis for all the Law is basically legal until your caught, they recon that on average the equipment marketers are worth close to 8 billion. Money from hobby growers is supporting mortgage payments etc. I wonder just how much of the drug market supports the wider economy.

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  • 80. At 6:16pm on 10 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    # 72:

    I would be legally able to buy, say, heroin and then, illegally, sell it on to any foreign drug dealer who offered a decent markup. Great business for the dealers. No need to smuggle drugs half way around the world, buy them legally.

    ==========================================

    Sorry but this makes no sense whatsoever. Why would people buy drugs at a mark up from a dealer who would then probably cut it when they could buy them legally?

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  • 81. At 6:32pm on 10 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    OTT, but there isn't any convincing reason for it too remain illegal. Governments say that drug prohibition sends a message to the public, that it will not be tolerated, yet millions of people use illicit drugs. You say legalisation would cost too much but currently its costing us billions upon billions. Acquisition crime due to drug addicts costs communities billions, and then there is the cost of enforcing and prosecuting prohibition in our ports and airports and across our communities, on top of that the extra costs the NHS and other services have too budget for. Prohibition is costing us lots of money. With a legalised system, you could tax it, farmers can grow it, in most cases, and currently do in some cases (opium and Cannabis). It would create jobs, and cut acquisition crime. As Ian Davidson MP said "giving them free drugs" would reduce the amount of crime, because people wouldnt need to steal to fund their habit, it would also reduce crime in other ways, by vastly reducing the profits of criminal gangs, and reducing their ability to cause crime. It would also reduce crime because people wouldn't be getting arrested for smoking a spliff. That would free up the police, they could focus on other issues. The problem with Holland is it isn't legal, it is decriminalised in certain areas(certain zones in Amsterdam and Rotterdam). So that is why they suffer from drug tourism, legalisation wouldn't suffer this problem as it would be legal in each and every town, people wouldnt need to congregate in decriminalised zones. Also I don't see an issue with extra tourism, to me this is yet another benefit of legalisation, extra jobs and revenue into the economy. BTW the associated problems of drug prohibition are very evident in the UK, we have the worst drug figures in Europe, yet we have some of the strictest drug laws in Europe, we are obviously doing it wrong.

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  • 82. At 9:21pm on 10 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    "OTT so your happy as a tax payer enforcing these laws whilst the government hands over more money to organised crime."

    The government doesn't hand money over to organised crime. They would be if we legalised drugs. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act any money or property accrued by criminals through crime is confiscated.

    "2007 cannabis markets were worth 4 billion in the UK at today's price its close to 9 billion, not to mention all equipment has taxes payed on it."

    I'm sure its worth a lot but I fail to see the connection. Alcohol raises a lot of revenue to unfortunately it is dwarfed by the costs of treating people with alcohol related illnesses.

    "Cannabis for all the Law is basically legal until your caught"

    Cannabis is illegal full stop.

    "they recon that on average the equipment marketers are worth close to 8 billion. Money from hobby growers is supporting mortgage payments etc. I wonder just how much of the drug market supports the wider economy."

    The money from the drug market isn't supporting the economy. Paying mortgages isn't a means to support the economy.

    "You say legalisation would cost too much but currently its costing us billions upon billions."

    The cost of treating people for alcohol related problems is 3 times the revenue raised. More drug users, more associated problems more money to treat them.

    "With a legalised system, you could tax it, farmers can grow it, in most cases, and currently do in some cases (opium and Cannabis). It would create jobs, and cut acquisition crime."

    Legalisation, as with everything, will involve the Government. Tax revenue will increase, costs will either be driven up by demand or simply because of a monopoly after all it is worth, what did you say £9bn. Would you exempt drugs from VAT or would you place another tax on top of it. Are you going to make it affordable enough for people on benefits. Those that can't afforded will just get it from somewhere else. As in the Netherlands there may arise an illegal market in drugs. How would you stop the international drug networks, negotiate with the Drug Cartels in Latin America? Would you have an amnesty for all criminals involved in the drug industry, after all they will all become legal and become businesses which in turn will be taxed which in turn will drive up costs.

    "It would also reduce crime because people wouldn't be getting arrested for smoking a spliff."

    In England and Wales people are usually cautioned for possession of a small amount of Cannabis. They aren't prosecuted.

    "The problem with Holland is it isn't legal, it is decriminalised in certain areas(certain zones in Amsterdam and Rotterdam). So that is why they suffer from drug tourism, legalisation wouldn't suffer this problem as it would be legal in each and every town, people wouldnt need to congregate in decriminalised zones."

    They suffer from drug tourism because people can get their hands on the drugs without being prosecuted so that's why they suffer from drug tourism. Same could happen here. The Dutch drug policy is a national one and therefore applies to the entire country there are no zones as you call them.

    "to me this is yet another benefit of legalisation, extra jobs and revenue into the economy. BTW the associated problems of drug prohibition are very evident in the UK, we have the worst drug figures in Europe, yet we have some of the strictest drug laws in Europe, we are obviously doing it wrong."

    Extra jobs perhaps, extra revenue perhaps but as we have seen with alcohol the cost of treating the problem is 3 times greater than the revenue raised. Paying people will mean that these new companies would have to make a profit driving up prices. Market forces will also drive up costs. I believe under Labour companies have seen a 70% rise in tax legislation. Drugs would have to be removed from the international drugs cartels as money is often used to fund other illicit activities such as wars etc.

    Crime levels may drop slightly but there will still be acquisitive crime and if we suffer from drug tourism we may experience something similar to Maastrict where crime has risen.

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  • 83. At 10:04pm on 10 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    The government doesn't hand money over to organised crime. They would be if we legalised drugs. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act any money or property accrued by criminals through crime is confiscated.


    If only that was true. or are we invading every country other than the UK to claim back this money.

    The government controls the price of drugs full stop they have a little chart that governs the price of drugs. go look at all the claims 'by moving up a category we will drive up the price to put off users' in the real world to the user its just an extra robbery a week for problematic users, for low level users it just means they become dealers and get their drugs for free. I know several people that haven't bought personal cannabis in many years.

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  • 84. At 10:11pm on 10 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Extra jobs perhaps, extra revenue perhaps but as we have seen with alcohol the cost of treating the problem is 3 times greater than the revenue raised

    lets tax alcohol in the same way drugs are with an average 1000% mark up on production price that will pay for all the alcohol drug users. I have no problem with that at all
    £5 for a half pint seems fair £8 for a shot of generic scotch £15 for the really good stuff.
    I mean after all looking at the strength of a drug a bottle of scotch would lay me flat out on my back for £10 I would have to smoke about an ounce of good green to get in the same state. But no cant hurt alcohol as the cider drinkers proved.

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  • 85. At 10:20pm on 10 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    The money from the drug market isn't supporting the economy. Paying mortgages isn't a means to support the economy.

    If your not paying your mortgage out of your wages and spending all that on luxury items then your supporting the economy while the drugs buy your house.... your house gets paid the bank makes its interest , interest allows the banks to lend more more small business start up.. which part of the economy do drugs not support ?

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  • 86. At 10:41pm on 10 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    Time to correct a number of comments, I'll pick on a few at random:
    72, Willow:
    "Make (Cannabis) legal and widely available and in ten or twenty years time tens of thousands will be dying each year from cancers of the mouth, throat and lungs."
    - That is an utter fallacy. Do you seriously think that with over 3 million cannabis users in this country they haven't got enough data to prove cannabis causes cancer if it actually did? If they could, they would. Cannabis is the constant target of a series of studies solely aimed at badmouthing it, and if that isn't enough the media are in on the game. Take a look at this link and tell me if you have any further doubts on that fact:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/nov/06/drugs-bnp
    (You'll note how the two drugs with the highest reports-deaths ratio are the two closest competitor's to currently legal drugs).

    75 - OTT
    "The authorities said they could no longer cope with the traffic congestion, crime and unlicenced dealing associated with the 'drug tourism'."
    - Yep, "the authorities" probably DID say that but then you have to ask WHY they said that. Methinks 'someone' has got to them. Unlicensed dealing comes about by non-legalisation, (by very definition) and the Dutch still have that. Traffic congestion is about the poorest excuse for assaulting civil liberties I've ever heard and as for the alleged crime:
    http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2246821.ece/Netherlands_to_close_prisons_for_lack_of_criminals

    You have to accept that Holland is the current target of prohibitionists BECAUSE of its success. It is a HUGE embarrassment to them and anything they can force through to make it APPEAR that it's not a success will be done. In fact the whole prohibition apparatus is only holding at all because each country is not THINKING FOR ITSELF. The assumption is that everyone else is doing it, so it must be OK. That's why we get world wars and whole countries hold the most ridiculous beliefs as fact. (Funny how using the word 'war' gets so many people onside with blind belief).

    78, OTT
    "I hardly think being allowed to openly sell Cannabis without fear of prosecution is being half hearted. "
    - You hardly think at all. It's half-hearted because there's no real control whilever it's illegal. That's why we only ever got as far as "decriminalisation for a small personal amount" in our own country, legalisation would have been an OBVIOUS success. Instead we get this 3rd rate pretend tolerance that allows any competitor drug to be labelled with the 'C' word. Hey presto, no tax revenues, dealers keep their monopoly and the prohibition lobby get to claim that "it didn't work". Hence Gordon Brown comes in, picks up the bait and gets the ACMD to rubber-stamp his hugely flawed opinion. But then it got interesting, you see they DIDN'T rubber-stamp it because it wasn't true. Hence all the fuss with the sacking of Professor Nutt (to which the media responded with a smear campaign against him). Who needs science when you have authority?

    "So far I've not heard one convincing argument for legalisation. "
    - Try actually READING these blogs then, there are dozens.

    82, OTT
    "Alcohol raises a lot of revenue to unfortunately it is dwarfed by the costs of treating people with alcohol related illnesses."
    - This simply back up the reason to legalise cannabis; it's a competitor to alcohol and less harmful in SO many ways. Or you could go the other way your argument leads and ban alcohol, (pictures drug barons rubbing their hands in glee).

    The reason why current prohibition doesn't work is VERY simple:
    People want certain drugs, legally OR illegally --> Those certain drugs are illegal --> They get them from criminals. --> Organised crime prospers, addicts remain addicted because it's not in criminals' interest to get them straight and police lose a lot of respect (and there's more secrecy).

    But if you don't feel up to going that far just yet, then we need to legalise a small range of the least harmful drugs, before those Chinese labs deliver one that's REALLY damaging.

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  • 87. At 11:15pm on 10 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://blog.norml.org/2010/04/09/new-strain-of-medicinal-marijuana-announced/

    very nice what was taht about breeding high THC's ..

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  • 88. At 00:46am on 11 Apr 2010, cmulder003 wrote:

    so how are things hoin in portugal who did just that.

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  • 89. At 02:49am on 11 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    @ cmulder003

    Despite the intrinsic data interpretation issues, indicator statistics at the six year post-implementation milestone of Portugal’s drug decriminalization law is still very intriguing:

    * Cannabis use has risen significantly amongst Portuguese youths; cocaine and ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) use has slightly increased.
    * Heroin use has decreased significantly.
    * There has been a dramatic increase in utilization of drug treatment in response to CDT efforts and an increase in drug treatment providers and resources.
    * The number of schools providing drug education has increased.
    * New drug-related HIV and Hepatitis C & B cases have significantly decreased despite an increase in the number of people treated for those conditions.
    * Drug-related deaths due to “other drugs” has increase significantly but is offset by a huge decrease in opiate (mainly heroin) related deaths resulting in an actual overall decline (59%) in all drug related deaths by 2003.
    * Drug-related crime slightly increased by 2003, attributed to increase police focus on interrupting large-scale drug trafficking operations.
    * The proportion of prisoners sentenced for drug offenses decreased because only traffickers were jailed after 2001.

    This data, even with its limitations appears to demonstrate that Portugal’s drug decriminalization law may have led to overall increases in marijuana and other drug use but reduced many drug-related public health problems. Glenn Greenwald of the Cato Institute joins others with a much more positive view on the same data. Greenwald believes the data clearly demonstrates that drug decriminalization in Portugal is a great success. I tend to agree with Caitlin Hughes and Alex Stevens of The Beckley Foundation who look at the future of drug decriminalization in Portugal as being dependent partly on the evidence-base and partly on national views as to whether it is the best policy response for that country. Both of these factors are hard for outsiders to assess. Still, if drug decriminalization could similarly expand substance use disorder treatment and prevention while positively impacting drug-related crime and drug-related health problems in this nation, maybe it is time to give this controversial policy deeper consideration.


    Source: http://www.cnsproductions.com/drugeducationblog/uppers/196/#

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  • 90. At 07:25am on 11 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    "83. At 10:04pm on 10 Apr 2010, CommunityCriminal wrote:
    If only that was true. or are we invading every country other than the UK to claim back this money. The government controls the price of drugs full stop they have a little chart that governs the price of drugs. go look at all the claims 'by moving up a category we will drive up the price to put off users' in the real world to the user its just an extra robbery a week for problematic users, for low level users it just means they become dealers and get their drugs for free. I know several people that haven't bought personal cannabis in many years."

    Governments don't control the price of drugs. What they do is to change the outcome should you get prosecuted. The drug dealers alter prices day in and day out. No it isn't. I know people who are on £100 or more of heroin or cocaine or both and it doesn't increase the amount of robberies, burglaries etc they do. I also know of the medical consquencies of continuous injection and smoking too.

    "84. At 10:11pm on 10 Apr 2010, CommunityCriminal wrote:lets tax alcohol in the same way drugs are with an average 1000% mark up on production price that will pay for all the alcohol drug users. I have no problem with that at all £5 for a half pint seems fair £8 for a shot of generic scotch £15 for the really good stuff. I mean after all looking at the strength of a drug a bottle of scotch would lay me flat out on my back for £10 I would have to smoke about an ounce of good green to get in the same state. But no cant hurt alcohol as the cider drinkers proved."

    Thus pushing the price of alcohol way out the reach of most alcoholic and thus creating further problems. I can see a 1000% mark up on drugs which will serve to only exclude most drug users and they'll go elsewhere or commit more crime in order to pay for their habits. I assume that this 1000% mark up would have VAT on top.

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  • 91. At 07:56am on 11 Apr 2010, Ralph124C41plus wrote:

    # 82
    OTT, you say that "The cost of treating people for alcohol related problems is 3 times the revenue raised."
    What is the source of this please?

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  • 92. At 08:07am on 11 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #78 et seq

    I am not sure what your point is OTT. Legal or illegal drugs cost money to produce, to market, to supply, to consume, etc. That money recycles around economies, as does the cost of the consequences of using drugs, be they discarded beefburger meals and boxes, or a discarded syringe in an alleyway. The food industry has recognised food as a drug for a long time, with additives that stop you feeling satiated and make you consume more. A corporation wanting to "make a living" and not considering the consequence of their activity or the impact on health costs. Drinks production, soft and hard, follows the same route where it is an additive that makes you thirsty or relaxed that is intended to make you want more. Soft or hard consequences follow accordingly and you measure these to fit your arguments.

    What you seem to see as a gross human activity is actually life. It has been this way forever. Trying to use the law as a weapon against being human is of little use against people who have minds of their own and habits they are happy to pursue.

    Who are you to say they are wrong? Do you not have a habit of coming on here to argue the toss? Why do you want to control what a perfectly well adjusted person wishes to do with their private time? Do doctors not train precisely to deal with the injuries we inflict upon ourselves by being alive? Or is it that you wish to be moral about where other people's money goes?

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  • 93. At 08:43am on 11 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    #86. Euforiater

    Of course because its a big conspiracy. Have a word with yourself. The Dutch are probably fed up of having millions of people descend on their country every year to get their high. I assume the illegal supermarkets have sprung up to cater for the foreigner who wants more than the legal 5 grammes. Other than that you'll have to ask the Dutch authorities. As for traffic congestion an 25,000 people are bound to effect traffic levels. Its not a civil liberty to get stoned out off your head.

    In the Netherlands they not concerned with prohibiting drug use. What they do is to have a strict control on each individual drug market and segregating user of soft drugs from going on to take hard drugs. They do this by providing safe clean places for people to take soft drugs. You should read their policy then perhaps you'll understand.

    "- You hardly think at all." I'm in good company then given the drivel you've just wrote.

    Coffee shops have controls on them. Read the Dutch drugs policy. People who sell Cannabis has controls on them. Read the Dutch drugs policy. People do not fear being prosecuted because the Dutch put the emphasis on treatment and combating the international drug networks rather than punishing the individual. Read the Dutch drugs policy. The Dutch have removed the threat of prosecution which has lead to all their problems.

    You have to ask the Dutch why they feel it is necessary to take control of their lax drug laws and why they are seeing an increase in foreigners committing crime and increase in illegal drug supermarkets etc. As for labling everything the 'C' word. The Dutch recognise that Heroin and Cocaine wreck lives and that if people are going to take Cannabis that it will lead some onto taking hard drugs. They put controls in place to stop this from happening. Legalising drugs doesn't necessarily mean that drug dealers will loose their monopoly as they will become businessmen/businesswomen who will control the price of drugs.

    The ACMD's role is to advise the government on drug policy not influence it. The government chose to ignore his advice, for whatever reason, he didn't like his authority being challenged and resigned. The Government has an obligation to weigh up the evidence before it and then make a decision. Research conducted by the British Lung Foundation shows that smoking just three splifs a day has the same affect on the lungs as 20 cigarettes. According to their research Cannabis has 50% more cancer causing carcinogens then tobacco. So there is evidence to suggest smoking Cannabis is more dangerous than smoking cigarette is the government simply to ignore this scientific advise because Professor Nutt says so.

    "- Try actually READING these blogs then, there are dozens." I have read some of the blogs and not one of them has convinced me that we need to legalise drugs.

    Scientific evidence is inconclusive as to how harmful Cannabis is and legalising it will just put us in same position. We could of course legalise it and turn the drug barons into businessmen who are profit driven. A single Cannabis plant can cost a couple of thousand pounds and I don't see them reducing the price anytime soon. With the government taking their share in tax the price will probably remain relatively high. This of course probably won't reduce crime levels as people may simply go out and commit more to fund their habits. Unless you are suggesting that the welfare state should pay for their drug use. (Picture the drug barons rubbing their hands in glee at making big money and it being legal). There is nothing to suggest legalising drugs will make this all go away.

    Current policy in England and Wales is to automatically test those that are arrested for committing an acquisitive crime and if they test positive then they have to submit to an appointment with a drug worker who will offer a whole range of services. The courts can also enforce conditions for people to attend drug treatment programmes. I work in partnership with one of these programmes and they have had some success in getting people off drugs and out of crime. Their primary role is to offer their service users stability in what can often be very chaotic lifestyle. The only problem with credibility is that the drug workers often come over as patronising and don't know what they are talking about. My team however addresses this problem by employing an Offender Support Worker, who is a former prolific offender and former drug user (she used heroin and cocaine and I belief she started with Cannabis). The OSW engages drug users on their level i.e. she knows what they are going through and it seems to have had a big success as she now have service users actively seeking her help. It doesn't always result in a good outcome but you can only do so much at the end of the day its up to the individual to want to get off drugs.

    How do we assess the risk of each drug?

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  • 94. At 10:24am on 11 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    93. There are plenty of studies that say the gateway drug theory is false, there are others that claim alcohol and tobacco are gateway drugs.

    "Legalising drugs doesn't necessarily mean that drug dealers will loose their monopoly as they will become businessmen/businesswomen who will control the price of drugs." There is absolutely no evidence for this, there are already highly trained and regulated drug dispensers, called Pharmacists. Surely these people would make the best legal drug dealers. There are already consumer bodies set up too protect consumers, trading standards et cetera, so the argument about price fixing is as relevant as anything else that is regulated and legally sold in the UK.

    You havent put forward 1 valid argument for prohibition imo, it seems your approach is stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

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  • 95. At 10:52am on 11 Apr 2010, rupert wrote:

    If I have read everyones comments right we all want the Government to decriminalise drugs create ways to sell through vendors and tax drugs than use the money they make from tax to treat those that are addicted to the drugs and need help. Sound a bit like alcohol without the friday and saturday night destruction and robberies by addicts. This has to be a good idea for debate. I'd vote for the party that came up with this as a plan rather than waisted the vast amounts of money I pay in tax on challenging crime and treating addicts, maybe my tax could go down after all!!!!!!!!!

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  • 96. At 12:14pm on 11 Apr 2010, General Melchett wrote:

    We have faced problems like this before with the London gin epidemic. This appears to have been cured not by prohibition but by supply side taxation. Why not try something that works?.

    Part of the reason may be alcohol advertising, at present the media gain revenue from alcohol advertising. The hostile response to anything that might possibly compete with a drug that they make money from is entirely rational from a business perspective. So to help a more rational debate to take place alcohol advertising needs to be banned as soon as possible.

    Also the Alcohol industry can lobby and make party political donations to people who support the current failing policies. It should not be unreasonable for suppliers of dangerous recreational drugs to be barred from lobbying and making political donations.

    In the US powerful lobby groups such as the private prison conglomerates and the Unions also fear loss of revenue and jobs should a rational approach to drug control take place, so from their perspective a continuation of a irrational failing policy makes sense. How this is dealt with is going to be a major problem.


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  • 97. At 12:17pm on 11 Apr 2010, stfual wrote:

    The first world pro-drug argument seems to be that:-
    We have some harmful drugs in society so lets legalise the rest, Or We need recreational drugs because rich first world people should not have to cope with reality.
    I mention first world because in the third world if you take drugs, people steal everything you have and then either you die because you cant afford medical care, food and accomadation or you give up drugs and get your life back on track.
    I agree with the right of individuals to self harm. Please dont use my taxes to pay for your drugs, the repair of your health, or to pay benefits because you are unable to get out of bed and feed yourself and your family. Dont ask other nations in the world to cut you a break because they spend their spare time creating, improving, exercising, educating, building, or inovating while the British spend their spare time stoned.

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  • 98. At 1:31pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/charity-that-sterilises-addicts-to-come-to-uk-1940722.html

    This is quite shocking and should never be allowed to take away the right to life because you have made a mistake and are not offered proper help with the problem.

    Beyond creation what is life?

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  • 99. At 2:48pm on 11 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    stfual Drug abuse happens in every part of the world, including places like China, many 3rd world countries suffer with drug and alcohol abuse. I don't want to legalise drugs because they are dangerous, I would prefer prohibition was lifted to make drugs safer, and to make our communities safer. Most drug users don't need your hand outs, most are ordinary people, who work and pay taxes. The British economy is the 6th largest worldwide, not bad for a bunch of stoned layabouts...

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  • 100. At 3:11pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Wright wrote:

    Ralph124C41plus said:

    The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

    "It does what it says on the tin."

    Trouble is it doesn't. We now have nearly 40 years evidence that it doesn't work. While this has been in force drug use has increased year on year. Now is the time for some fresh thinking.

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  • 101. At 4:54pm on 11 Apr 2010, Chazz Trinder wrote:

    I wonder how many people arguing that law enforcement and the threat of imprisonment does nothing to prevent drug taking and that therefore drugs should be legalised would apply this logic to other crimes.

    Fox hunting for example is illegal and punishable by a prison sentence but, according to the drug enthusiasts, prison does not deter crime and crimes that cannot be deterred should be legalised. Is it time to legalise fox hunting?

    Why assume threat of prison deters one crime but not another? The threat of prison does not deter everyone from committing crime but it prevents enough crime to make our prisons and police forces a worthwhile investment.
    The people arguing for legalisation of drugs are either drug takers or potential drug takers who are unhappy because the law inhibits their drug taking. Why else would they be so passionately insistent that drug taking, alone of all crimes, must be legalised. I am sure fox hunters would like to see fox hunting legalised .
    The plea of criminals to have their crimes legalised should be regarded with contempt. Keep drugs (and fox hunting) illegal.

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  • 102. At 5:08pm on 11 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Chazz, you 'point' makes a parallel where there isn't one. Murder, rape, theft, fraud and fox hunting are not like taking drugs. All but one affect others, one is a victimless crime, the others aren't. Face facts taking drugs isn't evil, you just believe that. "The people arguing for legalisation of drugs are either drug takers or potential drug takers who are unhappy because the law inhibits their drug taking." Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, unfounded and baseless generalisations.

    "Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

    -Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President.

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  • 103. At 5:21pm on 11 Apr 2010, Ralph124C41plus wrote:

    # 100

    Sorry John Wright, that's just my point: the 1971 Act has promoted the misuse of drugs!

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  • 104. At 5:42pm on 11 Apr 2010, Chazz Trinder wrote:

    In reply to Bansi at 102.
    You fail to answer my main point - why assume threat of imprisonment cannot deter drug taking when it is known to deter other crimes ?

    The argument that drug abuse only affects the drug taker is nonsense anyone with a drug addicted child or spouse can tell you that.

    You might be surprised to learn that I am not as drug naive as you might think. I was a weekend user of an assortment of drugs for several years in my youth – amphetamine was my favourite. I started by smoking cannabis - as it was then considered cool and fashionable (this was years ago) and not the commonplace it is today. Having lost my illegal drug virginity I soon went on to sample the other drugs including even heroin. Yes I know there are people whose only illegal drug is cannabis but in my experience most pot smokers do go on to take other more dangerous drugs. Like it or not cannabis is a gateway drug.

    The reason I stopped taking drugs was the hassle and paranoia involved in obtaining illegal drugs and the fear of imprisonment (sentences were much stiffer back then). If not for that I might have ended up like my son - a hopeless heroin addict at twenty – dead at 27.

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  • 105. At 6:24pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Like it or not cannabis is a gateway drug.

    Does this mean that fruit and veg are the gateway substances to alcohol as they are both sold by the same people in the same building.

    the claim that cannabis is a gateway drug is rubbish. what is the first drug introduced to people?
    The gatepost DRUG alcohol, is the first ALTERED STATE a young person experiences. Then it is all down to life's influences, personal judgement and choice for some nothing more.

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  • 106. At 6:49pm on 11 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    I would say that punishment doesn't deter crime, as we punish criminals yet we still have criminals. Prisons are full of drugs, how is putting a drug addict into a locked box full of drugs punishment.

    "The argument that drug abuse only affects the drug taker is nonsense anyone with a drug addicted child or spouse can tell you that." It is not nonsense, because the vast majority of drug users are not hard drug addicts, they make up a small minority of drug users. The only crime most drug users commit is under the MoDa, most drug users don't need to steal to fund their habit, their honest wages pay for it. Im not saying every drug user has a job and is not a drain on society, there are some, but on the whole many are not.

    I have never tried heroin, because I don't want too. The legality of it wouldn't persuade me to as well. I know plenty of cannabis users who wouldn't touch harder drugs. the problem with the current drug laws is it covers a whole range of different substances, with totally different degrees of danger. you talk of living with a drug addict, though the drug addict wasnt addicted to every single drug named on MoDa, just one or two maybe, so a drug like cannabis, which IS relatively safe compared to other legal and illegal drugs gets tarred with the same dangerous drug label as crack and heroin. As it stands, the whole illicit drugs issue in the UK kills less that alcohol alone, combined with smoking the legal drugs kill far more people.

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  • 107. At 6:53pm on 11 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    CommunityCriminal...

    Crikey, my first drug was alcohol, your right. Though I was force feed gas&air just as I entered this drug infected world.

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  • 108. At 6:53pm on 11 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 109. At 7:00pm on 11 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    Hmmm - the only drug I'm addicted to unfortunately is legal - nicotine. Wish I'd never started - but hey, life is full of choices. I think maybe that's what makes life so interesting. Unless of course you are a Daily Mail reader - the definition of banal - let's all conform and be the same as everyone else - bit like an Enid Blyton story - ah the mind shrieks.

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  • 110. At 7:42pm on 11 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    To the moderator:

    Why is my comment 108 still in moderation - nearly 2 hours - what is in my comment that should warrant this? Please explain?

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  • 111. At 7:52pm on 11 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    Oh what a lovely war (how joined up government really works);

    Afghan farmers reap cannabis harvest worth £61m

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/afghan-farmers-reap-cannabis-harvest-worth-16361m-1941431.html

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  • 112. At 7:55pm on 11 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    Chazz Trinder wrote:
    "why assume threat of imprisonment cannot deter drug taking when it is known to deter other crimes?"



    Why do we have to assume, we have all the evidence we need to know that the threat of imprisonment does nothing to to deter drug taking, or dealing. 300,000+ heroin addicts, a few million regular users of cannabis, tens if not hundreds of thousands popping pills at the weekends...and the fact that any and every drug is available to whoever wants it....including under 18's.

    If you want a more draconian country there is Singapore, they execute dealers but the still have a pretty big problem with heroin, or China, they have a growing heroin problem.

    If people aren't deterred by the death penalty why do you think they would be deterred by prison?

    Or you could look back in history to the US and their alcohol prohibition, drinkers weren't deterred by prison, neither were the bootleggers. People who normally wouldn't drink were drawn into the illicit lifestyle because it was the hip thing to do.

    It could possibly be that the drug user doesn't understand why altering ones mind is a crime...and to be honest neither do I.

    I think what we should do is

    Regulate, Tax & Educate, Educate & Educate some more!

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  • 113. At 8:12pm on 11 Apr 2010, _dark_crystal_ wrote:

    #97 "I agree with the right of individuals to self harm. Please dont use my taxes to pay for your drugs, the repair of your health, or to pay benefits because you are unable to get out of bed and feed yourself and your family."
    That's exactly my view. I think that the more welfare a society introduces, the more dysfunctional it becomes. Inevitably welfare becomes a reward for bad behaviour, and when you reward something, you get more of it.

    #98 "charity that sterilises addicts to come to uk"
    I don't know if you've actually read the article, but sterilisation is VOLUNTARY. To say that the charity's work is morally wrong is incredibly shortsighted. Can you imagine the chaos of growing up with alcoholic or drug-addict parents? You think that's desirable?

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  • 114. At 8:37pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    110. At 7:42pm on 11 Apr 2010, Fedupwith Govt wrote:
    To the moderator:

    Why is my comment 108 still in moderation - nearly 2 hours - what is in my comment that should warrant this? Please explain?

    indeed (22 hours)

    85. At 10:20pm on 10 Apr 2010, you wrote:
    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain.


    all I did was show how drug money contributes to the economy..

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  • 115. At 9:00pm on 11 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    #98 "charity that sterilises addicts to come to uk"
    I don't know if you've actually read the article, but sterilisation is VOLUNTARY. To say that the charity's work is morally wrong is incredibly shortsighted. Can you imagine the chaos of growing up with alcoholic or drug-addict parents? You think that's desirable?

    Yes I did read it first step to eugenics.. Disabled people next ?

    No I don't but I also feel that offering money to people when they are at one of the lowest points in life will only lead to more cost when they get life back on track and start claiming for reversals of sterilizations and infertility treatments.

    Another point to this is unless the sterilization is permanent then it is open to abuse, multiple coil fittings and removals at different doctors, addicts can easily obtain other identities.

    Also why should it be down to a charity to pick up after the laws failings.? Its our money again that pays for this. Donations from the public is one of the last things said in the article. Don't we already pay enough to sort out the problem? 1.2 billion just for the problematic users...

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  • 116. At 10:43pm on 11 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    Hi OTT,

    Thanks for your reply to my points (93). When I sent that reply I did have a twinge of guilt about the "hardly think" comment, in fact I wasn't sure it would get through, so sincere apologies for that, it wasn't called for.

    I suppose the thing that gets me so much about your replies is that they seem to combine all the attitudes that I find comes from the official prohibition line; an assumption of authority as if talking to kids, the "I'm not convinced so that's all that matters" attitude and the underlying assumption that legalisation means a free-for-all.

    I'll only make ONE point in response - I won't have time what with reading up on the Dutch Drugs policy! That's the one about the drug barons making money from it being legal. Surely you must realise that the only reason organised crime is attracted to this industry is its very illegality - removing competition from those that can't afford to be caught breaking the law. Otherwise wouldn't the drug barons avoid the risks themselves and just be in a legal industry like car building or software?

    I love it when serious issues like this are discussed in this open way - we get the chance to air ALL the facts so readers can decide for themselves instead of just being force-fed the "official line". I suppose that's what Mark's discussions are all about.

    Anyway, once again, apologies for being a tad rude, thanks for giving us an insight into all of the work you do and good luck with it - I hope you have better luck with those "drug workers that often come over as patronising and don't know what they are talking about. "
    :-)

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  • 117. At 00:13am on 12 Apr 2010, Framer wrote:

    Five days since your last blog Mark.

    Are we not paying you enough?

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  • 118. At 02:08am on 12 Apr 2010, oliver stieber wrote:

    This is a workable solution the the very serious problem of illegal drugs that could also be extended to cover the problems of Alcahol and Ciggarets that I belive cause more problems and illness than all the illegal drugs put together.

    First I'll cover some of the problems caused by drugs being illegal that will be solved by this proposal.

    1: Drugs pump vast abount of money into crimial gangs and fund wars in other countries.
    2: The Government makes no tax revieniew on the sale of drugs
    3: There is no regulation on the quality or purity of drugs
    4: Dealers want to make money, it's in there interest to make addicts
    5: There are a very large number of drug uses who cause no problem but are treated as criminals and have to do things in secret, it in human naturet to do things you shouldn't do.
    6: Users aren't really sort out by the police they have to be a bit clumbsy to get caught and when they are caught they either get no end of cautions (George Michel) or end up going to court and getting slapped with a £30 fine which is nothing to anyone except the poor. This can only be because the police and courts no that penalising a user is both pointless and unfair.
    7: You can buy as many drugs as you want, well just about
    8: Re-habilitation programms are often very poor, give poor advice and aren't able to suggest things like taking a small dose of anphetamines to come off a cocain addiction and then reduce the anphetamines and you should be drug free, because amphetanines are also illegal.
    9: Addicts commit a large amount of crime often against vunrable people to fund their habbits.
    10: Interacton between illegal drugs and proscription drugs aren't well known.
    11: Pablo the drug mule would have been fine if there was no reason to smuggle drugs in him
    12: People take drugs to self medicate when there may be far better proscription medicins that the doctor can proscribe.
    13: People are litley to cover up their drug use when going to the doctor causing a: problems with diagnosis and treatment b: a poor record of the health problems caused by drugs.
    14: A vast amount of resources are spent of fighting the 'war' on drugs even though it should be faily obvious that you can't win it.
    15: Due to the lack of quality control overdose is a great risk.
    16: No real practical advice is availalbe on drugs except for don't take them their bad.
    17: Users can be stigmatised by the rest of society.
    18: Because of the free availablity of very harmfull drugs like alcahol and tabaco and the cultural acceptance of them most of the population turn to thease insterad of one of the less harmfull illegal drugs. (that's not to say all illegal drugs are less harmfull)
    19: no-one really cares what class a drug is, well except to only stick to the class A's coes their the good one's, it's the same £30 fine or a caution whatever you caught with.

    and I'm sure there are many more.

    The one, reasonably simple and practical solution to this is as follows.
    introduce a license for premisis to sell drugs,
    users have to get an ID card with some biometrics to purchase drugs (I would say you must be over 25 for most things, 21 for some less harmfull less adictive things, and 18 for things that aren't really dangerious or addictive atall)
    The ID card allows them to buy a certain amount of drugs over a period of time, the ammount they are allowed to buy is based on the addictiveness of the drug and how harmfull it is in preparation both the the user and the anti-social behaviour the user may cause when on the drug. This should be high enough for recreational use, but low enough that few people if any become addicts. You could say aim for less addicts proportinally to the number of people addicticted to something legal and reciently deregulated by the government like gambling and less harm than something like mountain climbing or crossing the road.
    Information about the users use of drugs is shared with their doctor so the health risk and benifits (becauese illegal drugs can have health benifits too e.g. Ketamine for depression and panick attacks and even addiction to other drugs, excatcy for helping with relationship problems or amphetamines for add / adhd that can make adults lives an absolute nightmare but because the drugs aren't licensed for proscription to adults doctors hardly ever proscribe them) can constantly be assessed, the doctor could also reduce the users allowance potentially down to zero if they think it's causing or axasabating a medical problem.
    if a user causes anti-social behaviour then their access to the drug they were taking is withdrawn.
    A user can go to their doctor and say they are addicted where by they are placed on a proper rehabilitation program funded by some of the tax revinue generated. They are also given access to a quantity of drugs to satisfy their addiction and an affordable price, the drugs have to be taken under monitored situation on the licensed premisis and the qualtity of drugs they recieve is gradulay reduced or replaced with a less addictive drug or whatever process is best for tackeling the addiction (of the prople I know who take drugs those with Ketamin habbits gave up shortly after they started taking ketamine every day and it no longer affected them so they just stopped taking it, I doubt frank will give you that advice). This will prevent addicts turning to the black market to get their drugs and if no one has any reason to go to the black market to buy poor quality drugs from criminal gangs then the black market and all the associated criminal activity it creates and funds will all but vanish.
    The levels at which people are getting addicted to drugs can be used in turn to limit the amount of drugs that people are allowed to buy so it won't take long to get the true level that minimises addiction.

    Some people will abuse the system by getting their mates to buy them drugs as well and some drugs being sold on. but the people getting their mates to buy more drugs for them would probably have brought that many drugs if not more drugs from the current illegal black market and the black market created would have a minimal amount of crimial activity since it would probably be little more that people buying drugs they have paid tax on legally and flogging them onto their mates for an elevated price and why pay more than you have to pay from the licensed premisis.

    Because each transaction can be recorded stock control of the licensed premisis can be tightly controled.

    There could also be a policy of boosting your drugs allowance by say 25% or something when it's a special occasion like your birthday or new-years so users don't even think of turning to the black market when they fancy getting a bit higher than normal.

    I'm sure you can see how the same process could also be applied to Alcahol and Nicotone based products, no more dunks beating people up and ending up clogging up A&E before they die of liver failure, and all the Tabacco uses would probably switch over to something relativly harmless like an electronic cigarette or nicotone pills.

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  • 119. At 08:45am on 12 Apr 2010, slightlyallthetime wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 120. At 09:58am on 12 Apr 2010, U14416527 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 121. At 10:12am on 12 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    12: People take drugs to self medicate when there may be far better proscription medicins that the doctor can proscribe.


    Realy I self medicate as you call it because I done the pharma route.

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  • 122. At 10:35am on 12 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    oliver stieber, I think that is quite an acceptable idea, I could live with that, especially treating alcohol as the same as other comparative drugs, and making people more responsible for their behaviour and habits. Also 1 point raised you slightly touched on, but too me, as a parent is probably the most important point is children's access too drugs, currently there is no control, too me that is absolutely disgusting, that the government past and present AND us, society have made no attempt to protect children. Surely one of the main jobs of the authorities is too protect society, how can anyone claim what we are doing is protecting anyone, let alone children. The only way we can attempt to control drug use in children is through a regulated system.

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  • 123. At 12:33pm on 12 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I wonder why this was refused.
    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/DrugTestMPs/#detail

    why should mp's be immune to drug tests?

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  • 124. At 12:39pm on 12 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I wonder if the BBC would give such a petition air time in the light of the current attitude towards drugs and MP's dishonesty. Just as they did with the poor old cider drinkers.

    After all such important office should hold very regular drug tests given randomly every 6 months no notice to prevent these so called clean test drinks being used.

    This is serious not humorous....

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  • 125. At 1:16pm on 12 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    Hiya Community

    I think it would be very interesting to see just how many mp's would fail a drug test.

    And I also think it would open the eyes of a lot of people in our society to know exactly what our mp's ingest whilst making policy that can adversely affect peoples lives. Hmmm

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  • 126. At 5:12pm on 12 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    "116. At 10:43pm on 11 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:
    I'm not convinced so that's all that matters"

    Same could be said of you.

    "...The underlying assumption that legalisation means a free-for-all..."

    Legalisation implies that the drugs will be made available for the whole population over the age of 18 i.e. a free for all. This is not an official assumption merely an assumption that has been based on your point of view.

    "I'll only make ONE point in response - I won't have time what with reading up on the Dutch Drugs policy! That's the one about the drug barons making money from it being legal. Surely you must realise that the only reason organised crime is attracted to this industry is its very illegality - removing competition from those that can't afford to be caught breaking the law. Otherwise wouldn't the drug barons avoid the risks themselves and just be in a legal industry like car building or software?"

    The Dutch policy targets international drug barons and limits people's usage of Cannabis to 5 grammes and makes sure they are in a clean and safe environment. The thing that attracts organised crime is because of the money they can make out of it and not because its an illegal activity but by the very fact that a Cannabis plant can cost at least a couple of grand. Gangs etc aren't only interested in drugs they have other 'interests' too. I think taking away the illegality won't change that fact.



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  • 127. At 8:47pm on 12 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    OTT again, 126:
    "Legalisation implies that the drugs will be made available for the whole population over the age of 18 i.e. a free for all. This is not an official assumption merely an assumption that has been based on your point of view."
    - I think your interpretation of my point of view is a misunderstanding so I'll clarify:
    1, Keep the classification system.
    2, Put each drug into the correct classification system as per potentially moveable dividing lines, irrespective of commercial pressure or tabloid pressure. These lines could be moved according to the decisions of the ACMD (who advise on it now). In short, hand it over to the brains of the country and take it off the politicians (apologies to the latter)! You can see how strange the classification system is now:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5230006.stm#drugs
    (Sorry for the old link, and some drugs have moved, but it's just to show the idea).
    3, Put out a big public information campaign to explain why this is being done, and that drugs such as cannabis are no safer than they were before legalisation. (Even though they will be because we'll know what's in them).
    4, Age limits really ought to be higher than 18, perhaps 21 for the fully legal ones but again this age limit should be decided by those same brains, with a bit of psychology and social knowledge and if 21 is somehow unmanageable then it can be changed.
    5, Driving limits set as per alcohol. I'm sure it won't be beyond the grasp of science to come up with a breathalyser or equivalent for all major drugs.
    6, No advertising for the really serious drugs and use the expertise of the existing drug rehab people to wean them off if possible.

    With crime in charge of supply, we're closer to a free for all with what we have now.

    "The Dutch policy targets international drug barons and limits people's usage of Cannabis to 5 grammes and makes sure they are in a clean and safe environment. The thing that attracts organised crime is because of the money they can make out of it and not because its an illegal activity but by the very fact that a Cannabis plant can cost at least a couple of grand. Gangs etc aren't only interested in drugs they have other 'interests' too. I think taking away the illegality won't change that fact."
    - We both agree on the fact that they do it because of making money but that high price (a couple of grand, are you sure?) is because of the risks each person in the supply chain takes. That's the deal with getting anything illegal. (Speaking from logic, not experience)! You could, of course argue that they would be open to still making money from drugs but then they'd have to compete on even terms, prove quality, be open to audit, pay taxes etc. If crime gangs were to succeed in a world where their drug supply was produced legally and carefully then all you've done is converted those criminal gangs into successful businessmen/women.
    If alcohol were illegal it would probably be supplied in jam jars on street corners. To some extent it still gets smuggled of course, but simply to avoid paying excise duty and that's the domain of the taxman.

    If we're both completely honest the drugs problem, whether your view is more libertarian or more authoritarian is one which will never be "solved" but will be a moderately fluid situation, to be managed on an ongoing basis according to real research. So I give you the acceptance that my view of legalisation will not be everyone's cup of absinthe but it will be better than what we have now.

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  • 128. At 9:09pm on 12 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    OTT wrote:

    "The thing that attracts organised crime is because of the money they can make out of it and not because its an illegal activity but by the very fact that a Cannabis plant can cost at least a couple of grand."



    So you are saying that the reason an oz of quality bud costs between £160 to £200 is because of the plants worth and not because it is illegal. Bud wouldn't cost the price it does now if it were legal as the risk of producing it wouldn't be there. Before being reclassified to a B early last year the cost per oz was around £120...as soon as the government began their 'reefer madness II' and raised it to a class B the price shot up to where it is now.

    The reason organised crime is involved in cannabis supply is because there is a huge demand, that demand isn't being filled by legitimate retailers so organised crime fills the void, just as they did with alcohol prohibition in the US. Where there is unregulated (in other words..illegal) profit to be made organised crime won't be far behind.

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  • 129. At 9:59pm on 12 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    plants are worthless seeds cost next to nothing 1 plant can produce 1000's of seeds. the plant certainly does not know it has value or is not allowed to grow by some strange law, a Law that gives the plant value.

    Then money grows on trees.

    the rest is history.

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  • 130. At 11:32pm on 12 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Monday, April 12, 2010
    The Labour Manifestos on drug policy 2005 and 2010

    http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2010/04/labour-manifestos-on-drug-policy-2005.html

    drug policy is widly covered all fifty five words of it.

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  • 131. At 06:21am on 13 Apr 2010, Will wrote:

    Prohibition does not work, it is that simple.

    When pubs could not open in the afternoon 1000s had a
    "Stay behind" daily. Now that they can open all day the
    same pubs have closed down.

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  • 132. At 08:04am on 13 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #129 Community Criminal

    I agree.

    Commodity value, no matter what commodity we talk about, is based on supply and demand. An illegal substance immediately becomes a supply risk and attracts a higher value on demand.

    If you take the seed of a weed and grow it yourself it has no value other than what is intrinsic to you. However you are removing yourself from the demand chain thus reducing the street value, however marginally, of whatever weed you are growing.

    Drugs are the same as anything else that is bought and sold.

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  • 133. At 08:18am on 13 Apr 2010, Stefan wrote:

    Audits or no I believe and always have, just like the billions allegedly spent on Trident, that this money allocated to the 'war on drugs' is simply corrupted away. There is no real purpose behind this campaign except to pull the wool over the eyes of tax-paying public.

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  • 134. At 09:23am on 13 Apr 2010, mitzi-lala wrote:

    No government will legalise drugs because it is a vote loser, pure and simple.
    The process of legalisation would not be easy and problems would occur. No doubt these problems would then be greatly exagerated by the press. The political parties know this, they are not stupid people. It's just unfortunate we have this idiotic adversarial style of politics combined with an idiotic irresponsible press. this makes it impossible for career politicians to risk their jobs trying do do something as sensible as solving the problem of recreational and /or habitual drug use in anything like the proper way.

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  • 135. At 10:26am on 13 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    134. At 09:23am on 13 Apr 2010, mitzi-lala wrote:
    No government will legalise drugs because it is a vote loser, pure and simple.
    The process of legalisation would not be easy and problems would occur. No doubt these problems would then be greatly exagerated by the press. The political parties know this, they are not stupid people. It's just unfortunate we have this idiotic adversarial style of politics combined with an idiotic irresponsible press. this makes it impossible for career politicians to risk their jobs trying do do something as sensible as solving the problem of recreational and /or habitual drug use in anything like the proper way.

    ==============================================

    I agree the whole situation is handled very badly by press and media alike. If the media (BBC) was really interested in furthering this debate they would be more level headed and even handed when dealing with the drugs issue. We only have to look at the hysterical outburst in the press and on television over the recent mephedrone incidents. Not one of the deaths has yet to be attributed to mephedrone - as far as I am aware. The drugs council was given little time to discuss the issues involved before postman pat decided it was going to be banned thereby instigating another resignation from the council. I think that just about sums up drugs policy in this country. Drugs policy is shaped by ignorance and the views of Daily Mail readers. It's depressing.

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  • 136. At 10:44am on 13 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #134 mitzi-lala

    "The process of legalisation would not be easy.."

    Well it would be if an announcement were made today that all drugs are legal and available as from midnight tonight. Of course there would be a fall-out from the dropped bomb but it would clear, and normality, for what it is, would return in time.

    Indeed, we may all be pleasantly surprised to see that crime reduces, addicts find places to pursue their recreation or seek therapeutic redemption, and many "criminals" are marginalised into seeking other "crimes" or "lifestyles". Our pharmaceuticals would think Xmas has come, and our chemists will expand in size and turnover. There would be lots of happy faces one day, and lots more others the next. There'll be the abusers in the gutters, subways, and derelict building just as there always was. Food retailers may be complaining about the fall in demand, and gyms would be sidelined. Weight watchers would be renamed amphetamine watchers.

    But the substance of society would be as it always has been.

    Of course politicians and some dubious others would have to find something else "nasty" in order to pretend they are protecting us from ourselves.

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  • 137. At 3:07pm on 13 Apr 2010, 555DS wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 138. At 3:25pm on 13 Apr 2010, 555DS wrote:

    I had a died If I wasn't high
    but that sherman kept me alive
    for real
    Fk friends

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  • 139. At 6:58pm on 13 Apr 2010, Tara wrote:

    One of the current government's main obstacles to ensuring the effectiveness of current drugs policy appears to be it confusion as to whether it should be dealt with as a public health or criminal justice issue. The current strategy regarding treatment seems to be continually offset by reactionary criminal justice measures such as handing out short-term sentences for petty drug related crimes and criminalising substances without proper consideration of its public health impact i.e. mephredrone. Whether the public health strategy going forward focusses on treatment, prevention or harm-reduction, the government could do with having some conviction and not just giving in to the baying mobs that yell 'make it illegal, lock them in prison and throw away the key'.

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  • 140. At 10:42pm on 13 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    127. At 8:47pm on 12 Apr 2010, Euforiater

    From what I've read you want to keep the existing system in place but only remove the threat of prosecution. Who is to say the scientific advise is correct? The Government needs to strike a balance between morality and science. The ACMD is only an advisory body and at the end of the day it is the Government who ulitmately decides. The Scientists may not like the Government's decisions but there is no need to resign or make a big issue out of it. The ACMD knew its role.

    Cannabis plants are quite expensive. When Cannabis was down graded there was an increase in farms and whole houses were being converted into hydroponic labs. These houses are often booby-trapped because of the expensive plants.

    Like anything its all to do with supply and demand. Take house prices for instance the only reason they go up is because the demand outstrips the supply i.e. seller's market and vice versa more houses on the market less demand lower prices i.e. buyer's market. That would probably not change if Cannabis were to be legalised.

    You are right in that the criminal gangs would become businessmen/women but then that would mean drugs would be effected by market forces, paying tax and paying for the overheads. Most hydroponic labs take an awful lot of electricity so much so that the criminals tend to circumvent (with some dodgy wiring) the National Grid.

    "128. At 9:09pm on 12 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:
    So you are saying that the reason an oz of quality bud costs between £160 to £200 is because of the plants worth and not because it is illegal. Bud wouldn't cost the price it does now if it were legal as the risk of producing it wouldn't be there. Before being reclassified to a B early last year the cost per oz was around £120...as soon as the government began their 'reefer madness II' and raised it to a class B the price shot up to where it is now."

    Cannabis has always been expensive. The problem with downgrading saw an increase in Cannabis production.

    "The reason organised crime is involved in cannabis supply is because there is a huge demand, that demand isn't being filled by legitimate retailers so organised crime fills the void, just as they did with alcohol prohibition in the US. Where there is unregulated (in other words..illegal) profit to be made organised crime won't be far behind."

    Organised crime is involved purely to make money. Nothing else. Also the demand wouldn't exist if the criminals hadn't put Cannabis into circulation.


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  • 141. At 11:13pm on 13 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Organised crime is involved purely to make money. Nothing else. Also the demand wouldn't exist if the criminals hadn't put Cannabis into circulation.

    Well what can one say...

    try
    'hemp for victory' very informative .

    damn criminals.

    Th price of cannabis works for GW just the same way it works for organised crime. It is my belief that the manipulation of cannabis over the last few years has been down to an emerging pharmaceutical market and to do some research required the drug was down graded. during this period I could get solid hash for £35 - £70 the ounce and any green for £90 the ounce. GW had poor share prices during these years. Suddenly cannabis is returned to class BBw start putting forward products for final recommendation for the UK market and the share price rises within a day or 2 of the government making the change.
    GW promise maximum return for shareholders this can only be done if the product price is right, to make the product you need raw cannabis so to bring the product to market you need a value for the raw material. How do you balance the setup the research and all the rest of production into the final product and still make a profit?

    How much is an ounce really worth across the board.
    To me if i grew some Nothing
    To a drug dealer an average £220
    to GW pharma per spray an average??

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  • 142. At 11:20pm on 13 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Cannabis has always been expensive. The problem with downgrading saw an increase in Cannabis production.

    I think youll find the UK produces more than ever before in fact the police cant keep up. Afghan produces more than ever before ... so no downgrading had no impact on production.

    What did have an impact on production is the hydroponics industry the envirolight industry and the seed banks in Holland.

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  • 143. At 00:00am on 14 Apr 2010, tin_man wrote:

    140.OTT

    "Who is to say the scientific advise is correct?"
    >not who but what...the scientific method says so...

    "...there is no need to resign or make a big issue out of it. The ACMD knew its role."
    >and they have performed their role exactly as required by law...read the MODA

    "Also the demand wouldn't exist if the criminals hadn't put Cannabis into circulation."
    >you're kidding...right?

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  • 144. At 03:32am on 14 Apr 2010, 555DS wrote:

    Stateside Analysis

    ...The results have been predictable: people of color rounded up en masse for relatively minor, non-violent drug offenses. In 2005, four out of five drug arrests were for possession, only one out of five for sales. Most people in state prison have no history of violence or even of significant selling activity. In fact, during the 1990s -- the period of the most dramatic expansion of the drug war -- nearly 80% of the increase in drug arrests was for marijuana possession, a drug generally considered less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and at least as prevalent in middle-class white communities as in the inner city.

    In this way, a new racial undercaste has been created in an astonishingly short period of time -- a new Jim Crow system. Millions of people of color are now saddled with criminal records and legally denied the very rights that their parents and grandparents fought for and, in some cases, died for.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-alexander/the-new-jim-crow-how-the_b_490386.html

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  • 145. At 08:21am on 14 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    555DS The yanks are still blaming 'people of colour'...How sad some folk are in your 'glorious' nation are (I would say glorious, but I blame the US for todays weed laws so its 'glorious'). Harry J. Anslinger was a saddo, a racist saddo imo. Think he blamed 'people of colour' or as he called them ginger haired 'negros'(you may have to translate, is that Mexicans maybe?) for plotting too destroy US society with the evil weed. Just before the time of the Vietnam war Anslinger said weed made 'you crazy' and violent then during the war he blamed weed for pacifying the soldiers. People still push his propaganda its so sad.

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  • 146. At 08:58am on 14 Apr 2010, de rigueur wrote:

    How much more liberal hand-wringing do we have to go through? People choose to take drugs and therefore they are responsible for their own downfall. The people who deal in drugs choose to spread this evil throughout society. The solution? Execute the drug dealers and see how popular the profession becomes. Or perhaps we should give them a hug and a years supply of free heroin instead? Tosh!

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  • 147. At 09:18am on 14 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #144,145

    I agree with these observations. In the UK we also have the manipulative hand of social engineers to thank for much that has gone wrong with "drug" cultures. It is one thing to embrace a culture, warts and all, but quite another to play with the classification of cannabis for the sheer hell of it.

    No one with a voice in drugs issues can afford to neglect the absence of lifestyle choices for those who simply follow a well trodden path. One charge and conviction for possession is enough to end career employment prospects for many, and yet drink/drive convictions do not have the same impact because they are cross culture.

    We really have a lot of work to do and drugs issues are blurring the potential for change.

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  • 148. At 09:18am on 14 Apr 2010, 555DS wrote:

    ✍ Letter to the President ✉
    ✎ Economic policies were designed to decimate entire swatches of the black community in the inner cities .
    ✏ The prison population in NYC quadrupled due to the crack era .
    ✐ Oliver North admitted to funding an illegal war with crack cocaine . they sold crack cocaine to the community this has become American History

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  • 149. At 10:02am on 14 Apr 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    Cannabis plants are not expensive although they do have a high value.
    Anyone can buy feminised seeds from one of the many on-line retailers for between £2-£15 each, it will then cost you about £20-£40 to nurture the plants until they are ready to have their crop harvested.
    These plants will produce anywhere between 100g-500g per plant per crop depending on the variety and growing method being used.



    OTT wrote:
    Also the demand wouldn't exist if the criminals hadn't put Cannabis into circulation.


    Cannabis was a very popular drug in this country for a very long time before it was criminalised so you can't even try to suggest that criminals are responsible for demand. Cannabis was introduced to this country hundreds of years ago and was legally and widely available to anyone that wanted it, criminals never introduced it to this country, it was introduced legally.

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  • 150. At 11:36am on 14 Apr 2010, JobyJak wrote:

    Legalising drugs will not solve the problem, just like with alcohol, which is legally available creates many problems. To solve that problem we would need everyone to be happy all the time and never sad or have the need for escape, which is impossible.

    The only thing we can do, is try and help certain problems. The reality is illegal drug use causes many many problems and strains on many national resources. Legalising it will at least generate revenue and give people the opportunity to empower themselves and decide for themselves.

    Like a drunk on the street, if they want to do that, that is their choice, we are all responsible for our own actions. Harsh as it may seem, it is true.

    Illegal drugs serve no purpose and just demonises a huge majority of the population.



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  • 151. At 12:32pm on 14 Apr 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #148 555DS

    The link provided in the first line gives access to an excellent and vivid portrayal of a very serious problem in the US which could easily be replicated here. The problem seems to be with "political will to control".

    Whatever forces were and still are at work in trying to batter communities into shape by breaking their spirit, making examples of them, and making life intolerable, they are evil. Surely it is better to accept communities as we find them, support what we find, and hope to develop a much more tolerant and understanding attitude to lifestyle choices.

    #150, JobyJak, makes the cogent point that illegal drugs serve no purpose, since the whole point of the law is to act as a deterrent. If a law fails to deter on a grand scale then it is a bad law and should be repealed and not allowed to clog the arteries of society by remaining on the Statute books.

    As G_J_R indicates in #149, all drugs are legal until they are made illegal. Mephedrone is a classic example of the "political will to control" whereby expert analysis is used to back up decisions that have already been made.

    We know that cannabis use is widespread but are its dangers as clear and precise, in every case, as are the dangers of excess alcohol for almost user? From this we can see that someone, somewhere is selecting out substances to ban for no other reason than the "political will to control".

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  • 152. At 4:04pm on 14 Apr 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    Interesting snippet from the LibDem's manifesto:

    "Focus on treatment, rather than imprisonment, of drug addicts. Drug policy based on independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advice."

    A political party that's showing a bit of common sense?

    Or have I just taken something?

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  • 153. At 6:17pm on 14 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    141. At 11:13pm on 13 Apr 2010, CommunityCriminal

    'Hemp for Victory' The only thing I can find is a United States war time message telling farmers to increase production of hemp for clothes, ropes etc. The kind of hemp used in industry is different from Cannabis as it produces very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive element.

    The rest of your state makes no sense. I only go on what I know working in the drug treatment/law enforcement area and I know plants are worth thousands of pounds

    "142. At 11:20pm on 13 Apr 2010, CommunityCriminal wrote:
    I think youll find the UK produces more than ever before in fact the police cant keep up. Afghan produces more than ever before ... so no downgrading had no impact on production. What did have an impact on production is the hydroponics industry the envirolight industry and the seed banks in Holland."

    Most of the Cannabis farms are run by Vietnamese. When Cannabis was down graded there was an increase in Cannabis farms.

    143. At 00:00am on 14 Apr 2010, tin_man

    "Who is to say the scientific advise is correct?"
    >not who but what...the scientific method says so..."

    Science said the Himalayas were going to disappear by 2035 that was proven wrong.

    ">and they have performed their role exactly as required by law...read the MODA"

    So why the need to resign? Why the big furore by Professor Nutt? If they were doing the job as required by law. I don't know what MODA is.


    "149. At 10:02am on 14 Apr 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    Cannabis was a very popular drug in this country for a very long time before it was criminalised so you can't even try to suggest that criminals are responsible for demand. Cannabis was introduced to this country hundreds of years ago and was legally and widely available to anyone that wanted it, criminals never introduced it to this country, it was introduced legally."

    Yes I can. They supply the drug and keep the demand going.






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  • 154. At 7:37pm on 14 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    OTT wrote:
    "They supply the drug and keep the demand going."

    Do you think that the supply drives demand?

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  • 155. At 7:54pm on 14 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    ..Sorry, pressed the post button prematurely.

    The demand for MDMA hasn't diminished in this country since its availability became scarce. So much so that when Mephedrone hit the streets touted as an ecstasy like drug the hordes flocked to it. If ecstasy was to become freely available again tomorrow the market would be as big as it was in the 90's within a few months.

    The first recorded use of cannabis was in 2700BC in China...there was a demand for it then as there is a demand for it now. If the supply diminishes or becomes too contaminated on the streets people grow their own, the demand doesn't change. Demand goes up when scare stories are put about, demand goes up when governments reclassify to B. Demand certainly does not go up because the supply has...that's just not logical.


    "Also the demand wouldn't exist if the criminals hadn't put Cannabis into circulation."


    You do realise that cannabis has only been illegal since 1928 don't you? Before then it had been used by many nations for thousands of years.

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  • 156. At 8:03pm on 14 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    OTT wrote:
    "When Cannabis was down graded there was an increase in Cannabis farms."

    Sorry, by the time cannabis was upgraded to B the use among young people had started to decline.
    The cannabis farms in the UK didn't take off till the news broke that the government were going to err on the side of superstition and reclassify to B, around the time Brown took over from Blair. The Chinese and Vietnamese gangs saw an opportunity to make shed loads of money by growing it closer to the market place rather than importing it and upped the price for the privilege. This was also around the time that weed started to be contaminated with sand/glass/silicates.

    BTW MODA = Misuse of Drugs Act



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  • 157. At 8:18pm on 14 Apr 2010, tin_man wrote:

    153. OTT

    "Science said the Himalayas were going to disappear by 2035 that was proven wrong."
    >please elaborate on this...i think i know what you're referring to but i may be wrong...

    "So why the need to resign? Why the big furore by Professor Nutt?"
    >prof. nutt absolutely did NOT create the furore, it was created by the home office...

    "If they were doing the job as required by law. I don't know what MODA is."
    >this is the mandate for the advisory council in the Misuse of Drugs Act (MODA)...
    >To keep under review the situation in the United Kingdom with respect to drugs which are being or appear to them likely to be misused and of which the misuse is having or appears to them capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a social problem, and to give to any one or more of the Ministers, where either Council consider it expedient to do so or they are consulted by the Minister or Ministers in question, advice on measures (whether or not involving alteration of the law) which in the opinion of the Council ought to be taken for preventing the misuse of such drugs or dealing with social problems connected with their misuse, and in particular on measures which in the opinion of the Council, ought to be taken

    * a) for restricting the availability of such drugs or supervising the arrangements for their supply;
    * b) for enabling persons affected by the misuse of such drugs to obtain proper advice, and for securing the provision of proper facilities and services for the treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare of such persons;
    * c) for promoting co-operation between the various professional and community services which in the opinion of the Council have a part to play in dealing with social problems connected with the misuse of drugs;
    * d) for educating the public (and in particular the young) in the dangers of misusing such drugs and for giving publicity to those dangers;
    * e) for promoting research into, or otherwise obtaining information about, any matter which in the opinion of the Council is of relevance for the purpose of preventing the misuse of such drugs or dealing with any social problem connected with their misuse.

    please note that they are required to reveal their findings to the public whether the government asks them to or not...

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  • 158. At 9:13pm on 14 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    OTT wrote:
    I only go on what I know working in the drug treatment/law enforcement area...

    I don't know what MODA is.



    And here we have a classic example of the effectiveness of our drug treatment and law enforcement agencies...

    MODA - Misuse of Drugs Act (1971 & 2005)

    http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/misuse-of-drugs-act/



    OTT:
    I know plants are worth thousands of pounds


    Would that be street value, intermediary value or the governments own valuation ?

    Street Value: How much an end user would be paying.
    Intermediary Value: How much growers or their agents charge when selling to dealers who sell to end users.
    Government Valuation: How much the Police, Home Office and other government agencies value cannabis at in their press releases, official documents etc.

    Most of the cannabis that is sold in the UK is fast growing, medium yield cannabis that would typically produce a yield of about 150g or roughly 5 ounces per plant per crop cycle.
    The street value of this cannabis is currently about £100 - £180 per ounce.
    The intermediary value is currently about £80-£150 per ounce.
    The governments valuation is whatever they feel like on the day but is generally above £250 per ounce.

    Cannabis can be slow grown, using this technique you can get one or two crops per year and if you take appropriate precautions when you harvest it then you could get a dozen years or more of life out of each plant.
    The groups who grow cannabis commercially in the UK do not use this method, they use forced growing techniques where plants are grown indoors in a darkroom and they then use UV lights on a timing cycle and increased carbon dioxide levels to speed up the growing process, often combined with hydroponic systems in order to control the exact levels of nutrition at particular times of the growing cycle.
    This means that instead of getting one or two crops a year with long lasting plants they get a single crop every 45-60 days and destroy the plant at harvest time. Instead of carefully harvesting the plants in a way that protects it they cut the entire plant away from the root system about half an inch from the base of the stem and hang the entire plant to dry out.
    They do this because seeds are very cheap, seedlings are also easier to grow in a hydroponic system than mature plants, harvesting an entire plant in one go is a lot less time consuming than harvesting the individual buds and it is easier to hang entire plants than it is trying to hang individual buds.
    There's also the risk of the police finding them so they often rent houses or commercial properties and grow as many generations of plants as possible before they're shut down.

    So, if you're getting about 5 ounces from a cannabis plant and are then selling it for between £80-£150 per ounce then each plant is worth between £400-£750, not including the costs involved in growing, drying and distributing it. Your probably looking at about £350-£650 profit from each plant, this is a long way short of your thousands of pounds per plant valuation.

    You can get varieties of cannabis that have a yield of over 500g per crop cycle but these varieties tend to be much more difficult to grow and even harder to keep alive and healthy long enough to get the maximum yield per crop. They will only produce their maximum yield from their third or fourth crop and are therefore better suited to those who are growing plants in small numbers.
    They need to be grown in soil in order for the stem to be able to hold the weight of the upper parts of the plant, even when you use a scaffolding system of cane or bamboo. They also require an awful lot of room to grow into, in some cases over a four feet radius from the stem to the outer branches. All of this makes them unsuitable for commercial growers in the UK who are trying to grow plants that will grow as quickly as possible in as small an area as possible and with the minimum possible human intervention.

    The situation is very different in other countries, in America for example it is much more common for growers to grow their plants outdoors and for them to keep long living varieties that produce a higher yield per crop cycle. They use what would be regarded as normal farming techniques with any other crop.
    In parts of Morocco and their neighbours you can go to whole valley systems that have cannabis plants growing as far as the eye can see, these are traditional growing areas that have been producing cannabis for many generations and some of their plants are as old as some of the vines you'll find in French vineyards.
    This means that plants have a very different value depending on where they're being grown, some of the plants in Africa could be worth tens of thousands of pounds due to the number of crops they've produced while plants in the UK are worth much less because they're normally only producing one crop before being destroyed and replaced in the harvesting process.

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  • 159. At 9:13pm on 14 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    OTT 'The rest of your state makes no sense. I only go on what I know working in the drug treatment/law enforcement area and I know plants are worth thousands of pounds'

    its a paradox.
    How to work out the legal retail price of cannabis.
    http://www.lse.co.uk/SharePrice.asp?shareprice=GWP
    interesting timelines next to MODA71


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  • 160. At 00:41am on 15 Apr 2010, tin_man wrote:

    sorry about the double post, something came up and i had to leave b4 i could finish reviewing it...

    153. OTT
    "So why the need to resign?"
    >i can't speak for prof. nutt, i can only offer possible reasons...(1)his boss asked him to...as anyone who has been in that situation knows it's not really a request...(2)he was asked to resign because the advisory council's findings contradicted the governments policy, and those findings were put in the public domain by prof. nutt as required by the MODA...(3)the home orifice would have preferred those findings to be kept out of the public domain (ie. secret), but had this course been followed all of the councils members would have been in violation of the law...are you suggesting that's what he should have done?

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  • 161. At 09:23am on 15 Apr 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    153. At 6:17pm on 14 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    I don't know what MODA is.

    Then why are you even on here, posting as if you know what you're on about?

    I only go on what I know working in the drug treatment/law enforcement area and I know plants are worth thousands of pounds

    If you work in drug treatment/law enforcement, you should know what MODA 1971 is. if not, you're seriously in the wrong job. as others have already pointed out, your thousands of pounds estimation is way off the mark. an inflated figure often quoted in police statements to:

    a) increase the perception of the magnitude of the found plants in order to scare members of the general public who don't have a clue

    b) increase their standing in the police community by making a seemingly big drugs bust

    c) secure their funding for next year, funding which influences wage increases and overtime compensation

    It's the same sort of nonsense like when you hear it being described as "lethal". it's a massive lie, and you're helping perpetuate it.

    Far be it from me to want to have to correct Buck Turgidson on here, he does make valid points and has a cool HYS name, but you've erroneously categorised cannabis as a perennial. it's an annual that can theoretically live forever in a vegetative phase given enough light. as with a lot of flora, fruit/seed/flower production is triggered by a shortening of the days. after the summer solstice for all the proper hippies out there. apple trees do very much the same thing.

    I find it highly frustrating that we're wasting our time and money, waging war on vegetation when we're a net importer of energy products - we can't even keep the lights on ourselves.

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  • 162. At 10:51am on 15 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I find it highly frustrating that we're wasting our time and money, waging war on vegetation when we're a net importer of energy products - we can't even keep the lights on ourselves.

    OTT dont we all there are so many green industries banned and overlooked because of this hystiria.

    ah cool

    hemp energy..

    6 % of subsidized farming in the USA dedicated to hemp/cannabis bio mass would run the USA's energy needs for ever how much of our subsidised farming would run our energy needs from the same bio mass.

    the common strains are annual there are strains that are perennial we only ever hear about 2 the old one is making some dangerous cannabis out of the common strains. taking what was upto a 3 year flowering period to 10 weeks or less.

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  • 163. At 11:19am on 15 Apr 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Daisy Chained...147...

    "end career employment prospects for many, and yet drink/drive convictions do not have the same impact"...

    funny you say this my brother works for what is now the Border agency, his job stopping drugs coming through a rather large tunnel under the channel. He was convicted of drink driving, and it had absolutely no effect on his career, he maybe my bro, but I totally disagree with this. He could have killed someone, but the person what would smoke some of the cannabis he seizes wouldn't kill anyone because of their habit.

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  • 164. At 8:01pm on 15 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    'MODA' on its own means nothing. It is usual in English to explain what the initials mean before you use them. I am aware that MODA, in legislative terms, means Misuse of Drugs Act. The Act sets out the categories for each group of drugs based on how harmful they are and assigns appropriate penalties for possession and for dealing. It also created various offences such as possession of a controlled substance unlawfully, possession with intent to supply, supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug and allowing premises you occupy or manage to be used unlawfully for the purpose of producing or supplying controlled drugs.

    As for the price I can only go on the fact that we get information direct from source i.e. drug dealers.

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  • 165. At 9:40pm on 15 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    OTT and every one else this is interesting .
    Sativex - Inside the UK grow rooms - Medical Marijuana
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C6dNlOeg_E

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  • 166. At 10:34pm on 15 Apr 2010, tin_man wrote:

    164. OTT
    "MODA' on its own means nothing. It is usual in English to explain what the initials mean before you use them."
    >you are correct and i apologize...i should not have assumed you knew to what i was referring...

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  • 167. At 11:46pm on 15 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    "165. At 9:40pm on 15 Apr 2010, CommunityCriminal wrote:
    OTT and every one else this is interesting. Sativex - Inside the UK grow rooms - Medical Marijuana"

    I believe GW Pharmaceuticals have tested or are testing medical cannabis and I also believe Canada are looking to introduce medical cannabis. Medicinal Cannabis is however not anything like Cannabis/Skunk.





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  • 168. At 11:56pm on 15 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 169. At 00:16am on 16 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    OTT wrote:

    "Medicinal Cannabis is however not anything like Cannabis/Skunk."

    Really? What's different about it then?

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  • 170. At 07:52am on 16 Apr 2010, tin_man wrote:

    153. OTT
    "Science said the Himalayas were going to disappear by 2035 that was proven wrong."
    >science and the scientific method are inseparable, and for good reason...the claim about the himalayan glaciers that i assume you were referring to wasn't science (the scientific method) at all...it was a speculation...science (the scientific method) did however prove that speculation to be wrong...it wasn't an athlete, or a politician, or a businessman, or a priest that did this; it was science (the scientific method)...unfortunately, scientists are human too and therefore must be fallible...the scientific method is not subject to human failings, which is why science beats morality and common sense every day of the week (and twice on sunday)...

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  • 171. At 08:31am on 16 Apr 2010, John Barrow wrote:

    Hello.....British Government......Please 'Open Your Eyes!!!'

    Your 'war on drugs' is not working and now you've banned yet another substance which will undoubtedly increase the bill for the 'war on drugs' which we the tax payers will foot.

    Whenever you decide to start listening and paying attention to the people that you 'serve' it will be a good day for this country.

    If any of the main parties want even a chance of my vote in this coming election then I want them to start treating people like the adults with brains that they are.....

    Please Please Please stop banning stuff that there is obviously public demand for.......it seems ridiculous to me that because a small group of people take offence to certain substances, (marijuana, mephdrone, legal weed etc.etc.) that the rest of the country have to suffer because these people believe that everyone who smokes a joint is a drug dealing, child fiddling, murderer.

    And we the public need to wake up and stop taking newspapers and the media at face value........Somne parts of the media hold unprecedented power to control your opinions if you just take the headlines as gospel......read between the lines people, try to spot the smear campaigns they are everywhere........eg mephadrone.....ok so 20 people died 'connected with' note the wording.....not 'caused by' or 'due to'
    but how many people people died from an alcohol 'caused' disease. I kn ow its a cliche argument but cliches are cliches usually because they are true...
    Please everone, politicians and people open your eyes and startc to use your brains and lets stop this nanny state and take the first step to a self governing society.

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  • 172. At 09:38am on 16 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    John Barrow wrote:
    If any of the main parties want even a chance of my vote in this coming election then I want them to start treating people like the adults with brains that they are.....


    May I suggest you take a look at the Liberal Democrats, they have some very sensible suggestions regarding the way we deal with recreational and hard drugs. It's not the perfect solution but it's a very big step in the right direction and is far better than either of the other two parties policies regarding drugs.


    LuftHamza wrote:
    Far be it from me to want to have to correct Buck Turgidson on here, he does make valid points and has a cool HYS name, but you've erroneously categorised cannabis as a perennial.


    Hi mate, I'm afraid this was an editing error, my original post at #158 was about three times the length it is now and in editing it down to a more reasonable size I've managed to mix up a few paragraphs and it does indeed appear that I've classed it as a perennial.
    I have tried to show what I meant to say in post #168 but for some reason this has been referred to the moderators, I've no idea why but it's probably yet another case of the unique way that the BBC moderate their blogs.

    Thanks for the compliment on the HYS ID and always feel free to question my posts, I'm not the type to be offended by constructive criticism.

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  • 173. At 10:29am on 16 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    OTT I believe GW Pharmaceuticals have tested or are testing medical cannabis and I also believe Canada are looking to introduce medical cannabis. Medicinal Cannabis is however not anything like Cannabis/Skunk.

    No there chemovars are a lot stronger.
    Now lets look at Skunk developed in the 70's and heavily smoked from the 70's.
    Hortipharm a grow company that provide GW with the skunks they use, this same company is founded by ... Dutch seed banks. ( try a search on stativex and DEA and hortafarm)

    Same cannabis for both the streets and the pharmas im afraid.

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  • 174. At 10:40am on 16 Apr 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    167. At 11:46pm on 15 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    Medicinal Cannabis is however not anything like Cannabis/Skunk.

    Care to elaborate? Can you provide concrete evidence of any of the following:

    Yield
    Cannabinoid profiles
    Terpen profiles
    Genetic heritage
    Photoperiod

    They're all plants, simple as that. Same as you have various cultivars of tomato, carrot and potato. It's analagous to breeds of dogs and cats, or even colours of humans.

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  • 175. At 11:32am on 16 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Sad news this one of the founders of the cannabis movement passed away yesterday.
    http://uktodaynews.com/3230/jack-herer-passes-away-emperor-of-hemp/

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  • 176. At 1:38pm on 16 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    RIP Jack, you will be sorely missed man.

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  • 177. At 2:37pm on 16 Apr 2010, Andrew Kerr wrote:

    Drug misuse, like alcohol misuse, is a health problem and should be treated as such. The only people who benefit from the criminalisation of drugs are the dealers. They're laughing all the way to the bank because they know that illegality is no deterrent to the millions (yes millions) of people who use recreational drugs every week.
    Let's put the criminals out of business by decriminalising all drugs and making them available to adults from the local pharamacist at a sensible commercial price. They would be available at known purity and dosage, packaged with appropriate health warnings and advice on where and how addicts can get help to kick their habit.
    Many lives would be saved, money would be raised to finance rehab centres and, most importantly, people wouldn't have to steal to fund their habit so crime would drop dramatically.
    We've tried prohibition for 50 years and it simply doesn't work - except for the criminals. They say Capone wept when they repealed alcohol prohibition in the US. Let's make the parasites who prey on our youth weep. Decriminalise all drugs now.

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  • 178. At 5:30pm on 16 Apr 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @ Andrew Kerr

    I agree 100%. It always amazes me the public don't look any deeper into the problem than the spin the media/police and government spout. These three professions have a vested interest in keeping these substances supposedly 'controlled'. Without drug users to kick the government wouldn't have a champion to wheel out every time they needed a boost in ratings by 'being tough on crime'.

    Without the criminalising of drug users and the upside down notion that if they cut the supply then magically nobody would want to get off their faces, the police would,
    1. Lose jobs (Soca/Border Force would have to be trimmed down). The drug squad would have to be disbanded.
    2. What would they do to meet all those targets that Labour has given them?
    3. They have to actually do some police work for a change and find the burglars, rapists etc that aren't being found cos busting cannabis farms is easier and yields quicker results.

    The media, without drug users to insult ridicule and hate would have to maybe do some REAL reporting..(I know I'm living in fantasy land with this one).

    If the public were to ask more questions, not take these three professions at face value and blindly believe people they know lie to get their own way then perhaps we can have some sensible drug policy.

    For once can we really start thinking of young people by protecting them from drug dealers and take the trade away from criminals because they are not being protected at the moment.

    Prohibition Does Not Work
    Regulate, Tax & Educate.








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  • 179. At 10:31am on 17 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Using cannabis to treat health problems
    By Adam Baer

    Published: April 16 2010 23:44 | Last updated: April 16 2010 23:44

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b6ca6848-4764-11df-b253-00144feab49a.html

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  • 180. At 11:37am on 17 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    The weed laws are hypocritical and implemented by hypocrites.
    _______________________________________________________________
    @Bush Tea
    LAWS will be generally good if enacted by men of good morals.

    Point to note;
    Morality is not then about following laws- but about building good character. To take the argument further, a real test of a ‘truly good’ man is therefore having the strength of character to reject, and rebel against a ‘bad’ law. This is why many good men end up as ‘criminals’; in jail; or may be considered rebels.

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  • 181. At 2:38pm on 17 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    @180. At 11:37am on 17 Apr 2010, you®© wrote:
    ®=(Registered trademark symbol)
    ©=(Copyright Symbol)
    _______________________________________________________________
    @ Yardbroom
    The Law and morality are different as the law is enforced by rules; it is often the case that learned judges say “this is not a Court of morals”. In as much as it pains them to make certain judgements, but the law dictates that they do.

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  • 182. At 3:35pm on 17 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    This song is not even about_ marijuana.
    I love it. 5 ✩✩✩✩✩
    Smoke Gets
    In Your Eyes
    By The Platters

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  • 183. At 12:53pm on 18 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    In Cali they are voting on the Weed in a deep thinking and fairer referendum
    Ganja Tune Soundclash(This is my official challenge) Burro Banton(dubplate
    ☮☯♡
    "Legalize It!"*
    *=(Filed under: weed Edit This, Tags: Dancehall, Disco, DJ, Dub Music, Lovers Rock, Reggae Music)

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  • 184. At 2:23pm on 18 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    The Neil Young - Needle & The Damage Done (live)

    I've seen the needle
    and the damage done
    A little part of it in everyone
    But every junkie's
    like a settin' sun.

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  • 185. At 5:29pm on 18 Apr 2010, davidswift wrote:

    There are people in our NHS hospitals and G-Ps patient being denied drugs by the reason of cost by a not very NICE bunch of experts. The cost to society by drug-users in the way of petty crime far out-weighs the cost of giving the m free to users instead of locking them up only to repeat on release. When caught drugs should be administered in a controlled environment ,this cutting out the need to steal to feed the habit and also the illlicite market in drugs. Or we could lock them up and throw away the key.

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  • 186. At 10:00pm on 18 Apr 2010, Two of Pentacles -Change- wrote:

    King Tubby - Cannabis Dub (*)
    *=[Best Dub for High Times Canabis Cup]
    *=[Best riddim ever! Heavenless Riddim!]

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  • 187. At 10:02pm on 18 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://ukcia.org/wordpress/?p=282
    Freedom of Information ruling on drug classification proposals blocked by the Home Office

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  • 188. At 10:04pm on 18 Apr 2010, OTT wrote:

    174. At 10:40am on 16 Apr 2010, LuftHamza

    You would think so but there are different chemicals in Cannabis and not all of them are bad. In the Netherlands its available under three names Bedrobinol with a tetrahydrocannbinol level of approx 12% and a Cannabidiol level is 0.2%. I understand CBD can take the edge of the high causing a relaxed mood. Bedrocan with a THC-level of approx 19% and a CBD level of approx 0.8% and Bediol with a THC-level of just 6% and a CBD level of 7.5%. Here in the UK the British Medical Association believes that only Cannabinoids should be used.

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  • 189. At 00:05am on 19 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    something for the grey matter http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Cannabinoids



    High THC is good as THC breaks down into mainstream painkilling CBN's

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  • 190. At 00:19am on 19 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    I have to say I liked this bit from the page.
    "Cannabinol (CBN) is the primary product of THC degradation, and there is usually little of it in a fresh plant. CBN content increases as THC degrades in storage, and with exposure to light and air. It is only mildly psychoactive. Its affinity to the CB2 receptor is higher than for the CB1 receptor."

    Here in lies the answer to why our skunk is perceived as stronger and something I have said for a long time.
    old skool days the same buds were smoked after traveling around the world sitting in warehouses etc for weeks, that would be after any curing that the herb had before it was packed.
    40 years down the line its off the plant into the dryer and on the street in less than 2 weeks no curing time allowed. (kind of like drinking wine with its sediment mix in)

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  • 191. At 09:38am on 19 Apr 2010, The_Snial wrote:

    As an argument in itself, the "prohibition only increases use" is meaningless and can't be right. On that basis we'd legalise gun use in the UK since banning arms obviously must be only increasing its use - right? So, if guns were available openly, no-one would buy one. Really?

    Or try smoking. It's gradually being prohibited it more and more places. So,... logically people must be smoking more and more exactly where they're not allowed to - right?

    Wrong. The reason why people can easily get drugs is because it's culturally endorsed. It's the effective promotion and acceptability of drugs in our culture that enables "anyone who wants drugs" to get them - because there's no cultural opposition.

    There's a cultural opposition to guns and smoking so prohibitions tend to be effective (e.g. smoking rates are going down). But there's a mash of messages akin to "Smoking isn't unhealthy, because my grandad smoked 40 a day and lived to be 80" backed by poor reasoning and drug-induced bias similar to the way smokers tend to think it doesn't harm them.

    Get real, the pro-drug lobby in these posts treat the users, cartels and gangs like freedom fighters in this 'war' and naively expect them all to drift off into sunset when they achieve their 'victory'. Does that happen in real wars? No, you end up with the same sympathizers, users, cartels and gangs as the new leaders.

    It's people who foster the culture of acceptability and the shoddy reasoning behind it who are the primary problem. They open the cultural doors and the cartels and gangs follow. They need to re-assess their own attitudes and recognize their own responsibilities before they start blaming everyone else.

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  • 192. At 11:27am on 19 Apr 2010, calmac12000 wrote:

    As someone who has spent a good deal of their working life engaged "in the war against drugs" I came to the conclusion a couple of years ago that this war far from being won, was actually for many people already lost. The harm that drugs do to our society needs no further comment, it is for many communities and individuals incalculable. I frankly do not have a magical solution, it is obvious that further prohibition and sanctions are ineffective. However, to simply have a state of legally sanctioned drug-taking is too startingly Orwellian in its implications to be contemplated. I propose therefore a truly independent Royal Commision with as open a term of reference as can be realistically visualised to report on this whole problem. Anything less will be a betrayal of the communities in this country who daily suffer from the scourge of drug addiction.

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  • 193. At 11:32am on 19 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    The_Snial wrote: Get real, the pro-drug lobby in these posts treat the users, cartels and gangs like freedom fighters in this 'war' and naively expect them all to drift off into sunset when they achieve their 'victory'. Does that happen in real wars? No, you end up with the same sympathizers, users, cartels and gangs as the new leaders.


    'one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist'

    I think you actually find We the pro drug lobby dont support all drug dealers and pimps and cartels. What we are after is fair treatment for the casualties of this war on both sides of the fence, but as blogs tend to be short statements of opinion either by result of a statement made and corrected or on the general theme of the post.
    Im for the legal control of drugs but no one ever asks what we would do? .

    What will you have done with those outside this law who fail to cohere with the law?
    How will it be implemented etc.

    But its all a question of prison space there to full to implement a change. To full to round up all heroin addicts and bring them into monitored treatments 24/7 so they can be stabilized and released via care centres back into communities.
    Or that we consider dealers very dangerous to our community's health and social well being even if they do cover up to 30% of some communities and every 11 year old is the next possible customer.
    That people cant afford to insure property and belongings because crime rates for burglary are so high, decent premiums are far out of reach for the average wage earner in high crime areas.

    The list of costs goes on and on.

    So as a pro Dru lobbyist do I need to reassess my attitude The_Snial ?
    Am I thinking about my own selfish need to get high?( in my case medicate were prescription drugs failed)
    Or am I looking at a much bigger picture than my own front garden?

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  • 194. At 12:03pm on 19 Apr 2010, BJK wrote:

    The debate about illegal drugs is, in some ways, similar to that about benefits. Some suggest that it would be cheaper to simplify the benefits system by removing lots of regulations and just pay everyone a flat-rate, regardless of their circumstances. You then find you're going to pay lots of public money to people who don't need it and...well, you have to complicate things again with regulations to protect the public purse. Similarly with illegal drugs you get those who want to legalize them. This then poses lots of problems. Who will sell the legal drugs? If only a few government authorized dealers then will anyone else selling them be acting illegally? Will addicts want to make themselves known to authorized dealers or will there just be big black market for drugs? Also, legalize them for everyone? No, perhaps not for people under 18. Fine, but the evidence from alcohol and nicotine is that if something is legally available for adults then it will become more freely available for children...and more children will, therefore, get started on the path to a life dependent on drugs much more immediately potent than alcohol and nicotine. People last years, living fairly normal useful lives,on twenty cigarettes a day but I doubt that that would be the case on twenty joints of cannabis a day. Besides, pointing to the ill-effects of fairly diluted legal drugs like alcohol and nicotine, saying that they do more damage to society, is no reason to champion making illegal drugs legal. You might as well suggest legalizing shoplifting because it's not as bad as bank robbery. The reason illegal drugs don't do so much damage as alcohol and nicotine to society is precisely becasue they are illegal and, therefore, not as widely available. Society tolerates the costs of alcohol and nicotine - in terms of poor health and alcohol related crime - but that doesn't mean it should have even more burdens put on it by the legalization of other harmful substances. A healthy society depends on healthy individuals. You might tolerate, but thoroughly resent, work colleagues who disappear every few hours for a fag break or miss the odd Monday because of a hangover, but I doubt people would stand for work colleagues who have unsettling mood swings, disappear for days on end and are constantly in and out of re-hab. Obviously you will never stop people looking for an easy way to feel good about themselves but making addictive, quick chemical fixes widely available is not going to lead to a healthy, productive and content society. A few centuries ago gin was the problem. Women were known to get pregnant and sell their babies for it. The problem ended when the price of gin was raised and drinking it just became, socially, not the thing to do. Whatever, all this talk about a bunch of chemicals - legal and illegal - just fans the alluring flames. The answer is to get people to find thiings that make them feel good about themselves but don't harm them, as individuals, or society as a whole. Listen to some music, play a musical instrument, read a book, write a book, go for a run, play football, watch TV, dine out with friends, go for a walk in the countryside, paint a picture, play a computer game, get stuck in to a good day at work, take the dog for a walk ...there's so much to do, so many possibilities, why should we, myself included, here, have to waste so much time, money and life debating such a pointless activity as filling the human body with concentrates of chemicals?

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  • 195. At 5:09pm on 19 Apr 2010, John Barrow wrote:

    Sometimes I wonder about the minds of there people that we voted for to run our country.....
    A 'democracy'.....?
    They dont listen to us when we talk, unless you happen to be a lord or a good friend of one who has a stupid amount of cash.
    Whatever the secret reason for criminalising drugs and not alcohol or nicotine, they should share it with us.......
    Why are we not allowed to make an informed choice of our own.....my body my choice....yes you may quote the fact that you may not get NHS treatment if you abuse your body.....we pay Nat Ins for a reason and if they are going to withhold treatment for something that is my choice then I will arrange to withhold payment...simple as
    Our government thinks that we are stupid and cannot make decisions for ourselves....wrong...if i want to take drugs its up to me and i dont want to be persecuted for it
    I am soooo sick of being told what im not allowed to do byu my government....we voted for to SERVE us not bully us...remember your place MP's you are not our masters you are our servants
    GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BE AFRAID OF THEIR PEOPLE NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND
    Which seems to have been forgotten as people in this country are afraid to drive 1mph over the speed limit or even be in the same neighbourhood as a gram of marijuana for fear of being persecuted and made in to a social outcast...this nay seem ,like an extreme statement, but think about it....when you make a decision not to do something ask yourself why you are thinking that...is it for moral ethical or safety reasons maybe or is it simply because you have read something in the mediaa and thought oooh no i might get in trouble for that or its not allowed.....

    I am just sick of being treated like a schoolkid by these idiots in power...ie one person or small group of people do something wrong or stupid then the rest of the country has to suffer.....does this make anyone else feel stupid at all?

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  • 196. At 6:32pm on 19 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 7:51pm on 19 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    Critical alcohol review hidden by mephedrone row

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/critical-alcohol-review-hidden-by-mephedrone-row-1948191.html

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  • 198. At 10:30pm on 19 Apr 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    BJK, 194: Your comments sound like common sense - until they are examined. And that, really is why we've ended up with this whole situation. Those that have the power to do things have spent all their time ignoring the problem and speaking in much the same way.

    I won't comment on the main body of your post because there are answers to everything all over this blog and many other similar ones. The original point of Mark's post was that a load of public money was being poured into supporting something that we can't even prove does us any good.
    My brief summary of what I call "legalisation" is in post 127, others may have a better idea but it's just an example.
    I do nearly all of the things you mention - listen to some music, play a musical instrument, read a book, write a book, go for a run, play football, watch TV, dine out with friends, go for a walk in the countryside, get stuck in to a good day at work. All except not having a dog and I haven't painted a picture yet but thanks for the idea, I was thinking of trying that on a nice hot summer's day. But after all that, what's wrong with me settling down at the end of a productive day in front of "QI" with a nice glass of red wine? - an example of the chemical fix you mention. Life is there to be enjoyed.

    In the end it all comes down to this:
    To control something long-term which people associate with personal choice you cannot just make it illegal. Too many people will break that law and organised crime will reap the benefits. And if anyone thinks the way around this is to ramp up the penalties and give rulers absolute power, you need to read your history.

    Now I'm off to watch a program about police using our tax money to raid cannabis farms for which the end result will be a few foreign illegal immigrants serving time, a short-term shortage in cannabis in the area around the farms and an increase in its price. I think I'll have that glass of wine while I'm at it.

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  • 199. At 2:06pm on 20 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Some free information for you all
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/30178916/Marijuana-Is-Safer-FREE-DOWNLOAD
    this will take you to a download page for a free digital copy of the book

    Marijuana Is Safer
    So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

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  • 200. At 7:11pm on 20 Apr 2010, Buck_Turgidson wrote:

    The Marijuana Conspiracy

    http://www.world-mysteries.com/marijuana1.htm

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  • 201. At 11:59am on 21 Apr 2010, kymani-marley-warriors wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 202. At 2:46pm on 26 Apr 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Prescribe heroin on NHS, says Royal College of Nursing leader

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article7108342.ece

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  • 203. At 10:33pm on 17 Aug 2010, Dr David Hill - World Innovation Foundation wrote:

    In 2004 the Labour government stopped the trialling of a cure for hard drugs that is humane, perfectly safe, detoxifies in 48-72 hours, has no side effects as it is based on natural growing plants (Vietnam the country of origin is only one of two nations in the world that has the most biodiverse plant life on the planet by far) and where there is no 'cold turkey'. Indeed the Labour Government snubbed the Vietnamese government that offered their hand of help. Now this curative treatment that has been developed jointly through leading scientists in Vietnam and Germany over the last 10 years on a scientific basis, is produced in high-tech laboratories in capsule form. Therefore instead of looking to decriminalise hard drugs and make them available to all, there is a curative treatment out there that our former government did not want to even test. A strange and funny old world that we live in really and where now we could have been seeing tens of thousands of UK drug addicts cured in Britain every year. But it has to be said that there is no greater foolishness than that of government or their so-called wise advisers in Whitehall. Indeed they go against even common sense itself.

    Dr David Hill
    Executive Director
    World Innovation Foundation Charity
    Bern, Switzerland

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