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Drugs debate hots up

Mark Easton | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 1 November 2010

Today sees the publication of two pieces of scientific research that threaten to destabilise further the orthodoxy on drug policy in Britain.

One says our classification system of illicit substances is basically hopeless. The other says that decriminalising illicit drugs may be quite a good idea.

Tomorrow, of course, Californians vote on whether to legalise marijuana.

It is almost exactly a year since this blog revealed that Professor David Nutt had been sacked from his position as chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) by the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

His dismissal, for allegedly "campaigning" against government drugs policy, prompted a show-down between scientists and ministers which saw a further seven council members resign.

A number of those experts went on to found their own Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, operating, as they put it, "free from the constraints of policy-making and politics".

Today an ISCD paper entitled Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis is published in the Lancet. Its title may not be overly exciting but its findings are bound to cause an almighty stir.

The headline is that, on the basis of new analysis assessing the relative harms of different legal and illegal drugs to the user and wider society, "alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack (54) in second and third places".

Graph showing drugs ordered by their overall harm scores

The professor helped produce an earlier version of what is called a "harm matrix" of drugs. As today's paper puts it, that "provoked major interest and public debate, although it raised concerns about the choice of the nine criteria and the absence of any differential weighting of them".

Graph showing drugs classification

So the ISCD has returned to the fray with what is called multi-criteria decision analysis.

This approach includes 16 criteria including a drug's affects on users' physical and mental health, social harms including crime, "family adversities" and environmental damage, economic costs and "international damage".

The scientists, based on their expert knowledge, score a substance on each category from zero to 100.

Graph showing overall weighted scores for each of the drugs

The problem remains, however, of how much weight to give each of these categories.

"The weighting process is necessarily based on judgement, so it is best done by a group of experts working to consensus," the report authors say.

"Extensive sensitivity analyses on the weights showed that this model is very stable; large changes, or combinations of modest changes, are needed to drive substantial shifts in the overall rankings of the drugs."

What emerges is a ranking of drugs at complete odds with the official Home Office classification system.

The fact that alcohol emerges as the most harmful drug leads the authors to conclude that "aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy" but its place at the head of the table also suggests a legal status in stark contrast to the much less harmful effect of Class A drugs including ecstasy and LSD.

It is also notable that cocaine and tobacco emerge with very similar rankings in terms of harm.

"Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm," they say.

Also published today is another peer-reviewed paper assessing the effect of Portugal's decision to decriminalise all illicit drugs. You may recall I visited the country last year to report on a policy introduced in 2001.

Since then there has been a dispute as to how effective the new arrangements have been. I have seen all kinds of pretty half-baked analysis attempting to prove that the policy is either the silver bullet to drug abuse or that it has been a health and crime disaster.

Well, this new report looks at the arguments of both sides and attempts to provide a critical analysis of what has happened and concludes that "contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding."

The report goes on to point out that "such affects can be observed when decriminalising all illicit drugs. This is important, as decriminalisation is commonly restricted to cannabis alone".

The Home Office has not yet responded to the new study but drugs minister James Brokenshire recently told the House of Commons "[O]n the specific point about the Portuguese model, we are against that proposal."

Comments

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  • 1. At 01:23am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mark Easton.

    "The Home Office has not yet responded to the new study but drugs minister James Brokenshire recently told the House of Commons.."

    if previous experience is anything to go by, the government will find yet more weasel words to justify their adhering to dogma instead of accepting evidence and scientific advice.

    all the potential benefits to public health, not to mention the expected reduction in crime, will be ignored because maintaining the status quo (and keeping a 'nice little earner' going) will be seen as the 'right' thing to do. I can hear Messrs Cameron and Brokenshire already...

    thank you though for keeping the spotlight on this issue in your blog, excellent.

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  • 2. At 01:58am on 01 Nov 2010, AnAngryMan wrote:

    The day the government applies logic to prohibition laws is the day I walk on the face of the Moon.

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  • 3. At 06:25am on 01 Nov 2010, Briantist wrote:

    I especially like the "pink" bits in the last diagram, "drug-specific imparement of mental functions", which is presumably what you are actually paying for.

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  • 4. At 06:42am on 01 Nov 2010, Bournemouth '84 wrote:

    The harm done by alcohol to the individual, their family, community and society in general is so huge and so obvious as to make a mockery of the drugs policies of successive governments.

    No politician will dare to acknowledge this, for fear of the Tory tabloids, yet no politician can hope to be taken seriously on the issue of substance misuse until they do.

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  • 5. At 08:09am on 01 Nov 2010, keeffeeley wrote:

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

  • 6. At 08:12am on 01 Nov 2010, vass wrote:

    Once again hard facts show us the destructive nature of alcohol but still it is ignored. You want a new UK with less crime and problems then legalise the softer drugs and ban alcohol... How much more proof do you want

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  • 7. At 08:17am on 01 Nov 2010, Mr_Billy_D wrote:

    David Nutt should be commended for speaking out on a drug policy that is ill-informed and out of date.It's just such a shame that this area of the law seems so resistant to reform despite a huge amount of evidence that signals the need for change. If the law was to be relaxed, there would surely be story after story in the tabloid newspapers over-exaggerating or should I say speculating about the links between certain drugs and deaths just like there always has been in the past. This is why nothing will change. Who would risk their reputation? What politician would want to look like a big softy?

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  • 8. At 09:06am on 01 Nov 2010, Portman wrote:

    Teenagers have been pointing this out in debates on drug law for the last forty years. It is quite clear to anyone who is actually aware of the world around them that alcohol has always been the major drug problem for this country.

    Total abstinence on any and all drugs throughout a life or society is another illusion. Drug usage is normal human behaviour, it is misuse and overuse that we need to confront. The argument that many responsible drinkers use to defend alcohol from the prohibitionists is that used in moderation it is fine. That is true but is also true for the vast majority of other 'recreational' drugs.

    Alcohol being legal is also marketed, not only through advertising but also through preparation in various different forms. It is no surprise whatever the drinks industry claims that the advent of the sweet sticky alcopop has seen vast rises in alcohol abuse by the young and by women as well as an entirely new portion of the male fraternity whose palates were unhappy with the traditional taste of alcoholic beverages. If they legalised cannabis it will be the pre-prepared pack of 'Acapulco Golds' that sees usage go up. This is the challenge of licencing, to allow adult usage but prevent business from exploiting its tools to create abuse.

    Alcohol will always be the real problem here because it is the default drug of our culture. The rest are all imports with short history. It will never work to prohibit drugs and it does not work to allow unfettered marketing of them either. The legal and cultural challenge and objective lies in between where adults are free to take decisions but with freedom comes an acknowledged responsibility.

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  • 9. At 09:11am on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

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

  • 10. At 09:12am on 01 Nov 2010, Nullius123 wrote:

    The reason why drugs policy has failed so spectacularly during the last 40 years is because it has been so driven by a moralistic ideology. This is what has to end. We need to recognize that drug use is neither good nor bad - what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms and all that. Harmful drug use is something we should seek to minimize, but we should also recognize that most drug use is harmless, or nearly so.

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  • 11. At 09:14am on 01 Nov 2010, karl wrote:

    Is it not time for the powers that be to stop lying to them selfs and others! Its time to finally back off us good people in the uk whome are grown up and adult enough to make our own mind up on these issues. After all with the drugs that are illegal its impossible to control the cash that go's through the WRONG hands and no age limmit can be put in place. This leaves the money with the mob and our children open to buy drugs off the streets!! Not a good way forwards i'll think your'll agree.
    People have and always will take drugs so its time for the law makers to pull there heads from the sand and look at the facts insted of sacking the experts telling these facts!

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  • 12. At 09:19am on 01 Nov 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    "The weighting process is necessarily based on judgement, so it is best done by a group of experts working to consensus,"

    So basically these guys have cobbled together their own rating system and (surprise, surprise) the results suport their own previously published opinions.

    Wow, that's so rigorous.

    I'm just off to dream up my own rating system which will support whatever I think.

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  • 13. At 09:37am on 01 Nov 2010, Jim Poole wrote:

    So once again the people in the know (the scientists) prove politicians wrong again. Since the 1930's we have heard so many lies about cannabis and it's related products. Why? To protect the interests of big business, plain and simple.

    If grown in bulk quantities, not only would this marvellous plant destroy the need for petroleum based products (yes, you can not only run cars on it, you can build them from it too. Henry Ford did it in the 1930's), you can run a power station on the biomass from it, you can make clothes from it, you can make paper from it, you can make medicine from it, oh and the sativa strain is a source of pure protein, so you can feed the starving with it. The list is endless of the capabilities of this wonderful plant.

    So why is it banned. Plain and simple, because with this plant, big profit making companies who rely on our hunger for oil based products (fuel, plastics, nylon, Aspirin, pens, again the list is endless) would be out of business overnight.

    Bottom line, the scientists have proven the facts, the politicians who are in the pockets of the profiteers are panicking because without the profiteers, there would be no more cash in brown envelopes for them.

    PROPAGANDA - JUST SAY NO!

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  • 14. At 09:53am on 01 Nov 2010, John Bailey wrote:

    I feel the doctor is correct with regard to the harm caused by alchohol (you only need to go out in town on a Friday/Saturday night to witness the affects for oneself), but the hypocritical political parties aren't going to do anything about it due to the revenues it raises for the Inland Revenue. The government's course is to apply the highest tax possible to alchohol, but not enough to actually put anyone off buying it (or enough to jeopard their political tenure). Apologies for stating the obvious.

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  • 15. At 10:01am on 01 Nov 2010, watriler wrote:

    Everybody knows that alcohol is a big social and physiological problem so these findings come as no surprise. We have had a successful campaign to control the use of tobacco so there is no reason why a combination of education and legal restrictions (min pricing, max abv opening hours, off-licences etc.) should not have a real positive effect.It will take a long time to get the public use to de-criminalising the more aggressive 'recreational' drugs but that is no argument for doing nothing about the drugs on the tail of the bar chart.

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  • 16. At 10:03am on 01 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    #9 Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    'This "expert" is clearly an attention-seeking clown desperate for publicity.
    Ever notice these pro-legalisation people are always of a certain age-group?'

    What this shows is that large numbers of people took illicit drugs when they were younger, they are now older and in positions of influence and some of them are prepared to stand up for what they believe in despite the possible damage to their careers that this may entail.

    That drug using youngsters grow up into adults with positions of power surely demonstrates that the message 'just say no' (because drugs wreck lives) is clearly a load of tosh.

    Current drugs policy wrecks lives and this is where all the harms are coming from.

    Legitimise the lot and regulate them properly, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

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  • 17. At 10:20am on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:

    Had a feeling you'd be all over this one, Mark

    Very nice, keep up the pressure on populist politicians

    However I wanted to point out something - were we to ban alcohol on scientific principles (and according to politician logic), it would be class A presumably

    However - much of alcohol is made up of community, family and economic costs (as is tobacco), were it to be criminalised and removed from the general public this would, on paper at least, remove much of the harm from the scale as it became less common in society

    Therefore it would become much softer on the harm scale, and would lead to a campaign for declassification...

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  • 18. At 10:23am on 01 Nov 2010, chrisasmith777 wrote:

    "such affects can be observed "

    I hope it doesn't really say that, because the correct word in this context is "effects".

    I'm strongly in favour of evidence-based drug policy and reform along the lines promoted by Transform : http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/

    However, I don't see Professor Nutt's latest paper as being any more than a starting point in classifying drug harms. I would like to see potential for addiction and potential benefits included in the criteria used to assess drugs.

    If/when the ACMD has been reconstituted, they should be provided with Professor Nutt's data and tasked with creating their own table of harms.

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  • 19. At 10:24am on 01 Nov 2010, Robbie G wrote:

    Interesting quote from an Alcohol industry pspokesman today:

    quote
    Gavin Partington, spokesman for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said millions of people enjoyed alcohol "as part of a regular and enjoyable social drink".

    "Clearly alcohol misuse is a problem in the country and our real fear is that, by talking in such extreme terms, Professor Nutt and his colleagues risk switching people off from considering the real issues and the real action that is needed to tackle alcohol misuse," he said.

    "We are talking about a minority. We need to focus policy around that minority, which is to do with education, treatment and enforcement."
    unquote

    Well today Robbie G, spokesman for the Let's stop this prohibition madness Association, said millions of people enjoyed drugs "as part of a regular and enjoyable social drug experience".

    "Clearly drug misuse is a problem in the country and our real fear is that, by talking in such extreme terms, the Daily Mail, the main political parties and their colleagues risk switching people off from considering the real issues and the real action that is needed to tackle dug misuse," he said.

    "We are talking about a minority. We need to focus policy around that minority, which is to do with education, treatment and enforcement."

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  • 20. At 10:33am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    "Legitimise the lot and regulate them properly, the benefits far outweigh the costs."

    +1

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  • 21. At 10:33am on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    I really cannot understand why the Government want to cause so much misery and harm with their drug laws, whilst they profit off an equally nasty drug. Hypocrites, the lot of them, no wonder no one takes any notice of these laws. I can only see one logical step forward, legalisation.

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  • 22. At 10:40am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    Thanks Mark, I had not heard of Portugal's decision to decriminalise all illicit drugs.

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  • 23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    It's been proved that shooting youself in the head is more dangerous than shooting yourself in the leg. Only an idiot would then conclude that this means shooting yourself in the leg is a good idea. Druggies use this logic all the time when a study shows the relative dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs. They are also quite happy to use alcohol as an example of a dangerous drug, but are also quite happy to use it. Which is somewhat hypocritical. But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime.

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  • 24. At 11:07am on 01 Nov 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    This is a very important week in the campaign to reduce drug harms.

    David Nutt's unassailable logic once again exposes the crass politicking of Home Office ministers. These cowardly politicians waste billions every year on prejudice and propaganda while ignoring the science and the gross injustice that they perpetrate on millions of citizens.

    Proposition 19 in California tomorrow offers some hope but why is there an almost complete blackout of news on the subject? According to the Home Office there are six million regular users of cannabis in the UK. Why then is the BBC not providing much more extensive coverage of this important event?

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/bbc-blanks-proposition-19/

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  • 25. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #9.

    "This "expert" is clearly an attention-seeking clown desperate for publicity."

    what are the chances that your academic achievements and/or your employment record are better than that of Professor David Nutt? talk about 'attention-seeking clowns'. LOL

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  • 26. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, subcontrabasso wrote:

    Without details of the weightings used and the scores given these "results" can only be taken as the subjective opinions of a small group of self-styled "experts". If they want to be taken seriously they should include the full details of these figures which they apparently produced in a single day.

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  • 27. At 11:14am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    It's been proved that shooting youself in the head is more dangerous than shooting yourself in the leg. Only an idiot would then conclude that this means shooting yourself in the leg is a good idea. Druggies use this logic all the time when a study shows the relative dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs."

    Are you ignoring reports of the relative dangers of alchol and legal drug use?


    "They are also quite happy to use alcohol as an example of a dangerous drug, but are also quite happy to use it. Which is somewhat hypocritical."

    Why is it hypocritical? Most things in live, done to excess, are bad for you, this goes for alchohol, drugs, sports, etc etc.


    "But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime."

    Ignoring of course that if drugs were decriminalised, users would not need to buy their drugs from criminals.

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  • 28. At 11:17am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    24. At 11:07am on 01 Nov 2010, Peter Reynolds wrote:

    "Proposition 19 in California tomorrow offers some hope but why is there an almost complete blackout of news on the subject? According to the Home Office there are six million regular users of cannabis in the UK. Why then is the BBC not providing much more extensive coverage of this important event?

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/bbc-blanks-proposition-19/
    "

    Put "Proposition 19" in the search box on the BBC's home page and you'll find the coverage, or were you just pimping your blog?

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  • 29. At 11:17am on 01 Nov 2010, matt-stone wrote:

    If illegal drugs are less harmful than alcohol, then lets all switch to drug-taking and ban alcohol and close down breweries. Surely we all will benefit from it. Turn pubs into drug-dens and just imagine: Grandad and Granny puffing away on spliffs and joints every evening at their local "den", instead of their half-a-bitter, having the time of their life. And our kids staggering and rolling round their classrooms, ...after a sprinkle of cannabis resins on their cornflakes at breakfast, cannot be harmful, surely !!. And lets re-open our Victorian "nut-houses" and shove the "classified insane" into them, problem solved??..or are we jumping from the frying pan into the fire? The truth of course is we have inherited alcoholic genes from our ancestors which, over the years, have gone out of control and needed something more and more potent to satisfy our hunger and craving for the stuff. Don't give me that tale about social-drinking; we are a nation of p***heads, sad to say, and the last thing we need is to legalise dangerous drugs, it will only exacerbate our already worsening alcohol and anti-social problems.

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  • 30. At 11:18am on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    I'm so glad to see most of you are talking sense.

    The important thing to distinguish is responsibility. Most drug users are responsible with their consumption, just like most drinkers.

    I can understand those who've never used drugs and have been fed sensasionalist propaganda all their life about the effects will be somewhat clueless on the subject, I only wish they would admit it to themselves and stop passing comment on a subject they simply don't understand.

    The argument for legalising drugs is so strong it can't be ignored for much longer. Not only can you regulate intake, strength and it's sources - you can tax it, steadily increase prices in line with inflation and stop making drug dealers rich and powerful (at the same time as increasing revenue for jobs in the health sector).

    While it's possible legalisation may increase drug usage (albeit on a minute scale) - I fail to see how it will increase mis-use which is really what society is seeking to avoid.

    It should not be a crime to enjoy yourself now and again with a good night out on illicit drugs - many responsible users have had some of their best life experiences and formed some of their strongest friendships whilst under the influence (ironically like many Daily Mail readers have enjoyed on the pop)

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  • 31. At 11:20am on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    It's been proved that shooting youself in the head is more dangerous than shooting yourself in the leg. Only an idiot would then conclude that this means shooting yourself in the leg is a good idea.

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

    No one on the pro-legalisation side says taking drugs is a good idea. Clearly that's nonsense. We recognise however that drug taking is a natural thing, whether that be alcohol, tobacco or ketamine. We aim to seek the reduction of harm by guaranteeing a safe supply of current illict drugs and educational methods such that users can be safe on their substance of choice. Happy ban hammer is an outdated and naive idea as shown in the past and currently.

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

    Druggies

    -----------

    Not all drug users are 'druggies' in the same way not everyone who consumes alcohol is an alcoholic. Play nice.

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

    Druggies use this logic all the time when a study shows the relative dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs. They are also quite happy to use alcohol as an example of a dangerous drug, but are also quite happy to use it.

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

    We 'druggies' certainly have more logic than the prohibition crew show. Alcohol is only dangerous when overused, the same as any other drug. Educate people to drink/snort safely. It's the culture of machoness which encourages stupid amounts of drinking that causes alcohol related problems.

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

    Which is somewhat hypocritical. But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime.

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

    Hence the campaign for legalisation.

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  • 32. At 11:33am on 01 Nov 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    People have always used drugs, and always will. It is not possible to "win" in a war on drugs. The best - and most sensible - approach is to nationalise drug distribution via a network of regulated official outlets; users of addictive or highly distructive drugs should be given help to quit; users of less harmful drugs should be able to buy them from the local pharmacy, and tax revenue would grow; policing would cost less because it would become legal; criminal gangs would be undermined, leading to less violent crime; property crime would fall; abuse and prostitution would become easier to tackle.

    Whereas what we have now is prohibition, and we all saw how well Al Capone did out of that.

    Keeping things illegal doesn't stop demand, it simply pushes supply into the hands of criminals.

    I recommend the TV series The Wire, which gives a pretty good illustration of what happens when political expediency trumps common sense.

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  • 33. At 11:33am on 01 Nov 2010, newstem wrote:

    The graphs do not appear to be correct. As Alcohol is a group term compared to specific Class A drugs terms (heroin, crack, etc). Alcohol should be broken down to at least Spirits, Beers, Wines, or the Class A drugs grouped under 'Class A' to make the comparison more valid. This is a very important topic and the graphs should show the true picture, not just promote the 'alcohol is bad' view.

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  • 34. At 11:34am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    26. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, subcontrabasso wrote:

    "Without details of the weightings used and the scores given these "results" can only be taken as the subjective opinions of a small group of self-styled "experts"."

    They were government-styled "experts". Would you like me to Google that for you?

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  • 35. At 11:39am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    27. At 11:14am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    "But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime."
    Ignoring of course that if drugs were decriminalised, users would not need to buy their drugs from criminals.
    ---------
    They don't "need" to buy drugs at all. If you choose to fund drug crime you are either an addict or just selfish to the harm you cause.

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  • 36. At 11:41am on 01 Nov 2010, Nick wrote:

    9. At 09:11am on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    This "expert" is clearly an attention-seeking clown desperate for publicity.
    Ever notice these pro-legalisation people are always of a certain age-group?

    **********************************************

    Foolish comment, this expert is commenting on a very important social issue after years of extensive research.
    Have the studies you have performed come up with conflicting results or are you just sticking your fingers in your ears and saying 'La la la la' when faced with answers you don't happen to like?

    Oh and what age should 'experts' be then?

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  • 37. At 11:45am on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    35. At 11:39am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    They don't "need" to buy drugs at all. If you choose to fund drug crime you are either an addict or just selfish to the harm you cause.

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

    If you choose to answer a sensible response to your point like that you're either ignorant or naive (or both!).

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  • 38. At 11:47am on 01 Nov 2010, Nick Healey wrote:

    Another chalk up for the BBC's totally biased reporting. A leading pharmacolgical research expert on the one hand, and on the other, an uninformed Daily Mail columnist, whose only claim to credibility is that he's the less erudite, less successful and less engaging brother of Christopher Hitchens. They probably couldn't find a scientific counterpoint because the report is scientifically unassailable. The piece was appalling. As usual, Peter Hitchens, a Daily Mail columnist, interrupted constantly and was allowed to get his uninformed opinion accross and Professor Nutt, who, let me stress this point, is one of the country's leading experts on recreational drugs was not allowed to answer Hitchen's completely inaccurate assertion that cannabis is a dangerous substance that causes extreme mental health probems. This is another example of the BBC's bias and cowardice against standing up and actually presenting the evidence in order to let the people judge for themselves.

    I'm sure Prof. Nutt does have an axe to grind after having been sacked, but he doesn't come accross that way and his agenda merely seems to be to present the scientific evidence into the public arena. He's never actually allowed to do it on air of course, because it contravenes the socio-political agenda that legal drugs are good and provide vast tax revenue despite the fact that they are demonstrably more harmful, physiologically, psychologically and socially than most illegal drugs.

    I think it is time that politicians and the media start being honest about the scientific facts and start the debate from that point rather than the misinformation that is currently peddled.

    I've not read this report, so can't comment on the efficacy of the methodology, but have read previous work he has done and that appeared sound.

    The myth that cannabis "causes" schizophrenia has now entered the public consciousness and is on a par with the MMR lie perpetrated following another poor piece of research and should be exposed. Prof Nutt was not allowed that chance yet again today.

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  • 39. At 11:47am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Shaunie Babes #35.

    "They don't "need" to buy drugs at all."

    and who, pray tell, are you to tell others which choices they can or cannot make?

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  • 40. At 11:48am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    "But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime."

    27. At 11:14am on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "Ignoring of course that if drugs were decriminalised, users would not need to buy their drugs from criminals."

    35. At 11:39am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    "They don't "need" to buy drugs at all. If you choose to fund drug crime you are either an addict or just selfish to the harm you cause."

    There are lots of recreational consumer products people buy that they do not "need".

    I think most would prefer to buy their drugs from a legal establishment and not from those criminalised for selling drugs, hence the call for decriminalisation.

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  • 41. At 11:49am on 01 Nov 2010, Nick wrote:

    12. At 09:19am on 01 Nov 2010, jon112dk wrote:
    "The weighting process is necessarily based on judgement, so it is best done by a group of experts working to consensus,"

    So basically these guys have cobbled together their own rating system and (surprise, surprise) the results suport their own previously published opinions.

    Wow, that's so rigorous.

    I'm just off to dream up my own rating system which will support whatever I think.


    so you disagree with a rating system put together by experts. Where do you suggest we find a rating system, the stars perhaps? Tea leaves maybe?

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  • 42. At 11:59am on 01 Nov 2010, bigsammyb wrote:

    "9. At 09:11am on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    This "expert" is clearly an attention-seeking clown desperate for publicity.
    Ever notice these pro-legalisation people are always of a certain age-group?"

    What in their sixties? If you can't make an intelligent comment do us all a favour and don't make one. Read and learn and see if you can educate yourself.

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  • 43. At 12:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, bigsammyb wrote:

    "17. At 10:20am on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:
    Had a feeling you'd be all over this one, Mark

    Very nice, keep up the pressure on populist politicians

    However I wanted to point out something - were we to ban alcohol on scientific principles (and according to politician logic), it would be class A presumably

    However - much of alcohol is made up of community, family and economic costs (as is tobacco), were it to be criminalised and removed from the general public this would, on paper at least, remove much of the harm from the scale as it became less common in society

    Therefore it would become much softer on the harm scale, and would lead to a campaign for declassification..."

    Are you serious? Prohibition of alcohol did occur in the 1920's in the USA and the results were horrendous:-

    1/ alcohol poisening/blindness
    2. The rise of the mob and gangland killings in the street.

    Is that what you want?

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  • 44. At 12:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

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

  • 45. At 12:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    30 #practicaldave

    I agree. In fact I'd go further, I think overall consumption of drugs would fall. Many people begin a life of addiction by being given free drugs by a dealer: an addict will be a cash-cow to the supplier, so it's worth giving away free drugs for a few weeks, knowing the addict will eventually pay almost anything to get more.

    But what's the point in supplying those initial "hits" if the user can then go to a shop and get their own drugs at a reasonable price, with an offer of help, and a guarantee of purity and safety? Removing any incentive to trap people in addiction means fewer addicts, fewer casualties, fewer hospitalisations. And, of course, fewer criminals and higher tax revenues.

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  • 46. At 12:07pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    35. At 11:39am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    "They don't "need" to buy drugs at all. If you choose to fund drug crime you are either an addict or just selfish to the harm you cause."

    There are lots of recreational consumer products people buy that they do not "need".

    I think most would prefer to buy their drugs from a legal establishment and not from those criminalised for selling drugs, hence the call for decriminalisation.


    Applause for Andy - this is such a sensible comment I can't believe it hasn't already been made. Most people don't need to buy drugs, they want to.

    Shauni Babes - I'm sure you occasionally buy things you don't need, instead you just buy them because you want them and they make you happy. Ask yourself it you would still buy these things if they were suddenly made illegal?....(Methinks you would)

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  • 47. At 12:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    The thread is turning into a piece of anecdotal evidence that using and/or supporting drug legalisation makes one a more logical thinker. :)

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  • 48. At 12:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jonathan wrote:

    It's clear the current classifications do not match the relative harms of drugs. The trouble is, reclassification would have to encompass alcohol and tobacco, and would almost certainly mean outlawing alcohol, which simply isn't going to happen for sociological and political reasons. Equally, drugs this report says are less harmful can't be legalised for similar reasons.

    One thing that isn't clear, reading news articles about this report, is whether it takes into account the fact that alcohol and tobacco are more widely used, and more openly used, because they are currently legal. Is alcohol more harmful simply because it is so widespread, and socially acceptable to use it to excess? Wouldn't other drugs become far more harmful if they were legal and so more widely used?

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  • 49. At 12:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, tim spurrier wrote:

    If drugs were legalised who would sell them?
    Would the seller be responsible for quality?
    Would the seller pay taxes and collect VAT?
    If a customer's health suffered could the seller be sued?
    Would the seller be responsible for any medical problems or would the consumers expect the taxpayer to cover this?
    There is a good argument for prohibiting the sale of alcohol but legalising drugs seems to add to the problem.

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  • 50. At 12:28pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    48. At 12:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jonathan wrote:

    "It's clear the current classifications do not match the relative harms of drugs. The trouble is, reclassification would have to encompass alcohol and tobacco, and would almost certainly mean outlawing alcohol, which simply isn't going to happen for sociological and political reasons."

    Reclassification of currently illegal drugs would not have to include alcohol and tobacco as they're not currently illegal.

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  • 51. At 12:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    The only people who think that recreational drugs are worse than alcohol are the people who've never tried them.

    drug legisaltion isn't there to protect us, its there to pander to the self righteous who have been brainwashed by decades of misinformation into thinking they know something about the impact of drugs on society when actually they know nothing.

    So at the moment we have a situtation where drugs legislation is there to provide peace of mind to those that don't take drugs, whereas to those that do its ridiculous, obviously nonsensical nature makes it very easy to ignore.

    By the way, as someone who did experiment quite widely in his youth, i can tell you that the only drug that'll leave you crawling in the gutter, unable to pronounce your own name is alcohol.

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  • 52. At 12:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, anotherfakename wrote:

    Another pile of rubbish, the report and all the second rate journalism about it should go in the dustbin where it belongs.

    The harm to others is the mechanism used to push alcohol to its most prominant position. This is done on the basis that so many more people use it than any other 'drug' (not sure that the side effect of some fairly natural rotting is actually a drug, but hey ho). This is - as usual - much over done, the number of people who abuse this substance in the world is very low when compared to the number that drink. Most interestingly the places where there are the most alcohol related problems are the places where it is treated as a great no no - here and the USA. Get grown up and treat it sensibly and its not so much of an issue. If we were able to go to the pub and have a drink without the 'do gooders' hounding us then those that find themselves in a problem could feel able to get help.

    Then there is the personal damage listed, as others have said for some the relaxation (very relaxed in some cases) is what they are paying for - the point here is that for the majority this is a temporary effect, gone in a few hours. Sure, if you continually take it you end up dead - but thats the same for continually eating burgers, or having a lot of pop, taking no exercise, a whole host of things.

    The government should come out strongly against this report - it is total nonsense.

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  • 53. At 12:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, Keith wrote:

    I have always thought that the so called war on drugs to be a complete waste of time as the availability of all drugs has never been reduced by laws. Apart from providing the lawyers, judges, prison officers, police, customs, etc with jobs exactly what has been achieved? I do not condone drug taking or alcoholism but the efforts of the law have never reduced the problem, in fact with drugs the law creates the opportunity for criminals to make a fortune by creating more addicts. If the drug laws were to be scrapped making drugs available legally the criminals would be very upset. Maybe that is why the law will never be changed. the people benefiting from the crime are probably making the laws.

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  • 54. At 12:40pm on 01 Nov 2010, tony d wrote:

    All this report does is re-enforce the fact that mind altering substances are dangerous to humans and cause all kinds of problems to users and victims be they legal or illegal. Those of us working in Psychiatry and dealing with these problems on a daily basis have known this for decades. Legalising any MAS will cause more problems, but how you ban those that are legal is the challenge.

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  • 55. At 12:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Desiderius Erasmus wrote:

    I remember in Social Studies at school in the early 1970's, seeing a chart showing Heroin and Alcohol as the two most dangerous drugs in the world, both with a '5 star' danger rating, according to the World Health Organisation (Crack cocaine hadn't been invented then) .... the teacher pointed out that if it was 'invented today (1972), it would be banned.'

    So this study isn't showing anything new is it?

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  • 56. At 12:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    16. At 10:03am on 01 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    "What this shows is that large numbers of people took illicit drugs when they were younger, they are now older and in positions of influence and some of them are prepared to stand up for what they believe in despite the possible damage to their careers that this may entail."

    Because they never grew up and still think they're rebellious teenagers.

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  • 57. At 12:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, WiseOldBob wrote:

    12. At 09:19am on 01 Nov 2010, jon112dk wrote:
    "The weighting process is necessarily based on judgement, so it is best done by a group of experts working to consensus,"

    So basically these guys have cobbled together their own rating system and (surprise, surprise) the results support their own previously published opinions.

    Wow, that's so rigorous.

    I'm just off to dream up my own rating system which will support whatever I think.

    I totally recommend this comment!

    I am also so fed up of the army of self-important "experts" telling me how to live my life that I will take any mind-bending drug that will send me to an oblivion where they are not!


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  • 58. At 12:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    49. At 12:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, timspurrier wrote:

    1) If drugs were legalised who would sell them?
    2) Would the seller be responsible for quality?
    3) Would the seller pay taxes and collect VAT?
    4) If a customer's health suffered could the seller be sued?
    5) Would the seller be responsible for any medical problems or would the consumers expect the taxpayer to cover this?
    6) There is a good argument for prohibiting the sale of alcohol but legalising drugs seems to add to the problem.

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

    1) Pharmacies/Chemists, potentially even supermarkets.
    2) The company who produced it would be responsible for quality.
    3) Yes
    4) Depends if it was a poor synth or if the user was being an idiot. How many alcohol abusers can sue?
    5) Tax revenue from regulated sales would more than cover a hospital bill.
    6) Really?

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

    51. At 12:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    By the way, as someone who did experiment quite widely in his youth, i can tell you that the only drug that'll leave you crawling in the gutter, unable to pronounce your own name is alcohol.

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

    Agreed with all of your post but that bit, I've certainly had a couple which have left me unable to move/speak for a few hours. Now, if you said alcohol is the only drug that'll make you want to hit someone and then throw up on them, I'd agree!

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  • 59. At 12:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:

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

  • 60. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    25. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "what are the chances that your academic achievements and/or your employment record are better than that of Professor David Nutt?"

    You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!

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  • 61. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    timspurrier #49.

    "If drugs were legalised who would sell them?"

    off-licenses and pharmacies?

    "Would the seller be responsible for quality?"

    no, the manufacturer (no different from other consumer goods).

    "Would the seller pay taxes and collect VAT?"

    yes.

    If a customer's health suffered could the seller be sued?"

    no, but the manufacturer would be liable (just like other consumer goods).

    "Would the seller be responsible for any medical problems or would the consumers expect the taxpayer to cover this?"

    existing legislation, which covers drugs like Nurofen, would cover this area too.

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  • 62. At 12:47pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    36. At 11:41am on 01 Nov 2010, ndiddy wrote:
    "Foolish comment, this expert is commenting on a very important social issue after years of extensive research."

    No he isn't; read the article for a change.

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  • 63. At 12:50pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    42. At 11:59am on 01 Nov 2010, bigsammyb wrote:
    "What in their sixties? If you can't make an intelligent comment do us all a favour and don't make one. Read and learn and see if you can educate yourself."

    Planning to take your own advice then? Pro-legalisation "experts" all tend to be in their '50s ie the generation who grew up brainwashed into believing drugs were harmless.
    Most of them grew up eventually though.

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  • 64. At 12:52pm on 01 Nov 2010, Giles Jones wrote:

    These figures are surely based upon current usage levels.

    To say that heroin is less dangerous than alcohol is surely based upon current addict numbers? there is no other way that they would know this. You can't accurately model a complex problem like drug dependency and its effects. You can only observe it's current effects and make predictions.

    If everyone who has a drink now switched to heroin I'm sure the damage would be much much greater and we would be in a much worse position right now.

    There are many casual drinkers, but I doubt very much that there are many casual heroin users.

    I'm not saying that drink doesn't need to be tackled, it urgently does need to be controlled. But to suggest that other substances would be less dangerous is crazy, you can't simply suggest switching them over would be beneficial.

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  • 65. At 12:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    tony d #54.

    "Legalising any MAS will cause more problems.."

    decriminalisation has not (see Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands), why should legalisation?

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  • 66. At 12:56pm on 01 Nov 2010, Grubastuba wrote:

    Legislation, Regulation and Taxation. Once again someone that actually knows what they are talking about, backed up by others lays it out clear and simple so that even the rabid Mail readers should get it.

    Once again for the hard of hearing or too drunk to focus...

    Legislation, Regulation and Taxation.

    The sooner you do this the sooner you can start to clean up society, we've been at "war with drugs" probably as long as the US (40'ish years) and has anything got better? Nope, so it's time to change the law.


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  • 67. At 12:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mega wrote:

    I welcome this report. My son is both an alcoholic and heroin addict. He is given methadone for the heroin addiction - but it seems that the "cure" is as bad as the disease - it is very addictive and is much harder to detox from methadone than the heroin.
    However, as I have said repeatedly to anyone that will listen, although I do not want my son addicted to anything, I prefer it when he is on heroin than on booze. On booze he is aggressive and 9 times out of 10 will commit a crime or end up injured. When he is doing heroin, he is not as aggressive, and although he might commit a crime (stealing) it is more likely that he will not add violence to the mix.
    I hate what both addictions have done to my son, but I really hate what he is like when he takes even 1 drink.

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  • 68. At 1:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Angel wrote:

    Why are we so quick in this country to condemn people who speak the truth.
    Come on people wake up.

    Alcohol is damaging and far more distructive than all the other drugs put together. All you have to do is take a trip down the local high street or A&E on a friday and saturday night to know that.

    Government should take notice and do something now, maybe if they'd done something sooner I wouldn't have had to put up with listening to my parents drunken arguments and fights when I was a child.


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  • 69. At 1:01pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    MrWonderfulReality #59.

    "..in my opinion AND PROVEABLE by FACTs and EVIDENCE of REALITY and TRUTH are LESS scientific than a meerkat crossed with Einstein and Darwin."

    yes, your opinion LOUD AND CLEAR versus scientific evidence. no contest.

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  • 70. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    52. At 12:38pm on 01 Nov 2010, anotherfakename wrote:

    Another pile of rubbish, the report and all the second rate journalism about it should go in the dustbin where it belongs.

    The harm to others is the mechanism used to push alcohol to its most prominant position. This is done on the basis that so many more people use it than any other 'drug' (not sure that the side effect of some fairly natural rotting is actually a drug, but hey ho). This is - as usual - much over done, the number of people who abuse this substance in the world is very low when compared to the number that drink. Most interestingly the places where there are the most alcohol related problems are the places where it is treated as a great no no - here and the USA. Get grown up and treat it sensibly and its not so much of an issue. If we were able to go to the pub and have a drink without the 'do gooders' hounding us then those that find themselves in a problem could feel able to get help.

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

    Some points about your post:

    1) The harms are done on an verage, so there's no correlation between usage by population and problems. Methylamphetamine is pretty much unheard of in this country, so shouldn't be on the graph at all according to you.

    2) The number of alcoholics is a lower number than the number of alcohol users correct, but that's the same as any substance.

    3) Most problems with alcohol are where the attitude is "no no?" Why then are you seemingly for prohibition of illegal drugs?

    4) If drug users weren't cast aside to rot by the 'rabit right' (whatever that is) then maybe they could get help for their problems?

    Too many contradictions in your argument for it to be credible I'm afraid.

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  • 71. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #60.

    "You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding?"

    fewer people injured/killed from taking ecstasy than from riding horses. fact.

    "And you still think he has any credibility?!"

    yes.

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  • 72. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    60. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    "You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!"


    Professor Nutt wrote'The point was to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse rising and ecstasy.'

    The professor said equasy - short for equine addiction syndrome - caused more than 100 deaths a year.



    How many deaths does Ecstacy cause. How much happiness does it produce?

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  • 73. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, KateCopestake wrote:

    Can I explain something that most people responding to this report, (including Mark, unfortunately), seem to be failing to understand: the report assesses damage to _society_, not damage to an _individual_. Therefore a drug that is very widely used (eg alcohol) inevitably comes out as far more damaging than a drug that is more toxic but only used by a tiny minority (eg heroin). This is obvious surely, at least to anyone who's ever been down town of a saturday night. It is really depressing to see the levels of misunderstanding that this report is generating.

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  • 74. At 1:04pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    58. At 12:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, LoonyLiberal wrote:
    49. At 12:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, timspurrier wrote:

    1) If drugs were legalised who would sell them?
    2) Would the seller be responsible for quality?
    3) Would the seller pay taxes and collect VAT?
    4) If a customer's health suffered could the seller be sued?
    5) Would the seller be responsible for any medical problems or would the consumers expect the taxpayer to cover this?
    6) There is a good argument for prohibiting the sale of alcohol but legalising drugs seems to add to the problem.

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

    1) Pharmacies/Chemists, potentially even supermarkets.
    2) The company who produced it would be responsible for quality.
    3) Yes
    4) Depends if it was a poor synth or if the user was being an idiot. How many alcohol abusers can sue?
    5) Tax revenue from regulated sales would more than cover a hospital bill.
    6) Really?

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

    51. At 12:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    By the way, as someone who did experiment quite widely in his youth, i can tell you that the only drug that'll leave you crawling in the gutter, unable to pronounce your own name is alcohol.

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

    Agreed with all of your post but that bit, I've certainly had a couple which have left me unable to move/speak for a few hours. Now, if you said alcohol is the only drug that'll make you want to hit someone and then throw up on them, I'd agree!

    ----

    Fair enough, i've never been left unable to move, I've not wanted to move for hours , but thats not quite the same thing.

    I'd also add that cocaine is problematic because it amplifies the effects of alcohol, which is something that proff Nutt needs to look into a bit more, as the two are often taken together.



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  • 75. At 1:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    60. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    25. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "what are the chances that your academic achievements and/or your employment record are better than that of Professor David Nutt?"

    You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!


    In what capacity can you prove the original statement wrong? You may not agree with it, but it was made by a qualified, studied professional.
    Have you actually given any realistic consideration to it being correct - or are you simply biased by your potentially narrow minded views?

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  • 76. At 1:11pm on 01 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    #56 Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    '16. At 10:03am on 01 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    "What this shows is that large numbers of people took illicit drugs when they were younger, they are now older and in positions of influence and some of them are prepared to stand up for what they believe in despite the possible damage to their careers that this may entail."

    Because they never grew up and still think they're rebellious teenagers.'

    So are you suggesting that doing the right thing should be sacrificed on the alter of career progression ?


    The point was that the message being given out by the government, 'drugs wreck lives', is a blatant falsity given that some successful people also took (take) drugs.

    I don't doubt that drugs wreck some lives*.

    The governments responsibility lies not with moralising messages that only enhance their own careers but acting in the best interests of all of us.

    And that means Legitimise it, Regulate it and Tax it.

    And use these structures to reduce the harms to all of us.


    *all recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco included.




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  • 77. At 1:13pm on 01 Nov 2010, Portman wrote:

    Drug law is one of those oddities where the majority don't necessarily want legalisation yet nor do they think that people should be imprisoned for getting high. People don't want open drug use on the streets but they are not particularly bothered what people choose to do behind closed doors. The privacy of people's chosen pleasure remains until it overflows and pleasure becomes public pain. So people only support the law under certain circumstances. It is a conditional law.

    The majority of people seem to adopt a mature view that the law is unable to represent in its letter. In its application though this is almost exactly how the police try to work the drug laws. They are certainly neither trying nor able to enforce the letter of the law. This is the pragmatic but increasingly flawed reality.

    So how do you legislate fairly for drugs and how do you include alcohol where it should be, in the list? Until someone comes up with a saleable answer to that question, things are unlikely to change.

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  • 78. At 1:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    60. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!

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

    Ecstasy kills one in 50,000 or so. It has little to no long term negative side effects with controlled usage. Short term effects include hugging, smiling and happiness.

    Please feel free to continue your quest to retain the dogma spewed out by politicians who studied history at University and support dumb tabloids like the Daily Heil.

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  • 79. At 1:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:

    3. At 06:25am on 01 Nov 2010, Briantist wrote:
    I especially like the "pink" bits in the last diagram, "drug-specific imparement of mental functions", which is presumably what you are actually paying for


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

    Not for anabolic steroids it isn't. Although mushrooms and LSD seem to be almost entirely composed of that which would make sense.

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  • 80. At 1:19pm on 01 Nov 2010, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    48. At 12:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jonathan wrote:

    Is alcohol more harmful simply because it is so widespread, and socially acceptable to use it to excess? Wouldn't other drugs become far more harmful if they were legal and so more widely used?

    Absolutely agree. I'm not convinced that the fact that readily-available, socially acceptable alcohol tops the table exactly supports the legalisation argument as so many here claim. Given that under this index the majority of the harm caused by alcohol is 'social' on account of its more widespread use, surely a converse argument could be made that were drugs to be made as available and socially acceptable as alcohol currently is, more people would feel comfortable using them with a huge increase in associated health and social problems? Particularly if, as the public health establishment are now demanding, the alternative of alcohol were to be banned, severely restricted, or stigmatised or taxed out of existence, ensuring people turn to chemical alternatives.

    Just because we have a culture in this country amongst certain groups (teenagers, students etc) of abusing alcohol does not mean it can't be enjoyed sensibly and in moderation with no harm whatsoever to society, something this study completely fails to take account of. That's something that can't be said for many currently illegal drugs - it's just not possible to be a 'social' smackhead or heroin user, which is why the claim that alcohol is more dangerous than either is pure nonsense from an increasingly biased and (given how many of the drugs listed are smoked, conflicting with the demonisation of cigarette smoking) inconsistent public health establishment which is getting far too big for its boots.

    10. At 09:12am on 01 Nov 2010, Nullius123 wrote:
    The reason why drugs policy has failed so spectacularly during the last 40 years is because it has been so driven by a moralistic ideology. This is what has to end. We need to recognize that drug use is neither good nor bad - what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms and all that. Harmful drug use is something we should seek to minimize, but we should also recognize that most drug use is harmless, or nearly so.

    I'll be more convinced by this argument when some of these prominent doctors and 'experts' take their noses out of our fridges and stop demanding we be nannied by draconian food and drink legislation. You don't think the health police 'war' on obesity hasn't been overwhelmingly driven by notions of morality, personal responsibility, propaganada, exaggeration and scare tactics? Corellation does not equal causation, but you try telling that to some of these 'experts' who are absolutely convinced that only fat people get diabetes and will all be dead by their fortieth birthday, having somehow managed to cost the NHS squillions more than someone in their nineties who needs 24hr dementia care. Pretty soon if we keep going the way we are we'll have a society where crack and heroin are openly available from pharmacies but a pack of Marlboros will cost £40 and being caught in possession of a Big Mac (or 'registered' as having a BMI of 30+) will land you a hefty fine or a spell at a 're-education centre' where you'll be 'advised' of the error of your ways.

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  • 81. At 1:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    71. At 1:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "fewer people injured/killed from taking ecstasy than from riding horses. fact.

    "

    And you'll be able to provide proof of that, of course?

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  • 82. At 1:21pm on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:

    43. bigsammyb

    @17 tarquin


    Are you serious? Prohibition of alcohol did occur in the 1920's in the USA and the results were horrendous:-

    1/ alcohol poisening/blindness
    2. The rise of the mob and gangland killings in the street.

    Is that what you want?

    ---

    I think you miss my point, I was being whimsical because I've seen this debate on this blog a hundred times

    I don't doubt your analysis, I actually agree with it - I was talking in terms of assuming the politicians applied their views evenly, and reduced alcohol usage to the same level as a typical illegal drug - a position from which it would become seen as a soft drug

    I found it amusing, not in any way realistic

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  • 83. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    75. At 1:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "In what capacity can you prove the original statement wrong? You may not agree with it, but it was made by a qualified, studied professional."

    In my 33 year capacity as a horse rider.
    And you?

    "Have you actually given any realistic consideration to it being correct - or are you simply biased by your potentially narrow minded views?"

    And I'm going to ask you the exact same question about it being wrong. Someone has already pointed out the paradox of drug use being touted as something "wise", "liberal", "broadminded" people supposedly do- the very same people who apparently can't abide the idea of other people disagreeing with them!
    Does he have any credibility left? No.

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  • 84. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:

    60. Mahatma_scarf

    'You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!'

    It is - that comment was refuted by a teacher and a postman (who were both partisan, nothing against your typical teacher or postie), who would you rather believe?

    If you do agree with the know-nothing politicians then please provide the figures that prove he was wrong

    ban horse riding now!

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  • 85. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, colin wrote:

    just shows you how nuts this country is ,one nut says all is OK so lets do it.no wonder this country has turned to a 3rd world.

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  • 86. At 1:28pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    76. At 1:11pm on 01 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:
    "So are you suggesting that doing the right thing should be sacrificed on the alter of career progression ?"

    Who says it's "the right thing"?

    "The point was that the message being given out by the government, 'drugs wreck lives', is a blatant falsity given that some successful people also took (take) drugs."

    Well you WOULD say that, wouldn't you?

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  • 87. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    Deaths from Ecstacy use in UK 1996-to date; 200
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill

    Estimated deaths from horseriding; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    In the same period as the above link, that would equal 140 deaths.
    So is horseriding more dangerous than ecstacy?
    Clearly not.

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  • 88. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    75. At 1:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "In what capacity can you prove the original statement wrong? You may not agree with it, but it was made by a qualified, studied professional."

    83. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "In my 33 year capacity as a horse rider.
    And you?
    "

    At best, anecdotal evidence, at worst a falsehood. Got any better, perhaps peer reviewed, evidence?

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  • 89. At 1:37pm on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    81. At 1:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    And you'll be able to provide proof of that, of course?

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

    Nothing like admitting you're opinion is based without facts. Point is, there's plenty of evidence to show how 'safe' ecstasy is. Feel free to search for it.

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  • 90. At 1:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    84. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:
    "It is - that comment was refuted by a teacher and a postman (who were both partisan, nothing against your typical teacher or postie), who would you rather believe?
    If you do agree with the know-nothing politicians then please provide the figures that prove he was wrong"

    Deaths from horse riding in the UK; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    That would equate to 140 since 1996.
    Deaths from ecstacy in the UK since 1996; 200-
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill
    Next.

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  • 91. At 1:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    88. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "At best, anecdotal evidence, at worst a falsehood. Got any better, perhaps peer reviewed, evidence?"

    See post 87.
    Amazing, isn't it? This doctor gives an opinion based on years of being pro-legalisation, and he's right. I give an opinion based on years of practical riding, but appraently it's "anecdotal".

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  • 92. At 1:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, John Hudson wrote:

    Professor Nutt’s numbers of ‘harm to others’ include crime.

    But much of the drug-related crime exists only because the drugs are prohibited. First of all because the use or possession of a legal substance would not classify as criminal behaviour. But also because banning a drug drives up the price and that makes it interesting for criminal gangs to get involved. It also drives addicts to crime to fund their expensive habit.

    If sugar were to be outlawed, its price would shoot through the roof, and you would probably see a rise in sugar-related crime. But it would be wrong to then use crime as an argument to keep the ban on sugar going.

    Some of the drug-related crime is related to the effects of the drug itself, rather than its legal status. Drink driving is an offense, even if the use of alcohol is not illegal. But it would be useful for the debate to make the distinction between criminal behaviour caused by the drug itself, and criminal behaviour that only exists because the drug is ilegal.

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  • 93. At 1:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    89. At 1:37pm on 01 Nov 2010, LoonyLiberal wrote:
    "Nothing like admitting you're opinion is based without facts. Point is, there's plenty of evidence to show how 'safe' ecstasy is. Feel free to search for it."

    Well, there's the pot calling the kettle black!
    Feel free to post links to all this "evidence".

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  • 94. At 1:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    88. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "At best, anecdotal evidence, at worst a falsehood. Got any better, perhaps peer reviewed, evidence?"

    91. At 1:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "See post 87.
    Amazing, isn't it? This doctor gives an opinion based on years of being pro-legalisation, and he's right. I give an opinion based on years of practical riding, but appraently it's "anecdotal".
    "

    I've not said he is right, stop putting your words into my mouth.

    If I were to give you my anecdotes on any illegal drug taking I or those I have witness have taken part in, it would have the same validity as your and would also be called "anecdotal".

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  • 95. At 1:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #81.

    "jr4412 wrote:
    "fewer people injured/killed from taking ecstasy than from riding horses. fact."

    And you'll be able to provide proof of that, of course?"

    well you could of course simply done your homework before asking me to provide the evidence, never mind though, here goes:

    "..Dr Silver cited a study from 1985 that suggested motorcyclists suffered a serious accident once every 7,000 hours but a horse rider could expect a serious incident once in every 350 hours.
    Dr Silver also cites a figure from 1992 of 12 equestrian-related fatalities from 2.87 million participants. He also notes that in the period from 1994-1999, 3% of all spinal cord injury patients admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital were the result of horse riding."


    "Inside Out has learnt that in the Midlands alone, the air ambulance is now attending three horse riding incidents a week."

    "It [horse riding] is a dangerous recreation as a large number of accidents occur; the British Horse Society is made aware of eight accidents per day involving horses and over one-third may result in head injuries."

    while 70 or so ecstasy-related deaths were recorded in the UK in 2002, analysis showed that impurities and de-hydration were key factors rather than the drug; one could be addressed by legalisation, the other by education.

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  • 96. At 1:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:

    60. At 12:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    25. At 11:13am on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "what are the chances that your academic achievements and/or your employment record are better than that of Professor David Nutt?"

    You mean the same "expert" who claimed Ecstacy was safer than horse-riding? And you still think he has any credibility?!


    ------

    Oh dear. Looks like we have a typical anti-drug poster who doesn't know the first thing about drugs - apart from what they read in their paper.

    Horse-riding is more dangerous than taking ecstacy by a LONG way.

    Do you have any idea how many people take ecstacy in a weekend countrywide? My guess is you don't.

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  • 97. At 1:50pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    91. At 1:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    88. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "At best, anecdotal evidence, at worst a falsehood. Got any better, perhaps peer reviewed, evidence?"

    See post 87.
    Amazing, isn't it? This doctor gives an opinion based on years of being pro-legalisation, and he's right. I give an opinion based on years of practical riding, but appraently it's "anecdotal".


    -------

    Thats not really the point Prof Nut was trying to make.

    His point was more along the lines that as a society its odd that we allow some recreational activities which can be proven to, on occasion, cause death and permanent injury, whilst we ban others.

    He hasn't especially got it in for equestrians, he could have used playing rugby in his example (though I suspect there are probably more life changing injuries playing rugby, and fewer outright deaths).

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  • 98. At 1:51pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    94. At 1:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "If I were to give you my anecdotes on any illegal drug taking I or those I have witness have taken part in, it would have the same validity as your and would also be called "anecdotal".'

    Except I backed my opinion up with facts, not urban myth.

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  • 99. At 1:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    92. At 1:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, John Hudson wrote:

    "Some of the drug-related crime is related to the effects of the drug itself, rather than its legal status. Drink driving is an offense, even if the use of alcohol is not illegal. But it would be useful for the debate to make the distinction between criminal behaviour caused by the drug itself, and criminal behaviour that only exists because the drug is ilegal."

    Good point. Let's take criminality using a horse. When the hunting ban was introduced, there was a massive rise in the use of horses for illegal activities. It was the ban on hunting, not the change in use of the horse that resulted in the rise in the use of horses for criminal activity.

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  • 100. At 1:54pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    95. At 1:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "well you could of course simply done your homework before asking me to provide the evidence, never mind though, here goes:"

    Yep. Deaths due to horse riding; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    That equates to 140 since 1996.

    Deaths from ecstacy in the UK; 200 since 1996
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill

    Next.

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  • 101. At 1:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    83. At 1:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    75. At 1:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "In what capacity can you prove the original statement wrong? You may not agree with it, but it was made by a qualified, studied professional."

    In my 33 year capacity as a horse rider.
    And you?

    "Have you actually given any realistic consideration to it being correct - or are you simply biased by your potentially narrow minded views?"

    And I'm going to ask you the exact same question about it being wrong. Someone has already pointed out the paradox of drug use being touted as something "wise", "liberal", "broadminded" people supposedly do- the very same people who apparently can't abide the idea of other people disagreeing with them!
    Does he have any credibility left? No.


    In my 13 year capacity as an occasional drug user (I'm not 13, but have used drugs for 13 years fromt he age of 16). I can honestly say, hand on heart I have never seen first hand, nor been informed second hand (by a trusted source) any ecstacy related health issues or episodes and importantly I've never seen anyone under the influence of ecstacy start or participate in a fight (I wish I could say the same for alcohol). I dare say that you can't say the same for horse riding - I'm sure you've seen your fair share of injuries?....

    You'll notice in my post that I actually don't express an opinion on the subject, I merely question yours. I consider myself a broad-minded person not because I occasionally take drugs, but because I always give people a fair hearing.(That does include trying something which might be fun - likle ecstacy for example)

    I've not read anything in this blog, or in the comments that change my view point but at least I have read them all and considered the possibility that someone might be sharing something with me that I've not previously considered. If you can provide any additional evidence that may change my view point, I am all ears.

    For the record though there are quite a few sensible people commenting on this blog. I'm not sure whether they are all open-minded on every issue facing this nation, but they seem to be when it comes to drug law.

    My opinion is that Alcohol should not be banned, and all drugs mentioned in the report should be made legal. In terms of combating alcohol, I would be tempted to allow drinking from a younger age like in Germany, France and Italy. Teach responsbile drinking, not just drinking to get pi***d.

    I don't know whether Professor Nutt is right about comparing ecstacy with horse riding - I'm not an expert on both sides of the debate - but I do know that if society is going to completely dis-credit the findings of a learned professional simply because they don't agree with his findings, there doesn't really seem much point in education, nor setting up quangos to investigate.

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  • 102. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    96. At 1:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:
    "Oh dear. Looks like we have a typical anti-drug poster who doesn't know the first thing about drugs - apart from what they read in their paper.
    Horse-riding is more dangerous than taking ecstacy by a LONG way."

    Deaths from horseriding; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    That's 140 since 1996

    Deaths from ecstacy since 1996; 200-
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill

    I've been riding for 33 years; I've forgotten more about it than you'll ever know.

    "Do you have any idea how many people take ecstacy in a weekend countrywide? My guess is you don't."

    And neither do you, of course.

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  • 103. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    91. At 1:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "Amazing, isn't it? This doctor gives an opinion based on years of being pro-legalisation, and he's right. I give an opinion based on years of practical riding, but appraently it's "anecdotal"."

    94. At 1:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "If I were to give you my anecdotes on any illegal drug taking I or those I have witness have taken part in, it would have the same validity as your and would also be called "anecdotal".'

    98. At 1:51pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "Except I backed my opinion up with facts, not urban myth."

    If you were to show us something verifyable that you are indeed a practical rider, you would indeed have proved that fact, but you have not so your claim is just that, an unsubstantiated claim.

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  • 104. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #100.

    "Next."

    this isn't about a TV show 'Can't Think, Won't Think', so why persist?

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  • 105. At 2:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack Flash wrote:

    Well that's it then, next family pub lunch instead of a nice pint of ale I ought to shoot up with heroin instead since it's far less harmful for everyone involved!

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  • 106. At 2:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    97. At 1:50pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:
    "Thats not really the point Prof Nut was trying to make."

    The point I'm making is that he has no idea what he's talking about.


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  • 107. At 2:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    99. At 1:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "Good point. Let's take criminality using a horse. When the hunting ban was introduced, there was a massive rise in the use of horses for illegal activities. It was the ban on hunting, not the change in use of the horse that resulted in the rise in the use of horses for criminal activity."

    Prove it.

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  • 108. At 2:02pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:

    87. At 1:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    Deaths from Ecstacy use in UK 1996-to date; 200
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill

    Estimated deaths from horseriding; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    In the same period as the above link, that would equal 140 deaths.
    So is horseriding more dangerous than ecstacy?
    Clearly not.


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

    I don't think he said there were more deaths but that it was more dangerous. How many injuries occur from horse riding per year compared to those from taking ecstacy?

    It was a bit of a tongue in cheek remark anyway.

    To say there's only 4 more deaths a year from taking ecstacy shows that they are comparable in terms of risk to your health wouldn't you say? How many deaths a year occur from Alcohol or Smoking do you think? I bet it's higher than 14 wouldn't you?

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  • 109. At 2:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf - Dangerous doensn't just mean deaths now does it. The majority of horse riding accidents are not fatal but serious injuries.

    Oh and its funny how you seem to miss that the ecstacy deaths are 'ecstacy-related' meaning that in fact many of the deaths counted will be from drug mixtures, bad advice (I'm sure horse riders always get lessons) and the fact that people often take ecstacy in more dangeous places i.e clubs etc.

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  • 110. At 2:04pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    101. At 1:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "In my 13 year capacity as an occasional drug user (I'm not 13, but have used drugs for 13 years fromt he age of 16)."

    That doesn't make you an "expert", just stupid.

    "I can honestly say hand on heart I have never seen first hand, nor been informed second hand (by a trusted source) any ecstacy related health issues or episodes and importantly I've never seen anyone under the influence of ecstacy start or participate in a fight (I wish I could say the same for alcohol)."

    And yet 200 people have been known to have died from the effects.

    "I don't know whether Professor Nutt is right about comparing ecstacy with horse riding - I'm not an expert on both sides of the debate - but I do know that if society is going to completely dis-credit the findings of a learned professional simply because they don't agree with his findings, there doesn't really seem much point in education, nor setting up quangos to investigate."

    But that's exactly what YOU are doing with people who don't share your viewpoint.

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  • 111. At 2:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:

    200 Ecstasy related deaths in 14 years?

    Yeah, massive killer/social nightmare indeed!

    Next.

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  • 112. At 2:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    102. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    "I've been riding for 33 years; I've forgotten more about it than you'll ever know."

    I'm from Mars and I've forgotten more than you'll ever know about intergalactic space travel :-)

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  • 113. At 2:06pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    103. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "If you were to show us something verifyable that you are indeed a practical rider, you would indeed have proved that fact, but you have not so your claim is just that, an unsubstantiated claim."

    And since there's no way of emailing you scans of my BHS certificates in horse riding, that's just tough luck.

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  • 114. At 2:07pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    104. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "this isn't about a TV show 'Can't Think, Won't Think', so why persist?"

    So go right ahead and post the evidence you think proves me wrong.

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  • 115. At 2:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Interesting piece Mark but one that most know all to well to be the truth in a very suppressed social conversation, were opinion on the subject is more important than facts.
    Many say if alcohol were discovered today it would be banned, well unfortunately it has been discovered today but at new levels of biological and social inspection all revealing some very unfortunate truths about the way we choose to relax and eventually abuse ourselves.
    This in turn is questioning the very foundations of what we are taught and comfortable with when it comes to all drugs. Our fantastic ideals on the social drug are proving to be untrue so we need to create more fantastic ideas about young kids selling it to each other when its legal, about people taking it up in droves all to quell our own inner fears and ignorance of the truth.
    How many people woke up this weekend with a hangover? the biological equivalent of a good beating many beating their own inner workings into a state of amnesia, but as there are no marks on the outside who cares no damage done?

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  • 116. At 2:10pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    108. At 2:02pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    "I don't think he said there were more deaths but that it was more dangerous."

    You think injuries are less dangerous than getting killed? How many injuries occur from horse riding per year compared to those from taking ecstacy?

    "To say there's only 4 more deaths a year from taking ecstacy shows that they are comparable in terms of risk to your health wouldn't you say? "

    Subtract 140 from 200 and you're left with 60.

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  • 117. At 2:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    109. At 2:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:
    "Mahatma_scarf - Dangerous doensn't just mean deaths now does it. The majority of horse riding accidents are not fatal but serious injuries."

    Strange mentality which thinks injuries are more dangerous than getting killed.

    "Oh and its funny how you seem to miss that the ecstacy deaths are 'ecstacy-related' meaning that in fact many of the deaths counted will be from drug mixtures, bad advice (I'm sure horse riders always get lessons) and the fact that people often take ecstacy in more dangeous places i.e clubs etc."

    Irrelevant. If you fall off a horse, it's a horse; not something cobbled together to look like it just long enough to con you out of money.

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  • 118. At 2:13pm on 01 Nov 2010, Capet wrote:

    1) Statisticians can prove anything they like by manipulating the statistics. Using their own graph, I note that both heroin and methadone cause twice as many deaths as alcohol.
    2) How many people use heroin etc compared with those who drink alcohol? The bad statistics for alcohol relate to what percentage of those who drink it? So what is Professor Mutt comparing with what?
    3) We have been told by other experts over the years that wine is good for ones health. I do not remember being told that any of the other drugs have been except when used medicinally in controlled amounts.
    4) Even before the good news about wine, since my early twenties I have been drinking about 20 cl of wine with my lunch and about 30 cl of wine with my dinner. This is apparently twice the recommended maximum for a male (which I am). According to the experts I should be in a bad state of health. However, I play tennis and ski. And I am 81 years old. Why?
    5) A minority of the young drink to get drunk deliberately. The result is that they completely skew Professor Nutt's statistics. Will he please supply separate recommendations as to drinking wine with meals and drinking to get drunk: then we might believe him.

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  • 119. At 2:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    Perhaps the horse some claim they have been practically riding for 33 years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkLsdQhZsw0

    ;-)

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  • 120. At 2:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #113, #114.

    "And since there's no way of emailing you scans of my BHS certificates in horse riding, that's just tough luck."

    Google Documents, share, publish link here.

    "So go right ahead and post the evidence you think proves me wrong."

    read #95, there are a number of other comments worth reading too.
    (I don't think you will though)

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  • 121. At 2:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    111. At 2:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, LoonyLiberal wrote:
    "200 Ecstasy related deaths in 14 years?
    Yeah, massive killer/social nightmare indeed!"

    Oh, that's all right then. The "happiness" of the other idiots is more important than the grief of 200 families, clearly.
    Next idiot, front and centre....

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  • 122. At 2:15pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    112. At 2:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "I'm from Mars and I've forgotten more than you'll ever know about intergalactic space travel :-)"

    Think we'd already worked out your space cadet status.

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  • 123. At 2:16pm on 01 Nov 2010, LeotheGr8 wrote:

    The last comment about the drug ministers refusal to take empirical evidence into account when defining drug law is akin to him brazenly admitting to deceiving the public on a profound and grand scale. It doesn't come as a surprise though, they have been lying to our faces for over 70 years. However, as one cannot fool all the people all of the time, the truth will out. Everyday more people around the world are realising the depths of depravity, indoctrination, propaganda based on literally ridiculous (often racist) lies and scare mongering that the drugs war is based on.

    WHEN ARE POLITICIANS GOING TO STOP LYING TO THE PUBLIC?! It's not as if we haven't caught them in the act but like a naughty school boy caught red handed behind the bike sheds, this government of ours prefers to wriggle and squirm their way out of trouble. Yet, in the long run, the trouble they run from is inevitable.

    I hope that BBC begin to report about the issue more regularly and more thoroughly. As yet I have not heard a peep from the BBC News channels regarding Prop 19. One would think that the BBC were duty bound to inform the public of such a historic event? Perhaps they are as cowled as the rest of us when attempting to speak out against injustice. At least this is my hope for if the BBC are complicit in the indoctrination and falsification of information based on government ideologgy then what hope is there for the truth to be popularised?

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  • 124. At 2:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:

    I didn't say that. My point was that horse riding causes alot of injuries hence why it is dangerous.

    And my second point was that horse riding is properly regulated therfore you would expect less injuries and deaths. If ecstacy was, then I'm sure the death toll would decrease considerably.

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  • 125. At 2:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    103. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "If you were to show us something verifyable that you are indeed a practical rider, you would indeed have proved that fact, but you have not so your claim is just that, an unsubstantiated claim."

    113. At 2:06pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "And since there's no way of emailing you scans of my BHS certificates in horse riding, that's just tough luck."

    You could scan them in, post them on the net and then provide a link to said scans. Until you do I park your claims in the anecdotal & could not be bothered round filing cabinet under my desk, presumably the same type of filing apparatus you park others unsubstantiated claims.

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  • 126. At 2:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    120. At 2:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "Google Documents, share, publish link here."

    And how does that scan MY certificates?

    ""read #95, there are a number of other comments worth reading too.
    (I don't think you will though)"

    I did. He quoted statistics from 2002; I gave you statistics from 1996-2010.
    And none of the rest disprove what I said either.

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  • 127. At 2:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf #121.

    "The "happiness" of the other idiots is more important than the grief of 200 families, clearly."

    compares with more than 1,000 horse riding-related accidents per year (see #95, third link), more than one-third of which involves head injuries. a dead person does not 'cost' as much as someone with brain injuries who requires specialist care for many, many years, fact.

    "Next idiot, front and centre...."

    quite.

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  • 128. At 2:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    124. At 2:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:
    "I didn't say that. My point was that horse riding causes alot of injuries hence why it is dangerous."

    Uneven pavements also cause lots of injuries, and they're regulated.

    "If ecstacy was, then I'm sure the death toll would decrease considerably."

    That's pure wishful thinking.

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  • 129. At 2:24pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    110. At 2:04pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    101. At 1:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "In my 13 year capacity as an occasional drug user (I'm not 13, but have used drugs for 13 years fromt he age of 16)."

    That doesn't make you an "expert", just stupid.

    "I can honestly say hand on heart I have never seen first hand, nor been informed second hand (by a trusted source) any ecstacy related health issues or episodes and importantly I've never seen anyone under the influence of ecstacy start or participate in a fight (I wish I could say the same for alcohol)."

    And yet 200 people have been known to have died from the effects.

    "I don't know whether Professor Nutt is right about comparing ecstacy with horse riding - I'm not an expert on both sides of the debate - but I do know that if society is going to completely dis-credit the findings of a learned professional simply because they don't agree with his findings, there doesn't really seem much point in education, nor setting up quangos to investigate."

    But that's exactly what YOU are doing with people who don't share your viewpoint.


    There really is no need to get personal. I don't think riding a horse for pleasure is either be enjoyable or completely safe but I did not initially pass an opinion about this.

    Calling me stupid for taking drugs is your opinion which is fair enough - but having ridden a horse and having taken drugs at least I can compare them to each other. I didn't enjoy enjoy riding a horse, but I do enjoy taking ecstacy occasionally and I have formed genuinely excellent relationships with some people because of the social barriers the drug removes.

    Your comment about more than 200 people having been killed through ecstacy related use pales into insignificance with how many people have taken the drug - if you look further into the findings as well you will note that people who use the drug responsibly (ie don't mix with other drugs, stay hydrated and take in a safe environment)are almost never adversely affected which is why the title reads 'Ecstacy related deaths' not 'Deaths caused by Ecstacy'

    Where I state that not listening to educated professional people doesn't make much sense I am of course stating opinion, not fact - but I dare say most people would agree with me on this particular comment - perhaps yourself included?...

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  • 130. At 2:25pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    125. At 2:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "You could scan them in, post them on the net and then provide a link to said scans. "

    Oh right; I'll just nip down the shops and splash out on a scanner right now, will I?
    Tell you what; use your space cadet powers to read them telepathically.

    "Until you do I park your claims in the anecdotal & could not be bothered round filing cabinet under my desk, presumably the same type of filing apparatus you park others unsubstantiated claims."

    That would be the 99% of the other claims in this thread so far, you mean?

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  • 131. At 2:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf...According to the office for national statistics there was 16 deaths where ecstasy was mentioned on the death certificate in 1996.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=806

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  • 132. At 2:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:

    The British Horse Society says there are no centrally collated figures on horse riding injuries.

    I want the boarder horse related injuries list which should imv include those in traffic accidents whom were on the way to muck out, hunt, etc :)

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  • 133. At 2:30pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    127. At 2:22pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "compares with more than 1,000 horse riding-related accidents per year (see #95, third link), more than one-third of which involves head injuries. a dead person does not 'cost' as much as someone with brain injuries who requires specialist care for many, many years, fact."

    And it quite clearly says in that link...
    "The material reviewed is set out in Table 1. While it is easy enough to produce selected figures for the number of horse riding accidents with spinal injuries seen at an Accident Department or a Spinal Unit, the national figures are not available so that these questions cannot be answered. This is an exercise in epidemiology "
    So in other words, they're picking and choosing the statistics to suit their argument....just like a certain Professor Nutt.

    Next idiot, front and centre....

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  • 134. At 2:34pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:

    116. At 2:10pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    108. At 2:02pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    "I don't think he said there were more deaths but that it was more dangerous."

    You think injuries are less dangerous than getting killed? How many injuries occur from horse riding per year compared to those from taking ecstacy?

    "To say there's only 4 more deaths a year from taking ecstacy shows that they are comparable in terms of risk to your health wouldn't you say? "

    Subtract 140 from 200 and you're left with 60.

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

    Yes my mistake, 6 deaths a year. Still nothing compared to the deaths related to alcohol and smoking though is it?

    With regards to your first point it's a good question? I'd say there's a lot more injuries from horse riding than from esctasy, to quote your own source; 3% of all spinal cord injury patients admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital were the result of horse riding. It also says many more suffer head or spinal injuries.

    It also says a horse rider could expect a serious incident once in every 350 hours. On average how many hours a week do you ride?

    If I pluck a number out of the air of 5 hours a week that's 260 hours a year. According to your article there's 3-4 million riders which if we take the average of 3.5 million thats 910,000,000 hours of horse riding a year. Divided by 350 means that there's 2.6 million horse riding related accidents a year.

    How many esctacy related injuries are there a year? As there's only an estimated 730,000 users in the UK i'd think it would be less than 2.6 million serious incidents.

    http://www.mdma.net/club-drugs/uk.html

    Obviously I don't know the average hours of horse riding, but my friends who ride spend one evening a week and a longer session at the weekend so 5 seemed a reasonable number.


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  • 135. At 2:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    129. At 2:24pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "I didn't enjoy enjoy riding a horse, but I do enjoy taking ecstacy occasionally and I have formed genuinely excellent relationships with some people because of the social barriers the drug removes."

    A lot of people would say the same about alcohol, of course. And neither it nor horse riding are illegal.

    "Your comment about more than 200 people having been killed through ecstacy related use pales into insignificance with how many people have taken the drug"

    Allegedly. This is where the argument breaks down, because people like you always assume "everyone" does it.
    No, they don't.

    "which is why the title reads 'Ecstacy related deaths' not 'Deaths caused by Ecstacy'"

    What a stupid statement; if ecstacy was involved, then they were caused by ecstacy. Your argument is akin to suggesting that drink driving fatalities aren't actually caused by the driver being drunk.

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  • 136. At 2:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Living in the Netherlands and having a coffeshop at the end of my road I can state the following:

    1. You do not want to live anywhere near these shops, the crime rate caused by stoned idiots is huge.

    2. Where there are 'soft' drugs there are 'hard' drugs.

    3. the Dutch wish to change the law to force coffeshops to be moved to industrial estates, this is to stop the drug tourists from Germany, Belgium, France and the UK walking around towns off their heads upsetting the locals.

    4. Regulating drug usage does not work in the Netherlands and I doubt it will work in the UK.

    5. Your Prof Nutt conclusions are not supported by the research carried out in the Netherlands, indeed the conclusions support the opposite view.

    6. Is Mark Easton a labour supporter?, I have read some of his other articles and they seem to be soft on Labour and hard on the Coalition.

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  • 137. At 2:36pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    131. At 2:26pm on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:
    "Mahatma_scarf...According to the office for national statistics there
    was 16 deaths where ecstasy was mentioned on the death certificate in 1996.
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=806 "

    And?

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  • 138. At 2:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    132. At 2:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, Andy wrote:
    "The British Horse Society says there are no centrally collated figures on horse riding injuries."

    Which makes a mockery of the claims of "1000 riding injuries a year", doesn't it?

    "I want the boarder horse related injuries list which should imv include those in traffic accidents whom were on the way to muck out, hunt, etc :)"

    If you're not riding a horse, you can't have a horse riding accident, can you?
    If you walk into the towbar of a parked car while trying to cross the road, it ain't classed as a "motoring accident"

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  • 139. At 2:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    128. At 2:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    124. At 2:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:
    "I didn't say that. My point was that horse riding causes alot of injuries hence why it is dangerous."

    Uneven pavements also cause lots of injuries, and they're regulated.

    "If ecstacy was, then I'm sure the death toll would decrease considerably."

    That's pure wishful thinking.


    ------

    not really, when your'e talking about ecstacy 99% of deaths are down to poor education - people taking on too much water or over-heating on the dancefloor- or impurities.


    If you try to find the numbers of those killed because their bodies had a direct allergic or toxic reaction to MDMA you'd struggle to find more than a handful world-wide.

    Of course the government doesn't give advice on taking drugs safely in case that section of society that learnt everything it knows about drugs and society from tabloids and government disinformation tranlates that as the government condoning drug taking.

    In fact successive governments have proven that they would rather people died from ignorance than the government suffer the disaproval of the ignorant.



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  • 140. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    In response to the poster who claims that deaths from taking Ecstasy is less than 10, perhaps they would like to respond to the figures from Australia, which as it has a much smaller population than the UK seems to show the posters claims as suspect...

    MORE than 100 young Australians died after taking the recreational drug ecstasy in the eight years to 2008

    The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre's study into MDMA-related deaths is the most comprehensive examination to date, and has prompted calls for more research

    A survey by the National Drug Research Institute also found that young users were taking the party drug more often and in bigger quantities. The number who binged on the drug rose from 22 per cent in 2008, to 40 per cent in 2009.

    Funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, a separate National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre report found the median age of ecstasy fatalities was 26, with the youngest victim 17 and the oldest 58.


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  • 141. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    59. At 12:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    WHAT A COMPLETE LOAD OF DECEITFUL PC MUPPETISH RUBBISH PUT BY David Nutt and his crew of muppet scientists of which in my opinion AND PROVEABLE by FACTs and EVIDENCE of REALITY and TRUTH are LESS scientific than a meerkat crossed with Einstein and Darwin.

    Today sees the publication of two pieces of scientific research that threaten to destabilise further the orthodoxy on drug policy in Britain.

    HOW CAN IT DESTABILISE THE ORTHODOXY ON DRUG POLICY.

    SIMPLE FACT.

    If the SAME number of people took heroin or crack, as is the number of alcohol users, then heroin and crack are FACTUALLY BEYOND DOUBT MORE DAMAGING in TOTALITY.

    David Nutt and his band of drug legalisation conspirators should be TOTALLY ignored.

    I think the RIGHT thing was to sack him.

    I also think he should change his first name by de-poll to something more apt, such as Monkey.

    There is NOTHING scientific in equating in such a DECEITFUL way, a comparable TINY number of heroin/crack users with MILLIONS of alcohol users.

    So, if we follow Mr NUTT s ideas then serving/selling heroin and crack in pubs or shops will be LESS damaging than selling alcohol.

    FACTUALLY, he is 100% out of 100 WRONG.

    MUPPET!!!

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

    I don't know what you are on but it probably should be banned.

    So you are a qualified chemist who has studied the effects of various substances on the human brain for most of your professional life - or as I suspect you read the Daily Mail. Please keep spouting your strange nonsense because it makes it so much easier for people like myself who propose legalisation, regulation and education.

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  • 142. At 2:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    134. At 2:34pm on 01 Nov 2010, Fitz13 wrote:
    "With regards to your first point it's a good question? I'd say there's a lot more injuries from horse riding than from esctasy, to quote your own source; 3% of all spinal cord injury patients admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital were the result of horse riding. It also says many more suffer head or spinal injuries."

    But 3% of how many total?

    "It also says a horse rider could expect a serious incident once in every 350 hours. On average how many hours a week do you ride? "

    About four if I'm lucky.

    "If I pluck a number out of the air of 5 hours a week that's 260 hours a year. According to your article there's 3-4 million riders which if we take the average of 3.5 million thats 910,000,000 hours of horse riding a year. Divided by 350 means that there's 2.6 million horse riding related accidents a year."

    You weren't kidding when you said "pluck a number out of the air", were you?

    "How many esctacy related injuries are there a year? As there's only an estimated 730,000 users in the UK i'd think it would be less than 2.6 million serious incidents.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    The operative word there being estimated.

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  • 143. At 2:43pm on 01 Nov 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    When I was a student I worked in my local (perfectly ordinary) pub. There was a traditional vault where lads gathered to play pool, watch football, and get drunk. At least once a week a fight would break out, always caused by alcohol. During major matches there was almost always a near-riot.

    After I'd been there a while some of the customers started bringing weed into the pub. They'd go outside to smoke it, and then come back in and sit. They'd be quiet, peaceful, calm, friendly, non-aggressive, non-destructive.

    I know it's only an anecdote, and the plural of anecdote is not "data". But it was a very persuasive argument for the relative merits of alcohol and cannabis.

    So I agree totally that the cost of a drug is not simply measured in its affect on the user. It affects everybody else around them too. And for me, being in the company of a man with 5 pints inside him is far more un-nerving than being in the company of a man with 5 joints.

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  • 144. At 2:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    #136-
    What's the betting your post gets ignored as "anecdotal evidence"?

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  • 145. At 2:47pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    139. At 2:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:
    "not really, when your'e talking about ecstacy 99% of deaths are down to poor education"

    Which is why they take the stuff in the first place.

    "If you try to find the numbers of those killed because their bodies had a direct allergic or toxic reaction to MDMA you'd struggle to find more than a handful world-wide."

    Well, feel free to post a link to that.

    "Of course the government doesn't give advice on taking drugs safely in case that section of society that learnt everything it knows about drugs and society from tabloids and government disinformation tranlates that as the government condoning drug taking.
    In fact successive governments have proven that they would rather people died from ignorance than the government suffer the disaproval of the ignorant."

    Oh, I see; it's all the big bad government's fault that people die from taking illegal drugs?
    Personal responsibility, anyone?



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  • 146. At 2:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    140. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:
    In response to the poster who claims that deaths from taking Ecstasy is less than 10, perhaps they would like to respond to the figures from Australia, which as it has a much smaller population than the UK seems to show the posters claims as suspect...

    MORE than 100 young Australians died after taking the recreational drug ecstasy in the eight years to 2008

    The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre's study into MDMA-related deaths is the most comprehensive examination to date, and has prompted calls for more research

    A survey by the National Drug Research Institute also found that young users were taking the party drug more often and in bigger quantities. The number who binged on the drug rose from 22 per cent in 2008, to 40 per cent in 2009.



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

    is 'binge' a scientific term now?

    how many milligrams in a 'binge' then?

    And if we don't know any rise in the number of people 'binging' is utterly meaningless.

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  • 147. At 2:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    141. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:
    "So you are a qualified chemist who has studied the effects of various substances on the human brain for most of your professional life "

    Are you? Or as I suspect you read the Guardian.

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  • 148. At 2:50pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @ #136. Rustigjongens

    I'm sure it is pretty horrible living in those areas, and I wouldn't like it, but surely a large part of the problem is that those drugs are only available within certain sanctioned areas.

    Surely if cannabis was 100% throughout the country, then this sort of localised and concentrated drug taking would dissipate throughout... then the problem would just be living in those towns bordering countries with a different drug policy!

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  • 149. At 2:51pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    #142-
    To quote another poster, that's just anecdotal evidence. Got anything more empirical?

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  • 150. At 2:51pm on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    "And?"
    ...and your statistics are unreliable.

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  • 151. At 2:52pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    150. At 2:51pm on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:
    "...and your statistics are unreliable"

    Oh really? So a set of statistics from one year trumps a 14 year trend?
    Maths not your strong point, then?

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  • 152. At 2:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    re Mahatma_scarf.

    wrote, in #113: "..since there's no way of emailing you scans of my BHS certificates in horse riding.."

    having been pointed to two separate ways of publishing said scans (#120, #125), Mahatma_scarf quickly changes tune and asks (#126) "And how does that scan MY certificates?", then makes 'a joke' in #130 "I'll just nip down the shops and splash out on a scanner right now, will I?"

    my conclusion? Mahatma_scarf is a troll, enjoying its 5 minutes of fame. 'nuff said.

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  • 153. At 2:55pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    Well, it's been fun listening to drug addicts trying to justify their anti-social lifestyle, but now back to the real world.
    You know; the place most of us can face without illegal chemicals in our systems...

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  • 154. At 2:56pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    I agree with Professor Nutt's latest review, and I would be over the moon if the UK were to legalise all drugs, even the ones I don't touch out of principal (and wouldn't even if they were legalised).

    For one, I wouldn't have to go and meet dealers I don't know, and I'd be much happier nipping down to a Tesco pharmacy or cigarette counter to grab a quick eighth ounce of weed, or a few pills for a dance. I'd pay much more too. Trading Standards would mean I would definitely get an 1/8th and not a bag full of plant stalk, or cut with rat poison.

    Even better if there was an independant shop just around the corner. That would certainly help me feeling so guilty because I prefer to relax with a bit of weed rather than drink, in the exact same way some people choose to have a beer or glass of wine to chill out.

    If I was any good in the garden, I'd grow my own, just as I would brew my own beer, however from fear of getting caught, I leave that to the criminals, who unfortunately I have to deal with. I wish it was another way.

    However, the country would still need a lot of time and money spent on drug awareness education for potential users to understand the effects and safe levels of consumption.

    Unfortunately I don't think it'll happen in the next 30 years, so off I go to the criminals once again (sigh).

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  • 155. At 2:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

    23. At 10:51am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    "It's been proved that shooting youself in the head is more dangerous than shooting yourself in the leg. Only an idiot would then conclude that this means shooting yourself in the leg is a good idea. Druggies use this logic all the time when a study shows the relative dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs. They are also quite happy to use alcohol as an example of a dangerous drug, but are also quite happy to use it. Which is somewhat hypocritical. But then again so is choosing to buy drugs from criminals and the blaming everyone else for drug crime".

    I used to think and respond like you. I absorbed the Daily Propaganda and believed every word it published – until a few years ago when my eyes were finally opened.

    It was recently revealed that annually, the police intercept as little as 1% of the total volume of narcotics on the market in the UK, so you’re living with your head up your backside if you think the government can ever actually win the “War on drugs”.

    I can tell you now, the war on drugs – and similarly the war on terror - will NEVER end. I’m sure when both statements were first used there was an intended victory at the end but very quickly, intelligent people realised that they will just go on and on in perpetuum. With that in mind, maybe you or another poster would like to answer these questions:

    1.Do you really think we should continue paying such a disproportionate amount of law enforcement costs for what is in fact such a small return?

    2.When do you think the police will finally get their “Victory” in this war – 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?

    3.Following on from that, when do you think the UK will be completely free of drugs and drug users?

    4.Don’t you think this exercise is rather futile?

    5.How much more resource do we have to pour into policing the “War on Drugs” before people (Like you now and like me not long ago) realise the truth and admit we can’t “Win” and that we’ve actually been doing it wrong for nearly 40 years?

    You need to look at the last 4 decades of the war on drugs and ask yourself – Has it worked? Will it ever work? And....could I be wrong? I did...and I was.

    To finish, you’ve proved yourself incapable of adding anything constructive to this debate other than petty, blinkered and small minded remarks, so really I’m looking forward to response from intelligent posters.

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  • 156. At 2:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:

    152. At 2:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    "my conclusion? Mahatma_scarf is a troll, enjoying its 5 minutes of fame. 'nuff said."
    After you explain how I scan anything without actually owning a scanner (don't need one), you can post that evidence you kept threatening to prove me wrong with.
    And as for troll...pot, kettle, black...

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  • 157. At 2:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    102. At 1:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    96. At 1:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, 'If they play football in heaven, this is how it would be done' wrote:
    "Oh dear. Looks like we have a typical anti-drug poster who doesn't know the first thing about drugs - apart from what they read in their paper.
    Horse-riding is more dangerous than taking ecstacy by a LONG way."

    Deaths from horseriding; 10 per year-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8339097.stm
    That's 140 since 1996

    Deaths from ecstacy since 1996; 200-
    http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drugsafety/drugsandyourbody/canecstasykill

    I've been riding for 33 years; I've forgotten more about it than you'll ever know.

    "Do you have any idea how many people take ecstacy in a weekend countrywide? My guess is you don't."

    And neither do you, of course.

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

    It is estimated that about 2.5 million people use ecstasy in the UK.

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  • 158. At 3:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Alcibiades, you asked me if 'binge' is a scientific term. Well I would have to refer you to the Australian National Drug Research Institute if you have issues with them using the word.

    Alcibiades asks 'how many miligrams in a binge'?, again I would refer them to the Australian National Drug Research Institute, and perhaps complain to them if the poster feels that the wording and figures are worthless.....

    Of course it might well be that you are correct and this respected institute is wrong, but then as you have no figures of your own to back up your opinion I suppose I will have to take everything you state as meaningless /worthless.



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  • 159. At 3:02pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Oh the irony, I found the following defintion of drug binging, and guess who came up with the defintion?.....Prof Nutt

    1.^ Nutt, D.; King, L. A.; Saulsbury, W.; Blakemore, C. (2007). "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse". The Lancet 369 (9566): 1047. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60464-4. PMID 17382831. edit

    Back at you.....

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  • 160. At 3:03pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    145. At 2:47pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    139. At 2:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:
    "not really, when your'e talking about ecstacy 99% of deaths are down to poor education"

    Which is why they take the stuff in the first place.

    "If you try to find the numbers of those killed because their bodies had a direct allergic or toxic reaction to MDMA you'd struggle to find more than a handful world-wide."

    Well, feel free to post a link to that.

    "Of course the government doesn't give advice on taking drugs safely in case that section of society that learnt everything it knows about drugs and society from tabloids and government disinformation tranlates that as the government condoning drug taking.
    In fact successive governments have proven that they would rather people died from ignorance than the government suffer the disaproval of the ignorant."

    Oh, I see; it's all the big bad government's fault that people die from taking illegal drugs?
    Personal responsibility, anyone?



    -----

    Thats so obviously not the point i was making that I'm now pretty sure that you have an agenda here.

    For whatever reason you didn't come here to listen to people with genuine life experience of drug taking, and first hand knowledge of why the current system is failing so badly.

    You came here to condemn.

    Of course you are entitled to your opinions.

    Likewise I'm entitled to beleive that due to a complete lack of any relevant life experience, yours are worthless.

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  • 161. At 3:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    147. At 2:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    141. At 2:41pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:
    "So you are a qualified chemist who has studied the effects of various substances on the human brain for most of your professional life "

    Are you? Or as I suspect you read the Guardian.

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

    Beg your pardon - are you a WUM? What point are you trying to make?

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  • 162. At 3:05pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    135. At 2:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    129. At 2:24pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    "I didn't enjoy enjoy riding a horse, but I do enjoy taking ecstacy occasionally and I have formed genuinely excellent relationships with some people because of the social barriers the drug removes."

    A lot of people would say the same about alcohol, of course. And neither it nor horse riding are illegal.

    "Your comment about more than 200 people having been killed through ecstacy related use pales into insignificance with how many people have taken the drug"

    Allegedly. This is where the argument breaks down, because people like you always assume "everyone" does it.
    No, they don't.

    "which is why the title reads 'Ecstacy related deaths' not 'Deaths caused by Ecstacy'"

    What a stupid statement; if ecstacy was involved, then they were caused by ecstacy. Your argument is akin to suggesting that drink driving fatalities aren't actually caused by the driver being drunk.


    I have probably given you more credit than you deserve - my mistake.

    What do you mean people like me? I assume you are talking about those who occasionally take drugs?...The statistics you pointed me to say about 570,000 people in Britain take ecstacy - I suppose that may be somewhere close to the mark - if that contributes to 16 deaths per year that's about 1 in 36,000 chance. They're not particularly scary odds.

    You should take notice of some of the other people people commenting where they talk about education about how to make taking ecstacy safer - they are talking sense. Horse riders routinely wear helmets because the benefits have been explained to them as it's a regulated activitiy. There are metaphorical helmets to drug taking as well but because the activity isn't regulated these safety nets are not generally made public. If they were, I think deaths would be severely reduced although the odds of getting hurt or injured are tiny anyway when it comes to ecstacy usage.


    My point about esctacy related as compared with deaths from ecstacy could be explained in part by my reasoning above but further explained below;

    If someone gets extremely drunk, take a pill then falls off a balcony - the death would be recorded as an ecstacy related death. The reality is though that it's very unlikely that the pill actually caused the death it was simply seen and recorded as a contributing factor. Therefore such statistics do not always represent the facts.

    In your drunk driving example - before I make my point I need to quantify that I am whole heartedly against driving when drunk.
    If someone has had 4 pints and drives home and hits someone who jumps out in front of him on a main road - this will naturally be recorded as a drink driving incident. The reality in some cases though is that the accident wasn't caused by the drunk driver, it was caused by the idiot who jumped out in front of the car but blunt black and white statistical evidence does not allow for such a recording mechanism. HTe relevance to ecstacy is that most people who die from ecstacy related deaths don't die from the ecstacy, instead they die from other things that happen whilst they are under the influence.

    I have probably said enough for now - in providing some advice to you Mahatma_scarf try not to make your opinion by insulting others - it dis-credits your argument and displays your likely ignorance.

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  • 163. At 3:07pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    153. At 2:55pm on 01 Nov 2010, Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    Well, it's been fun listening to drug addicts trying to justify their anti-social lifestyle, but now back to the real world.
    You know; the place most of us can face without illegal chemicals in our systems...

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

    Ha, ha - you are a WUM. By the way, not all recreational drug users are addicts - but feel free to exhibit your ignorance for all to appreciate.

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  • 164. At 3:08pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    158. At 3:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:
    Alcibiades, you asked me if 'binge' is a scientific term. Well I would have to refer you to the Australian National Drug Research Institute if you have issues with them using the word.

    Alcibiades asks 'how many miligrams in a binge'?, again I would refer them to the Australian National Drug Research Institute, and perhaps complain to them if the poster feels that the wording and figures are worthless.....

    Of course it might well be that you are correct and this respected institute is wrong

    --------

    Hands up anyone who accepts 'binge' as a specific scientific term...





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  • 165. At 3:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

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

  • 166. At 3:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, Harry McCulla wrote:

    This strikes me as an unfair comparison.
    Given that alcohol for example is perfectly legal to produce, trade and possess, the consumer does not have to face the same problems as consumers of other drugs. Alcohol is subject to regulations which guarantee its quality and strength. There is no such thing with heroin for example, where the trade is in the hands of criminals who don't care about the health of their clients.
    Heroin has a bad press because of the impurities it is cut with in order to maximise profits. As well as the harm from the impurities themselves, the unknown purity can lead to overdose when a dose of unusually high strength is taken.
    Given a pure supply (such as may be found within the medical profession currently, or within a properly controlled and regulated trade at a more enlightened future date), it is perfectly possible to sustain a lifelong heroin habit with no adverse side effects (other than constipation, which can be overcome). Can the same be said of alcohol or tobacco?
    In my opinion this report, and a similar one produced by the ACMD a few years ago, overstates the harm caused by controlled drugs (or understates the harm caused by so-called legal drugs) simply because they fail to take into account the harms caused by prohibition itself.
    Incidentally, before anyone suggests otherwise I have no particilar interest in heroin. It is not a drug I have taken, nor one I would ever want to take. It took me over 20 years to give up the equally addictive drug tobacco and I have no wish to go through that experience again.

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  • 167. At 3:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    155. At 2:57pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

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

    An intelligent, well presented post, well done. I wish more people would actually learn about a subject before making a judgement. The war on drugs is lost, it can never be won, the Government are wilfully lying when they say that they can win the war on drugs. We are wasting livse and money and have been doing so for the last 40 years. Legalise, regulate and educate.

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  • 168. At 3:15pm on 01 Nov 2010, presario wrote:

    The damage caused by any drug to the user and third parties is something we all need to know about. But the case for legalising all drugs, irrespective of any harm they may do, is a separate issue.
    The prohibition of alcohol had a devastating effect on America and drug prohibition is having a similar effect in the UK.
    Suppliers resort to gun warfare to expand and protect their market, users resort to crime to feed an unneccesarily expensive habit, females resort to prostitution to pay for the habit etc.etc.
    Why should I be exposed to the dangers of robbery, mugging etc. by users who would not otherwise be criminals? If they want to screw up their minds the that is their business. I am not my brother's keeper.
    My wife's nephew died from a dose of contaminated heroin; contaminated by a supplier who mixed in a poisonous substance to extend the volume of the drug and make more profit. He was a really nice lad who would do no harm to anyone.
    Let us stop this prohibition nonsense now and adopt the tenet of "no third party victim no crime" when appraising the value of prohibtion laws. I have never taken any drugs other than alcohol and tobacco. I stopped smoking 40 years ago. I still drink a little but I have drunk to the excess many times in the past. But if I want to abuse my body that is my business.

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  • 169. At 3:16pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Jack, post 148,

    Interesting point you make, I do agree that the problem with soft drugs is more prevalent in the border towns such as Maastricht, Heerlen etc due to their proximity to the borders of other countries.

    I must state that the availabilty of soft drugs throughtout the Netherlands is according to the Dutch police no different in Maastricht as it is in Waalwijk, however, the Dutch police figures also reinforce your point regarding the drug crime rate (border towns have worse crime rates than those further into the Netherlands) I must admit I was not expecting this set of statistics.

    What is the best way forward I do not know, however, I will check my facts before posting my own preconceived perceptions.
    I

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  • 170. At 3:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @ #153. Mahatma_scarf wrote:
    Well, it's been fun listening to drug addicts trying to justify their anti-social lifestyle, but now back to the real world.
    You know; the place most of us can face without illegal chemicals in our systems...

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

    It has also been very entertaining to listen to you!

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  • 171. At 3:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, amp46 wrote:

    The 'drinks'industry contributes so much by way of tax revenue...as does the tobacco industry...that no Government will endorse any action that would seriously interrupt the flow of cash into the coffers.

    While at the same time,ignoring the cost (real and social) that these drugs (especially booze)place on society.

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  • 172. At 3:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, Nick wrote:

    @ Mahatma Scarf

    In a study of medical examiner reports from 10 states in the USA it was found that as many as 217 deaths per year were attributable to horseback riding.
    taken from Brooks WH, Bixby-Hammett D. Head and spinal injuries associated with equestrian sports: mechanism and prevention. In: Torg JS (ed) Athletic injuries to the head, neck and face St Louis: Mosby, 1991, pp 133-141.

    Horse riding carries a high participant morbidity and mortality. Whereas a motor-cyclist can expect a serious incident at the rate of 1 per 7000 h, the horse-rider can expect a serious accident once in every 350 h, ie 20 times as dangerous as motor cycling
    Taken from Firth JL. Equestrian Injuries. In: Schneider RC, Kennedy JC, Plant ML (eds) Sports Injuries. Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment Baltimore, Maryland: Williams & Wilkins, 1985, pp 431-449.

    Nit-picking aside it is simply wrong to ignore the issues raised in this report. Prof. Nutt and his team have raised valid point which must be address is the problem of drug abuse both in the country and around the world is to be tackled.

    Please think about it as you relax with your glass of wine after your latest horse riding session

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  • 173. At 3:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Davef wrote:

    Whilst to much alcohol is bad for you, you dont see many alcoholics hitting old ladies on the back of thier heads like druggies do for thier next fix and what a shame when the world is a youngsters oyster they would rather worry about drugs rather than enjoying the world and life, if you need to take drugs you must have a very shallow look on life!!!!

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  • 174. At 3:30pm on 01 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    158. At 3:00pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:
    Alcibiades, you asked me if 'binge' is a scientific term. Well I would have to refer you to the Australian National Drug Research Institute if you have issues with them using the word.

    Alcibiades asks 'how many miligrams in a binge'?, again I would refer them to the Australian National Drug Research Institute, and perhaps complain to them if the poster feels that the wording and figures are worthless.....

    Of course it might well be that you are correct and this respected institute is wrong, but then as you have no figures of your own to back up your opinion I suppose I will have to take everything you state as meaningless /worthless.

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

    Ecstasy has been one of the most widely researched drugs. There are numerous reports you can read on the internet. It was in fact first synthesised as early as 1912 in Germany by the Merck Company and was patented in 1914. It was actually a by product of other research. In the 1950s it was briefly researched by the U.S. Government as part of the CIA's and the Army's chemical warfare investigations, a commissioned research in 1953/54 on MDA, MDMA and other substances as a truth serum. They proved to be unsuitable for this purpose. In the middle 1970s, it was rediscovered by the psychedelic therapy community and began to be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by psychiatrists and therapists who were familiar with the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. It was only in the 80's that the drug was used non-medically and it was the USA that first put the drug on its restricted list. Their are various side effects to using ecstasy (MDMA). However, the main cause of death through the use of ecstasy is poly drug use and overheating leading to the overconsumption of liquids causing the brain to swell. The other main problem of course is the fact that the drug is illegal and that over the last few years pill claiming to be ecstasy are cut with other more dangerous substances.

    In my opinion drugs should be legalised, regulated and people need to be fully educated on the dangers involved.

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  • 175. At 3:32pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @ #169. Rustigjongens

    Interesting that I was right - I didn't check the facts but it seemed quite a sensible conclusion.

    The best way forward? You could hypothetically see in the future that with increasing drug trafficking over the borders, other countries would make a policy move towards opening similar coffee shop establishments near the border. That of course would precipitate into national legalisation. So that won't happen!

    Personally I'm all for it, but I'd like to see a full and extensive study of the costs involved as well as the generated income, social implications and projected crime figures. I would think that that would be a future report, as any government undertaking such a study would be seen to leaning towards the legalisation argument before the results even came out.

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  • 176. At 3:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

    59. MrWonderfulReality

    It doesn't really matter what Professor Nutt says, or what you say, people will do what they want to do. You have no choice but to get used to it.

    Oh and by the way, as an impartial observer I'm a lot more inclined to believe his opinon than your Daily Mail rant. I bet you're great fun to be around when you're in the pub...!

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  • 177. At 3:37pm on 01 Nov 2010, Karen Leader wrote:

    Everyone has a choice to a point but there is a point for many people where the choice is taken away from them and it is called addiction. No-one set out to become an addict and to ruin their own life and the life of others around them.

    If you are a social user of any substance then long may it last for you. You may not know any addicts or anyone with an alcoholic illness.

    If you are are a regular user then you could be in denial and on the slippery slope and if you want to understand the importance and relevence of the information that has been made available for your benefit, pop along you your local AA, NA or CA Meeting, there will be one in your town tonight. Listen to the past social users of these substances and find out for yourself first hand whether they agree with this information being made available to the wider public and whether they think it is accurate or not.

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  • 178. At 3:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, Alcibiades wrote:

    173. At 3:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Davef wrote:
    Whilst to much alcohol is bad for you, you dont see many alcoholics hitting old ladies on the back of thier heads like druggies do for thier next fix

    ---

    Fair point about some junkies resorting to violence to feed their habits.

    But i fear you may be somewhat understimating the sheer scale of alcohol related violence in the UK....

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  • 179. At 3:40pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

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

  • 180. At 3:46pm on 01 Nov 2010, Russell Jones wrote:

    153 #Mahatma_scarf

    I don't disagree, and I don't want a fight. But you do say "illegal chemicals", which makes me wonder if you object to the chemicals or the legality? I think the chemicals themselves are assessed pretty well by the report, so I don't plan to comment on that.

    With regard to the law: legal status is not proof of harm, it's just proof of legal status. I'm not defending cannabis use, but it's a historical fact that it was not just legal, but openly encouraged by US and UK governments until the last century. Elizabeth I taxed any landowner who DIDN'T set aside land for cannabis cultivation. The Declaration of Independence is written on cannabis, because it was considered an important crop. In the 1910s you could buy a 1 lb bag of cannabis at Harrods. This isn't made up, it's historical fact.

    The main reason cannabis is illegal now (while tobacco remains legal) is largely because of the influence of newspaper baron William Randolph Hurst. He objected to Mexicans raiding his tobacco fields, so he started a press panic about cannabis (then largely grown in Mexico) in order to encourage better border controls. Not because of the drug, but because he wanted to protect his fields from poachers.

    So it the legality or illegality of a substance isn't purely due to it's harm, it's due to other factors which have nothing to do with health and everything to do with selling newspapers or protecting business interests.

    I honestly don't think the current legal status of a crop should influence our thinking about it's future status - the current status is largely a matter of chance and history. If we were starting now, with a blank sheet of paper, I doubt many independent observers would see a significant difference between tobacco and cannabis. In fact there have been studies before this one which show tobacco to be FAR more harmful that cannabis.

    It's very easy to get trapped in existing ways of thinking. I suspect the aim of this report is to ignore current thought, and take a fresh view. From that perspective it's refreshing, although it is guaranteed to cause outrage amongst people who believe the current way of thinking is somehow sacred.

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  • 181. At 3:59pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf:

    For the sums to work we have to assume the same numbers of people are doing the same things to get a balanced and fair result.

    To get those 200 deaths since 1996, hundreds of thousands of ecstasy pills have been taken every weekend. Far fewer people ride horses every weekend than take pills, so those 10 deaths per year mean the % chance of dying on a horse are higher.

    Which sport would be deemed more dangerous: 10 regular players with 1 annual death or 1,000,000 players with 100 annual deaths?

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  • 182. At 4:01pm on 01 Nov 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I agree that decriminalising illicit drugs is a good idea; otherwise how justify alcohol and tobacco - both of which are KNOWN to be harmful.
    In the ISCD paper entitled Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis (Lancet), I'm pleased to see that (at least in regards to alcohol), the paper agrees with me:
    On the basis of new analysis assessing the relative harms of different legal and illegal drugs to the user and wider society, "alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack (54) in second and third places".
    Is there anyone who will seriously debate the ongoing social, physical and emotional harm of alcohol?
    What emerges is a ranking of drugs at complete odds with the official Home Office classification system. So, if you had a serious disease, chronic addiction (to whatever), where would you go for advice & help the Home Office or a scientist/doctor?
    I believe that illicit vs not illcit drugs is a poltical decision; the battle against drugs buys votes - just as long as you do not touch my alcohol or my cigarettes. No one wants to see their kids hooked on heroine, they say - drink in one hand and cigarette in the other.
    As for Portugal's decision to decriminalise all illicit drugs. I looked into this trial last year; today, I have looked at it again. The dispute that has arisen, only goes to show my contention that illicit vs non-illcit is political, it has little to do with improving the functioning of society, or even of the individual.
    Important consideration: "Contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and CRIMINAL JUSTICE OVERCROWDING."
    The Home Office, for the sake of those who have addiction problems, should respond by legalizing all illcit drugs and deal with the situation openly.

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  • 183. At 4:15pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf:

    You just want to argue so I'm just going to ignore you.

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  • 184. At 4:16pm on 01 Nov 2010, shendor wrote:

    Professor Nutt! What a great name for a drugs advisor!! Off his Nutt! The sooner all drugs are legalised and taxed, guaranteeing quality and safety, bought only through chemists like it's a sickness, the better for crime levels, gang reduction and common sense. If only all the Daily Mail readers would hurry up and drink themselves to death on their port then the sooner we can get some mature, non-knee-jerk legislation passed.

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  • 185. At 4:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    What is it with all the horse comments? Is this not a blog about the recent drug report, or are we talking about horse drugs. Never tried 'em myself.

    Seriously, speaking as an ex-publican (that's my experience on one side of the fence) and as an ex-copper (more experience in the matter of law) and finally, my experience as a 44 year old man who has served his country in peace and war, I have been exposed to drugs for much of my life. I grew up in the licensed trade, my Dad being a publican during my childhood, and I've seen the horrors that alcohol can bring about. In truth, it's the user who commits the act that is seen as abusive, but it's the alcohol that drives him / her to do it.

    I've never seen a stoner (someone who smokes weed for the uninitiated) cause a problem in public or private. I've never seen a stoner who gets violent. If enjoying the company of others, stimulating interesting conversation and promoting a more relaxed sense of being is a crime, then let's go to a pub (if there are any still open), get tanked up, spending the best part of £20 - £30 per head, and cause havoc on the high street afterwards. If that was a daily activity, I'd have horrendous hangovers, be £100 - £200 per week out of pocket, and my liver would pack in soon enough. My weekly indulgence of cannabis costs me £20 and I leave alcohol well alone.

    On the subject of Ecstasy causing numerous deaths, the research I've seen and the analysis after the fact, that I've read, often suggests that the cause of death was attributable to over-hydration more-so than to any effect of the drug itself.

    Everyone takes drugs. Tell me you don't and I'll call you a liar, unless you're one of the few that never drinks Tea, Coffee, fizzy soft drinks and of course, booze. If you don't smoke, never take aspirin, or any other pharmaceutical concoction, and stay clear of chocolate, and the seemingly endless list of so-called 'illicit' drugs, and apart from having a pretty mundane existence, I'd applaud you.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAXATE
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 186. At 4:21pm on 01 Nov 2010, Catpain_Slackbladder wrote:

    152. At 2:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:
    re Mahatma_scarf.

    “...My conclusion? Mahatma_scarf is a troll, enjoying its 5 minutes of fame. 'nuff said”.

    Yep I agree. And sadly, looking at the variety of early posters compared to the numbers later on, many have been put off making any further comments due to the trolling.
    Still...it’s gone now so we can have a sensible conversation in piece.

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  • 187. At 4:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, Trina wrote:

    Now let's be nice to one another... those who want to shove chemicals fair or foul into their bodies can do so, those who don't - well don't. Your choice.

    Personally I'd like to see the law, the lawyers, the whole 'anti-drugs' government stance dismantled because we can't afford it any more (and it doesn't work).

    I'd rather drugs be bought over the counter than round dark street corners - at least you can slap whopping big VAT on the sale.

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  • 188. At 4:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Mark,
    Did they factor in the 26,000 lives murdered in Mexico last year? Shouldn't a drug study include worldwide crime and other markers of societal well being due to the transnational nature of the drugs trade?

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  • 189. At 4:44pm on 01 Nov 2010, BradyFox wrote:

    Prohibition is the most idiotic policy maintained by governments of developed countries. It has created and supported the existence of international crime and terrorist organizations. Regardless of whether drugs have damaging health effects or not for an individual user, the global effect of maintaining prohibition is more damaging and costly than any war that has ever been undertaken.

    Even more idiotic is the funding of both sides which is solely paid for by the public. Drugs are widespread and the very people who buy them also pay to stop them.

    The table of relative harm only goes to show the hypocrisy of governmental drugs policy. This is a situation that has created itself by the very nature of trying to stop it. The more drug seizures there are the higher the market value is, either way the drug cartels still make money. Regardless of whether drugs are good or bad, it is an unwinnable battle with current policy.

    The effects of harm on individual users should be lowest on the list of priorities

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  • 190. At 4:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    188. At 4:27pm on 01 Nov 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:
    Mark,
    Did they factor in the 26,000 lives murdered in Mexico last year? Shouldn't a drug study include worldwide crime and other markers of societal well being due to the transnational nature of the drugs trade?

    I think the point is if the drugs were made legal and the supply lines were too, this crime would be greatly reduced or even extinguished. You don't see deaths over 'corn' traficking because there isn't enough money in it. As soon as you make drugs legal you put drug dealers out of business.

    On a wider scale as well, if the government was to approve poppy farming and heroin and opium production closer to home, drug users would stop inadvertently funding the Taliban through their heroin production in Afghanistan - instead they would buy local produce and completely hamstring the Taliban.

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  • 191. At 4:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    173. At 3:29pm on 01 Nov 2010, Davef wrote:

    ..."if you need to take drugs you must have a very shallow (out)look on life!!!!"...

    Cannabis, for example, doesn't give a shallow outlook. Many great artists have used cannabis to expand the mind, to promote thought and generate unusual but interesting story lines.

    But you said, if you 'need' to take drugs, so maybe you're confusing use with abuse, action with addiction. I don't need it, but I like it.

    I'm using cannabis as the example, but of course, other drugs have other effects and the way we deal with those should be relative to that drug, so in that sense, you cannot lump all drugs into one basket and use one argument against them all at once.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE, TAXATE
    PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK

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  • 192. At 4:58pm on 01 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    The prohibition of drugs is far more dangerous than any drug and I'd much rather live in a country where all drugs were properly regulated. I'm not a scientist but I'd put recreational drugs into two categories of hard and soft; hard would include substances such as crack, crystal meth, smack and other such processed opiates & amphetamines while the soft group would include Cannabis, MDMA, LSD, alcohol and other such drugs.

    Soft drugs would be legalised, regulated and taxed just as we currently do with alcohol and tobacco. Their sale would be limited to adults and the tax gained used to fund health, education & rehabilitation services.

    Hard drugs would be available to addicts for free from the NHS but only from properly regulated outlets that would also be the local information & rehabilitation centre.

    Personally I don't really care what drugs you prefer to use, I've always considered alcohol to be a particularly disgusting drug and I do not use it, nor do I like to be around those who are using it yet I would not wish to deprive people of the choice to use whatever they want as I'm a firm believer that your body and life belong to you and that they are yours to treat as you see fit.

    The other change I would make to the law is that any addict convicted of a crime resulting in a custodial sentence would be required to prove that they were "clean" before starting their sentence, until then they would be required to stay at a properly funded residential rehabilitation centre where they would remain until proving that they were no longer addicted.
    Then and only then would they be transferred to a prison to complete the full term of their sentence. No time would be taken off their sentence to take into account the time spent in rehabilitation and if they failed a drugs test while inside prison they would be returned to the rehabilitation centre and the process would begin again until they had completed their full sentence without failing a drug test.

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  • 193. At 5:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, betahail wrote:

    So instead of going to the pub tonight for a pint I should really be staying at home and pumping myself full of heroin, because it's better for me? Once again some "expert" who rose to prominance under nu-liebour comes out with an inspired piece of lunacy that suggests another excuse is being made to penalise those of us who can go out to have a quiet pint or maybe even two (obviously any more will be taking me over the recommended daily unit intake that NuLab pulled out of thin air, bit like their economic policy ... ) without being sick, fighting, creating a disturbance or invading a middle-eastern country on dubious information, while failing to tackle the people who are causing the problem.

    These drug using louts need to be locked up, not told that actually what they're doing is not as harmful as alcohol. Remember, one pint of alcohol a night won't kill you or turn you into one of the feral hoodied classes, but a pint of heroin a night will do!

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  • 194. At 5:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://www.encod.org/info/PUBLIC-HEARING-ON-CANNABIS.html
    Public Hearing "Cannabis Regulation, a crisis measure?"

    Organised by Encod in collaboration with Members of the European Parliament

    8 December 2010 - 11.00 to 17.00

    European Parliament, Brussels



    The hearing is meant to bring together representatives of European civil society organisations and academics involved in the cannabis issue as well as Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

    The objective of the hearing is to present the call for an “impact assessment” in the European Union on cannabis policies. This assessment should measure the positive and negative impacts of current policies, based on cannabis prohibition, but also of alternative schemes based on cannabis regulation.

    The hearing will present various models to regulate the cannabis market in a non-prohibitionist way, such as those proposed by thinktanks (Transform, UK), or carried out in Portugal, The Netherlands (coffeeshops), Spain, Belgium (Cannabis Social Clubs) or the USA (Medical Dispensaries).

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  • 195. At 5:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, Rustigjongens wrote:

    Jack,

    If we take the amount of drug tourists who come to Maastricht 2 million a year, broken down into 60% Belgium, 20% German and the reminder a mix of French and UK then clearly the demand is there for these countries to also have some form of coffee shops. It would in an instance remove the problems I mentioned in my 1st post, whilst also moving the cost of policing and any property damage to the countries these tourists come from.

    I personally have no issue with people smoking and agree that 80% of the drug tourists who come to the Netherlands are here to chill out and smoke without fear. It is the other 20% who cause the problems, and it is this group who have caused such anger amongst the Dutch populace.

    In many coffee houses patrons are required to provide their passports and in others only Dutch residents are allowed entry, these policies have been implemented in the last 5 years due to the hunge influx of drug tourists and the crime caused by some of them.

    I should point out that when I talk about drug related crime I am not referring to muggings etc, the main offences are car windows being broken, disordely behaviour and driving offences caused by so many people driving whilst high. Although these offences are not the most serious they do cause widespread anger with the residents.

    You mentioned the economic factor in your response, according to figures available via the public records office the average coffee shop has a turnover of 3 - 4 million euro a year, the bigger ones well in excess of 20 million. If the money goes into the local economy I have no idea (apart perhaps from the suppliers of drugs to the coffee shop).

    Would I make the smoking of soft drugs illegal in the Netherlands?, no, would I like to have the drug tourists stay in their own countries YES!.

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  • 196. At 5:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, mocambique1 wrote:

    Alcoholics are a bad paert of our society, we can stop the rot, rid the community of so called larger louts, only problem is in the UK alcohol has become a multi billion pound business, to many rely on the drug right through to our MP's

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  • 197. At 5:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, U14567582 wrote:

    It's still perplexing that the actuality of how the Misuse of Drugs Act works is still missed by so many people, and mainly by our government. I would urge more people to read it.

    This is not a "legal drugs vs illegal drugs" debate in the harm scale; drugs in this country, whether it is alcohol and tobacco or illicit drugs, they fall into one of two categories - controlled and non controlled drugs.

    This is very important to this whole discussion.

    The argument of "alcohol is 'legal' and look at the trouble we have with that" is a redundant and incorrect thing to say.

    Alcohol is NOT CONTROLLED and therefore, indeed, look at the trouble we have with that. When addressing this in the true context of the Misuse of Drugs Act it firmly places the true onus back to how the MDA has failed in controlling the current illicit drugs by using the futile model of prohibition; and the MDA has failed in controlling alcohol because it has been given free reign - and moreover - when the alcohol industry sponsors nearly half our MPs and the current advertising costs of alcohol are hundreds of millions is it a wonder that we do have a problem with this non controlled drug?

    Control of all drugs would mean regulation, actual control and a place where monitoring the data can be found.

    We need to start addressing the Misuse of Drugs act correctly if we are to further this issue. Illegal vs legal simply means the status quo can be allowed to continue due to the deliberate muddying of the issue.

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  • 198. At 5:36pm on 01 Nov 2010, thewiz wrote:

    I suspect that most of us quiet, 1 pint per week drinkers are having a sense of a reality gap here! And I think the reason is that these results do not appear to separate the relative risk to the individual from the mass effect of millions of people using each substance. Of course many more people use alcohol than heroin but what would the picture look like if the numbers were equal?

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  • 199. At 5:59pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @ #193. At 5:14pm on 01 Nov 2010, betahail wrote

    So instead of going to the pub tonight for a pint I should really be staying at home and pumping myself full of heroin, because it's better for me?

    >> You've missed the point entirely, or have just decided to evade it with nonsense. What the paper is explaining is that alcohol use in general, regardless of whether you have 2 pints or 20, has a more damaging effect to the user and others than heroin does. At no point does Prof. Nutt implore you to shoot up, and neither does he make the idiotic comparison that because something is less harmful to someone, it is therefore better to use that substance instead.


    Once again some "expert"...

    >> I think you'll find that his credentials and research into this matter far outweighs yours. He is not some nutjob scientist on the outer fringes, he is a highly regarded scientist, whose work has been collaborated by others.


    These drug using louts need to be locked up, not told that actually what they're doing is not as harmful as alcohol. Remember, one pint of alcohol a night won't kill you or turn you into one of the feral hoodied classes, but a pint of heroin a night will do!

    >> I'd like you to define "drug using louts". Obviously in your opinion, everyone using illicit drugs is a lout. Must come as a shock to see that in 2007/2008, almost 10% of the population admitted using illegal drugs within that year. (Source - British Crime Survey) http://www.tdpf.org.uk/MediaNews_FactResearchGuide_DrugUsageLevels.htm#_Toc147131360

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  • 200. At 6:07pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @ #195. Rustigjongens

    It makes sense that the crime is mainly petty anti-social stuff, and it would obviously be a pain in the neck to be constantly bumping into hundreds tourists with a permanent grin on their face and taking forever deciding what to buy at the sweet shop.

    I almost certain the tourists would rather smoke legally at home too! I say we let your border-town majors & politicians fight for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK & abroad haha

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  • 201. At 6:13pm on 01 Nov 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Mahatma_scarf..I owe you an apology, I misread your claim and mistakenly thought you wrote 200 ecstasy deaths in 1996. Still those 200 hundred deaths are not all directly linked to ecstasy, it means 200 death certificates mention ecstasy, which doesn't always mean they died directly from ecstasy.

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  • 202. At 7:01pm on 01 Nov 2010, freebhang wrote:

    See Baroness Meacher, From coercion to Cohesion, a United Nations UNODC discussion paper, sent to governments in May 2010. Keeping this document a secret and then imposing Draconian spending cuts is in my opinion tantamount to treason and far from transparency.

    Cannabis and spending cuts..........

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 203. At 7:12pm on 01 Nov 2010, freebhang wrote:

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

  • 204. At 7:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jjx100 wrote:

    I'm all for evidence based medicine and reason prevailing in these matters that have been thoroughly researched. But are we seriously considering that legalizing these substances is the way forward? I have to say I disagree.

    I accept that the control of these substances is notoriously difficult to legislate but simply relaxing our attitude toward them is a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, in an ideal world everyone would be sensible and educated enough to understand the consequences of taking such drugs, and indeed this is the case for alcohol - the vast mojority of 'users' are aware of the risks and take steps to avoid the negative afflictions alcohol can impose when abused. One can liken this control of illicit drugs to gun control in the USA. The majority of gun owners are perfectly able, educated, of sound mind etc. to posses a weapon legally and legitimately. However as we know guns in the USA are hideously abused by a select few resulting in the US having one of the worst records for gun crime in the world. An effect that has implications for the major law abiding citizens. I fear this effect would be reflected were we to relax our attitudes to illicit substances in the uk.

    The sad fact remains that certain individuals should not be afforded the right to have access to these substances as it will inevitably lead to abuse and all the associated negatives that it entails. I fear I may offend the majority of bloggers here but I feel alcohol consumption should be treated no differently.

    What I don't agree with is legalizing illicit drugs simply because the evidence suggests we should - why not just allow everybody free access to hand guns. I'm sure there is evidence out there to suggest that it is safe to do so.

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  • 205. At 7:47pm on 01 Nov 2010, spacekadet wrote:

    All of these substances are potentially harmful to human health. Most of them are fun however, and enjoyed by millions every day; de-criminalize everything and make everything available through the pharmacy system. This will make the whole experience of drug experimentation safer for all, and free up thousands of prison spaces for violent criminals.

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  • 206. At 9:36pm on 01 Nov 2010, Robert wrote:

    Let’s try to put this report into perspective as the relative scale of the social usage of the various drugs significantly influences the outcome of the report. By the same reasoning influenza is more dangerous than the Ebola virus as the former has killed far more people and has had a greater influence on society, however given a choice it is a no-brainer which of the two we would rather suffer. That said, this is a fair debate though unfortunately also jumped upon by those with their own agenda for legalising drugs.

    We have allowed the genie out of the bottle with alcohol and tobacco and it has been so for hundreds of years and the report is very clear that these do great damage, however it is flawed for some to suggest that we should allow a few additional (and currently) lesser evils because we already allow alcohol.

    Consider if any one of the “lesser” drugs became as acceptable as alcohol, from the information presented it shows that far from being harmless a great number of these cause greater mental impairment than even heroin and not mentioned is how long these effects can last after taking the drug. Imagine road users, doctors, co-workers or in fact anyone whose judgement or action could seriously affect your life having had a fix maybe the night before. Remove any pious or self interested ideology that drugs should be legalised and consider other’s interests before our own wants and drugs, whatever their respective merits, cannot be a good thing.

    Looking at the data another way it shows what alcohol, a relatively benign drug if it was used in moderation, can do if allowed free reign in society, and by analogy what some of the lesser drugs would also be capable of if used in the same way.

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  • 207. At 9:46pm on 01 Nov 2010, BLACK_PEARL wrote:

    Having worked in the licenced trade for 40 years I can see where he is coming from with these comparisons.
    The change in the licencing laws by the previous Govt has been a disaster, as all those involved stated at the time.
    Giving supermarkets the licence to sell alcohol at duty free prices, 24/7 has also been a BIG mistake and also sends the wrong message to children who see the parents 'stocking up' with multiple cases of drinks along with the weekly shop leading them to think this is 'normal'.
    How supermarkets were allowed to sell alcohol to the extent that they now do is illogical and I would 'suspect' generous payments to political partys, plus 'lucrative' lobbying by MP's & Ministers, over the years 'smoothed' the way.(Especially the last Govt)
    **Possibly worth an investigation by a reporter**
    There was nothing wrong in the way alcohol was purchased in the controlled evironments of the past,restricted mainly to Public Houses, Private Clubs and Off Licences, (Which have now dissappeared)
    The Govt has lost a fortune in VAT revenue from the duty free priced supermarket sales.
    i.e. 17.5% vat on a 50p -70p bot/can isn't the same as what they would have realised from the more sensible prices charged by off licences if they still existed.
    I suppose the last Govt.'s legation has helped to kill off the drinks Industry and the future career prospects that went with it.
    A bit like Thatcher killed off the mines, but for different reasons.

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  • 208. At 10:18pm on 01 Nov 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    The Home Office has not yet responded to the new study but drugs minister James Brokenshire recently told the House of Commons "On the specific point about the Portuguese model, we are against that proposal."

    It's not good enough for him just to say "we are against that proposal". As a government minister he has the duty to explain his reasons when the results of his decision means that people are incarcerated and careers and lives are lost. He has to have evidence that this approach wouldn't work in the UK, or at least a decent argument or even a half decent one would suffice. I think he owes that to the 10 million + drug users in the UK. Btw just as a side note...drug users now outnumber gays...and they have more rights!

    Portugal has had this system since 2001, this isn't some half baked experiment, this is drug policy actually working. While I don't agree with every aspect of their policy it cannot be denied that it works...(although some still try).


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  • 209. At 10:20pm on 01 Nov 2010, newsman face wrote:

    While this may be the result of a theoretical study, it takes no account of the fact that most people do not use heroin or crack cocaine. If they did then there would be plenty of problems.

    While most of us like to drop into the local for a couple of pints and have wine at dinner, I can't see a social scene where we all sit around injecting heroin.

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  • 210. At 10:35pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jack wrote:

    @206 Robert
    I think you're naive to believe that there aren't already doctors, co workers etc who haven't had a "fix" last night and yet still carry on working, saving lives with no loss of cognitive ability. There are PLENTY.

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  • 211. At 10:37pm on 01 Nov 2010, tarquin wrote:

    206 -

    'Consider if any one of the “lesser” drugs became as acceptable as alcohol, from the information presented it shows that far from being harmless a great number of these cause greater mental impairment than even heroin and not mentioned is how long these effects can last after taking the drug. Imagine road users, doctors, co-workers or in fact anyone whose judgement or action could seriously affect your life having had a fix maybe the night before. Remove any pious or self interested ideology that drugs should be legalised and consider other’s interests before our own wants and drugs, whatever their respective merits, cannot be a good thing.'

    ---

    Why does this one always get trotted out

    While it is perfectly logical to assess long term mental damage caused by any drug usage the old chestnut of 'what if your doctor was high' is exactly the same as if they were drunk

    They would be struck off, prosecuted etcetera etcetera...

    Same with road users - if you can't drink-drive why would you be allowed to drug-drive? It's illegal now and it would be illegal then

    As I say, assess the long term effects on mental ability, but when we're talking about drugs like cannabis or ecstasy how is it any different to the booze?

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  • 212. At 10:46pm on 01 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Newsman_face While most of us like to drop into the local for a couple of pints and have wine at dinner, I can't see a social scene where we all sit around injecting heroin.

    I think anyone would find that hard to imagine as it wouldn't happen, unless your a DM reader...

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  • 213. At 10:48pm on 01 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:

    For all I've heard it looks like Prof Nutt is saying it's about 30% less dangerous for me to have a pint of beer than shoot up with heroin. And similarly smoking 60 a day for my life is only half as harmful as that pint of beer.

    At that level (which is how it's been reported), this news is criminally irresponsible; because it telling us anything about quantities nor frequency of use nor usage patterns in the UK, but a pile of disinformation which serves only the interests of those who want to completely deregulate drugs. This article is going to get people killed.

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  • 214. At 11:28pm on 01 Nov 2010, Bear in the Bull wrote:

    Interesting.

    I assume the data relating to tobacco deals with smoking the stuff.

    What might be the difference if snuff were considered?

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  • 215. At 11:30pm on 01 Nov 2010, Matt wrote:

    The_Snial
    "a pile of disinformation which serves only the interests of those who want to completely deregulate drugs"

    This may come as a surprise to you but illegal drugs are currently completely deregulated. There are no controls on who can purchase them, purity etc - can't you see that this is the problem?

    There are some hysterical comments on here from clearly ignorant people who seem to think that should drugs be legalised we will all spend all day injecting ourselves with heroin or smoking crack.

    Taking the example of heroin, if we legalise it this should not mean that you can go any buy it at the local shop. Addicts should be able to register and receive the drug in a controlled manner at a location which also provides support. It should be a condition of registration that the user agrees to a program of rehabilitation.

    This would effectively pull the rug out from under the feet of the dealers. If an addict becomes addicted after purchasing from a dealer and then gets the drug free from the state it removes the repeat business for the dealer. If there is no profit in selling it versus the risks (penalties should be increased for illegal sales) the number of dealers will gradually dwindle. With less dealers comes fewer new addicts. The trend continues until the problem has minimised to the maximum extent possible.

    The biggest problem, to the wider society, of heroin use is the crime associates with a users need to fund it. The above method eradicates that problem over a period of time. The cost of providing heroin to registered users is minimal when compared to the cost of heroin related crime under prohibition.

    Legalisation and control will also shift drug addiction from being a criminal issue to being a health issue. Again this will have the effect of reducing the number of future addicts as the problem will be in the open and can be rationally discussed as part of an education program. The very fact that it is illegal creates a mystique which can be a draw for younger people who want to rebel not realising the full consequences of their actions.

    We do not need further proof that prohibition is a failure. Time to have a grown up debate on the issue and look for some real solutions that reduce the harm for the whole of society.

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  • 216. At 00:22am on 02 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    The Snail Im sorry but from your comments you fail to take into consideration that he is not just talking about personal harm but social and community harms. We suffer from both alcohol and heroin problems both on a large scale heroin brings about property harms and less personal harms rather than alcohol which usually ends up in very mindless violence and community damage. So in the grand scheme of things this information is very accurate as at the end of each day the harm from the alcohol greatly outweighs the harm from heroin.

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  • 217. At 00:53am on 02 Nov 2010, notinthemanifesto wrote:

    Thanks for this very useful article. The breakdown of Prof Nutt's research is very helpful. The Portuguese experience is fascinating -legalisation did not cause nearly as many problems as feared, and did produce some significant gains, as hoped. Anyone who wants to post about legalisation had better read it first!

    As to harms, I am a doctor working with drug AND more recently alcohol users, and I think daily about the relative harmfulness to a person's health
    Did you know that alcohol causes:
    mouth cancers
    gastritis and gastric ulcers
    Oespophageal varices (varicose veins in the gullet which bleed catastrophically often with fatal results)
    Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    Cardiomyopathy (weakness of the heart muscle leading to heart failure)
    Diabetes
    liver cirrhosis and cancer
    Pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas- incredibly painful and has a high death rate
    Peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage causing loss of feeling in fingers and toes)
    Cerebellar damage in the brain leading to sustained and sometimes irreversible problems with loss of balance, slurred speech and poor coordination
    Damage to the memory which can be irreversible and lead to a need for permanent residential care
    Grand mal seizures (alcohol withdrawal)
    Delirium (alcohol withdrawal)
    Bone marrow suppression leading to poor clotting and risk of bleeding, and a poorly functioning immune system
    The list is longer than this, need I go on? these are just the commoner conditions - I see all of them at least once a month in a weekly alcohol clinic serving a population of 190,000

    On the other hand long term heroin use causes virtually no physical ill-health - the health problems we see are almost all due to poor injecting techniques and impurities in the heroin. they are:

    Infections at the injecting site, and abscesses - from unhygeinic injecting
    Ulcers resulting from the above - some take a very long time to heal
    Septicaemia and acute infections in the bloodstream - even tetanus v rarely - unhygeinic injecting or dirty heroin
    Chronic infections in the bloodstream - Hepatitis B and C and HIV - from sharing needles and injecting equipment
    infections in the heart valves (v rare only see twice in 15 years) - fatal both times
    DVTs - blood clots in the legs or pelvis, can migrate to the lung where they can be fatal

    and that's about it. In a similar weekly clinic, I see maybe one or two of these problems a month at most. But when these patients turn to alcohol we suddenly see a massive deterioration in their health. The only physical ill-health I see which is resulting from the heroin rather than injecting is overdose which of course is very serious. Worth noting that young people regularly die of alcohol overdose, (sorry i can't compare the figures)
    The point is, with heroin use, it's all about the WAY it is taken, (in a rush, sharing needles, prepared to tolerate injecting impurities into yourself), it's NOT THE DRUG ITSELF.

    On the other hand alcohol is incredibly potent body rot which attacks from all angles.





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  • 218. At 03:22am on 02 Nov 2010, kafantaris wrote:

    In spite of its intolerance and lingering fanaticism, Islam has an absolute prohibition on alcohol. The daughter of former UN Nuclear Chief Mohamed ElBaradei reminded us of this last month when she was criticized for attending a party where alcohol was served.
    Christians have few such qualms, so the first thing we do is seek out the booze -- to “take out the edge.” Soon enough, it numbs the frontal lobe of our brains, the very place where we happen to keep our personality -- and charm. If we continue to drink through the evening, we can easily manage to reduce ourselves to very dull company.
    So much for the belief that drinking enhances our sex appeal.

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  • 219. At 07:27am on 02 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:

    Hi John Ellis,

    "The Snail Im sorry but from your comments you fail to take into consideration that he is not just talking about personal harm but social and community harms"

    Thanks for your reply. Actually I do understand he's talking about aggregate harm: the sum problems of everyone in the UK who drinks vs the sum problems of everyone in the UK who takes heroin. That's why it's so misleading. For example: if heroin was 10x less popular then on Nutt's chart it would appear to be far less harmful than currently shown and would therefore make a better case for legalisation. If Russian roulette were a drug, but almost no-one took it, it would appear to be much safer than alcohol despite the 17% chance of death per use. That's crazy, Russian roulette is not safer than a pint of beer!

    The reason why people find drugs appealing is because they think the experience is going to be great; the harm unlikely and this item fuels that interest. It's not primarily because it's banned. It's about attitude not prohibition, which is why the prohibition of guns in the UK has *not* made them more commonplace than in the US (because we are not pro-gun) and why alcohol use amongst e.g. Muslims is not greater than that amongst non-Muslims; it's the attitude that matters.

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  • 220. At 10:24am on 02 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    I do wish people would educate themselves a bit more on this subject before coming on and repeating the drivel they read in the red tops. If the Govt actually implemented the Misuse of Drugs Act as it was intended we perhaps wouldn't be having these discussions. The last Govt was forced to publish a report in which they admitted that their drugs policy was based mainly on cultural and historical precedent, legal ground which is very shaky. They more or less admitted that any evidence based policy was a waste of time unless it agreed with their moral stance. Hence why so many people resigned from the ACMD. Until politicians have the backbone to actually admit that current policy does more harm and costs lives on a daily basis this problem will continue. The media have a crucial role to play in this and to their shame have fallen down badly in this respect. Hats off to Mark Easton for keeping this issue alive.

    I have lost a close relative to a drug overdose (heroin) and am convinced that his death would have been avoided had we followed a sensible policy of legalisation, regulation and education. I urge people to educate themselves as ignorance about this issue really does cost lives.

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  • 221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't

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  • 222. At 11:09am on 02 Nov 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't

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

    I wonder how many horse riders takes drugs, for example, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, prescription medication, illicit drugs. Why would I want to respect someone who rides a horse any way. In what way does the act of horse riding lead to a measure of respect. I ride a horse, ergo, I must have your respect. Your viewpoint is quite asinine.

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  • 223. At 11:40am on 02 Nov 2010, RubbishGirl wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Dear oh dear. You really do have "drug users" in one box & "rest of the world" in another don't you? Of course in your world drug users are criminal layabouts, jobless & pointless, only sneaking out of their smoggy holes to mug a granny to feed their addiction.
    You couldn't pause, just for a second in your black & white world, to imagine that a drug user could *gasp* ride a horse!!!!
    Got news for ya honey, I use cannabis & I ride. Not at the same time, that would be silly & despite your assumptions drug users DO have enough brain cells to make such a decision.
    If you get down from your Ivory tower on your silver lined cloud & stop preaching about a subject on which you have absolutely no facts then you may learn something. Namely that you are surrounded by people who use drugs, they're everywhere & you don't even know. You know why you don't even know? Because they're no different to you, they do a job, contribute to society, raise kids & lead fulfilling lives. They'er not the enemy, nor are they drooling idiots waiting to steal your last pound they're just people, like you.
    (BTW as a rider, no way, would I expect people to respect me for something I consider a way of life but they may just think of as a hobby. Respect for riding horses? how ridiculous!)

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  • 224. At 11:59am on 02 Nov 2010, Valantini wrote:

    if i drink too much alcohol apart from harming myself i could lose self control, become agressive to others;

    if i took too much ecstasy i would stop dancing and go and sit in the 'chill out' area of a club until the effects calmed down:

    Ever seen a fight at a rave ? not me in 20years of going to raves.

    Ever seen a fight on a friday night in any city or town after closing time at the pubs/bars?

    nuff said really......

    This in my eyes is eneugh to prove ecstasy is less harmful to me nd those around me. Period.

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  • 225. At 12:02pm on 02 Nov 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    #221 Shaunie Babes,

    the thrill you get when your horse goes from a canter to a gallop is an alteration in the chemical balance in your brain, it is the same imbalance that you get when you ride the big dipper, it is the same imbalance when you bungee jump from the severn bridge.
    It is only the degree of imbalance that is different, an experienced horse rider feels the surge of power from the horse in a much more refined way than a novice who may experience an initial terror followed by uncontrollable shaking and then laughter, a red face and outbursts of 'that was brill, can we do it again ?'

    It is all chemistry, it is all drugs, some are more socially acceptable than others.

    All this report states is the potential harms associated with certain actions and draws attention to where there is inconsistency between the sensible aims of the law and the inefectual implementation of the law.



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  • 226. At 12:03pm on 02 Nov 2010, scott wrote:

    204. At 7:17pm on 01 Nov 2010, Jjx100 wrote:
    I'm all for evidence based medicine and reason prevailing in these matters that have been thoroughly researched. But are we seriously considering that legalizing these substances is the way forward? I have to say I disagree.

    I accept that the control of these substances is notoriously difficult to legislate but simply relaxing our attitude toward them is a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, in an ideal world everyone would be sensible and educated enough to understand the consequences of taking such drugs, and indeed this is the case for alcohol - the vast mojority of 'users' are aware of the risks and take steps to avoid the negative afflictions alcohol can impose when abused. One can liken this control of illicit drugs to gun control in the USA. The majority of gun owners are perfectly able, educated, of sound mind etc. to posses a weapon legally and legitimately. However as we know guns in the USA are hideously abused by a select few resulting in the US having one of the worst records for gun crime in the world. An effect that has implications for the major law abiding citizens. I fear this effect would be reflected were we to relax our attitudes to illicit substances in the uk.

    The sad fact remains that certain individuals should not be afforded the right to have access to these substances as it will inevitably lead to abuse and all the associated negatives that it entails. I fear I may offend the majority of bloggers here but I feel alcohol consumption should be treated no differently.

    What I don't agree with is legalizing illicit drugs simply because the evidence suggests we should - why not just allow everybody free access to hand guns. I'm sure there is evidence out there to suggest that it is safe to do so.

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

    your comparing cannabis to hand guns?
    what a stupid thing to do?

    its yout last paragraph i like the most :
    What I don't agree with is legalizing illicit drugs simply because the evidence suggests we should


    so if the evidence shows the system is wrong and some drugs probably should be legal i fail to see why it shouldnt?

    thats the point of EVIDENCE i bet your just going with the crowd being ruled by the dogma.

    the law were made with NO evidence or basis just an assumption!

    look at protugal they did it and it worked!
    california are voting today on it

    sick people can smoke cannabis but healthy people cannot? that makes NO sense you can have it if your sick but if your healthy and in good shape no?

    alot of over the counter medicines actually have chemicals from cannabis in anyhow.


    welcome to the future where science and evidence will rule instead of stupid opinions with no evidence

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  • 227. At 12:13pm on 02 Nov 2010, scott wrote:

    219. At 07:27am on 02 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:
    Hi John Ellis,

    "The Snail Im sorry but from your comments you fail to take into consideration that he is not just talking about personal harm but social and community harms"

    Thanks for your reply. Actually I do understand he's talking about aggregate harm: the sum problems of everyone in the UK who drinks vs the sum problems of everyone in the UK who takes heroin. That's why it's so misleading. For example: if heroin was 10x less popular then on Nutt's chart it would appear to be far less harmful than currently shown and would therefore make a better case for legalisation. If Russian roulette were a drug, but almost no-one took it, it would appear to be much safer than alcohol despite the 17% chance of death per use. That's crazy, Russian roulette is not safer than a pint of beer!

    The reason why people find drugs appealing is because they think the experience is going to be great; the harm unlikely and this item fuels that interest. It's not primarily because it's banned. It's about attitude not prohibition, which is why the prohibition of guns in the UK has *not* made them more commonplace than in the US (because we are not pro-gun) and why alcohol use amongst e.g. Muslims is not greater than that amongst non-Muslims; it's the attitude that matters
    -------------------

    rubbish

    people will take drugs no matter what the laws
    the more you ban it etc the more danger it becomes and more profitable it becomes for the dealers.

    anybody against leagalising cannabis for example should just go to amsterdam and then come tell me its EVIL etc etc

    oh and people take drugs not because they think the feeling is great,
    they take them because the feeling is good and enjoyable something a person who has never touch illegal drugs will never understand there for should stop commenting as there opinion is of no relevence, as they do no actually understand the real dangers etc.

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  • 228. At 12:14pm on 02 Nov 2010, scott wrote:

    the goverment says there are 2.5 million regular drug users haha


    id say its more like 5 - 10 million regular cannabis users alone
    shows how out of touch they are really

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  • 229. At 12:16pm on 02 Nov 2010, scott wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't



    you meant like when you enjoy something (rollercoaster) and your brain release adrenaline and seretonin. thats not altering your brain chemicals without drugs is it.

    how did the population get so stupid

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  • 230. At 12:19pm on 02 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

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

  • 231. At 12:43pm on 02 Nov 2010, onelung82 wrote:


    "221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. That's why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't"

    Wow were to start on this one. a lot of drugs to begin with are not chemicals and most are not dangerous.
    But correct me if I am wrong a large number of people over the years have been killed and maimed through riding horses? I am shocked how a lot of this debate seems to revolve around people riding horses or dropping an E its a bit silly.

    Any activity can be dangers I climb at least twice a week i am telling you that is dangers yet as I have been taught how to climb and be safe doing it I have reduced the risk to myself and the person whom I may be belaying. The Same goes for drugs a pill for example can be dangers if you allow your self to become over hydrated (i.e. drawn) or dehydrate then yes its dangers but if it were legal and we could educate people on how to do it safely then that is surly a good thing, I am sure you agree if I just jumped on to the back of a horse told it to giddy-up then I would be at a large risk of being hurt.

    now in regards to respect I really don't think you understand drugs at all which is the major worry and problem with the ban um hang um crowd, you have no clue, nearly all people who take drugs are normal everyday people who are not addicted who will certainly not rob a granny, jump in to there car or do any of the other scary things the gutter press want you to think they will.
    I can guarantee you you are friends with someone who takes drugs or at least has in there past depending on your age and you probably don't know I would imagine that is because they do not respect YOU enough to tell you due to your closed mindedness.

    please I implore you and others with your opinion STOP now getting you views from news papers they want to sell you something you being scared and reading an article gets them to make a profit go on the web read forums and reports hell make sure you do both sides understand how drugs are taken what risks and WHY those risks are there you may find your opinion changed or at least you will learn something. BUT my genuine worry is you will just carry on burying your head in the sand safe in the knowledge of your own misguided superiority.

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  • 232. At 12:46pm on 02 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Absolute drivel and I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks so. Understand that riding a horse is just a hobby, it doesn't give you a noble right to judge what other people do with their free time.
    The other inaccuracy you refer to is altering their mind with dangerous chemicals - most drugs are actually naturally occurring and derived from plant matter (coccaine, heroin, cannabis etc..). Yes they alter your brain but that's not always a bad thing. I'm sure you don't object to medication for schizophrenics?....

    As you will have noticed above I have previously referred to ecstacy usage. Whilst this is a chemical, it's a feel good chemical that when used in moderation could be a wonderful social tool and I'm sure enjoyed by many people that you know and respect. Not all effects of ecstacy are good, but the same can be said for almost anything on this planet - moderation, understanding, education and a non-prejudicial attitudes are the key to utilising good effects of similar substances and encouraging social cohesion.

    I am not suggesting that you give up horse riding and take up ecstacy - if you like horse riding, good on you. You ride your horse and understand the risks of doing so.
    Many people that take drugs do so because they enjoy them (not because they need to), the problem is that not all of them understand the risks.

    By legalising them and providing education about sensible usage not only do you make drugs safer, you put illegal, violent drug dealers out of business which can only be a good thing.

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  • 233. At 1:19pm on 02 Nov 2010, here we are again wrote:

    Surely alcohol causes more harm because a greater number of people take it! At the bottom of the list is magic mushrooms and are they really stating that if millions of people took these regularly there would be minimal effect on individuals, families and society!

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  • 234. At 1:31pm on 02 Nov 2010, YOU ARE ALL INSIGNIFICANT WORMS wrote:

    Adrenaline junkies and control freaks telling other people that they can't change their OWN brain chemistry.

    The irony of it all!

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  • 235. At 1:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    Users should note that Shaunie Babes is a regular troll on the drugs debate and if you click on his user name you will find that he comes onto every blog relating to drugs and throws about exactly the same pointless circular arguments, that he doesn't ever give an honest reply to a question and ignores peer reviewed research and scientific facts in favour of his own brand of delusion.

    Feel free to reply to him but please be aware that it will achieve nothing; he doesn't want to debate, he just wants to destroy the discussion by drawing people into circular arguments by repeating the same tired old rubbish over and over again, just as he has been doing on these blogs for over a year now.

    It's your choice but personally I prefer not to feed the trolls...

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  • 236. At 2:26pm on 02 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    sunshine on a rainy day #233.

    "Surely alcohol causes more harm because a greater number of people take it!"

    that's one aspect, another is how a given drug affects the user. people drunk on alcohol tend to be more reckless (ie their judgment is impaired) than when sober, and they tend to become more aggressive. alcohol is implicated in very many violent crimes (in 75% of all domestic violence incidents, for instance), find out why.

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  • 237. At 2:52pm on 02 Nov 2010, acreda wrote:

    Now regardless of who’s right or wrong it’s always good to see this debated. I am married to a recovered alcoholic, and from a personal viewpoint it’s nice to see some surveys trying to log the impact of the use as well has health hazards and social effect.

    From my own experiences there are two main groups of problem alcohol users:-

    1. Binge drinkers (and according to health advice that includes all the one normal bottle of wine a day folks as well!)

    2. People who drink because of physiological, emotional or body chemistry issues (ie addictive dispositions etc) or all the above.

    Now there are lots of other drinks and I accept that – this is just from my own eyes. Often people drink for a reason and the real key is actually solving the issues behind them. But with not a lot of money going to mental heath in the NHS (of course its hard to measure success to justify further spenditure in the current environment of red tape) and more and more money going to treat booze and drug related issues it will get worse…

    Of course you can only help those who want help but as always there is a bigger picture behind the obvious. How to solve these background cause issues though, answers on a postcard......maybe send them to 10 Downing street?!?!

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  • 238. At 3:35pm on 02 Nov 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    35. At 11:39am on 01 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    They don't "need" to buy drugs at all. If you choose to fund drug crime you are either an addict or just selfish to the harm you cause.

    of course you don't need to buy drugs. you can violently mug the nearest dealer for them, they are ten a penny after all. is that still funding drug crime?

    where do you stand regarding users who aren't addicted and who don't fund drug crime?

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  • 239. At 3:39pm on 02 Nov 2010, Carl Showalter wrote:

    221. At 10:42am on 02 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    The main difference between horse riders and drug users is horse riders get their thrills from experiencing reality, not altering their brains chemical balance through dangerous chemicals. Thats why horse riders are respected and drug users aren't

    What about horse riding drug users?

    I'd say a drug user does experience reality - the reality of being on drugs, maybe?

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  • 240. At 3:43pm on 02 Nov 2010, RubbishGirl wrote:

    235. At 1:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    Users should note that Shaunie Babes is a regular troll on the drugs debate and if you click on his user name you will find that he comes onto every blog relating to drugs and throws about exactly the same pointless circular arguments, that he doesn't ever give an honest reply to a question and ignores peer reviewed research and scientific facts in favour of his own brand of delusion.

    ------------------------------------------------
    LOL that's a guy? I always thought Shauniebabes was a girl! (no particular reason other than I just couldn't see a guy calling themselves "shauniebabes"!)hehehe

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  • 241. At 3:53pm on 02 Nov 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    Only those with their own greedy agenda, or those who can't fully grasp the facts want the governments current drugs policy to continue.

    Anyone who has seen the amount it costs to wage a "war on drugs" and the complete failure of this policy realises that other options MUST be explored.

    The sensible option, the one that brings in the highest revenue, the one that stops users being criminalised and removes vast wealth from the most evil characters on earth, is legalisation and regulation of all "drugs".

    ...but this won't happen as long as politicians pander to the paraniod press and fail to accept facts given to them by the real experts.

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  • 242. At 4:20pm on 02 Nov 2010, Barry Hunt wrote:

    Heroin was originally developed as a pain-killer, for which it is extremely effective (it was even found in headache remedies pre-1955). The problem with the drugs is not the drugs themselves but their abuse. This is true of both alcohol and heroin, but we've been living with the former a lot longer then the latter. In an ideal world, there would be no need for drug control and drugs like heroin could be used for what they were intended i.e. the relief of pain. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal, and there will always be some who will abuse, hence any legal control should target the "abuse" of the drug and not necessarily the drug itself.

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  • 243. At 5:06pm on 02 Nov 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    242. At 4:20pm on 02 Nov 2010, Barry Hunt wrote:

    ..."Heroin was originally developed as a pain-killer, for which it is extremely effective"..."drugs like heroin could be used for what they were intended i.e. the relief of pain"...

    Diamorphine is used for medical purposes already - strictly regulated of course. That's the medical name for heroin, likely to separate the stigma from the medical fraternity - how would the Daily Mail reading patient feel if he knew he was being treated with heroin? Shock horror.

    That is the point, though Barry. I agree with your thinking, but would consider cannabis in the same way. The pain reducing effect of cannabis is extraordinary among its contemporaries. To add insult to injury, the current policy (prohibition) is further flawed by the fact that our doctors can, under regulation, prescribe diamorphine (heroin) for emergency pain relief, but cannot prescribe cannabis for routine pain relief.

    Understandably, heroin is addictive, very much so, and cannabis is not, or at least, very very low risk, so I agree that heroin should be subject to serious control. That control should be in the form of regulation to provide users, many of whom are addicted, with 'clean' low risk alternatives to street junk, and the help they need to kick that particularly nasty habit. On the other hand, cannabis, being non-addictive, should be available to the general population, under license.

    The word drug has gotten a bad name. Maybe we should call them intoxicants instead. We all like a little bit of intoxication, in the right place, at the right time. It's a little bit of indulgence we all deserve.

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  • 244. At 5:27pm on 02 Nov 2010, plasticmanc wrote:

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

  • 245. At 08:45am on 03 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:

    Hello Scotty1694

    "oh and people take drugs not because they think the feeling is great,
    they take them because the feeling is good and enjoyable something a person who has never touch illegal drugs will never understand there for should stop commenting as there opinion is of no relevence"

    Well, there you have it - druggies should dictate the policy as only they count. Well at least you're being honest about your agenda and I think that about wraps it up for this debate ;-) !

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  • 246. At 11:16am on 03 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    "240. At 3:43pm on 02 Nov 2010, RubbishGirl wrote:
    235. At 1:50pm on 02 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    Users should note that Shaunie Babes is a regular troll on the drugs debate and if you click on his user name you will find that he comes onto every blog relating to drugs and throws about exactly the same pointless circular arguments, that he doesn't ever give an honest reply to a question and ignores peer reviewed research and scientific facts in favour of his own brand of delusion."
    -----
    One of the dangers of any debate is you might find people not only disagreeing with you but explaining why they disagree with you. Which is no doubt bad news if you can only respond to different points of view by ridicule, personal attacks and quoting dogma as fact. The level of bile and vitriol from people who claim to hold their views for reasons on personal freedom is really quite scary. Perhaps they should take something that would calm themselves down ?

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  • 247. At 11:17am on 03 Nov 2010, notinthemanifesto wrote:

    Barry I don't agree that drugs and alcohol are equivalent in the damage they cause. I am a doctor working with drug, and more recently, alcohol users, and I am struck daily by the relative harmfulness of each to the health of my patients
    Did you know that alcohol can be a cause of:
    ** Mouth cancers
    ** Gastritis and gastric ulcers
    ** Oespophageal varices (varicose veins in the gullet which bleed catastrophically often with fatal results)
    **Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    **Cardiomyopathy (weakness of the heart muscle leading to heart failure)
    **Diabetes
    **Liver cirrhosis and cancer
    **Pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas- incredibly painful and has a high death rate
    **Peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage causing loss of feeling in fingers and toes, so people don't notice when they injure themselves eg cuts, burns, frostbite etc)
    **Cerebellar damage in the brain leading to sustained and sometimes irreversible problems with loss of balance, slurred speech and poor coordination
    **Memory loss which can be irreversible and lead to a need for permanent residential care- tragic to see in a young person
    **Grand mal seizures (alcohol withdrawal)
    **Delirium (alcohol withdrawal)
    **Bone marrow suppression leading to poor clotting and risk of bleeding, and a poorly functioning immune system
    The list is longer than this, these are just the commoner conditions - I see almost all of them at least once a month in a weekly alcohol clinic serving a population of 190,000

    On the other hand long term heroin use causes virtually no physical ill-health - the health problems we see are almost all due to poor injecting techniques and impurities in the heroin. They are:

    *Infections at the injecting site, and abscesses - from unhygeinic injecting
    *Ulcers resulting from the above - some take a very long time to heal
    *Septicaemia and acute infections in the bloodstream - even tetanus v rarely - unhygeinic injecting or dirty heroin
    *Chronic infections in the bloodstream - Hepatitis B and C and HIV - from sharing needles and injecting equipment
    *Infections in the heart valves (v rare only see twice in 15 years) - fatal both times
    *DVTs - blood clots in the legs or pelvis, can migrate to the lung where they can be fatal

    and that's about it. In a similar weekly clinic, I see maybe one or two of these problems a month at most. Many patients smoke their heroin partly because they run out of veins, partly because they may actually hate injecting (some do some don't)) and partly because they are trying to cut down. Then all we see is chest problems, akin to those in smokers.

    But when these patients give up heroin altogether, some turn to alcohol. Then we suddenly see a massive deterioration in their health.

    The only physical problems I see which result from the heroin itself rather than the way its being used is overdose (which of course is very serious, but worth noting that young people regularly die of alcohol overdose - sorry i can't compare the figures)

    The point is, with heroin use, it's all about the WAY it is taken, (in a rush, sharing needles, being prepared to tolerate injecting impurities into yourself), it's NOT THE DRUG ITSELF.

    On the other hand ALCOHOL IS INCREDIBLY POTENT BODY ROT which attacks from all angles.

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  • 248. At 11:38am on 03 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    notinthemanifesto all the things you describe are damage to the ECSN of the human body. It would be realy interesting to do a full body receptor scan before and after drinking sessions to show just how much damage the 'safe' social lubricant actualy causes.

    I put a theory on receptor damage through alcohol to Proff Nutt, his comments were very possative. He also pointed out that a lot of research is banned in this area as it requires cannabinoids to explore.
    can be read here http://s321561233.websitehome.co.uk/davidnuttblog/alcohol-opium-masses/

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  • 249. At 12:08pm on 03 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:

    245. At 08:45am on 03 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:
    Hello Scotty1694

    "oh and people take drugs not because they think the feeling is great,
    they take them because the feeling is good and enjoyable something a person who has never touch illegal drugs will never understand there for should stop commenting as there opinion is of no relevence"

    Well, there you have it - druggies should dictate the policy as only they count. Well at least you're being honest about your agenda and I think that about wraps it up for this debate ;-) !


    Dear Snial

    I think you using the terminology druggies is borderline offensive - in fact in a lot of ways it's not dis-similar to calling homeosexuals p***fs, or Asians p***s or Black people n****rs.

    All of these groups of people at some point or another have been classed as social outcasts and in the case of homo-sexuals been breaking the law through their actions. These groups have fought for their own recognition of equal status and I don't really see why people who enjoy drugs shouldn't strive for the same.

    I realise you could say that the above mentioned groups have no say in which group they have been pigeon-holed in - where as people who take drugs do, but that has no bearing on their quest for so called equal status. Why shouldn't Britains approximately 10 million (about 1 in 6 CURRENTLY illegal drug users have a say in how the country operates. The proportion of gays is much smaller and their voice is now recognised on an equal standing.

    When living in the 21st century, it's perceived as a fundamental right of Western society that minority groups should have a say so perhaps this is something you should think about.

    Most drug users are not immoral for using drugs, in many cases don't cause any harm to others because they use drugs responsibly - they pay their taxes, they perform valuable public and private services and make a realistic, diverse contribution to wider society.

    Just because drugs are illegal now doesn't mean they are wrong. 500 years ago it was illegal to question the laws of the British church, 200 years ago slavery was legal, 100 years ago it was illegal for women to vote, and 20 years ago it was illegal for gays to kiss in public. Please move with the times!

    No one is asking you to take drugs, no one is even asking you to like other people doing it - they are simply asking for tolerance and the ability to choose to do so if they wish and most importantly for controls and regulations be put into place to make sure they are as safe as they can be and that people are educated on the matter.

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  • 250. At 2:43pm on 03 Nov 2010, southernian wrote:

    This debate seems rather lacking in common sense, starting with the well named Prof Nutt. Of course alcohol does the most damage because nothing else that has the effect of a drug is so legal, widespread or takes so many different forms that are a pleasure in themselves. Where is the equivalent of drinking 20 year old claret in the heroin or cannabis world? Most alcohol is consumed as much for those other pleasures/flavours as for any narcotic effect- mild if you want it to be. Obviously if you are shooting up in a toilet that is for a different reason than if you are choosing a beer or wine you like but these medical fascists will try to make it equivalent in order to ban things.

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  • 251. At 3:52pm on 03 Nov 2010, Steve - Iver wrote:

    249. At 12:08pm on 03 Nov 2010, practicaldave wrote:
    ..."I think you using the terminology druggies is borderline offensive - in fact in a lot of ways it's not dis-similar to calling homeosexuals p***fs, or Asians p***s or Black people n****rs"...

    Thanks Dave.
    We humans do tend to pigeonhole groups to fit our needs.
    I fall into a number of categories.

    I'm a Geordie (from Newcaslte-on-Tyne for our non-British readers). Even the BBC allows regional accents these days
    I'm a puff (sorry, homosexual for the non-puffs around)
    I smoke cannabis and occasionally drink alcohol
    I've also used heroin, cocaine (powder and crack), speed, MDMA (powder and pills) - part of my past, and part of what makes me who I am.
    I'm fully employed in the iT industry
    I served my country in the RAF (during the 80s including the Falklands War)
    I served with the Police after my RAF days
    I own my house (mortgaged)
    I support 2 lodgers in that house - give them a safe, clean, modern and friendly place to call home.

    The world has moved on, and continues to move on. It might seem 1 step forward and 2 back a lot of the time, but progress is what we fight for. It's what we have a voice for. It's why we have free thought. Unfortunately, free thought, for some, is a word for word recital of tabloid press opinion and not worth the effort of reading.

    ..."Just because drugs are illegal now doesn't mean they are wrong. 500 years ago it was illegal to question the laws of the British church, 200 years ago slavery was legal, 100 years ago it was illegal for women to vote, and 20 years ago it was illegal for gays to kiss in public. Please move with the times!"...

    Couldn't say it better, except to say that although women didn't get the vote until 1928. Pre-1832 (I think - give or take), less than 10% of the population could vote - male or female - it was reserved for the elite.

    We ARE in the 21st century, although some people spout the rhetoric of their grandparents. Druggie is a one-size fits all tag and does nothing to further the debate. It shows ignorance on the part of the speaker, and is a generalisation of an activity that merely degrades the point of the discussion.

    Well said.

    EDUCATE, REGULATE AND TAX
    PROHIBITON DOES NOT WORK

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  • 252. At 3:56pm on 03 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    southernian #250.

    "This debate seems rather lacking in common sense.."

    don't know about that, but many comments show an astonishing lack of knowledge/understanding on the subject, including yours.

    "Where is the equivalent of drinking 20 year old claret in the ... cannabis world?"

    you may be surprised to learn that there is; the experience of smoking (or even eating) different types of Hashish can be compared, IMO, to that of drinking different types of alcohol, and it's not just the flavours. ;) no idea about heroin.

    "Obviously if you are shooting up in a toilet that is for a different reason than if you are choosing a beer or wine you like.."

    quite, I very much doubt any drug user wants to wind up in such environments; legalising (or, at the very least, decriminalising) all substances would put an end to that.

    "..but these medical fascists will try to make it equivalent in order to ban things."

    while currently political and other fascists and their ban discriminate against 'us'.

    recommend you 'chew over' the final two (excellent!) paragraphs of practicaldave's #249.

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  • 253. At 4:27pm on 03 Nov 2010, scott wrote:

    245. At 08:45am on 03 Nov 2010, The_Snial wrote:

    Hello Scotty1694

    "oh and people take drugs not because they think the feeling is great,
    they take them because the feeling is good and enjoyable something a person who has never touch illegal drugs will never understand there for should stop commenting as there opinion is of no relevence"

    Well, there you have it - druggies should dictate the policy as only they count. Well at least you're being honest about your agenda and I think that about wraps it up for this debate ;-) !



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

    yes i work 40 hours a week i fund my own habbit i smoke cannabis and barely drink alcohol and im fitter for it, alcohol is just so much worse for you thank cannabis its unreal, i finish work at 5 pm i get home at 6:30pm i make a joint i sit down watch some football or play my xbox make another joint take my dogs out for a walk while smoking it go round to my brothers make a joint share it go home go to bed and get a good night sleep totally relaxed.

    if that makes me a bad person in your eyes or anybody elses i really couldnt give a toss because im happy and im not drinking beer, the worst thing that happens from cannabis is you fall asleep

    fact: you will pass out before you can do any kind of serious harm from one session of cannabis

    can the same be said for alcohol?
    infact you can kill yourself just for drinking too much water

    puts it into perspective doesnt it

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  • 254. At 4:34pm on 03 Nov 2010, Bob Young wrote:

    How would the charts compare if all drugs, even heroin and crack cocaine, were not only legalised but made available with controls to prevent child access?

    The removal of economic benefits and costs created by prohibition would eradicate most drug related offences and crimes committed to fund the habit. A recent report stated that funding a heroin habit can cost up to £50k a year - through prostitution, shoplifting or other property crime. It is also regularly reported that between a half and three quarters of the prison population are there as a result of drug related crime.

    The drug related costs to policing, prisons, customs and excise, insurance and society is truly immense. When you add in the military costs of fighting cannabis growing in Afghanistan, Columbia and Asia. The logic of a war on drugs wears very thin.

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  • 255. At 05:37am on 04 Nov 2010, Puddingclub wrote:

    Why anyone contemplates taking drugs in the first place is beyond me. Those that do should face the consequences of their actions. and should not be bailed out of trouble by the NHS. I am afraid I have zero tollerance as far as this issue is concerned.

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  • 256. At 08:27am on 04 Nov 2010, Igor K wrote:

    The most recent example of governments doing something towards increasing tolerance towards the drug debate/issue can be recently seen in Czech Republic, where they have introduced a drug tolerance policy. From the 1st of January 2010 Czech Republic government to decriminalize the common drug users, who had previously ended up frequently in jails and prisons. 5 plants of hemp or 15.0 grams of marijuana, 40 pieces of magic mushrooms, 5.0 grams of hashish, 5 LCD laced papers or other materials with LSD, 1.5 grams of heroin, 1.0 grams of cocaine, and 2.0 grams of methamphetamine. That is what you can have legally in your possession from January 01, 2010 in the Czech Republic; the maximum offense for such is now just an infraction. Therefore, the visitors of Prague will now find Prague a bit more enticing, like the Netherlands. You will not be able to buy a joint of marijuana in a "coffee shop" like, for example, in Amsterdam, but you will not have to spend time in jail just for partying in a club and having a little joint on you. The Czech Republic research team has been collecting and analyzing data on drug use from the moment of decriminalization and have found that drug use has dropped by almost 10%!!! I do not think that this is the correct approach as it does not legalize drugs as mentioned in the news it simply applies a tolerance policy to the possession of a certain amount of drugs per individual. This does not eliminate crime which is associated with drug trafficking, gangs and criminals in general which operate in this area. This does not bring any direct advantages to the actual governments, such as financial gain through taxation of illicit drugs, which could be controlled and moderated, therefore stabilizing UK’s shaky economy, for example. Instead of public and private cuts in all sectors we could be heavily taxing ALL DRUGS and providing certain individuals (e.g Me) with good quality recreational drugs, that would not create a feeling of being a criminal, and therefore respecting the police force more!! If a person wants to find drugs, they will find them in any part of the world (even if the penalty is death), because people don’t see it as a horrible offense, just simply as a method of relaxation or stimulation, both physically and mentally. So stop this load of sh*t and think smart!
    I could discuss many of the silly laws we have today but it is pointless. Just from looking at response rate of this particular debate on BBC website I can see many people are passionate but not doing anything, so start supporting your local movements, organize, donate, create and protest if you want to see change. Laws are their to be scrutinized!!!!

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  • 257. At 2:42pm on 04 Nov 2010, tacrepus wrote:

    Once again Mr Easton fails his 101 in objective journalism and bases an article on a "bought and paid for" set of skewed statistics. Anyone looking closely at this report will clearly see is the the equivalent of saying the following; nine people commit murders using a hammer and one person commits murder using a gun therefore hammers are more dangerous than guns but hammers are legal and guns, being less dangerous, should not be illegal. Yes, alcohol can be harmful, but so can drugs. Do two wrongs make a right? Are people's lives really so bleak and dull that they need an artificial mood altering substance to make it worthwhile? Obviously those so desperately in need of drugs or alcohol should take a good long look at why they need the prop of either.

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  • 258. At 3:19pm on 04 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    tacrepus #257.

    "Are people's lives really so bleak and dull that they need an artificial mood altering substance to make it worthwhile? Obviously those so desperately in need of drugs or alcohol should take a good long look at why they need the prop of either."

    ah yes, the moral highground. don't you feel a little lonely, sometimes, 'up there'?

    given that we're supposed to live in a 21st century democracy, I find comments like yours (ie the way you question the decisions and choices of others) stifling, undemocratic, and deeply illiberal. why don't you ask joggers to have a "good long look" at themselves?

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  • 259. At 11:00pm on 04 Nov 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    From Steve's point (251):

    "Unfortunately, free thought, for some, is a word for word recital of tabloid press opinion and not worth the effort of reading."
    - Well said but on past form it's unlikely to make those led by the tabloids bother to think for themselves, they gave that up years ago.
    Reading through some of the comments in these blogs I'm beginning to wonder if there should be a harm matrix created for tabloids, with the following harms (other suggestions welcome):

    Self-harms:
    -----------
    addiction
    ignorance
    inability to think for yourself
    flawed logic

    Harms to society:
    -----------------
    intolerance
    voting for cynical politicians who STILL toe the "Prohibition works" line, creating criminal empires and wasting police time and our taxes.

    The next stage would be to get the tabloids made illegal, after which those that have appeared on this blog parroting the tabloid line ("tabbies?") would be criminals and their point of view would therefore be completely void.
    Aah, the joys of the imagination..

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  • 260. At 11:33am on 05 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    253. At 4:27pm on 03 Nov 2010, scotty1694 wrote:
    "yes i work 40 hours a week i fund my own habbit i smoke cannabis and barely drink alcohol and im fitter for it, alcohol is just so much worse for you thank cannabis its unreal, i finish work at 5 pm i get home at 6:30pm i make a joint i sit down watch some football or play my xbox make another joint take my dogs out for a walk while smoking it go round to my brothers make a joint share it go home go to bed and get a good night sleep totally relaxed.
    if that makes me a bad person in your eyes or anybody elses i really couldnt give a toss because im happy and im not drinking beer, the worst thing that happens from cannabis is you fall asleep"
    --------
    Yes, that sounds like the rich,fufilling and well motivated life of a typical cannabis user

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  • 261. At 10:32pm on 05 Nov 2010, KonanGunner wrote:

    The chart showing methamphetamine having minimal harm on others is simply wrong. Methamphetamine is perhaps the most destructive and addictive drug. Orphanages full of meth kids whose parents have lost it, the links with organized crime and the sex trade. Meth is the worst.

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  • 262. At 00:17am on 06 Nov 2010, Newtonne wrote:

    Do the figures measure the harm for the average person who uses the drug or the total harm caused to society by a drug? If the latter, then of course alcohol with come out top as it's so widely consumed. Salt and fatty foods would probably come out quite bad too. A bit more explanation please.

    I question the adding of figures relating to such different things as mortality, environmental damage, economic cost and loss of mental function. What are the conversion rates that make these numbers interchangeable?

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  • 263. At 08:10am on 06 Nov 2010, chrisk50 wrote:

    This is data collected for the drink/drug driving campaign that was widely advertised earlier this year. Be prepared for a whole series of drug related driving offences, even if the person has not taken anything for weeks. Once this becomes legal if you are involved in an accident and proved positive, highly likely with cocaine weeks after, like drink driving it is now your fault.


    Drug driving - the facts

    Illegal drugs can affect a driver’s behaviour and body in all sorts of dangerous and unpredictable ways, including: slower reaction times, poor concentration, sleepiness/fatigue, confused thinking, distorted perception and over-confidence. Drugs can stay in your system for weeks, even months. If you drive, never take any illegal drugs.


    Cannabis: You have slow reaction times and struggle to do two tasks at once (like change gear and steer straight). Combining cannabis with alcohol magnifies its effect. Cannabis strengths vary wildly. Even one spliff can affect you for up to four hours.

    Ecstasy: On ecstasy you have blurred vision and can’t judge distance or speed. You might suffer extreme emotions that are lethal behind the wheel, like anxiety and paranoia. The effects of ecstasy can last 12 hours, but tiredness from being up all night can affect you for days.

    Cocaine: You are confident but erratic, likely to take risks, may suffer from paranoia, and even hallucinate. Combining cocaine and alcohol can be lethal behind the wheel. Intense effects of cocaine last about an hour, but after-effects can last much longer.

    Speed: Amphetamines make you over-excited, restless and can lead to risk-taking. You may experience strong emotions like fear, panic and aggression. You may get dizzy or collapse. The effects can last more than four hours.

    LSD: You are a likely to suffer from hallucinations, delusions, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, poor control and confused thinking – a killer combination.

    Heroin: You are sluggish, sleepy and unable to control a vehicle. Strong effects can last for 24 hours.

    Some legal prescription or over-the counter drugs can also affect your ability to drive safely.

    Drink driving - the facts

    If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road crash than a driver who hasn’t been drinking. Your reaction times are slower after just one drink. You can’t judge speed or distances accurately, you’re over-confident and you make bad decisions. It’s impossible to calculate exactly how much alcohol is in your system or whether you’re over the drink-drive limit.

    Now lets see, twice the legal limit = 4 pints or equal to one spliff, make your own conclusion on that one.


    I would also add, it is a criminal offence to take drugs/alcohol while operating any machinery, and most companies it is an instant dismissal offence. However, I know many people who disregard these rules when taking drugs.

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  • 264. At 10:24am on 08 Nov 2010, bigsammyb wrote:

    "263. At 08:10am on 06 Nov 2010, chrisk50 wrote: Drug Driving"

    That is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand? Why do prohibitionists always bang on about drug driving? What has that got to do with the price of fish?

    You shouldn't drive whilst having sex either but i don't see you wanting sex banned.

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  • 265. At 1:46pm on 08 Nov 2010, JP wrote:

    Excellent blog Mark keep up the good work.

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  • 266. At 9:06pm on 08 Nov 2010, stryderunknown wrote:

    Nick Healey #38

    ~The myth that cannabis "causes" schizophrenia has now entered the public consciousness and is on a par with the MMR lie perpetrated following another poor piece of research and should be exposed. Prof Nutt was not allowed that chance yet again today.~

    This is actually an interesting problem, you see in 1999 I was admitted to hospital for what is called a "Psychotic Episode". It was suggested that this episode came about from Cannabis usage and the doctors tried to force me to believe that I was "Schizophrenic".

    For over a decade now I have been trying to identify what has been happening to me to my friends and family, and to an extent the world as a whole. I have had male/female voices in my head ever since that hospital emission that appear to be shiftworking operators using an auditory method to insert sound into my head.

    These voices aren't some reference to some childhood escape, they aren't an angry father complaining about a worthless kid or anything like that. In fact they are people shiftworking, they communicate to me like I was in the same room, unfortunately this has been through the use of my Temporal lobes and they have got to the point of actual vocal outbursts and communication through my own vocal cords.
    (The Temporal Lobes are often referred to shrinking in Schizophrenics, but they would also shrink if harnessed via radiological methods through a clandestine "M.O.D." act of Psyonic Terrorism. The Temporal Lobes are the regions usually assumed to interpret sound and therefore is important in vocalisation and sound mimickry.)

    Now it's pretty obvious that some people out there will believe I'm a complete nut or completely insane, those people are likely the same people that vote idiots into power, that sit apathetically and do nothing while our basic Human Rights are undermined not just by the perpetrators of such crimes but the very hecklers that just "Don't believe" that such crimes take place.

    So it's up to you, reason that perhaps I got manipulated into being a statistic to make those "Illegal drugs" seem worse, or that I've become a complete nut from those "Illegal drugs" disproving your initial notion that Cannabis doesn't create schizophrenia.

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  • 267. At 9:46pm on 09 Nov 2010, Heather wrote:

    I'm sure I have read this somewhere before: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=18522442&blogId=270027041

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  • 268. At 10:55am on 10 Nov 2010, Euforiater wrote:

    Interesting twist:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11714714

    Am I going a bit too far here or does this have echoes of a sinister period in European history where it was an occupied country's civilian duty to be on the lookout for something else officially undesirable that was hidden in secret rooms on a large scale?
    The excuse given is the risk of fire - this wouldn't happen if small scale grows (say 5 plants or less) were legalised. They could grow them in greenhouses, safely away from the house. So much for safety concerns.

    According to Wikipedia, a maximum of five Cannabis sativa plants may be grown in Holland without prosecution, although THEY HAVE TO BE HANDED OVER ON DISCOVERY. So I guess once the Dutch tabloid readers have fulfilled their civic duty that small-scale grower is going to have to go to organised crime for his chosen "tipple".

    Personally I'm hoping the Dutch will stand up for freedom and ignore the small-scale grows. It might even have the opposite effect, trigger a sense memory and remind older ex-users of a pleasure they used to enjoy.

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  • 269. At 11:39am on 10 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Euforiater #268.

    "Am I going a bit too far here or does this have echoes of a sinister period in European history where it was an occupied country's civilian duty to be on the lookout for something else officially undesirable.."

    no, you are correct (IMO). the culture is changing and we are being encouraged to become 'little nazis', and not just in the Netherlands:

    "'Environmental volunteers' will be encouraged to spy on their neighbours"

    "Children aged eight enlisted as council snoopers"

    "Shop your neighbours if they leave their bins out too long, Yorkshire council urges residents"

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  • 270. At 11:43am on 11 Nov 2010, X Factor Finalist wrote:


    I don't like smoking cannabis myself, and I don't like Cars but never would it come to my mind to call for their prohibition.
    I don't think legalization itself is the problem here, it would be the many implementations of it , that might cause great damage.
    What about Mexico? What about Columbia? Let`s not mention Afghanistan.
    Wouldn't a legal market completely destroy their economy?
    I can`t imagine the UK growing their own all purpose organic Coca plants. What kind of Lab would produce clean Extasy, and under what premises. At what cost?
    And apart from that, the government would still find a way to patronize and criminalize the consumers of former class A's. Either through taxes or some kind of monitoring. Urine tests at work would be daily routine. I don't want to be part of that.

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  • 271. At 1:01pm on 11 Nov 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    X Factor Finalist #270.

    "What about Mexico? What about Columbia? Let`s not mention Afghanistan.
    Wouldn't a legal market completely destroy their economy?"

    what makes you think that legalisation would result in coutries such as these switching wholesale to the production of narcotics? I think that the traditional staples (maize, chili, cocoa, etc) would still come first.

    besides, the current regime isn't working so well for the natives either:
    Illegal crops in Colombia: when the solution is worse than the problem

    and "let's not mention" the atrocious death tolls in Mexico and Afghanistan; tens of thousands of people die every year because of the so-called 'war on drugs'.

    "I can`t imagine the UK growing their own all purpose organic Coca plants."

    I can't either, according to the Wikipedia, coca thrives "best in hot, damp and humid locations", not even the Isles of Scilly can offer that.

    "What kind of Lab would produce clean Extasy, and under what premises."

    the likes of GlaxoSmithKline and Roche, I'd imagine. (money doesn't smell ;))

    "..the government would still find a way to patronize and criminalize the consumers of former class A's. Either through taxes or some kind of monitoring."

    nothing wrong with taxation, as long as the products sold are quality-controlled, labelled, etc. as for monitoring, how would that differ from the government 'knowing' who uses Paracetamol?

    "Urine tests at work would be daily routine."

    and what would the justification be? we already have random drug testing in place for certain types of employment (the armed forces, for instance), not a problem really.

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  • 272. At 1:34pm on 11 Nov 2010, WolfiePeters wrote:

    The question is: would the UK be better off if drugs were made legal?

    Before I express my opinion, I’ll describe myself. I do not take drugs, I rarely consume alcohol, though I like the taste of good ale and good wine. I don’t ride horses or go fishing. I love motor sports and enjoy athletics and football. And I’m old enough to remember the 1960s very well. I would discourage everyone from putting any kind of harmful substance into their bodies.

    What do I think the results quoted by Mark show? That some substances that we accept are quite as harmful as those we declare to be illegal. Some have suggested that alcohol and tobacco score high because they are legal and widely used, surely a false argument. Though it’s not made clear, it’s hard to believe that the numbers given are not normalised per user; certainly, the damage to the user must be.

    We’ve seen in previous reports (particularly Mark’s blogs) that prohibition fails to reduce consumption. Prohibition serves to put distribution and profits in the hands of organised crime, and force drug users into criminality. It widens the range of drugs available as the suppliers try to avoid the law and entrap more users. Apart from the misery of the drug user, all this costs society a lot of cash: police effort in fighting the crime syndicates and chasing the lesser crimes of the users, and the loss to society of those dragged down by drug use. Whatever our political and social views, for purely practical reasons, isn’t it better to stop throwing away all that money?

    I don’t think anyone is proposing to put heroin on the supermarket shelf between the alco-pop and the vodka, rather to allow doctors to write prescriptions for its use. Effectively, this means go back to where we were in the 1950s, when we didn’t have a drug problem.

    Careful analysis of the facts leads to only one conclusion: we would all be far better off by removing the present laws against drugs.

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  • 273. At 3:35pm on 11 Nov 2010, bigsammyb wrote:

    "260. At 11:33am on 05 Nov 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:
    --------
    Yes, that sounds like the rich,fufilling and well motivated life of a typical cannabis user"

    I have just read thorugh some of your previous comments, Shaunie, and it is very telling. You are:-

    Racist
    Homophobic
    Religeous
    Pro War
    Cruel to those most vulnerable

    One word:-

    TROLL

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  • 274. At 01:47am on 12 Nov 2010, michihayes wrote:

    I think that junk food should be in this list! Why? Because people are eating it as if they are addicted to it and it is leading to more deaths than heroin!

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  • 275. At 01:50am on 12 Nov 2010, michihayes wrote:

    As for cannibis, I used to be married to someone who used this drug. It messed his mind up so much that he still to this day can't have another relationship. It causes users to be paronoid to an extreme.

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  • 276. At 06:42am on 12 Nov 2010, Darren Mace wrote:

    Drug use (legal and illegal) is here to stay and anyone who thinks they can stop it is quite honestly living in a fantasy land. Equally there will always be abuse and misuse of drugs, the question should really be: How as a society do we want to deal with this issue?

    Since the advent of prohibition, policy has been driven by a moralistic argument that certain drugs are bad and others are acceptable, the result of which has been to put control of the markets into criminal hands and to arbitrarily criminalise large sections of the population who don't share the same moral values.

    Surely society would be better served by channeling the funding used to fight drugs into assistance for those that develop abuse and misuse problems. Decriminalisation is certainly not a magic bullet, but can the situation be any worse than it is now?

    The fundamental problem remains that any move to change legislation will prove unpopular with certain important sections of the voting public, making it a very dangerous political move. Coupled with the fact that any positive results of such a move are unlikely to be immediate or obvious, means that there is little incentive for politicians to take the risk. After all, we mustn't forget that the majority of politics is about POWER not about serving the greater good!

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  • 277. At 07:17am on 12 Nov 2010, Gary wrote:

    Alcohol has for a long time been known to be the worst drug problem that this country has, but as long as the country gets so much tax from it that we don't get from illegal drugs then it will be conveniently tolerated. Why do we pay all the Scientists to do all the research & then just ignore it because some people don't like the answers?

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  • 278. At 07:41am on 15 Nov 2010, Nicola Matera wrote:

    At a time of savage budget cuts, it seems complete lunacy for the government to continue flogging their blind dogma on prohibitionism. The cost to the tax payer in funding this senselees war on drugs is staggering and enormous. If you factor in just the financial cost of policing, legal costs, futile HM Customs operations, the enormous health related costs to the NHS and god only knows what other hidden costs I'd reckon these would run in the tens of billions of pounds. If we then factor in the irreparable damage inflicted on the fabric of society and social cohesion, the cost is simply incalculable. It's total and utter lunacy and, in my view, a crime against humanity. Not only are politicians a bunch of inveterate liars, they are undoubtedly the most gutless people that ever walked the planet. But my question is...where is the voice of the British public on this thorny issue? Why have the British people become so apathetic? Why, in the face of counteless scientific reports, has this senseless war on drugs been allowed to continue for the past 50 years or so? Answers on a postcard please..I'm leaving this pathetic country for good.

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  • 279. At 10:48am on 15 Nov 2010, nikk wrote:

    All you have to do is spend a Friday or Saturday night in A&E across the county to see how damaging alcohol is compared to other drugs.

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  • 280. At 10:57am on 15 Nov 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    It's happened at last, bet you won't find this in the national media!
    Cannabis......legal at last, despite threats from the US.

    http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/pacific-island-passes-cannabis-legalisation-bill/5/71934

    Come on UK, if these tiny islands have the cajones to stand up to the US, why don't we???

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  • 281. At 11:14am on 15 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    Arizona passed medical cannabis as well yesterday :)

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  • 282. At 11:18am on 15 Nov 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2010/11/prop_203_appears_to_have_won_medical_marijuana_com.php

    lol forgot link :)

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