Prohibition and Recreation Drugs - jrkarp
10-25-2005 01:40 PM
Prohibition and Recreation Drugs - jrkarp
I put this here because it was getting way off topic at the other board.
This disagrees with facts on the matter though. Most users of drugs with heavy phsycoligical effects decrease their use as they enter into their thirties. Some stick with it, most don't. If they are addicted they generally settle into a maintenance dose schedule.
Originally Posted by jrkarp
This is also incorrect. Not many users develop a tolerance to marijuana for one, which is one of the reasons quite a few doctors argue it is habit forming but not phsycially addictive. Most people level off with usage levels, and yes a few keep going for more and more. It's not the majority though. Most health problems can also be avoided in almost all cases. With specific regard to marijuana the active ingredients can be vaporized without combusting the substance, or eaten, which completely eliminates carcinogenic effects. As with steroids, risks exist but are overblown.
This addiction also causes long term use in increasing amounts, causing increasing health problems.
In general any large scale study that touches on rates of addiction, 1999 IOM had a comparrison section, shows that rates of addiction for most drugs actually aren't that high. I recall alcohol being basically as addictive as cocaine, however no one would argue the problems of alcohol would justify the known problems of prohibiting it. What's more some of the more heavily prosecuted drugs like marijuana have extremely low rates of addiction, lower than most legal over the counter drugs. The last study I read had marijuana around 8%, significantly below most levels of addiction for most legal drugs.
This is the result of prohibition, not drug use. The vast majority of users settle into a maintenance dose pattern, basically taking enough so they don't feel like crap but can also function without going through withdrawal. The founder of Johns Hopkins was an opium addict if I recall correctly.
Since junkies and cokeheads often end up unemployed (and cokeheads, when unemployed end up being crackheads, since crack is so much cheaper), the taxpayers foot the bill.
Before prohibition doctors, lawyers and all other professions had people who were fully functional, did their jobs, were productive members of society, and also addicted to opium or heroin. When the behavior is criminalized though, and addicts have to pay black market prices and associate with violent criminals to continue their addiction, that's when problems arise. Some people have problems and can't funtion and do drugs. However, they are not the majority. Nor does their behavior justify throwing all users in prison or even forcing them into rehab.
See above. This is the result of the black market, not the drug use. You can't logically blame the problems caused by prohibition, they did not exist to any great extent before prohibition, on the drugs.
Not to mention the fact that the addiction often drives other criminal behavior, such as robberies and muggings.
Those costs are largely caused by prohibition. There was no organizaed crime involvement in the manufacture and distribution of narcotics before prohibition. There were no gang drug wars before prohibition. There were few if any criminal addicts before prohibition because the price of the drugs was affordable for almost anyone, even a bum. Addicts did not have to associate with criminals to get their drugs.
Is prohibition very effective? No. But given the dangers of the hardcore rec drugs and their cost to society over the long run, legalizing them is not an option.
As for health care costs, you can blame the government for forcing you to foot the bill by making addiction treatment required coverage, when it's not technically an insurable risk, and forcing providers to offer it to all people whether the need it or not or want it or not. Further, they force you to pay for it in government provided health care too.
Were insurance companies allowed to discriminate and place people in their proper risk classes you would not have to pay for someone else's treatment, because companies would be free to not offer it or only offer it to those who request it, in which case the premium cost is paid by that group and not you or I.
Were the government to get out of the business of criminalizing lifestyle choices and legalize the drugs, most of the people you're paying to put through government sponsored rehab would be living relatively normal lives, as most did before prohibition.
Furthermore, prohibition has more practical problems. In any one group of users, even if the majority of users are a problem to society there is always a group that isn't. However if mere possession, use and sale are made illegal all people are swept up in the prohibition net. This means people are unjustly arrested, fined and imprisoned.
Prohibition spreads already thin law enforcement budgets even thinner, and the alure of assett forfeiture makes law enforcement efforts gravitate towards the crimes that have the biggest future payday for their individual departments. There's not much money in solving rapes, murders and robberies. There is however in busting drug rings. You get a misallocation of police resources because of inentives to solve some crimes before or instead of others.
Prohibition creates a black market and all the problems associated with it, like violent crime. Many, many people are addicted to over the counter a prescription medications, but the providers of those medications are not gunning each other down in the street as the providers of illegal drugs do.
Prohibition puts drugs outside the reach of quality control regulations, and gives users of tainted products no legal or civil recourse should they use an improperly manufactured product. If your aspirin is contaminated you can sue Bayer and possibly even level criminal charges if they are warranted. If your cocaine is contaminated, you're screwed and what's more, the dealer is most likely still out there selling tainted products. Even if the dealer gets nabbed, the manufacturer probably won't.
Prohibition and the drug war, as in other wars, sacrifices truth for propaganda. This means little correct and true information is available for most people, especially users. This leads to poor decision making, on the part of users and policy makers and the general public. It fosters hysteria where none is needed. It leads to an escalating war of propaganda, usually a moral equivilancy of drugs with pure evil, which leads to a no cost is too much attitude. Since eventually the prohibitionists are fighting evil itself, whether or not the drugs in question truly warrant such harsh restrictions and punishments is no longer a consideration. This is not surprising since sin taxes and prohibition stem basically from the evengelical desire to create a kingdom of heaven on Earth.
Prohibition does not address demand for drugs. Without addressing demand, supply will always flow, legally or illegally. This leads to the black market and all the problems listed above. No prohibition in the history of the modern world has ever been successful, ever. The fight against evil, the no cost too high attitude and the lack of correct information leads to an ever escalating war with ever escalating costs, where small battles are won but the war is forever being lost. A policy Vietnam basically. A perpetual war for perpetual sobriety that will never be won. But it will always be used to justify an ever inflating budget for prisons and law enforcement. It will be used to erode the rights of all citizens as law enforcement demands and gets more and more power over the population in general. And the problems it creates will be used for an escalation of the same policies. It's circular reasoning at its worst.
If someone does drugs and drives a car, it's the government's business. If they rob a home or business to support drugs, or more to the fact for any reason, it's the government's business. If an addict's behavior provably harms another human being it's the government's business. If an addict neglects their kids because of their addiction it's the government's business. If they do not however, if a user or an addict is peacefully making their way through society in every other way and simply occassionaly puffs a joint, snorts some coke, shoots some heroin, uses some steroids, it's not the government's business at all. Even if they mainline themselves into their own grave, it's not the government's business at all.
That's the legitimate definition of freedom, where your right to engage in any behavior you wish is only limited when it interfere's with another's equal rights. Aesthetic critiques of lifestyle choices and substance usage are not the makings of proper laws in a free society.
10-25-2005 05:44 PM
Amen CBD! Preach it brother. Very nicely written.
You're spot on as well. Prohibition solves nothing and as we can see, it's now creeping into our lives in other, more insidious ways. We watch as our herbs and supplements get banned for the sake of protecting sports and the children of terrible parents.
I have been made a felon to "protect" multi-millionaire atheletes and their respective franchises from various substances.
I have been labelled as one who supports terrorists because of a fondness for a plant.
I am made to hide and engage in deceit to protect myself from my own governent and I am tired of it. There's no reason for it to be this way. I am not a bad person. In all other ways I am a law abiding, tax paying, lover of freedom and democracy yet my government has waged a trillion dollar war against me. That makes me lose faith in this country and that's a shame.
For those of you who think they can denigrate a man based on what he choses to put into his own body I say shame on you.
10-25-2005 07:50 PM
Another thing to consider, and very relevant to steroids, is a corrolary of the propaganda war: politicized science. Because you're dealing with a moral crusade and not the search for truth science ends up being perverted.
For example the bulk of the science we have available says steroids do have risks. Incidents of life threatening risks are very low though. However, the only studies that get quoted and the only opinions that are expressed with any frequency are the ones that say they are life threatening, despite the fact that the conditions of those studies don't reflect real world usage patterns and this aren't representative of real world risks. Much in the same way a study of binge drinkers doesn't represent the real world risks of alcohol use.
A good example of this kind of politicization of science occurred with the 1999 IOM report on Marijuana's medical utility. The study is available online, anyone can look it up. The conclusion was basically that marijuana was moderately effective at increasing appetite and helping people with wasting diseases, so its active components should be studied and maybe it should be made available on an as needed basis for patients. After a few months of "How could you sent the wrong message to children" bull****, the authors of the study got up in front of a press conference and said that their study didn't really say what it said. Rather comical in a tragic and disgusting way.
Since so much science is government funded, people need to be very 'careful' with their conclusions. People who come to the conclusion that this or that illegal drug really isn't that bad probably won't be first in line for the next government grant. For example it wouldn't be any harder to fund a reasonably large scale study of life long steroid users than any similar study that's been done in the past. The users are out there, the study wouldn't be conclusive but it would show whether or not those particular users had a higher risk profile for all the problems people say are associated with steroid use, such as heart disease and liver cancer/disfunction than the general population. Those problems don't develop overnight, if steroids cause them the indicators should be there.
However, don't look for such a study any time soon, because if the conclusions aren't in line with the current moral crusade against steroids it will be ignored, considered a waste of money, and its authors will forever be labeled as prosteroid, or proevil which is basically the same thing in the common view. Whether or not it is a sound study will be irrelevant to basically everyone. The trust doesn't matter, just the crusade. And all of this really does stem from the Republican/evangelical push in the 19th century to set up a kingdom of God on Earth. The idea is that you can create a perfect world, perfect in their view, by outlawing everything they see as imperfect and then enforcing the laws. This ideology has since been exported to pretty much every group in the country so everyone wants to set up their own kingdom of perfection. Whether it's possible or not, whether the majority of people see it as desirable or not, are irrelevant.
All courtesy of your local prohibitionists.
10-25-2005 08:12 PM
I've heard this before. Never seen any evidence to back it up, ever. Whether it's legal or not has little to nothing to do with whether or not people use when they know what it is and does. There are other countries out there with more liberal policies towards drugs, and the only significant difference you can see is an increased rate of one time users, basically people who try it once and then don't use it again. Those countries do have other problems, but when you look at them you also have to consider that none of them have just legalized, they've also subsidized users to a great extent.
Originally Posted by The Experiment
The government has no right prohibitting these substances, nor does it have any right taking people's money and giving it to users to subsidize their habits, be it giving them money, welfare benefits because of their addiction, or giving them the drugs themselves.
It's not unknown because it was once legal and the 'problems' people had basically boiled down to they didn't like the users or their choice to use. A lot of it is rooted in racism. Marijuana was associated with Mexicans and the myth of the Mexixan borracho, a lazy layabout. Cocaine was associated with blacks, and all those crazy darkies were just snorting all that white powder and ****ing the living **** out of the white women, so that had to stop of course. Opium was associated with the Chinese with similar nonsensical accusations.
Its really unknown what would happen. A lot of pro-legalization proponents suggest rates would decrease but it could increase dramatically and become a serious problem. I don't think its a risk that the government and the people want to take.
All the rhetoric back then was moral in nature. These drugs and their users were labelled as immoral from the beginning. Alcohol and cigarettes, the two 'white' drugs, are of course still legal. Particularly informative is the way the medical claims have changed over time while the moral claims have remained the same. Marijuana is a case study in this phenomena.
First it was a weed that, if smoked, would turn men into raving lunatics and rapists, and women into whores; Reefer Madness. Once it became clear to most people that wasn't true marijuana was said to create an amotivational syndrome, and the commies were using it to pacify our troops. This was followed by various other claims like it made men grow tits, lowered your testosterone (a calim based on megadosed animal studies where the test range was lowered but very slightly), was a gateway drug, etc, etc.
Read any of Henry Anslinger's testimonies before congress and you'll see all this stuff. The reasons changed with the winds, with prohibitionists always grabbing at any and every reason, even if they were contradictory, to justify the moral crusade to wipe out undesirable substances and people. The arguments for keeping drugs like marijuana, cocaine and yes even heroin illegal are just as ill informed and off base as the arguments for keeing steroids illegal. No one deserves to be in prison for making a decision, even if it is a bad decision, so long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process.
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