Archive for drugs

Drugs Policy? Let’s Be Frank* Rather Than Talk To Him

Posted in culture, morality, news, opinion, science, society, topical with tags , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by zombiebacon

I don’t think there are many more contentious issue today in the UK than drugs and their usage. Note I didn’t say ‘MIS-usage’ or ‘abuse’ as many articles in the Media do when referring to drugs, simply because those are loaded terms and give anything but an impartial arena to discuss the issue sensibly and dispassionately.

But it’s not really journalists’ fault – apart from a fear of thinking on their own and automatically backing the status quo – that discussions concerning narcotics are so one-sided and irrational you’d be forgiven for thinking the main players (I.E. representatives of the Government) are all high on something.

The term ‘drug’ is so politically-charged and distorted with pre-existing socially-constructed connotations that it is nigh on impossible to give drug policy a fair debate. Criticise existing drug policy and you find yourself condemned by MPS, support groups, newspapers and the families of victims that they have in their contact books.

In fact, there are only two ways not to come under fire when discussing drugs. One, agree with the current legislation or two, say it could be more draconian still.

Is that in any way fair? Is that how we in a so-called democracy think debate is to be conducted: With A Priori assumptions so canon that ‘Thou Shalt Not Roll Blunts’ is to be included in the revised edition of the 10 Commandments?

Imagine any other issue being so heavily weighed against – in the 21st century I must add, because in Man’s torturous history there are countless examples of such partisan ways of thinking – slavery being one; evolution another.

But that’s the way things are at the moment and the latest example is the vilification of a senior adviser to the Government on the thorny issue of ecstasy and re-classification (don’t wait for the polity’s findings as I can tell you now nothing will happen regards re-classification, except perhaps a boosting to a newly-created class A+).

Poor Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), is being attacked for daring to say something that isn’t on the party line: That taking ecstasy is inherently no more dangerous than riding a horse.

His comments aren’t pre-formed as he’s a scientist and is just going on research to formulate them. He has no vested interests in promoting drug taking but unfortunately he failed to remember that whatever the evidence drugs are WRONG, both morally and criminally.

However, it does make me wonder why drugs are so wrong when the health risks can be no greater than other social activities as long as the user has the right education on how to handle them and access to an unadulterated source (free of the muck drug-pushers routinely put in them to save resources and maximise profit).

How can the Government justify what they say about drugs? It might be risky taking a pill when you don’t know where it’s come from or how to use it safely, but then again it’s just as risky riding a horse when the saddle has been bought black-market and you’ve been given no riding lessons beforehand. Yet you don’t see police forces swooping down on dodgy stables even if there are such things.

Why? Because it’s not recognised as criminal. At best you can hope for the redress of tort law as it’s a case of a failure on an individual’s part to another individual, not a crime against the state as a whole.

Then again an individual smoking pot is now seen as a criminal offence so who knows what constitutes what these days. How people choosing to do something to themselves in the comfort of their own homes is ‘criminal’ is beyond me. It reminds me of a less enlightened time when sucicide was seen as a crime, punishable by death (oh, the irony).

It all boils down to what right the Government has to intrude into our privacy on matters of morality. Because any other argument for keeping (most) drugs illicit just falls flat.

They’re bad for your health! Legalise them and make sure you only supply through official channels so the recipient gets only the safest types. Do it prescription-only and guarantee to know exactly who’s doing what and how it’s affecting them.

Drugs sold on the black market fund crime! Legalise and you remove the incentive for organised crime to get involved. They only make huge profits because of the age-old economic law of ‘supply and demand’. Instead the money could go back into the Government’s pot and be spent on worthy things such as health and education.

They’re bad… because they are! Hmm, many societies used drugs as ways to expand consciousness and/or chill out. Why must a right to freedom of thought naturally exclude a right to mode of thinking. And IF it should (just because) then I expect tea, coffee, nicotine, alcohol, exercise and sex to be banned swiftly as they change the brain chemistry – and therefore our perceptions – as well.

I’m not asking for everything to be legalised. I’m not even asking for cannabis to be stocked at my local off-licence. All I want is the right to be treated as an adult, a voter with a stake in the state and a say in it’s running, and a moral animal who ISN’T automatically a felon is he chooses once in a while to forsake a pint and have a joint instead.

(*N.B. ‘Frank’ is a drugs-awareness organisation)

Young At Hearts

Posted in Humour, news, satire, science with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by zombiebacon

Sinced the time the first single-celled organisms (such as President Bush) decided to stop reproducing asexually and have a bit of fun, there’s been an odd thing called LOVE.

To some it’s the best feeling in the world, to others an endless source of misery and woe; but to everyone it’s been a mystery.

How many times have you heard someone say ‘I can’t believe he/she’s with her/him/it’? If love was fathomable then expressions such as ‘love is blind’ and ‘beauty’s in the eye of the beholder’ would be meaningless – because we’d all be able to do the maths and work out why one plus one equals two. Or, later on down the road, three or four.

Poets, artists and musicians wax lyrical about it but press them to explain what the hell they’re on about and they’ll probably come up with such rubbish as ‘love is ineffable’ and ‘beyond explanation’, which kind of makes the whole effort of putting their ‘thoughts’ on the subject down on paper, disk or canvas pointless.

Thankfully, there’s another avenue we can go down to explain what love is. It’s called ‘science’, but really science is just a name for the process of rational investigation to bring understanding.

Everything in our lives should be done, in this sense of the word, scientifically. You wouldn’t drive a car without learning how it works, or eat anything that takes your eye and trust to faith you wouldn’t get poisoned.

The same should apply to love, because, to quote a bad ’80s pop tune, it ‘changes, changes everything’. Bad love can be worse for you than tucking into a steaming bowl of salmonella.

Larry Young, a professor of neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, has had the nerve to examine love scientifically, and his conclusion is very interesting.

He argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events in the brain.

“It’s just that when we experience these emotions they are so rich we can’t imagine that they are just a series of chemical events,” says Dr Young.

You can read the full article here for the actual science. What I find fascinating are the implications.

Such a reductionist approach might take the romance out of love but it sure is refreshing.

Basically our beloveds are doping us to the eye-balls until we can’t think straight.

Which is why so many lives go unfulfilled in terms of experience. We don’t care that we’re missing all the other rides in the fairground because the Roller-coaster’s providing such a buzz.

Far better to get off and try something else. You’ll still get a kick as nature’s wired your brain to provide it. Maybe the Dodgems would be an apt choice.

Bad love would be cured and people could have a legitimately acceptable choice in life. Get married and slowly become immune to the drug OR sod ’em all and become a emotion junkie.

After all, nature is only trying to trick us in to putting all our baskets into one egg.

“Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species” – W. Somerset Maugham

Then, when the body is too frazzled to take the constant highs, you could finally settle down for one last baby-making chemical romance, satisfied in the knowledge you’d have some great memories to take to the grave.