The ‘War on Drugs’ is a complete failure.

Many of the people who support the continued waging of the ‘War on Drugs’ cite the social breakdown caused by drugs, so it’s perhaps worth reading this post by Jim Brown, a probation officer, who sees first hand the problems caused by drug use, so he’s bound to support the mass criminalisation of poor drug users, right?

Virtually no aspect of the current regime works, in fact much of it compounds the problem and is hugely expensive along the way.

But some drugs are so dangerous that they cannot be tolerated, right?

We’ve all known for years that the middle-classes can manage to keep a good job and hide their drug use because they have the means to fund the habit without recourse to acquisitive crime. In the absence of a chaotic lifestyle and criminal activity, there’s also evidence to support the thesis that many can maintain a recreational level of consumption, similar to that of responsible alcohol users

So he’s in favour of legalisation? Well not quite.

just to be clear, certainly in relation to heroin and similar substances, I’m not advocating decriminalisation, but rather a return to the situation pre Misuse of Drugs Act when heroin could be prescribed and hence controlled by the medical profession

But his views on addiction do seem similar to those of the notorious right-winger, Theodore Darymple. That addiction is an excuse of those with chronically chaotic lifestyles to excuse self-destructive behaviour. People blame the drug, not their own folly for the state they find themselves in. This is easier on the Ego than the reality that some people just can’t cope.Darymple, writing in 2006…

Addicts want to place the responsibility for their plight elsewhere, and the orthodox view is the very raison d’être of the therapists. Finally, as a society, we are always on the lookout for a category of victims upon whom to expend our virtuous, which is to say conspicuous, compassion.

The answer, in whatever way it’s done is to punish acquisitive crime, with drug habits being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, and leave those who just enjoy a different drug to that decided is acceptable to “society” to their habit. Any problems from over-use of drugs should dealt with by the medical, rather than the legal and law-enforcement professions. More and more law-enforcement professionals, Doctors and people with the ability to find their arse with both hands and a map are starting to put their heads above the parapet by saying mass criminalisation has failed. Let’s try something else. Sooner or later sociologists and politicians will join the reality-based community.

People like to get high, stoned, pissed or otherwise anaesthetised or stimulated. Leave ’em alone until they nick someone else’s stuff, or punch another in the face, then punish them for that. People, not the consciousness-altering substances they may consume have agency.

8 replies
  1. bloke in spain
    bloke in spain says:

    Always thought that the biggest problem with drug use is the lack of social etiquette surrounding them.

    A drug that is used legitimately is alcohol & has an etiquette of use.

    It wouldn't be thought appropriate for young children to be given alcohol, although they might see their elders consuming it. Being drunk in front of them would be frowned on.
    On approaching adulthood it's appropriate for youngsters to be allowed alcohol in small quantities but not to the point they become intoxicated.
    The consumption of small amounts of alcohol is acceptable on most everyday occasions. With a meal. A thirst quenching drink. During the working day but probably not at work & not to the point of intoxication.
    In a social setting larger amounts are OK to the level of mild intoxication but being obviously inebriated & incapable is not acceptable.
    On celebratory occasions & in certain situations considerable intoxication is permissible although done to the point of interference with enjoyment of others can cause the drinker to be ridiculed & criticised.
    Intoxication in inappropriate situations – at work, driving, in positions of responsibility etc can result in penalties such as dismissal, prosecution etc.

    Problem with drugs is their illegality makes it difficult to develop any sort of etiquette. Smoking cannabis at home or in a social setting isn't problematic but you wouldn't want the driver of your taxi to be stoned. You wouldn't want your co-worker high as a kite. Yet you get exactly that. Because it's 'wrong' on any occasion the user will consume on any occasion.
    Same applies to most illegal intoxicants. There's never the opportunity to develop the social pressures that would regulate drug consumption so much better than legal sanction.

  2. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    BiS: You may have hit a nail on the head. Though there is etiqute in Marijuana smoking – share the love, man – it's unlikely that the same is possible for the rather more morish cocaine. I doubt a healthy social habit is possible for Heroin!

  3. bloke in spain
    bloke in spain says:

    "etiqute in Marijuana smoking "

    Don't Bogart that joint my friend,
    Pass it over to me

    Couple of people I've known have operated quite successfully with an H habit. How many more……

    Personally, I find tokers are the biggest pain to be around (excepting self of course) but that's what's led me to the etiquette hypothesis. It's not the tokeing, it's the inappropriate tokeing.

    Natural selection takes care of crackheads, of course.

  4. farm land investment
    farm land investment says:

    "People like to get high, stoned, pissed or otherwise anaesthetised or stimulated. Leave 'em alone until they nick someone else's stuff, or punch another in the face, then punish them for that. People, not the consciousness-altering substances they may consume have agency." — Thats a great way to put it! What do I give a rat's arse if someone chooses to puff, inject, snort or anything else? As long as they leave me alone, I could care less. I don't do drugs of any sort, but hold no truck with those who do. And besides, I'll have a better chance of passing on my genes than they will!

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    This is very true, before the Misuse of Drugs Act I knew a young married couple who were registered addicts, most of us just used cannibis and tried LSD. This couple were in their early 20s, held down jobs and you would never have known they were addicts, they got their heroin from the late night chemist. After a few years they gave up to start a family and didn't seem any the worse for it. Of course we had the sense then to treat it as a medical not criminal problem.


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