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Thread: The war on drugs. At what point do we surrender that war?

  1. #1

    Default The war on drugs. At what point do we surrender that war?

    So I thought it was time to think up another debate. This time I want to see what everyone thinks about the current drugs policy in the UK or even the USA. Are current drug policies working? Are we putting drug offenders back in to society properly prepared? Should we focus our attention on criminalisation or should we start to focus on help and recovery? Are drug laws as effective as prohibition was in the 30's?

    Take in to consideration class A drugs like heroin and then compare not only the effects, but the addiction and the effects of the addiction against a class B drug like cannabis (yes, I know they're in a different drugs class for a reason). By prioritising help over criminalisation, are we in effect giving a free pass to people who want to indulge and not supply? Are we saying it's okay to dabble? Is it okay to dabble in the right quantities and quality (rhetorical)?

    By having such strict laws, its been suggested that the drugs on the street are of mixed quality. I seem to remember hearing that E isn't dangerous on its own in normal quantities, but when mixed with the stuff they put in it, it can be life threatening. Now legal highs are being added to the debate so that they can be restricted as well. While I don't condone the use of any drug (hypocritical in the worst way considering I smoke tobacco and drink alcohol), I can't help but think we're taking 0 steps forward and two steps back.


    Scenario
    If I take drugs and become addicted, I have an addiction; a problem. If I had an alcoholic problem, I probably wouldn't go to prison - I'd go to AA and begin rehab / sobering up process. But instead I'd be more likely to face jail time depending on my record.

    If I take drugs for pleasure and I'm not addicted, I'm a casual user. Less likely to be doing more harm, less likely to be caught doing something stupid. I'm just a bit stupid. I should probably get a stern slap on the wrist from my parents and maybe a bit of mediocre rehab. But instead I'd be more likely to face jail time depending on my record.


    I could continue with the scenario's but my idea of a scenario isn't exactly family-friendly.
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkery View Post
    Are drug laws as effective as prohibition was in the 30's?
    Of course they are.

    Organised crime made huge profits from prohibition, just like it is making huge profits from drug trade...

    War on drugs is a total and utter failure. It's about time to treat drugs like alcohol or tobacco - legalise it, tax it and use the excise tax revenue to treat the addicts or hand out free opiates to those that can't be rehabilitated back into society.

    End result - crime rates plummet, Southern America's drug lords and Afghan warlords lose most of their revenue, lot less resources needed to fight the war on drugs, no need to jail non-violent drug-offenders, etc.

    Everybody wins aside from feelings of few puritans...

  3. #3

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    JPP there are times I think we could be twins, that is exactly what I was thinking apart from also adding that it would also make drugs safer, people would know what they were taking and would be less likely to overdose without meaning to.
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    The problem with both alcohol and drugs (and gambling) is that a lot of people take it to where they are functional addicts, they can pass as normal but they are highly dependant. Family life happily collapses around them, their ability to control their life is reduced, yet they may well hold down a job and have children.

    There is no easy way to monitor say alcohol intake, because at the point of dependence users become extremely sneaky in order to conceal their habit, and embarrassed enough to not try and seek help.

    This is also where people fall between stools, unless you go to your doctor you won't get help, but because you are dependant, you are too scared to seek help - what happens next is either as before or people actually continue on and die.

    Not that there is much the doctor will do, because it's like backache, eventually you will cure yourself by conveniently dying.


    Given that every society naturally becomes more degenerate as time passes, I can't see that giving people permission to abuse themselves is a good thing.
    They might see it as infringing on their right to do what they want, but equally society also has a right to expect them to finish school, get a job and do something useful after so much time and expense has been invested in rearing them.

    Just because crime has the advantage doesn't mean we should stop trying, that's like saying we should legalise rape because so many people get away with it, there is only one victim and it's hard to prove.


    We should look at society first and decide what we ultimately want that to look like, and frankly one that didn't have people getting addicted or sitting on a sofa all night in a stupor sounds like a good model to me. Therefore we should head in that direction.

    One day attitudes might change, people might decide that drugs and alcohol are socially redundant, in the same way that tobacco is no longer considered an essential accessory to a night out.

    I didn't see anyone on Star Trek binge drinking or hanging out of the airlock smoking a cigarette.

  5. #5

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    The terms of the debate needs to change.

    Whether a substance itself is addictive, or whether it is 'merely' the habit or the sensation is addictive.

    What the effects are of long term use and whether they primarily affect the user (such as smoking if passive smoking has been dealt with) or lead to wider behavioural changes (alcohol, cannabis etc.) that affects family/friends/society.

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    Good point


    Actually may I have some feedback ? Something cropped up in a linked debate on drug users.
    I suggested that excessive use was linked to self loathing, someone else said that it was a direct result of poverty and completely rejected my suggestion.
    Was I that far off beam ? They were pretty hostile about it.

  7. #7

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    It can be either or both. There are plenty of rich drug users. In some cases, very poor and very rich would share experience of boredom that might lead to excessive use e.g. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...s-clothes.html
    Last edited by Samantha78; 04 Dec 2014 at 11:31 PM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by horse View Post
    We should look at society first and decide what we ultimately want that to look like, and frankly one that didn't have people getting addicted or sitting on a sofa all night in a stupor sounds like a good model to me. Therefore we should head in that direction.
    And how do you propose we do that? A man with clipboard to every home to count the beers people drink?

    As long as there have been people, they've been finding ways to get high - be it alcohol, mushrooms or other drugs. And they will continue to do so. Some will get addicted to the substances, some will not. How about we accept that and not make yet another fruitless attempt at social engineering - it just won't work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPP View Post
    And how do you propose we do that? A man with clipboard to every home to count the beers people drink?

    As long as there have been people, they've been finding ways to get high - be it alcohol, mushrooms or other drugs. And they will continue to do so. Some will get addicted to the substances, some will not. How about we accept that and not make yet another fruitless attempt at social engineering - it just won't work.


    Social engineering was never really attempted, politics and religion have changed many societies over the centuries so it could work.
    Encourage the development of a society that has better things to do that to amuse itself in getting drunk or high, half the reason people do this is out of boredom or the inability to cope with life.

    What would you prefer your future to be, one where you had so much interesting stuff to work on that you never felt bored, or one where you lived for Friday and a chance to get drunk all weekend.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by horse View Post
    Social engineering was never really attempted, politics and religion have changed many societies over the centuries so it could work.
    Encourage the development of a society that has better things to do that to amuse itself in getting drunk or high, half the reason people do this is out of boredom or the inability to cope with life.

    What would you prefer your future to be, one where you had so much interesting stuff to work on that you never felt bored, or one where you lived for Friday and a chance to get drunk all weekend.
    Yes, in addition to a man with a clipboad to count the beers we drink, we need another man with a clipboard to tell us which interesting goverment-approved endeavours we should take.

    You're the kind of person to demand for stricter traffic laws after a big accident as well, aren't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPP View Post
    Yes, in addition to a man with a clipboad to count the beers we drink, we need another man with a clipboard to tell us which interesting goverment-approved endeavours we should take.
    This isn't likely to come from state government, but local organisations that can create a more cooperative lifestyle.

    Freedom to indulge in ever more pointless forms of stimulation is not a freedom at all, it's a social and moral dead end.
    We need to find something else to do, self medicating like this is isolating.

    Look at our society now, people would rather spend all weekend playing games rather than go out and meet people.

    We are a social animal - the first sign that we are no longer behaving normally in this manner should be recognised.
    Online cultures like forums distort these issues so we feel like we've been social, but really we haven't, it's still empty.

    You're the kind of person to demand for stricter traffic laws after a big accident as well, aren't you?
    Well no, I'm sharing the road with people who want to do different things, as long as I can drive a safe car then I'm happy. The reason people drive dangerously has less to do with our traffic laws and more to do with how frustrated they are with their life.
    People's behaviour changes completely when they have to share a road space, just as it changes when we anonymously congregate on the internet. YouTube comments are not normal interactions between people, tailgating is not normal behaviour.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by horse View Post
    Encourage the development of a society that has better things to do that to amuse itself in getting drunk or high, half the reason people do this is out of boredom or the inability to cope with life.
    Interestingly, one of my classmates in our first year wrote about how smoking is a coping mechanism. Not from life in general but the finer points; the loss of a loved one, the stress from work, the fear of something. The more I look around me, the more I see its not that far from the truth. Are you concerned that by legalising weed, we're opening up society to a whole new batch of 'coping mechanism drugs'? Should we sit idly by with the notion we can't do anything on this supposed 'war' on drugs just because it's going to make a couple hundred thousand people take up another addiction?



    15% of men and 13% of women are said to be in prison as a direct result of drug related crime. 84,305 people are currently in a UK prison, so for now we'll say there's an equal split of men and women as I'm not sure how many of the 84k are male or female. 14% equals 11,802 inmates. 1 inmate costs £36,808. Drug crime costs the UK £434,408,016 to hold 'drug addicts'. Not including costs to police forces or other organisations such as Frank, Samaritans, etc.

    An additional 6% are reported to exit prison with a drug addiction. 46% of adults (38,780) end up back behind bars within 12 months of being released. If you're serving less than 12 months, there's a 58% chance you'll end up back in prison. 19% of those prisoners who said they had ever used heroin reported having used heroin for the first time in a prison.

    Men who return to live with their partners are less likely to relapse to substance misuse and reoffend. Women prisoners are more likely to be in relationships with partners who use drugs, commit crime and trigger relapse and reoffending. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, there is now greater disproportionality in the number of black people in prisons in the UK than in the United States.

    Would someone like to tell me how, in light of these figures, the drug war is working? It's not a war on drugs, it's a war on race. No candidate for public office ever lost favourability by looking tough on crime. I didn't start this thread because I believe we should legalise drugs despite the direction my previous arguments were going in. I started because I believe we should prioritise prevention and help over criminalisation. We treat these people like criminals who are tried in a criminal court, yet to be tried in a criminal court you have to pose a threat to people around you. Tell me, what threat does a weed user post to people around them compared to someone carrying a knife in public or starting a fight? We throw them in prisons a few rungs below heroin addicts and rapists and give them the toughest kind of love - yet we're still gobsmacked when we see them return within 12 months of being released? Yes, being high and driving is dangerous and there are potential reasons to put some people in a criminal court. Regardless of how my argument is formed or changes with more research, rehab over prison.

    Quote Originally Posted by horse View Post
    Well no, I'm sharing the road with people who want to do different things, as long as I can drive a safe car then I'm happy. The reason people drive dangerously has less to do with our traffic laws and more to do with how frustrated they are with their life.
    People's behaviour changes completely when they have to share a road space, just as it changes when we anonymously congregate on the internet. YouTube comments are not normal interactions between people, tailgating is not normal behaviour.
    The reason I get frustrated behind the wheel usually has something to do with the 60yr old man hogging the middle lane, swerving in and out of it - all because he's on his phone. Instead of the police spotting it, they're putting 'junkies' behind bars. I'm pissed with this country and the dumb ass government that runs it.

    Youtube comments, Facebook comments, Travian Forum comments. Telegraphs' comments section. What's the difference?


    This isn't me being anti-horse btw :p I'm just giving Sam a break for a change
    Last edited by Hawkery; 10 Dec 2014 at 02:10 AM.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by horse View Post
    This isn't likely to come from state government, but local organisations that can create a more cooperative lifestyle.

    Freedom to indulge in ever more pointless forms of stimulation is not a freedom at all, it's a social and moral dead end.
    We need to find something else to do, self medicating like this is isolating.

    Look at our society now, people would rather spend all weekend playing games rather than go out and meet people.

    We are a social animal - the first sign that we are no longer behaving normally in this manner should be recognised.
    Online cultures like forums distort these issues so we feel like we've been social, but really we haven't, it's still empty.
    Yes, if only we could let a few Hyacinth Buckets loose on the neighbourhood, things would be so much better...

    Or perhaps we could live like the Amish? Or like in a Kibbutz? Or perhaps we could live like noble savages in harmony with nature and each other (and ignore the fact that the guy with the biggest stick got the best female to breed with and the warmest place near the fire)...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkery View Post
    15% of men and 13% of women are said to be in prison as a direct result of drug related crime. 84,305 people are currently in a UK prison, so for now we'll say there's an equal split of men and women as I'm not sure how many of the 84k are male or female. 14% equals 11,802 inmates. 1 inmate costs £36,808. Drug crime costs the UK £434,408,016 to hold 'drug addicts'. Not including costs to police forces or other organisations such as Frank, Samaritans, etc.
    I'm not too sure the drug related inmate numbers are correct. More likely it's the inmates imprisoned for drug trafficking/distribution, not for theft, robbery or homicide to get valuables to sell for money to buy drugs.

  14. #14

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    "15% of men and 13% of women are said to be in prison as a direct result of drug related crime. "

    why are you assuming they are merely addicts/users, rather than those dealing or producing or resorted to theft to fund an addiction?

  15. #15

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    Sooo... who wants a line?
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  16. #16

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    £435m well spent then, Sam?
    "Itís only when the tide goes out that you see who was swimming naked."

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  17. #17

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    Depends - go find the better stats :p

  18. #18

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    Insert from Google:

    "The Government's organised crime strategy sets out that drug trafficking to the UK costs an estimated £10.7 billion per year."
    http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.u...-threats/drugs
    "Itís only when the tide goes out that you see who was swimming naked."

    #MakeTravianGreatAgain #MTGA

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