Monday, 9 April 2012

My utopian war on drugs!

Created Monday 9/4/12 2. 20pm

My utopian war on drugs!
What utopia: give up on the war on crime as well; assault  and battery becomes a live video game; and police cars morph into ambulances.

Farmers would no longer waste land growing carbon - abatement trees; there is more profit in competing with the Taliban with more profitable  cash crops.
Why did they ever waste prime agricultural land on food crops? This is the One - World government of the extreme left - where nothing has to make sense.

Why - even the  children's bed rooms can be used more productively: you no longer have to fear being raided. 
The progeny can go to injection rooms and become your customers.

Schools will have a new curriculum: Post modernism - an idyllic lifestyle.
And the best part of it?

No one will have the intellect to understand that  this  Brave New World started because some bods suggested that the war on drug and crime  was lost and postulated that all  law enforcement agencies become redundant.



Prohibition still best way to beat drugs

THAT drugs destroy lives hardly needs to be said. The question is how we should deal with them. In a recently released report, Australia21, a policy think tank, calls our prohibition-based approach an exercise in "failure and futility". Australia21's claims are exaggerated and in important respects incorrect. But that doesn't mean our policies should stay as they are.
What is uncontested is the harm illicit drugs do. Psychoactive substances alter perception, mood, awareness and action. They are attractive because their doses dwarf any naturally occurring counterparts in the nervous system and instantaneously provide experiences that cannot be replicated by non-drug options.
Yet those doses are toxic and destabilising, causing harms that are cumulative. High levels of use do not trigger satiation: rather, unlike most other goods, consumption reduces the value the user places on competing alternatives. Even worse, their use undermines reason, clouding far-off consequences and increasing desire for the most immediate stimuli.
Not that all users become junkies. Most people who experiment with drugs consume them for short periods and then entirely desist, typically by age 30. Even they may suffer long-term damage; but the greatest risks come from the substantial minority that escalate from initial to persistent use and become very difficult to treat.

By the time they reach the age at which others have quit, those users are in a lifestyle that rules out regular employment and is fraught with serious health risks, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and of course, overdoses.
Most suffer co-morbidities, exacerbated by substance abuse, that include severe psychiatric disorders. And for those prone to delinquency, heavy drug use is a powerful catalyst, markedly increasing criminality. The result is to deprive users of the futures they could have had, making them dangerous parents, bad neighbours and poor citizens.

Australia21 argues prohibition does little to prevent these harms while causing many others. Despite large resources devoted to law enforcement, it says, "drugs continue to be readily available", while our courts are "dominated by those involved in drug-related crime" and our prisons "crowded with people whose lives have been ruined by dependence on drugs". It would be better, it suggests, to legalise and regulate drugs.
These arguments overstate the present approach's costs and understate its achievements. Australia is not the US: we are far from having ghettos with rampant drug use, high rates of predatory crime and pervasive levels of drug-related imprisonment, often for mere possession.
Rather, drug-related offences account for 6 per cent of criminal cases and about 11 per cent of imprisonments. Moreover, virtually all the imprisonments involve serious trafficking, with possession being a factor only in conjunction with predatory offences or for persistent breaches of non-custodial sentences.
Nor are the claims about trends in use or availability much better founded. Current levels of use, be they on a lifetime basis or in the past year, are generally below those in the 1990s. Yes, the results of the 2011 Illicit Drug Reporting System find drugs "easily" or "very easily" available; but that is based on a survey of addicts, 80 per cent of whom are unemployed and who have the time and social networks to secure illegal drugs.
Prices for illicit substances are a more reliable indicator, and they are well above those in Europe and three times those in the US. With recent estimates suggesting demand for narcotics is relatively responsive to price, those high prices imply significantly reduced consumption and social harm.
It is therefore not apparent that the costs of the present approach outweigh its benefits. In addition, Australia21 does not articulate a clear alternative, much less systematically assess its consequences. What is clear is that legalisation, whatever form it might take, would not be costless.
This is particularly so with opiates and the ever-expanding classes of synthetically derived stimulants, including amphetamines. Were these products freely available, their use would increase dramatically.
Consider heroin: Robert MacCoun and Peter Reuter, two of the world's leading drug policy researchers (and cautious supporters of reform), estimate legalisation would increase consumption by 100 to 1000 per cent, with the higher number more likely.
Given the harm such an increase would cause, proponents argue legalisation could be accompanied by strict regulation (for instance, forbidding sales to minors) and very high taxes, ensuring users faced the social costs of their use. But the efficacy and efficiency of that approach remain to be established.
For example, legalisation would probably reduce costs of production and distribution tenfold for opiates and by even more for synthetics. Merely restoring prices to current levels (which are well below the social costs the drugs impose) would require taxes greater than those on nicotine. It is implausible to claim this would not give rise to a vast black market, all the more with clandestine laboratories and distribution networks already in place.
That is why the economics Nobel laureate Gary Becker, an advocate of legalisation, has argued criminal penalties would actually have to be increased for those participating in illegal trafficking. But if so, how much of the costs of the present situation would really be avoided?
To all this, Australia21 gives no answer, other than suggesting that more should be spent on rehabilitating addicts. Perhaps, but countries such as Sweden that place great stress on rehabilitation rely heavily on the threat of imprisonment to induce participation. Even then, treatment efforts are only marginally effective, while the costs of scaling them up, post-liberalisation, to deal with a sea of new addicts would be prohibitive. As the eminent criminologist Mark Kleiman concludes, "we can no more treat our way out of drug problems than we can arrest and imprison our way out of them".
None of that means existing policies are perfect. There may be a case for further liberalisation of cannabis, though it too remains to be made out. But at least as matters now stand, this area seems to confirm the wisdom of crowds.
Those crowds, polls show, differ markedly from policy elites. The elites favour drug liberalisation and harsher treatment for tobacco and alcohol; the wider public is tolerant of tobacco and alcohol but adamantly oppose drugs. They know that as the late James Q. Wilson wrote, nicotine may shorten life, but heroin and cocaine debase it. It will take a lot more than well-meaning rhetoric to change that.
Sources and supporting material at


  • Joan Posted at 12:27 PM Today
    How about the health advisers and government promote good quality brain health instead of rolling over and saying it`s too hard.A nation sent bonkers out of its mind by more legalised mind bending drugs is not the Australia I want. Legalising and easier access means more people will use, you better believe it. Just one look at past history shows people guzzled cough mixtures, diarrhoea mixtures laced with opium tincture bought from pharmacists, dexamphetamines were once prescribed by handfuls by GPs for weight reduction, had more women and men freaking out than losing weight. And you bet the people who want easier access to illegal drugs are those who have grown up in a home with a culture of drugs, booze,and smoking and have never known what it is to have a clean, clear thinking brain. Alcohol, benzos, smoking are bad enough in society today and already ruining the good health of Australian brains. And Australian pregnant women - those that guzzle alcohol, smoke or do drugs do a lot of damage to the unborn childs brain you bet - if it affects the mothers brain, it`s going to affect the unborn baby brain in a big way.Legalising more brain altering drugs is just not on.
  • Charlie Johnson of Toowoomba Posted at 12:20 PM Today
    Government to legalise drugs and supply, making them cheap and easily accessible. This cuts out the criminal element. Then monitor usage, resulting in compulsory registration and help for of addicts. De-registration only after 5 years clean. Enact severe mandatory penalties for anyone who commits crimes, drives or works under the influence of any recreational drug thus making it difficult to be socially acceptable to be a drug user. Educate the young about social and civic responsibilities. Life sentences for non government approved drug suppliers.
  • PelverataRob. of Pelverata Posted at 12:14 PM Today
    I used to live in an area where a lot of marijuana was cultivated. It was also an area where many people would not work. I know many young people who smoke marijuana and have a regular job so their use is limited. It seems those that are high users of marijuana are those who don't work and have nothing much else to do with their lives. These are the people create problems for the community.

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