The War on Drugs Means More Drugs

The War of Drugs

Here are some questions for you.

How come, despite the so-called War on Drugs, going back 70 years or more now, there are actually many, many more drugs on the street than there were then, and in much greater quantities?

How come, despite the War on Crime, there's more crime?

How come despite the War on Terror there’s more terror?

How come, despite the massive deployment of UN and NATO "Peace-Keeping Forces" throughout the World, with an increasingly sophisticated armoury of high-tech weaponry at their disposal, there's more war?

And how come, on a planet where 1% of the population owns 40% of the wealth, so many people are going hungry?

Do you think these things might be related somehow?

We all know - any one who has ever taken an illegal drug of whatever description knows - that most of what is told us about drugs is balderdash. We know that ecstasy doesn't kill. We know that cannabis is a mild relaxant with some pleasantly hallucinogenic side-effects. We know that speed is great if you want to talk bullshit and drink copious amounts of alcohol all night and that cocaine - in the right doses - is the perfect tool for turning you into a self-obsessed little arsehole. Otherwise, well who cares? We know all the pleasures and we know all the drawbacks too, and we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies. Even heroin that great scourge of civil society, the greatest single cause of crime in the world today (if you don't count corporate crimes against whole populations): even heroin is OK if its understood properly. It's the perfect pain-killer, and no one in his right mind would want to take it away from a person dying of cancer. And once someone is addicted, well they're addicted. So give them heroin. Make them check into a clinic on a daily basis to get the exact dose they need, have it administered there (so the addict doesn't go out and sell it) and - Bob's yer Uncle! - no more drug-related crime. The only reason addicts commit their crimes is to feed their habit. Anyone with half a brain can see this.

Diabetics need their daily injection too, and no one is proposing we take insulin away from Diabetics. Or Ventalin from asthma sufferers. Or pain-killers from people with back pain.

The only thing I have against heroin users is how unutterably selfish they are. Smokers roll a spliff then pass it on. Drinkers will buy a round for their mates, when they can afford it. Ecstasy users tend to take it together, for the mutual high they get off each other. Even cocaine users will put out a couple of lines for their friends. But heroin users always save it all for themselves. They're not interested in what's going on in your body, or in the world at large. They're only interested in themselves, in the effect on their own nervous system, and once they're there, in their nice little warm snuggle-down duvet of self-protected safety, they couldn't give a damn about anybody else. Too busy communing with their own private chemical heaven to be interested in other human beings.

But is that any reason for stopping them doing it? Car-drivers are just as bad. Should we ban cars because most car-drivers are selfish little oiks who couldn't give a damn about other car-users, let alone pedestrians?

And we all know that alcohol, our legal drug - which is great fun, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be without it myself - is as dangerous as all of the above, and that nicotine is even more so. And they sell nicotine to 16 year olds. And we know that there are many more problems associated with prescription drugs like Prozac and Valium, and that Paracetemol, which you can buy over the counter in any corner shop, kills about 600 people in Britain every year. For God's sake: even peanuts and bananas kill some people, and more people die every year from DIY accidents in their own home than from all the drug-related deaths put together. So what's going on?

Russian Oligarchs running our football teams
Russian Oligarchs running our football teams
Fidel Castro & Che Guevara, Havana 1959
Fidel Castro & Che Guevara, Havana 1959

The Russian Mafia

Before I attempt to answer that question, I'd like to ask you one more. How come, before the fall of the Soviet Union, we'd never heard of the Russian Mafia?

That's because it didn't exist.

So what changed?

In the Soviet years, there was no Mafia, and there was no capitalism either. Life might have been dreary and inefficient, and I have no argument with the idea that things had to change. But afterwards you've got a Fast Food Outlet in Red Square, billionaire Russian Oligarchs running our football teams, and a Russian Mafia rampaging about the rest of Europe like some god-awful plague. And you've got crime and prostitution and protection rackets and gang-warfare and gambling syndicates and drug smuggling and gun-running and contract killing and...

Do you think these things might be related too?

You only have to look at the history of Cuba to know that they are related. Prior to 1959 Cuba was virtually the 51st state of America. It was run as a protectorate by the corrupt and vicious Batista regime on behalf of the American Mafia. Guns, drugs, gambling, prostitution, the lot. Most of the land was owned by the American corporations. Then Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and their tiny guerrilla army (there were about 350 of them, facing an official Cuban army of 100,000 or more) marched into Havana. And despite the War on Crime and the War on Drugs it became more important that the corporate profits of the American land-owning class, and the corporate profits of the American drug-running class be protected, rather than that a few peasants in a tiny little Caribbean off-shore Island should see land reform, health provision, education and social justice. It's on record. The CIA hired the American Mafia to assassinate Castro.

They've tried invasions and assassinations and sanctions many times since. They're still trying it to this day. They've even tried exploding cigars! It's true!

And none of it has worked.

Which only goes to prove - what I think should be obvious to anyone by now - that the interests of corporate big business and the interests of corporate crime are exactly the same. The two are merely separate arms of the same corporate entity.

The Black & White Cafe: a drugs raid sparked off the notorious St. Paul's riots in 1980
The Black & White Cafe: a drugs raid sparked off the notorious St. Paul's riots in 1980

Mr. Big

I keep asking questions, don't I? That's because I think they need answering. Here's another one for you:

How come, in all these years of the War on Drugs not one Mr. Big has ever been caught? Oh yes, they get the odd lorry-driver crossing a border with a shipment he didn't even know he was carrying. And they get the local drug-dealer on your street, who's more often than not only selling drugs to feed his own habit. And they get a wide range of waifs and strays and traditional losers of every description. They get the odd mad git who goes bonkers on the mix of bad chemicals he gulps in order to forget the sheer, grinding emptiness of his life, and who then smashes up his flat and his girlfriend in some over-the-top binge one Friday night. And they get black people. They get a disproportionate number of black people, which makes you suspect that the only reason they keep some of these crimes on the statute books is for racist reasons. But they never get the guys who really make the profits, no. Somehow or another these people always seem to get away with it.

After the St. Paul's riots in Bristol in 1980 - which was sparked by a raid on the Black and White cafe, a well-known place for scoring ganja at the time - heroin suddenly started appearing on the streets of the district. There had never been heroin there before. Why was that? Was it because there was a sudden demand for this totally unrelated substance? Was it because black people have a pre-disposition to take drugs, no matter what they are? Or is it only because heroin is the perfect drug for population control?

Let's face it, it keeps people quiet, doesn't it? It keeps people in doors, while the rest of the population gets nervous as crime-rates begin to soar. It makes people passive. It makes them beg, steal, sell themselves and their own dignity for a brief dose of bliss. Who's going to worry about crime or injustice or corruption in high places, when you're too busy communing with the heaven in your own nervous system, or in trying to find the means to get back there once you're cast out into the wilderness again? Why worry about hunger, poverty, and warfare when you're so numb you can't even lift your own eyelids? Why wake up in a hovel when you can go back to sleep again and ignore it?

The perfect capitalist drug. It makes people satisfied with less than they deserve.

The War on Drugs means more drugs, because the War on Drugs means more profit.

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Comments 157 comments

fen lander profile image

fen lander 4 years ago from Whitstable

Apposite, C.J. Very telling..... and so true. I think sanity's breaking-out in the world, and the genie won't go back in the bottle now. They're going to have to legalise everything in the end, and that end ain't too far away, I believe.


DC Gallin 4 years ago

Chris this is another really passionate piece, wicked!!! Wish you'd write for the big papers!


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

You pose pressing questions, as always, though I feel you might be baiting the more rabid "debaters" for some more fun and games?

As for the big fish, I'd like to draw an analogy with the Southwark of Shakespearean (Shakespeare was a famous Dutch poet) times, when most of the brothels/drinking holes were owned by the Bishop of Winchester. The good old C-of-E leadership apparently made a tidy profit from all the sordid stuff that went on in the less respectable areas. This is hardly world-shattering news, it's been known for quite a while, but does, methinks, throw some light on the extent that dealership in sordidness rises above the stereotype villain we're fed in popular culture.

Probably less well-known your way, the Dutch had small military presence at the six Caribbean Islands that are still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in order to combat drugs trafficking, in particular of course, the stuff heading our way across the Atlantic, till it turned out that most of the stuff that was coming our way was actually transported by the military planes that supplied the units out there. Not a word of higher connections there, but it does make you wonder.


GNelson profile image

GNelson 4 years ago from Florida

When profit is the only goal, anything goes. We need responsible capitalism.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Fen. I wish sanity would break out soon.

Hello Denise, yes, I wish I could write for the big papers too. I do sometimes, but not about issues like this. They have their own "experts".

Hi Nils, what makes you think I'm baiting? Actually I don't think any of them will pay me a visit. As for your points about the history of sordidness: well it's true, the "establishment" has always played a part in its perpetuation.

GNelson: hmmmm, "responsible capitalism". It's been a long time since we saw any of that on our planet.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Voting up and sharing this brilliant as always hub!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Steve.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I'm in favor of legalizing all drugs, and let the chips fall where they may. The foolish will kill themselves or become addicted, as they choose.

The only restrictions I would impose is the understanding that providing to a minor means a long prison sentence, and that any adult who chooses to use known addictive and deadly drugs is on his own. The poor taxpayer will not be asked to fund treatment for addicts.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

So what would you do about the CIA's known participation in the drug's trade (at the taxpayers expense) as evidenced by Alfred McCoy's book (link above)?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

If they broke the law, prove it and punish those responsible.

Do you agree with me on legalizing all drugs to adult buyers?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

As it happens, yes I do agree. Where we might part company again, though, is that I also believe that we have a responsibility to each other as a society, so I would want to see proper education in place, proper licensing, as we do with alcohol and nicotine. I would tax the proceeds and use them to help pay towards a free health service, and I would help those who, for whatever reason, were damaged by their use of drugs. See, not every drug is the same, and not every person is the same, so what might be safe for one person, could be very damaging for another. I think you are a libertarian capitalist by persuasion - is that right? - whereas I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I would tax the proceeds and use them to help pay towards a free health service, and I would help those who, for whatever reason, were damaged by their use of drugs."

Then you are admitting that drugs are very dangerous, and the taxpayer would end up footing the bill for those who willingly used those drugs.

I say no. Legalize the drugs on the condition that if citizens have the right to put drugs in their own bodies, then they are also responsible for the result of their own free choices, not society.

The price of assuming authority over one's life as an adult is responsibility for one's own actions, as an adult.

I reject the notion that I am responsible for what some other adult did on his own authority and of his own free choice, or that anyone else is responsible for my own actions.

What you are proposing is that while I have no say over what my neighbor chooses to put in his body, you still want me to be responsible for the result.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

If you legalise drugs you legalise the dangers that drugs pose. And there are dangers, yes, just like there are dangers from driving or skiing or mountain climbing or trekking in the wilderness. I guess in your world, if someone gets lost in the wilderness we should just let them die and if someone has a car accident and loses their legs we should just let them crawl, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in, nor is it necessary or right. That absolute individualism that you want to promote is a form of mental illness, and is as dangerous and as destructive to the health of society as any drug. I say we are all responsible to each other, and it is only the insane people who own and control the economic system who think otherwise. I say again: not all drugs are the same, and not all people are the same, and what is pleasant and safe for one person is dangerous for another, but you can't ban everything for everyone on the basis that it might hurt the very few.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I guess in your world, if someone gets lost in the wilderness we should just let them die and if someone has a car accident and loses their legs we should just let them crawl, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in, nor is it necessary or right."

And there's the usual demonizing of those who do not agree with the leftist position.

As adults, we assume full authority over our lives, and we must also accept full responsibility for our acts. We all understand that.

What you are proposing is the personal authority to consume dangerous drugs without the accompanying personal responsibility for the results. That's an unworkable situation.

You are proposing that those who had no control over the foolish and dangerous act, must still accept responsibility for that act. That too is an unworkable situation.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

No I'm not demonising you or anyone else, I'm just pointing out the logical conclusions that your world view leads you to. As I keep saying, we not all the same. We're not even the same at different times in our lives. So the young tend to be more foolhardy, more spontaneous, more daring, more creative and, occasionally, more dangerous. They want to explore. Are we saying that if a young person gets lost in their explorations we're not going to try to help them find their way again? That's precisely why drugs should be made legal, so we can put limitations on their use, as we do with our legal drugs. For every ten people who drink responsibly and who don't get into trouble with it, there's one who will end up with a drink problem. So it is with all substances. There is an inherent danger and our first responsibility is to offer proper education about what those dangers are.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Another article I need to find time to digest. Thanks


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Let me know what you think once you digested Alex.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"No I'm not demonising you or anyone else..."

Sorry, but this is classic demonizing:

"I guess in your world, if someone gets lost in the wilderness we should just let them die and if someone has a car accident and loses their legs we should just let them crawl, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in, nor is it necessary or right."


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, additive drugs don't care who you are or what you're like. They treat all of us the same, and we all become addicted in short order, which is why they were considered extremely dangerous and made illegal.

Giving them to children is like handing them a loaded gun, and using them as adults is like playing Russian Roulette...sooner or later, you will become addicted.

Having said that, I still think that adults ought to be free to put whatever they want in their bodies, but only as long as they are also willing to accept full responsibility for the results.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Several of us have noted off-site that whenever political comments are deleted, it's almost always done by a defeated and angry liberal. I'll add your name to the list.

Have fun talking to yourself.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

When have I deleted you?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Thank you for putting them back up.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You're right, addictive drugs don't care who you are or what you are like, but they haven't actually made all of them illegal, the most addictive, and yet the most easily available, being nicotine. Other drugs, that are illegal, are not addictive, like ecstasy and LSD, but there are attendant dangers to these too. Heroin is monstrously addictive, but relatively safe as a drug. With a clean supply it's possible to live your whole life as a heroin addict and not suffer any major physical problems: unlike nicotine which kills you while it snares you. There a billions of people who are nicotine addicts having been lured into the drug at a young age by the drug pushers in the tobacco industry. You are the one who sounds angry and defeated here. And I'm not a liberal. I'm a communist.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I never took them down. I hadn't approved them yet. I've been watching a film. If your comments don't go up immediately it's because I'm on my way to bed now, living, as I do, on the other side of the Atlantic. I welcome your comments, as long as you remain polite and don't resort to personal insult.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

A few quick observations.

We provide medical care to car accident victims without deciding blame, so if we legalise drugs we should, to be consistent, do the same. in the UK we pay for medical insurance (NHI) and life insurance and no company has yet refused to pay out for a driver who died while speeding, as far as I know.

Alcohol is legal and legal and cultural safeguards have been evolved to protect the user and those they might harm. Like no sale to children, very harsh punishment for drunk driving and disapproval of public drunkenness. If the sort of drugs you talk about are legalised the same thing will happen.

And yes, no everyone reacts to drugs the same way. Some will take cannabis and get stoned instantly, some will feel no effect. In the Netherlands cannabis and various types of mushroom are freely available. I know one person took both and felt nothing and another took a very light dose of cannabis (less than one joint) and was off planet for hours.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I never took them down. I hadn't approved them yet."

Uh, huh. They posted immediately, and were visible immediately. If they needed to be approved first, they would have disappeared immediately. I know how it works.

I think I'll just take a hint and stop following you.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

WillStarr: I never took them down and that's the truth. I think if you write them up and then leave the site, you have to wait for approval. I'd be disappointed if you stopped following as I'm enjoying the debate. You never learn unless you listen to what other people are saying: that goes for me as well as you.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Alex: the whole drug legalisation debate can be a bit of a minefield. As I say, different drugs have different effects, and it would be a crazy society that allowed free access to heroin. You have to have different policies for each one. So heroin is definitely a medical issue. An addict is an addict and needs medical care. WillStarr's argument, above, that if someone gets addicted they should be left to fend for themselves is crazy because what you do then is unleash the results of that addiction on the rest of us in the form of crime.

You're right about the Netherlands, and what they've found there is that the usual association between the soft drugs and the hard drugs has disappeared because they are no longer available from the same source. Soft drugs are legal, hard drugs are illegal, and the average age of heroin addicts is going up as younger people are not so tempted by it. In the UK and the USA the average age of heroin addicts is going down.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Off to bed now, so if your comments disappear, it's only till I approve them in the morning.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

Hi CJ--totally agree that the war on drugs means more corporate profits and the line between illegal and legal drugs has now totally blurred what with Dr.s and pharmaceutical companies becoming the equivalent of drug pushers. Big pharma is making big money off prescription drugs and at least here in the USA, these are being abused by the younger generation on an unprecidented level-- drugs are advertised on TV fercrissakes-- it's nuts-- just goes to show war is hell and a war on drugs is a stupid sham.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hello Robie, thanks for your comment. Yes it's crazy isn't it? Bif Pharma is making big profits, meanwhile, here is one telling point: it's known that cannabis can be very useful for the relief of symptoms for people with MS amongst other diseases. Cannabis is free but illegal. Big Pharma can make no money from it. All you have to do is plant a seed. Meanwhile there are all these patented cures coming out, which are processed derivatives of cannabis, and these are becoming available via Big Pharma. In other words, you can have your cure, just as long as we can make a profit from it, otherwise it's illegal.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Great hub. The city of Vancouver has been looking at alternatives for dealing with heroin addicts, other than arrest and prison that is, such as safe injection sites and prescriptions for addicts. Why? Cause clearly what is happening now isn't working, so more of the same won't help. What has become even more problematic is the abuse of legal narcotics such as oxy-contin. Seeing a lot of that here in Florida.

But with this being a red state, so much as lighting up a spliff will get you a prison sentence (with prisons in the process of being privatized) and you will be considered no different than the crack-head or heron user.

Great writing. Lynda

I love those who insist the real problem with drugs is the illegal criminal empires behind them.... Well, the minute something in popular demand is made illegal, you have criminals. Didn't we learn anything from Prohibition?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I love those who insist the real problem with drugs is the illegal criminal empires behind them.... Well, the minute something in popular demand is made illegal, you have criminals. Didn't we learn anything from Prohibition?"

Exactly, and in fact, Prohibition is the reason drugs are illegal in the US yet today.

I say legalize them all, because a free people ought to be able to use whatever they please, including something deadly, if that's what they want.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Personally I would take a more nuanced approach. You are absolutely right about the relationship between prohibition and the current status of certain illegal drugs, but there has to be a separation of access. That's the point about the Dutch experiment. By decriminalising cannabis use the link between cannabis and heroin has been broken and the average age of heroin addicts is rising as the the old addicts get older. But there are specific problems associated with heroin. Heroin addicts are anti-social in the extreme, and there is a social cost for the rest of us in the form of crime. You don't want it available on the open market. At the same time you need to deal with the addicts you have, which means treating it as a medical problem, that is, you make it available through your doctor. This is known as "the British method" and it was successful in the UK before the 1970s, and in Switzerland now. Since the criminalisation of heroin, the heroin problem in the UK has gone through the roof.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I see. You want freedom, but only if you control it according to your judgement.

BTW, heroin addicts turn to crime because heroin is illegal and therefore costly. If it was legal, it would be cheap.

Labeling it a medical problem as an excuse to spend pubic money on rehabilitation, is just that...an excuse. Letting potential users know that they will be on their own is effective and appropriate.

When such drugs were once legal in the US, users were considered low-life, and not glamorized at all. There weren't many addicts.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

There's no such thing as freedom without limits. We limit our freedoms in order to live in society. So we have speed limits and age limits and all sorts of limits. It wouldn't be up to me to judge, but up to society. We would need a debate and we would need to consult with people who were experts in their field. Heroin addiction is widely understood to be a medical problem, though you are right that if it was cheap and freely available there wouldn't be any need to commit crimes. And I'm not talking about rehabilitation either. Most heroin addicts don't need rehabilitating, they just need heroin.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"There's no such thing as freedom without limits."

That was not what I said. I said you want to "control" freedom. A controlled freedom is an oxymoron.

If heroin is available, but only through controllers, then it is not a freedom at all.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I think you're playing with words a bit there. I wasn't sure what an oxymoron was, so I looked it up. My dictionary says it is a figure of speech in which contradictory or paradoxical elements are brought together. I like paradox' so I'm happy with oxymorons. "Control" or "limit", it means the same: there's no such thing as total or absolute freedom. We have to define - ie limit - our freedoms. Heroin is a dangerous drug - though most of the dangers, it is true, arise from its illegality - and I would be wary of allowing open access to such a substance. Earlier on you spoke of controlling access to minors by punitive laws: so you accept a degree of control. But where do you draw the line on this? Some people mature earlier, and what if a minor is given heroin and becomes an addict? Wouldn't we have a responsibility to look after that person?

See, I'm asking questions here. I don't think I have all the answers.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

First you said:

"Heroin is monstrously addictive, but relatively safe as a drug."

But now you say:

"Heroin is a dangerous drug - though most of the dangers, it is true, arise from its illegality - and I would be wary of allowing open access to such a substance."

...

"Earlier on you spoke of controlling access to minors by punitive laws: so you accept a degree of control."

So now you equate minors with adults? A minor by definition is someone who has not yet reached the age of majority, hence "minor'.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Most of the dangers of heroin are due to its illegality. It is indeed monstrously addictive - less addictive than nicotine - but for all that it does the body relatively little harm, as long as the doses are right. A heroin addict, given a clean supply of the right concentration, can live their whole lives and not come to any harm: unlike a nicotine addict who is damaged by their drug.

On the minor's issue, I think I was clear: I'm merely pointing out that you accept a limitation on freedom in that you wouldn't allow a minor to take it, and I absolutely agree with you. But the age of majority is not as clearly defined as you make out. Not sure what the laws are in the States, but here there are different ages depending on what is being limited. So a minor can buy cigarettes at the age of 16, but isn't allowed alcohol till they are 18, can drive at 17, but isn't allowed to vote till they are 18.

I'm certainly not equating minors with adults, just giving you an example of one area where - by common consent - we put limits on freedom.

Other examples would be: the speed limit, the age of consent, and a large percentage of our laws, which are designed to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and harm. I would say that limiting access to heroin comes firmly into that category.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

BTW I've had personal experience of the damage that heroin can do, as I had a friend who became a heroin addict and watched their decline. You can read about that here: http://hubpages.com/health/Dancing-With-The-Demons...


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I agree with everything you've said, CJStone - I'm very proud to have found such brilliance on Hubpages.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Wesman. You've made my day. I'll savour that comment.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Most of the dangers of heroin are due to its illegality."

You are all over the map on this. It's currently supposed to be a controlled substance, but it kills people anyway, which means it cannot be controlled. Claiming it would be safer if YOU controlled it is laughable, because there's no control over an addict.

Here in the states, we 'control' heroin addiction via methadone, and the result is thousands of methadone overdose deaths!:

http://alcoholism.about.com/b/2009/04/22/methadone...

'Addiction control' is another oxymoron. If it could be controlled, there would be no addictions.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

The vast majority of deaths on heroin are due to overdose. That's how my friend died. Did you read the story? The problem is that with street heroin you don't know how heavily it is cut. Also people die because of sharing needles, unhygienic practices, etc. That's one of the reasons it is normally considered a medical problem, and why I would want to put it in the hands of doctors. "The British method" as it is known. You are right about methadone, though, it's far more addictive than heroin, and the withdrawals are much worse, making it much more difficult to get off.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Just read the piece about methadone. How disgusting, using it as a pain killer. I wonder what the reasoning for that is? Here in the UK you will get morphine to manage chronic pain, and you would get diamorphine - heroin - for terminal pain, but they would never give you methadone. I wonder if it's because there are large profits to be made?

Not sure "addiction control" is such a contradiction. Most people are addicts in some form or another, whether it is alcohol or nicotine, or food or TV or thrills or money or sex. I think the Wall Street bankers have a dangerous addiction to wealth which they need to be weaned off of.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Sorry, but there is no 'safe' heroin. There may be safe addicts who are willing to control their dosages, but most addicts will OD sooner or later. But in a free world, that's their choice, not mine or yours or some nanny government's.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I've been watching for a long time - I've never seen Will Starr make a coherent statement concerning anything - but then again he's lost in right wing media propaganda.

I've personally done every drug that anyone can name - and I know exactly why I got into such behavior - and it's because those drugs were illegal.

First I smoked marijuana - and realized what a crock of bull my government had sold to me my entire life.

So THEN - I tried the harder drugs - and boy did I ever learn what a scam the illegality of marijuana was!

Gateway drug? Only because when one uses it - they discover the lies - and then they are certain to try things that could, in fact, be deadly to them.

Mass media and corporate lies - all designed to lure persons into the Prison Industrial Complex!

Crack cocaine and heroin should be legalized precisely because they are so dangerous - the only thing that makes those drugs desirable is the lure of their illegality.

It's an old sales trick: "You want it? Well, you can NOT have it"

NOW I GOTTA HAVE IT!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I've never seen Will Starr make a coherent statement concerning anything..."

But how would you know? :

"I've personally done every drug that anyone can name..."


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK Will Starr, now I know you have no idea what you are talking about. It's not true that "sooner or later" most addicts will OD. They OD because they don't know the strength of what they are taking. If they know the dose, they don't OD. So they only OD because it's not regulated. If it was regulated they wouldn't OD. And that's just a fact.

I agree Wesman. The argument that cannabis is a gateway drug is based on the fact that most heroin users have previously used cannabis. But they've also previously used tea, milk and daytime TV. The point is, with them both being illegal, you tend to get them from the same source. I know some heroin dealers sell cannabis as a way of funding their habit. And I've seen this: some youngster come round to score their little bit of hash, and the dealer is taking something much stronger. So the youngster says, "what's that you are taking?" and the dealer says, "you don't want to know." So then they do, of course. It's the lure of the forbidden.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK Will, no insults. I've also done every drug you can name, and remain perfectly coherent. I'm off to bed now, and your comments won't appear until I've approved of them, so you can take your squabbles somewhere else.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I've also done every drug you can name, and remain perfectly coherent."

No comment.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Will Starr is so funny!

He thinks I didn't see that one coming - but then again he always thinks he's so clever. I thought I was the most brilliant person in the world until I opened my mind up a bit. I wish everyone were not so ill inclined to only look for things that validate their native thoughts.


Hxprof 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Interesting piece. I don't often opine on this issue but I'll do so now.

I WOULD be in favor of legalizing all drugs only as long as we restricted when/where someone could be under the influence of a drug. Alchohol, hard drugs, soft drugs, drugs that are currently prescribed: The users would be responsible for any and all reprecussions of their usage. Some drugs being taken for medical purposes would be treated accordingly, as long as the person taking the drug is using the drug according to the instructions.

The primary restrictions I would insist upon are these:

1) Must be 18 for unrestricted access to all drugs. 2) If under the influence of a drug (except for medical purposes) you must be on private property where you are invited-so do what you want at home, a drug 'bar' or another person's home, but the owner must want you there. 3)Must not be under the influence of a drug in the presence of a minor. 4) Must not be on public property or driving a vehicle while under the influence of a drug.

Allow users to have all the fun they want-just ensure the penalties are SEVERE when the user is in a position to endanger others who want no part of the silliness.


teriyaki profile image

teriyaki 4 years ago from Croatia

Very insightful and true. Thumbs up!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hxprof, you make some interesting points. What you are actually suggesting is that the illegal drugs should be treated in exactly the same way as alcohol, nicotine or any of the other legal drugs: that is we allow their use, but under certain restrictions. The restrictions are determined by society as a whole. This is the only way that a civilisation can work. Thanks for commenting.

Thanks teriyaki. I'm glad this hub is making an impact.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"The users would be responsible for any and all reprecussions of their usage."

Exactly. They cannot become another burden on taxpayers.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Will if you aren't able to see how legalized usage would produce taxes that would, in fact, be so abundant that tax payers would be very glad to spend towards treatment and or education programs - as it's all less expensive than the Moronic prohibition - then you have contradicted, basically, everything you've ever said so far as tax payers and responsibilities are concerned.

It's retarded that you seem to support paying taxes for prohibition - but you and your ilk are so hate filled that you wouldn't want to pay taxes for someone's treatment - or education.

Let me give you a hint about "education" - it's not what we've got here in American now - we've got "indoctrination."


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

So you support yet another burden on taxpayers?

And you call ME retarded?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You tax the drugs themselves, so the tax is on the drug user not on the taxpayer. Simple.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

And government will spend it on something else, as they always do. The taxpayer will then end up paying for rehab through increased taxation.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Will we're talking hypotheticals here since, as we both know, no government is going to legalise drugs. As I point out in the article - I presume you've read it - there is a close correlation between what your government wants, and what the crime syndicates want. Alfred McCoy shows on-going and continual CIA involvement with the drugs trade. So what we're talking about here is an ideal of the way things COULD be or SHOULD be, not what they are. Therefore we can imagine a scenario in which drugs are legalised and ALL the revenue from taxation goes towards education and health care for people who come off the worse because of it. And I suspect you will find that the revenue is so great that it will pay for your health care for other things too You could have free health care as we have in the United Kingdom. Anyway, in this case the drug user WILL BE the taxpayer. You can't separate the two.

Why do I get the feeling you're nit-picking here? You've shown several times in this debate that actually you don't know anything about the subject, and you quite regularly resort to personal insult rather than considered debate. Is it because you are beginning to suspect that you might actually be WRONG for once?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

BTW, have you ever wondered how every other country in the world except the United States gets free health care? You know how we do it? By taxation.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"As I point out in the article - I presume you've read it - there is a close correlation between what your government wants, and what the crime syndicates want."

And I don't argue with that. Legalizing drugs would cut crime in half.

"BTW, have you ever wondered how every other country in the world except the United States gets free health care? You know how we do it? By taxation."

Then it is not free, is it?


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Will - prohibition is much more expensive than education and rehab.

It should be plain to you that taxation and legalization would create a huge amount of revenue.

Every bit of research ever done proves this - you should look that up on your own.

So let me ask you, where does your responsibility to your fellow man end? Would you rather your fellow Americans suffer, or would you rather them be free to decide things for themselves, and lead healthy lives?

I know it's pointless to ask you such a question - as you just dismiss anything outside your already decided view as something from some "liberal site" or "liberal thinker" or whatever other moniker you choose to use to discredit anything that you don't agree with.

You're the one paying more for prohibition - I'd think you'd be the one who would rather keep more of your tax dollars - but maybe you just like paying more in taxes to fight the "war on drugs?"


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yours is the most expensive health service in the world, bar none. You pay for it by the ill-health and alienation of your population, by crime and despair, and corruption and in a thousand other ways. It is controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry, unlike every other health service, which is controlled by a publicly owned national insurance.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Anyway, it's drugs we're talking about. Typical diversionary tactics there. Now let's get back to the idea of taxing drugs to pay for education and health care for users.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Will - prohibition is much more expensive than education and rehab."

A false choice. Legalizing drugs does not mean we must then choose another burden. Alcoholics Anonymous is the most successful of all rehabilitation centers and doesn't cost the taxpayers a nickle.

We cannot treat or help addicts. They must make that decision for themselves and then seek the help they need. They will never do that as long as we enable their addiction.

I happen to know something about this.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK I believe that you do know something about this, and you might be right about addicts needing to seek help themselves. That doesn't mean that we can't treat people in pain, however, and it doesn't answer the question about education. People need education BEFORE they start taking drugs, and the education needs to be genuine and science based, not propaganda as it is now.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"People need education BEFORE they start taking drugs, and the education needs to be genuine and science based, not propaganda as it is now."

Perhaps for people living near the South Pole or under a rock, but the rest of us know damn well what drugs will do to us.

Legalize drugs, bury the dead, point the rest to a twelve step program, and do not enable anyone in any way. There's your education.

And it didn't cost a penny.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

And there you go Will. Pure propaganda. I give you credit for understanding something, and then next thing you know you show your ignorance again.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Making drugs illegal enables addiction. That is the point of this hub - prohibition equals more drugs.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've notice that all disagreement with you is ignorance or propaganda to your mind, so I'm not surprised that you don't see the truth in what I said.

Drugs are already killing, and legalizing drugs won't stop that. People will still OD, even with correct dosages. They do that now with methadone, and prescription drugs, even when they know the danger.

Your claim that they will respect the dosage is pure speculation, and provably false.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Well prove it then!

What happened when alcohol was illegal? Did alcohol become unavailable? Or did people buy wood alcohol laced drink that was unsafe, and then go blind?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Making drugs illegal enables addiction. That is the point of this hub - prohibition equals more drugs."

You are preaching to the choir. I agree...the forbidden fruit.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Now can I have your sources please?

You are compounding several different issues and a variety of drugs. As I said a long, long time ago, not all drugs are the same, and not all people are the same, and you cannot extrapolate from one drug to the next. Some drugs will cause overdoses. Some drugs will not. Some drugs are violently addictive. Some are not. Some drugs do great harm to the user, some much less so. The historic record of the British method, where heroin users are given heroin in the correct dosage by their doctor, is that no users die of an overdose and most users live long and fruitful lives.

When I talk of education it is precisely the kind of misinformed rant that you specialise in that I would want to avoid. You cannot tell a marijuana user that their drug will kill them because it will not. If you say something that is not true, then they will disbelieve everything you say about drugs.

Large scale marijuana use, however, can cause a form of psychosis in vulnerable boys and it is worth informing them of that, and perhaps passing a law prohibiting its use to people under a certain age. Likewise excessive ecstasy use can lead to depression. That's why people need education. Or would you be happy to have a bunch of depressives and psychotics running round plaguing your town, and wouldn't that cost more of your precious tax-dollars mopping up that kind of mess?

I'm sorry, but they wouldn't die, you wouldn't be burying them, you'd just be dealing with the long-term consequences of a severe lack of education.

I'm off to bed now so if your comment doesn't appear till morning you know why that is.

But you should pay attention to this: I am a lot more open minded than you give me credit for and have had a lot more direct experience of all of these drugs. I know what I'm talking about.


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 4 years ago

I know this may seem as a simple answer - just legalize drugs and tax it - don't ask - don't tell - get the CIA out of the drug business.

Common sense tells you that the 'black market' would disappear once legal markets are available.

And you might as well add prostitution to the list - legalize it, require a health certificate and tax it.

q

BTW, Will, you can always see your own comments immediately, but no one else can until comment is approved


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

quester, yes you are right. It's so obvious we all wonder why our governments can't see it. But perhaps it is, as i suggest in the article, because there is too much profit to be made. Drugs don't kill you. But money will.


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 4 years ago

I do believe that you are 'dead on' with your

'Drugs don't kill you. But money will.'

But don't you think that money is a type of drug for some - more, more, more or is that just greed?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I do indeed think it is a type of drug. Look at those poor addicts up on Wall Street, with their anti-social behaviour, their compulsive lying and psychopathic habits. Money junkies the lot of them. Unfortunately, unlike the junkie on the street who only brings the neighbourhood down, these kleptocratic junkies are bringing down the whole world.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

'Drugs don't kill you...'

What an absurd statement. Drug usage, legal and otherwise. kills thousands of Americans every year, and would continue to do so if legalized.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Aren't you getting bored with this Will? You're like a child stamping his feet demanding attention. I'm sorry that you aren't capable of recognising a rhetorical flourish when you see one. Other people are more subtle than you. Now, why don't you try to answer the specific comments directed at you, about education and the difference between different drugs.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Aren't you getting bored with this Will? You're like a child stamping his feet demanding attention. I'm sorry that you aren't capable of recognising a rhetorical flourish when you see one."

Leftist rule #1 :

When they speak the obvious truth, go for the personal attack


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I just wish you would answer my questions instead of diverting all the time. Answer the questions or stop bothering me. Or is that your trick? You become so tiresomely repetitive that the other person just gives up, and then you can say you've won?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Since no one is making the argument that all drugs and all people are the same, it's a straw man.

Your claim that legalizing and controlling drugs will prevent deaths is absurd, because users are already 'out-of-control', by definition. Amy Winehouse is an excellent example of that.

I know that my refusal to agree with you is frustrating, but that's the natural result, when you are so wrong.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK, let's try and go back to the beginning shall we? As I've said over and over again till my brain is starting to hurt, different drugs have their different effects. Some drugs, if dealt with wrongly, will kill you. That includes alcohol and nicotine and paracetamol and driving too fast along the motorway. Some drugs do not kill you. There has not been a single recorded death due to marijuana use in its entire 2,000 year recorded history. But the greatest cause of death by drugs is not the drugs themselves, it is ignorance. It is in not understanding the drug you are using. And I cited one drug - heroin - which, despite being a fearsomely addictive substance, can actually be controlled if the right methods are used. Have you checked out "The British Method" yet? Currently it is being used as a treatment in Switzerland with measurable success. So, no, drugs don't kill you. Ignorance and scaremongering and irresponsibility will kill you. Drugs are an unfortunate side-effect of a social system in decline, as much the symptom as the cause.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning. You make my point for me. The French, who are great drinkers, and who often drink first thing in the morning, do not have the same levels of alcohol related deaths as we do in the UK, precisely because they drink with more panache, in a more controlled and conscious way. The French, in other words, are educated about alcohol and its uses and abuses, much more so than Amy Winehouse ever was.

And what annoys me isn't your refusal to agree with me, it's your refusal to actually answer any of my points.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning."

Exactly. It was a legal substance, yet it killed her just as surely as if it had been illegal. That was my point.

Unless you can prove that alcohol education makes the French less prone to alcohol poisoning, it's merely anecdotal.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You only have to look at the figures for alcohol related deaths in the two countries to find that out. It is well understood here.

Anyway I get the feeling this exchange has very little to do with wanting to understand the drug problem or its effects and much more to do with you scoring imaginary points over me. Why are you so fixated? Haven't you got anything better to do?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Educated" France had the highest rate of alcoholism in the world, and their rate of liver cirrhosis is twice that of the UK.

So much for that theory.

http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/factsheets/harm_uk...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I didn't say alcohol was good for you. I was talking about death from alcohol poisoning ie overdosing on alcohol. And I've looked at your link, and agree it's not so clear cut. Binge drinking is heavier in the UK, but death rates from alcohol related diseases are higher in France. But what we have here is an example of a legal drug, socially accepted, and controlled, as opposed to an illegal drug. You'd have to make a comparison with death rates from alcohol poisoning between France and the United States during the prohibition years to see what the differences are and whether there would be an increase in drug related deaths after the end of prohibition.

Now lets go back. The reason this part of the exchange started was that I said that money raised from taxing drugs could be used for education in drug use. And you said (airily dismissing such a "lefty" notion):

"Perhaps for people living near the South Pole or under a rock, but the rest of us know damn well what drugs will do to us.

"Legalize drugs, bury the dead, point the rest to a twelve step program, and do not enable anyone in any way. There's your education."

That's what I object to in your analysis, that over simplification of what is actually a far more complex picture.

If that's your education, you will almost certainly be encouraging drug use as people will see through that lie straight away. You won't be burying the dead in greater numbers than you are now. The opposite in fact. Many people who currently die from overdoses because they don't know the strength of what they are taking won't die.

People who take marijuana and and LSD and ecstasy and the other psychedelics won't die.

As for Amy Winehouse: alcohol didn't kill her. Amy Winehouse killed herself. If you want to kill yourself there are a thousand ways to do it. Drugs and alcohol are only one way. People might want to ask why a talented and successful young woman would want to blot out her life in that way? But then, that's maybe the start of a whole new set of questions....


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This was the statement I addressed:

"The French, who are great drinkers, and who often drink first thing in the morning, do not have the same levels of alcohol related deaths as we do in the UK, precisely because they drink with more panache, in a more controlled and conscious way."

Apparently not!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I meant death from overdose, which is what we were talking about, and I've agreed with you that it is more complicated than I was making out.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Ok let's review this debate shall we. We both agree dugs should be legal. The difference is in what we would do after. I say tax the drugs, ie the drug user, and use the revenue for drug education and rehabilitation, and you say "Legalize drugs, bury the dead, point the rest to a twelve step program, and do not enable anyone in any way."

We got into talking about Amy Winehouse because we were talking about people OD-ing and whether legalisation would make any difference to that. I'm agreeing with you: it wouldn't have made any difference in her case, but it could well have made a difference in the case of my friend who OD'd because he didn't know the strength of what he was taking. I also think drug maintenance programs in the case of heroin addiction have proved their worth, and that might well have saved my friend's life.

France is relevant here because what you have there is a nation which is fairly comfortable about its drug use, and which has basic social services needed to deal with the resulting problems. The French tax themselves and have a good health service. They might be drinking themselves into an early grave but they are not OD-ing. So maybe they are a model of how we should deal with all drugs after legalisation.

After that, well I'm not really sure what the point of this debate is. Most of the time I get the feeling it's just an exercise in "bash a lefty" for you. It's not that you have any particular views on this issue: it's just point scoring in your right vs left imaginary universe.

Correct me if I'm wrong.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

My point is the uncontrollability of drug use, whether it’s illegal or legal. It’s futile.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

My point is that you can control drug use MORE if it is legal. So, for instance, one of the things we agree on is that drugs shouldn't be given to minors. Society picks the cut-off age for that, and we apply legislative constraints both to minors and to those who might supply them with drugs, just as we do with alcohol and tobacco now. However, the minute you make the drug illegal you - by definition - remove the legislative constraints. You are no longer controlling the drug. That applies across the board. It would be interesting to see the figures for deaths by alcohol poisoning during and after the prohibition period wouldn't it? That would give you some indication of whether control by society makes any difference or not. I suspect it does.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

Controlling the drug works in the Netherlands. We have an aging and decreasing population of addicts to Class A hard drugs, and a reasonable amount of control as to the number of coffee shops and smart shops in a town as well as their location. Customers need a pass, to restrict underage access. And sure, youngsters get hold of blow, they do all over the world, but it's not made easy for them, unfortunately it's far easier for them to get their hands on alcohol. However, they're well informed about Class A drugs, and statistics about the numbers of addicts show that young people stay away from them, they consider heroin and crack addicts to be pathetic losers. This is not to say they're clean, Ecstacy continues to be used (though far less harmful to body, soul and society than heroin) and the GHB party drug is a problem, as it is elsewhere. Legalization doesn't offer full control, it would be silly to claim that, but it sure as heck helps to make sure kids are well educated about drugs, and that means well informed programs, not just scare stories, and that means government interference because somebody has to pay for the education, or channel tax money in proper directions, like these programs. The money saved in the long run, and much more importantly the young lives saved in the long run make that a very worthwhile investment.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"However, the minute you make the drug illegal you - by definition - remove the legislative constraints."

So by applying the ultimate control - complete illegality - you lose all control? You do realize what a contradiction in terms that is?

An addiction, by definition, is out of control, and government regulation will mean nothing to an addict. People will still OD, despite any attempt to prevent it.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Of course I realise it's a contradiction. I've already told you I love paradox', so oxymorons hold no fear for me. I'm bi-focal. I have two sides to my brain and can use them both at the same time. I can live with contradictions. Why, can't you?

OK, put it another way, by making something illegal you simply hand it over to the gangsters and the criminals, you lose regulatory control, and you allow those without conscience to run your drug trade for you, thus putting young people's lives at risk.

Read Nil's comment above. He's Dutch, and the Dutch model has proved its worth.

Not all drug taking involves addiction either. Not every drinker is an Amy Winehouse. People will still OD, but the aim of regulation would be to minimise that, through proper education, through telling the truth, and not foisting lies upon people.

And to go back to an earlier point: drugs don't kill people. People kill themselves by misusing or misunderstanding drugs. People will still OD, but you can minimise that by regulatory control, so that, for instance, you know in advance to quality and the strength of the drug you are taking.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"And to go back to an earlier point: drugs don't kill people. People kill themselves by misusing or misunderstanding drugs"

I don't dispute that, but I doubt that you would apply that same logic to guns.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Tell you what Will: you write a hub about guns and I'll see what sense I can make of it.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

BTW, this is now my second most commented upon hub, with 103 comments: eight more comments and it will be equal first. Nine more and it will be number one.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

Well there's an easy challenge requiring but a little effort.

Question for you: is it normal to spend almost as much time negotiating with magazine editors as you spend actually writing?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Nils, yes unfortunately. Who are you negotiating with?


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

Ah,some club mags, they're easy, but don't pay a penny. I just send stuff, they publish it. I'm fortunate in that their readership wants more stuff on traditional archery (in Dutch), and I am the most prominent writer in the Netherlands covering that (ahum, meaning I'm the only one, but it sounded good saying that).

Then there's history magazines, they pay, but there's lots of mailing to an fro, and captions to provide, and copyright on pictorial materials to suss out, and proofs to read.

What I find difficult, is that I prefer to be autistic, work on one thing till its done. But November sees the first paid publication, and so in my mind the first real publication, and that's been running for six months or so. So there's usually eight or nine things going on at once, and you were absolutely right about the HubPages in that article you wrote about this place, it's tempting to focus on stuff I write for here, because there's practically no rules to follow, and I can get the whole shebang up and running in no time.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes, you don't want to let hubpages distract you Nils. It's really just facebook but with a longer status update. How long has the negotiations with the history mag been going on for, and when do we see the result? The worst case scenario is spending several months in nitpicking negotiations, and then they still don't publish, and you don't get paid either. But it's a brilliant feeling when you hold your first piece of published writing in your hands and know that you created it. It's worth all the sweat and pain.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

The magazine should be published halfway through November. I'm definitely in, in fact, they liked it enough to commission an artist to do a drawing and two more stories from me. So now it's just nervous anticipation.


Sanxuary 4 years ago

Where ever there is money to be made there will be corruption and crime. The drug war has always been phony and creates a world of under ground money to finance every crime in the World. It creates a prison industry and a need for public tax dollars that vanish into a endless hole of fraud, waste and abuse. The reason for not legalizing it is a game of free money to finance everything that is off the books and the evidence is overwhelming that this is happening. From Iran Contra to Panama to Watts. The reason to not legalize it is to insure profits continue to happen in the dark and off the books.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I agree with every word Sanxuary.


malfunkshun 4 years ago

I'm new here.. and have walked right into this awesome show! Good stuff CJ! Anyhoo... so glad to see someone who clearly knows their beans as much as you do agree with an opinion that I've always held regarding gateway drugs. Kids only get to discover heroin cos matey down the road hasn't got any smoke and he's cracking out skag in £5 bags. No-one ever agrees with me on that one! I have had friendly debates and conversations with the local constabulary about this and they won't have it at all. I know somewhere on here there is a gateway drug hub thing, and perhaps I should have put this over by there, but.. well, you know... Will has been going off on one for so long that by the time I got to the bottom I had forgotten what my name was and where I lived. There. My first hub comment. In the wrong place. Sweet :)


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

No, you put it in exactly the right place. Good to see you here, and I have to say I agree with you 100%. Pity the local coppers don't get it too. Good luck finding the gateway drug hub. It probably does exist somewhere, but the one called "Is Cannabis a gateway drug?" is by me and I think you already know how that one pans out.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, nearly half of all drug overdose deaths in the US come from legal drugs, so there goes your argument:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/cdc-fatal-o...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

What this does is to show you that some of these legal drugs are far worse, and far more dangerous, than their illegal equivalents. The fact that you use methadone as a painkiller in the US just shows how utterly twisted your health care system is. Heroin, though very addictive, is, in fact, a surprisingly benign drug, which causes no harm to the body whatsoever. All of the damaging effects of heroin addiction come from its illegality.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/14/dru...


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Re: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/14/dru

I notice that the link on this page to the special report on Drugs in Britain is broken. I will look for it but for now I suspect pressure as applied to get it removed


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I also note that one of the arguments fr banning Heroin in 1924 was that the toxic dose is only slightly greater than the therapeutic dose. The same is true of paracetamol (called Tylenol in the USA). Since Paracetamol is legal and Heroin is not I can smell a whiff of corruption, whether from 1924 or not I cannot tell.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Alek: the link is available in the article, under the title "Must read article by Nick Davies". The corruption began in 1924, as the toxic dose for heroin is much, much greater than the therapeutic dose.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

You miss the point. Since these are legal drugs, according to your theory, they are controlled, and should not result in overdosing. You are obviously very wrong.

The legality of a substance is no protection at all. Alcohol kills more people than any other drug, yet it is perfectly legal and available everywhere. Just ask Amy Winehouse.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Follow the link Will. It is available in the text of the article now under the title "Must read article by Nick Davies". What the writer shows is just how relatively safe heroin is as a drug. It does no harm to the body whatsoever, and the toxic dose is many, many more times the therapeutic dose, which means it is very difficult to overdose on. Overdoses occur because the user doesn't know the strength of the stuff he is using, which can vary on the black market from almost pure, to cut so many times that there is hardly any of the drug present. It can also be cut with toxic substances, which obviously increases its toxicity. The drugs listed in the Washington Post article are all controlled pharmaceutical drugs used as a substitute for heroin, and are many more times more toxic than pure heroin. As I've said before, there are many different drugs with many different effects, which require many different approaches. My argument is about heroin, specifically, which is considerably safer in its pure form than all of those drugs listed in the Washington Post, therefore overdosing will occur less frequently - if at all - if it is properly controlled.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

BTW you might like to ask why it is that your health service substitutes those dirty drugs for heroin for pain relief. The answer, I suspect, is that those drugs have patents on them which are controlled by the pharmaceutical companies and are therefore more profitable than heroin.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I'm not extolling the virtues of one drug over another. That's a straw man.

I'm pointing out that your theory is dead wrong...legalizing drugs does not mean safety at all. If anything, it means more deaths and overdoses.

I am in favor of legalizing all drugs, and letting society deal with the result, outside of government attempts to 'control'.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Have you read the link?

The majority of deaths associated with heroin specifically are due to its illegality. You cannot provide statistics for one set of drugs and use them as an argument against another, entirely different, set of drugs. Heroin is relatively safe. Safer than all of those drugs. Overdoses are due to the fact the person using it doesn't know the strength of the cut. It's such a simple concept, I really don't see why you can't see it.

Think of it this way: you take a glass of beer, thinking it is beer, but, because of the "cut" it is actually the strength of two bottle of vodka. That's the difference between a controlled product and an illegal or uncontrolled product.

You use Amy Winehouse as an example of someone killed by an overdose of a legal drug, and I agree with you. But the vast majority of people use alcohol in a controlled way and are not killed by it. The comparison you would have to make would be between deaths caused by overdose under the current legal restraints, and those caused by overdose during prohibition, and I strongly suspect that were you to get the statistics, people killed by poisonous black market alcohol during prohibition would far out number those killed by accidental overdose now.

And the difference between drugs is not a straw man, it is the essence of the argument.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Let's examine your argument:

You claim that if heroin were legal and in issued in carefully controlled doses and purity, like all other legal drugs, that would put a stop to overdose deaths. You blithely ignore that the legal drugs already killing thousands are already carefully controlled dosages and purity.

Drug dosage and purity can be controlled, to be sure, but the record shows that addicts ignore correct dosages because they want the high produced by walking the thin line.

You can control the drug, but you cannot control the user. Your argument holds no water, and you are dead wrong.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Whether a drug is legal or not there will be overdose deaths.

Will, are you saying the overdose deaths from legal drugs arise because the consumers get a high from (say) Ibuprofen?

Taking recreational drugs should be legal. Harming others when doing so should not.

A campaign of education together with regulation would cost far less than the "War on Drugs" and would reduce the number of overdose deaths.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

The last two lines of the Washington Post article which you gave a link to states:

Frieden noted the wide differences between overdose death rates among states. For example, West Virginia’s rate is about 26 per 100,000 while neighboring Virginia’s rate is only 9.

“This highlights the importance of states getting policies right on preventing drug abuse,” he said.

This applies to ALL drugs.

The argument specific to heroin is that it is FAR, FAR safer than the substitutes listed in the Washington Post article, therefore overdose is far less likely.

You are right that you cannot control the user. If the user wants to kill themselves they will. But not every user ends up killing themselves. My Dad, for instance, takes a glass of wine every night, and you can see the pleasure it gives him. He's 81 years old. Not every drinker is Amy Winehouse. Not every heroin user is trying to kill themselves.

My broad argument is that we should legalise drugs, but that we need to treat each drug in a different way. Marijuana/cannabis has never killed anyone in it's entire recorded history, and can safely be legalised and licensed the way they do it in Holland. Heroin, however, is a medical drug with specific medical uses. It should be controlled in the same way that other medical drugs are controlled, by doctors. One of its medical uses (aside from pain relief) is for the treatment of long-term addiction. Currently heroin addicts go to a clinic and are given methadone, a nasty, dirty, painfully addictive drug. I'm saying, give them heroin instead. It's far safer.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Alek, he's talking about prescription painkillers. The ones listed in the article are OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone. They are all heroin substitutes. Note that methadone is being given on prescription as a pain killer in America. Have you ever heard anything so crazy?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Will, I'm not sure why you aren't understanding what I've been saying. I'm going to have one more go.

We've been mainly talking about heroin as I understand. Other drugs are much less addictive so wouldn't cause the same kind of problems that heroin would.

Those drugs listed in the Washington Post article are all heroin substitutes, that is people are taking them to replace heroin. You say these drugs are causing overdoses, and therefore that if heroin were legalised that would cause overdoses too. But there's a fundamental misunderstanding here. Firstly, people are only taking those drugs because they can't get heroin. Give them heroin, and they'd much prefer that. But heroin is a safer drug than those drugs and would be less likely to cause an overdose.

Secondly there's a misunderstanding about why people take heroin. Yes, at first it is the lure of the forbidden, and wanting to be cool, and all of that stuff. It is also, for the user, an intensely pleasurable experience. They are not taking it because they want to die. They are taking it because they get pleasure from it. But the problem with heroin is that it is monstrously addictive. It actually causes a physiological change in the body, so that, once addicted, the user literally needs it. He literally can't do without it. This is the cause of all the social problems associated with heroin, that without it the user becomes so obsessed with getting heroin that it breaks all the bonds of normal social behaviour. After that they are not taking heroin to get high, they are only taking heroin to stay normal, and to stop the pangs of the withdrawal. This is why, even if it was made legal, we can't allow licensed "heroin bars" to spring up, like we can allow Dutch style coffee bars for marijuana. It always has to be administered by doctors. It is a medical drug, and a drug of last resort when it comes to dealing with severe pain. It is a crucial drug in the doctor's medical bag, but it shouldn't be easily or openly available. That would be to invite disaster.

This is the point at which you need proper education. Again, the Dutch model shows us how. You separate the source for marijuana and the psychedelics from heroin and the narcotics. The psychedelic drugs can be licensed and legalised, but the narcotics have to be controlled. This is what has happened in Holland. Consequently there are fewer and fewer new heroin addicts in Holland, and the age of addicts is increasing. Heroin is seen as a "losers" drug. (This is the opposite of the UK, where heroin is still seen as "cool" and therefore the average age of addicts is going down.)

Finally you need to treat those addicts you have left. For this you follow the British method, which is to treat it as a medical problem. You identify the addiction as an illness and you treat the illness. You stop them using all those other bad drugs, and you allow them access to heroin, but only through a doctor. Once they have access to a clean and a safe supply of heroin, they won't be searching for anything else. They will no longer have the cravings, and will be able to lead a fruitful and productive life. And it is a fact, with historical evidence to prove it, that heroin addicts, when taken off the drugs carousel, will live at least as long as the rest of us. That is not true of alcoholics, nicotine addicts or people who use OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone, all of which, as your article points out, lead to overdose.

I hope I have made myself clear.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"So give them heroin. Make them check into a clinic on a daily basis to get the exact dose they need, have it administered there (so the addict doesn't go out and sell it) and - Bob's yer Uncle! - no more drug-related crime."

Which is little different from illegal, since it's still a government controlled substance. That would also be little different from the methadone clinics of today.

It would still not be a free choice. It would still be government controlled. Your own words:

"...we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies."


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Heroin has inherent dangers, not only for the addict, but also for society as a whole. No I wouldn't make it freely available, any more than I would lift the speed limit and make driving at 250mph legal, or than I would allow people under a certain age to take any drug, or to engage in sex with an adult, or drive on the wrong side of the road just because they felt like it. There have to be limits. It is the limits that define our freedom. I've said that before.

When it comes to taking drugs, I'm something of an expert. I know what I'm doing. But I've also seen the casualties down the years, which is why I want to give people the benefit of my experience. And heroin is just not something you can mess with casually. It is a highly seductive substance, that always - always - lures the user in to full-blooded addiction. So, were we to follow your advice, and simply lift the lid on its availability, without first educating people about the dangers, you would have an epidemic on your hands. And I wouldn't want to see that kind of mess, because I can guarantee you, the tax-payer would still foot the bill in terms of a broken society.

And no, it wouldn't be any different than the methadone clinics of today with this one VERY important difference, that heroin users don't like methadone, and will still search for heroin after they've had their methadone hit - thus causing an on-going problem with crime - but they DO like heroin, and would be satisfied with that.

Check this out: http://www.popcenter.org/library/crimeprevention/v...

I will also put it as a link into the hub.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"So, were we to follow your advice, and simply lift the lid on its availability, without first educating people about the dangers, you would have an epidemic on your hands."

So this wasn't sincere? :

"...we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies."

We already know the dangers, yet we do it anyway. When drugs were all legally available, prior to prohibition, there was a definite social stigma to using drugs, so most people did not indulge. That's a far better preventative than any law.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Will I am part of the education. That is what I am doing here. I've made it clear how we should deal with heroin. That too is written in the text. As you quoted:

"Make them check into a clinic on a daily basis to get the exact dose they need, have it administered there (so the addict doesn't go out and sell it) and - Bob's yer Uncle! - no more drug-related crime."

We don't already know the dangers. Young people don't already know the dangers. So there has to be genuine, honest, clear education which doesn't try to frighten people by telling lies, but which makes an honest assessment of the actual effects of the drugs. Does marijuana kill? No. Does heroin kill? No, not often. A lot less than its generic substitutes. But it is fearsomely addictive, and there are problems with that, and if I were you I'd steer well clear of it.

Heroin is the greatest pain killer given to man. Personally I am saving it till I actually need it to kill off some pain.

And you are wrong about there being stigma about using drugs in the the period before prohibition. Laudanum - tincture of opium - was widely available and widely used in the 19th century, and there were many addicts. Just ask Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas de Quincy. And you are also wrong to say that social stigma is a better preventative than law. It depends who is doing the stigmatising and to who. That which is a stigma for one generation will surely become an attraction for another.

No we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our bodies, but we do need to correct some of the misunderstandings deriving from an excess of ill-informed opinions.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"No we don't need the government to tell us what we can and can't do with our bodies..."

Yet that's exactly what you call for by attempting to control users. Either we are free to use, or we are not!

I suspect you would support assisted suicide as a matter of free choice, while attempting to prevent it via an overdose.

Make up your mind.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

No, it is evidence based. Doctors and scientists, not politicians. At least do me the courtesy of reading the links I pass on to you.

As for assisted suicide, I don't quite get your point. I've already said that people who want to kill themselves will anyway. No one will ever be able to stop that. My worry is about the effects of mass addiction on the rest of the population, not whether people kill themselves with drugs, or by any other means.

I think you are just playing again Will. You can't find anything wrong with my argument, so you are thrashing around for other things to pick a fight with me on.

Classic straw man tactics, which you've accused me of before now.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"As for assisted suicide, I don't quite get your point. I've already said that people who want to kill themselves will anyway. No one will ever be able to stop that."

Exactly, and neither will anyone be able to stop overdosing. That's my point. Educate all you want, but addicts will still OD, and we all know it.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Sheesh, don't you even read the stuff I put up here? I keep trying, and you keep ignoring the facts. Addicts aren't trying to kill themselves, they are trying to get high. Heroin addicts want heroin. They don't want OxyContin, Vicodin or methadone, though they will take these as substitutes. OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone are more lethal, more likely to cause an overdose, than heroin. If people had heroin they would be less likely to overdose. Those who wanted to overdose, because they wanted to die, on the other hand, would anyway, regardless of the legal status of the drug. These are two entirely different issues. What I'm trying to prevent is preventable deaths caused by adulterated drugs and lack of proper information. I'm not trying to stop people from committing suicide. That is another story entirely.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Will is willingly stupid, the very worst kind.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

Methinks this is a case of excessive positive implicit self-esteem induced either automatically or unconsciously.There´s a curious and fascinating process of inverted positive self-regard taking place here. I can´t quite place whether it´s because of an overdeveloped or underdeveloped sense of self-esteem though. The total surety on continuous display would imply the former, but the reluctance to even consider the slightest deviation, acknowledge any concession or enter any process that might lead to minute course adaptations tends to indicate the latter. As stated, interesting to observe, though frankly speaking, becoming predictable in repetitiousness.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Addicts aren't trying to kill themselves, they are trying to get high."

Which is exactly what I said:

Drug dosage and purity can be controlled, to be sure, but the record shows that addicts ignore correct dosages because they want the high produced by walking the thin line.

You can control the drug, but you cannot control the user. Your argument holds no water, and you are dead wrong."


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Not if they go to a doctor. Not if they know the dosage. Not if the drug is unadulterated. Please read material about the Swiss experiment. It tells you all you need to know. Deaths by overdose decreased. The heroin market collapsed, because heroin users were no longer selling heroin to fund their habit. Consequently there were fewer and fewer new users. The average age of heroin addicts increased as the older users grew older and weren't being joined by new ones. Young people see the old addicts as losers and turn to other, safer, drugs. It's all in the record Will, and your constant repetition of the same old self-created certainties won't change that. Is this how all of your views are formed, by constant repetition while disregarding the evidence?

There's nothing wrong with getting high: it depends what substance you choose to do it on. Some are safer than others. Once you know that, once you have the information and start avoiding the one's likely to do you great harm, then you have the beginnings of a decent drug policy.

My advice is to avoid heroin. But, if you are a heroin addict and need heroin, then avoid OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone.

Either way you can still lead a happy and productive life.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Nils, I'm following the I Ching in this, hexagram 17, line 1: "Once we are ready to listen to the opinions of others, we must not associate exclusively with people who share our views or with members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with all sorts of people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something."

I think Will is trying to do this too.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

I know what you are trying to do, I'm not convinced Will is, but am willing to stand corrected. Will?


Texasbeta 4 years ago

Absolutely phenomenal piece...I am a new follower for sure. I saw you had a round or two with ole' Will. Welcome to the club. Eventually, everyone says the same thing as a result of said interactions with that guy...I'll leave it at that. When you wonder how my country got to the point that it is currently in, where idiocy is revered and a childlike understanding of the world is held as a badge of vindication...I say, meet Will.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Texasbeta, well I won't comment on Will, except to say that despite our differences he has at least consented to engage in debate, and I find that encouraging. He has helped to make the comments section of this article probably the most informative part for those willing to wade through the exchanges. But I'm glad you appreciate the article. I'll take a look at your hubs today too.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

"he record shows that addicts ignore correct dosages because they want the high produced by walking the thin line"

Will, have you a reliable source for this? And how is this different from (say)doing 100mph on a highway or pursuing a sport like hang gliding?

Perhaps you are talking about a universal human tendency that some express through taking drugs


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Of course some users do, while others don't.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Will, have you a reliable source for this?

Sure:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/cdc-fatal-o...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Just to remind readers that the drugs listed in the Washington Post article, which Will has provided a link for above, are heroin substitutes, known to be more harmful than heroin itself. For verification of this please check the Guardian article in the text, which shows that heroin is a relatively safe drug. The line between the effective dose and the lethal dose for methadone is very narrow, whereas for heroin it is much wider. The people taking these drugs will be heroin addicts searching for some relief from their withdrawals, or people searching for a legal high, but they are unlikely to know the proper doses to achieve this without killing themselves, hence the proliferation of accidental overdoses with these particular drugs. Were heroin available the overdose rate would be reduced as heroin is a much safer drug.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

No one is arguing that heroin, taken as prescribed in proper dosage, is less safe.

However, claiming that addicted users will voluntarily use only as prescribed is a ludicrous and silly projection, based on wishes, not facts.

Addicts, by definition, are already out of control. So are the prescription pain reliever addicts who OD on a regular basis in an attempt to get get high! So too, would prescription heroin users.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 4 years ago from The Low Countries

Interesting to note that the article implies that regulatory efforts in Southern California, Ohio and Florida appear to offer a way to combat some of the chilling statistics. Very interesting source.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

The Swiss model, also sourced in the article, shows that this is not the case, Will. Addicted users having reached a certain stage in their addiction, do choose to voluntarily use only what is prescribed. It is not based on wishes, but fact. It is quite hard to OD on heroin, as the Guardian piece makes clear.

Yes, I noticed that too Nils. Will is selectively reading his own source!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Will has decided that anything that says something that he doesn't already agree with is "liberal trash" - facts don't matter to Will Starr - facts can be dismissed as "liberal propaganda" - that's what happens when you live in a fantasy world created by mass media - the "two party paradigm."


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"The Swiss model, also sourced in the article, shows that this is not the case, Will."

The Swiss don't have our demographics, so it's apples and oranges.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

So it's demographics that affects addiction now? I thought the addicts were just out of control and they were going to OD whatever we did, but now it's down the the society you live in, and obviously yours is one in which addicts are driven to kill themselves using prescription painkillers. Actually it's not true Will. An addict is an addict, and if the Swiss model works, which is does, then it will work whichever country you come from. It worked the UK before it worked in Switzerland.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"An addict is an addict..."

So all addicts are the same, after all? You've abandoned this?:

"See, not every drug is the same, and not every person is the same, so what might be safe for one person, could be very damaging for another."


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

And you've abandoned this: "You can control the drug, but you cannot control the user."

Apparently the Swiss can control the user but the Americans can't.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Up, Useful, and Interesting.

I grew up the child of an alcoholic. He was an intelligent and good man who went from great promise through decades of decline to the bottom and then achieved sobriety and founded a successful business. Society coped with him and many other alcoholics and problem drinkers with regulations, medical care, and mutual help organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous. Would the individual, family, and social problems caused by my father's alcoholism have been improved or made far worse if his drinking had been a crime and a drink had made him a criminal? The question answers itself. Putting him in prison would have ruined his life, not helped him or anyone else.

Taking a mind altering or addictive drug is no more of a real crime than is drinking booze or smoking tobacco.

As you say, the War on Drugs is for poor people and radicals control, aimed primarily at the black and brown poor and less so (but available when needed) at poor whites. It is for denying power and is the answer to the slogan, "Power to the people!" What power of citizenship does a criminal or ex-con have? The book THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS by Alexander shows with facts and figures the true nature of the War on Drugs.

The time is now for a new abolitionist movement for the abolition of the criminalization of drug use and for freeing from prison and wiping clean the record of the many thousand (millions?) of those who are being or have been punished for drug use or possession.

Yes, choosing whatever drug over having a clearheaded life is foolish. Yes, regulations are needed. Who wants to allow a stoned school bus driver, or wants to allow one drug to be secretly laced with another drug, or wants to see billboards and television ads pushing heroin? Booze is regulated. Tobacco is regulated. Regulating mind-altering and addictive drugs makes sense. Saying that drug use is a crime makes no sense.

For starters, decriminalize industrial hemp, hashish, and marijuana. Laws against those make the least sense of all.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 2 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks again Brian. One aspect of the drug laws which you hint at is that it is used to fill the prisons with what is effectively slave labour. It's the use of legal means to increase profits for the corporatist state. I agree: time for a new abolitionist movement.

The USA has the highest prison population relative to the population as a whole of ANY state in the world, and that's mostly down to the so-called "war on drugs".

Add to which: booze, tobacco and prescription drugs are also mind-altering and addictive, but I'm sure you know that already.


Kara Skinner profile image

Kara Skinner 21 months ago from Maine

Interesting Hub, but I have to disagree with the legalizing of all drugs business. First of all, we are fed a lot of bad information and conflicting information every day about all of the drugs mentioned, so the general public does not have an informed opinion that would let them know exactly what would happen to them if they tried out such drugs. Letting them be addicted does not seem like a good idea either because eventually they will build a tolerance and they will need more than one "injection for the day", not to mention legalizing it will mean more people addicted to this, so when this drug clinic catches on fire/gets robbed/has the pipes burst, then there will be a lot of people going out of their minds from want of a fix, and willing to do anything about it. And drugs like Bath Salts, which gives users paranoid hallucinations, violent tendencies, and the inability to feel pain, will definitely cause violence to others.

Also, I am for outlawing tobacco, and having strict regulations on alcohol and prescription drugs (which there are for your reasons stated above). I would not compare prisoners to slaves, either, as you do in your comment above. They made their own choices that landed them in jail, they weren't born with a certain skin color.

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