Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Meth, Hillbilly Heroin & Drinking Shoe Polish

If there is a single lesson that should have been learned over the past century of drug war, it is this: people will do just about anything to get high. Boredom can do nothing but amplify this tendency, and thus we have the recipe for rural America's latest drug crisis (or, if you prefer, epidemic) "meth" use. Alcohol has a great reputation in the same parts of America where meth use is rampant. It isn’t the drugs, when you think about it -- some people are just assholes. As usual, the media and various prohibitionists are doing their best to alarm the public over this latest "threat" to society. Of course, none of this would be happening in the first place had we learned anything at all from alcohol prohibition.

The factors cited by those who set the fires usually include (but are not limited to, of course): the dangers presented to the public by such things as "meth labs," and the endless drone of how "drugs are dangerous and destroy people's lives." While the name of the particular drug involved changes with the frequency of fashion vogues, the "danger" is always blown wildly out of proportion from what the government's own data already tells us.

What makes things worse is that meth has been the whipping boy of the moment on several different occasions over the past three decades (and the same for amphetamines in pill form for the past five decades). Proving once again that the drugwar is an endless cycle of social psychosis. I can't emphasize the following enough: it is a sign of intelligence to learn from experience. The usual argument is that: "We learned how bad alcohol and tobacco were, but it was already too late. Why make the same mistake again?"

That almost sounds reasonable. At least until you consider that alcohol causes way more problems in society than all illegal drugs combined. Clearly, especially given the biological drive behind getting high, our society needs alternatives to alcohol when our citizens succumb to the urge to twiddle themselves. Clearly, drug use itself can not and never will be "stamped out." Research the animal kingdom and the use of intoxicants. The only way to "stamp out" the human desire to intoxicate, is to remove the sense of self -- otherwise known as a lobotomy. No brain, no pleasure, no drug use. Problem solved. Get in line.

Given that we stand no chance against biology then, how can we make the use of drugs "safer" both for those so inclined, and for society at large? Now, I know this is going to sound a bit extremist, but the most sure-fire way to stop the havoc being wreaked on society by home made meth-labs, is to leave the manufacturing process to the professionals. No, not the underground chemists who do it the best, but the pharmaceutical companies already in the drug making business. Whoda thunkit? Hell, then you could even buy more than one pack of cold pills at a time.

Then too, the pharmaceutical companies can legally sell the product to people who wish to use it. Where would it be sold? How about a drug store? Alongside all the other "dangerous" chemical preparations -- like cough syrups. What about the children? Your job dummy!

What about all the extra addicts caused by the "message" that drug use is okay? Here's a thought: try a message worth a crap. How about: "Hey this is really dangerous and stupid, and you are a fool for doing it, but we'd rather not see you drinking shoe polish just to catch a buzz." Why would people who don't use drugs suddenly start doing drugs? Simply because it became legal to do so? Ultimately, it doesn't matter who uses what drugs: it's nobody's business. The best way to not send messages about drug use is to mind your own business -- and other people's drug use really is none of your business.

Now back to boredom in America's heartland. You may not have noticed, but there is no "cure" for boredom. Different people like to do different things to amuse themselves. We're all different, and none of us wants to be like you. So the secret to really 'solving' the drug use issue is to let the users decide for themselves what drugs they want to use. An open market would ensure a variety of drugs were available, and thus minimize the use of the more dangerous ones -- including alcohol. If the Bush admin's Social Security plan for "letting" people make decisions is a good thing, then clearly, a person should be "allowed" to decide for themselves what they do to their body or mind.

People will do almost anything to get high. We simply will not stop that, so let's try making it safer. For all of us.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

BC Bud: Collateral Damage

Note: The original reports linking the raid to a marijuana grow operation were in error. Although a grow operation was found, it was not the original impetus of the raid. 3/22/05

Today's irksome news is a story of how 4 members of Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police have lost their lives after doing a raid on a marijuana grow operation. This was no home grower working to maintain his own habit however, but instead a man running a major criminal enterprise, made possible by the refusal of some people to understand that you can't prevent human beings from playing with themselves.

It is incomprehensible and unconscionable that these four people lost their lives following orders to do something supremely stupid, ineffective, and inherently illogical, but we can only expect more of the same as long as people buy into the nonsense over the "dangers" of intoxicant use. The flames of that particular exercise in futility are constantly fanned by the news media, which is the real target of today's screed.

I read the report of this incident in the New York Times , which in keeping with a long-standing media tradition to pass along government bullshit without question, had a sidebar article about the horrifying increase of marijuana mentions in US emergency treatment centers. For at least the past two years the US drug czar has been busy trying to scare Americans over the "super-powerful" marijuana grown in BC and smuggled to the US. According to the drug czar, the reason so many people are going to the emergency room over marijuana is fueled largely by more potent weed than people had back in the day. (That, in and of itself, is simply not true, but I know there will be plenty of opportunity to enlighten others over that in the future.)

As usual, the problem is not so much with what the drug czar says, as it is with what he doesn't say -- and the news media doesn't bother checking into. The key thing to know about these emergency room visits over marijuana is that it simply doesn't matter that the number of such visits has tripled over a ten year period. The reason that the number of these visits doesn't add up to much is simply this: out of all the people who actually use marijuana, less than one-half of one percent of them end up in the emergency room over it.

One can rightly expect that the American drug czar would be reluctant to call attention to the fact that his entire operation is useless and unnecessary, but when the "newspaper of record" fails to do its job, we all end up paying the price for it. To help set the record straight over marijuana take a look at this: http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/nutshell-marijuana.

Marijuana is nowhere near as scary as they want us to think.

How do you ask someone to be the last person to die over something so incredibly stupid? Worse, how many more have to die before we wake up and put an end to this nonsense once and for all?