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The Forum > Article Comments > Stoned stupidity > Comments

Stoned stupidity : Comments

By Greg Barns, published 18/4/2007

The war against drugs is simply a scandalous waste of money, resources and lives.

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A fine and timely article.

To see the conservative press in NSW foam at the mouth over the Green's drug policy during the recent state election was disgracefull. But it just goes to show how far we have to go in order to stop the foolish "war on drug", and start working to improve the health and safety of addicts.

That said, I've never thought that dangerous drugs like herion and methamphetamine should be completely legalised. The people at the supply side of the distribution chain should still be considered law breakers. However, no one should go to jail, or receive a criminal felony charge for the use of drugs. What they have is a health problem, and from my experience with addicts, they need all the help they can get.

It is high time that dangerous, illicit drugs were treated as a health problem. I've always been a proponent of the three steps:

- demand reduction (through increased education, reduction in social inequalities etc...)
- Supply reduction (prevention of large imports/drug labs, increased regulation etc...)

- Harm reduction.

Good article!
Posted by ChrisC, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 10:00:33 AM
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Hear hear!

What a ludicrous system we have where the ill (addicts) are punished for use/possession of certain substances while our governments rake in mega-taxes through the sale of others (alcohol/tobacco) which have massive deleterious effects on users. The illness is the same and the criminal justice system is never going to be the solution.

Take the financial incentive out for the dealers and leave a regulated product of consistent quality and marvel at how usage rates do NOT soar and how drug-related crime and overdoses plummet. Or, continue to mouth the same old platitudes of 'tough on drugs' and watch nothing change.
Posted by stickman, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 10:09:31 AM
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Hear, hear Greg. As a young person who grew up amongst a culture of drugs and Ė admittedly Ė as a recreational user of them, I can only agree that making them a medical issue is the only way the issue can be tackled successfully.

Essentially, drugs arenít the problem. Itís the issues surrounding them that become the problem. Addiction, overdoses, anti-social behaviour etc. I think contrary to popular belief, the issue isnít one of education (most kids know the dangers of drugs), itís about a cultural approach.

You can pay for all the Ďthis is your brain on drugsí advertising you like, but the fact remains that drugs are very much seen by many younger people as a way of rebelling. There is an element of glamour and mystery surrounding them. Rock stars use them, movie stars use them. The excitement of doing something forbidden was definitely a motivating factor for my friends and I growing up. Legalising them, and making them a medical issue, will go a long way towards taking that away. It will also give greater control over the quality of the substance (reducing health problems), the amount that users take (reducing overdoses), and the ability for users to get them (reducing anti-social behaviour like theft).

Drug use is always going to a part of society. Minimising the impact of it on individuals and on society is a whole should be the aim. That will require a radically different approach to the one we have currently.
Posted by StabInTheDark, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 10:41:18 AM
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The Australian government started the drug problem in this country.
They do massive damage to people covertly, The creation of problems to justify excuesses. Their are a multitude of methods of control instigated by the government for the purpose of control.
Jesus said " Forgive them for they know not what they do!", To investigate this statement by Christ in depth will result in another Quote from the king james Bible, " When a mans mind becomes aware it becomes troubled !".
The best part is, their is a lot more to us humans that most people are aware of, the use of mind altering substances enables the user to be manipulated, or to put as a covert pervert aristocrat would put it, To control men through open windows into the soul.
And just like the King James Bible is, Drugs, another vihicle for control.
I recomend shooting all pollititions, government covert opperatives and heads of all churches, destroy them all!
They are doing horrendous deliberat damage to Australians and the people are blind to it!, or to gutless to stand up to them!
Posted by TRUTH, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 12:16:45 PM
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Government caters to the prevailing attitude in the community, and the communities attitude towards drugs is one of fear, caused by a lack of understanding. In turn, this lack of understanding is caused by ill conceived and potentially harmful misinformation perpetuated by the government. Caught in a loop.

Drugs are a fantastic scapegoat - possibly the second most useful tool at the moment for scaremongering (losing out only to terrorism). The reason for the success of drugs as a scapegoat, in my opinion, is because those in power are only too aware of the following: that there will always be ills in society, and there will always be drugs - so drugs will always be around to blame. It reminds one of Orwell's idea that the sole purpose of war is to perpetuate itself.

Of course it takes only the most basic understanding of the concepts of democracy, individual rights and freedom to conclude that individuals should be free to make their own educated decisions about what they consume. But generations of scare campaigns have built a disturbing (and to me, continually surprising) fear response into societies collective unconsciousness. The facts regarding the failure of prohibition and the science regarding the actual risks in terms of specific substances is of no consequence, because most absorb this information on top of the pre-conditioned assumption that drugs are inherently evil.

Most also assume, without any conscious thought, that legal drugs (alcohol, caffeine, painkillers) are distinct and separate from those that authority has decided we must be protected from. It's rubbish of course, but it does illustrate how effective playing on peoples fears can be. I believe the drugs that have been deemed acceptable by authority are the very ones that encourage no new perspectives of the world, and do nothing but maintain the status quo (the No. 1 priority of any government).

For example, the US stopped testing LSD in the military pretty quickly in the seventies, when they noticed that the reaction of almost all tested soldiers was to leave the army.
Posted by spendocrat, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 1:01:23 PM
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I often disagree with Barnsy, but in this article he articulates many of the things that I've been thinking and saying for years. The only way our society has the slightest chance of limiting illicit drug use is by making them licit - i.e. by legalisation, education and regulation, in much the same way that alcohol and tobacco use is limited by law now.

Perhaps those drugs with more serious side effects could only be available by prescription, but as Barns says, the key to getting a handle on recreational drug use and/or abuse is in removing the criminal element. Remove the profit motive, and there goes much of our associated and indirect crime rate, not to mention the emptying of our gaols.

Sounds good to me.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 1:14:25 PM
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