Exactly as the title implies. This conversation started on one of the mighty stu’s threads, primarily a back and forth between me and Brickhead. I’m curious to hear different perspectives to that of my own… I’ll make some key points to start
Classification of licit and illicit substances
- The current model regarding how substances are classified remains significantly flawed. Such a system should be adopted on the principle of “how much harm does X substance induce”. The media may have you believe this to be the case, but if this were the case, prohibition would’ve been reinstated. Why is it that I can consume liquor, drink it to my heart’s content yet cannabis possession can net me jail-time (because big corporations have created a monopoly… but rationally speaking).
In Sydney, NSW sniffer dogs patrol train stations, pubs, sidewalks in the city, music festivals etc. If one of these dogs sniffs you, the police will take you aside in public, regardless of age and strip search/cavity search you… the majority of time when something is found it’s a joint or two. These searches have been confirmed to be illegal in nature, especially when conducted on minors without a guardian present. Statistics indicate these dogs are incorrect within roughly two thirds of all detections. I have more frustration regarding Australian policy however I’ll stop here. Such police tactics as present in NSW will only serve to induce a sense of distrust between youth and the police force, and rightfully so. An unwarranted cavity search over a drug dog detection at a pub/train station may be very traumatising for some, especially those who have been previously subjected to sexual abuse/assault. Despite arrest rates skyrocketing for possession, rates of drug use have remained stable… or have increased
- Certain substances such as anabolic steroids impose a mandatory prison sentence (in QLD and the NT), a sentence of up to twenty years in prison can be imposed for steroid possession even if only designated for personal use. When a trafficable quantity comes into play the penalty escalates. These practices don’t represent rational punishment compared to the amount of harm these compounds actually induce when used reasonably. A man on cycle isn’t stealing/killing for more gear… there may be the incredibly rare exception, but as a generalisation this isn’t the case. People need to stop equating a guy on gear to that of a heroin addict, they’re not comparable. Barring perhaps high dosages of compounds known to be very harsh from a neurological standpoint (tren etc), the vast majority of men/women on are productive members of society. As a matter of fact, there is a strong correlation between gear usage and higher income/educational attainment (not always the case, but the correlation exists). I’m aware this incredibly complex topic isn’t as simple as I’m making it seem.
With the this “war” still raging on… illicit, large scale suppliers exist. If you’ve got a large-scale supplier for an illicit product, you’ve typically got ties to organised crime, unregistered firearms/casualties (this is exactly what happened with Prohibition… the rise of Al Capone). My answer to this is…. Legalise, tax and regulate. Mexican Cartels make a fortune from cannabis… with the substance no longer prohibited cartels will initially suffer a massive net loss… until they switch over to other substances. Here bears an argument for regulation of… everything… but that’s flawed in my opinion, I don’t believe say cocaine, methamphetamine etc should be legalised… decriminalisation seems like a better route to me when regarding mere possession without intent to distribute. My counterargument to “cartels switching sources of income” relates to statistics, cannabis caters to a larger audience than heroin does, thus net profits will still be likely to drop.
Some of my arguments
Pertaining to lighter/intermediate level substances the user is only harming themselves, no one else. Rarely will you see a man high on cannabis/on cycle or even a harder substance such as MDMA deteriorate into a crazed, violent frenzy like one might see with alcohol, cocaine or methamphetamine.
statistics showcase that heavy policing/intimidation tactics induce more harmful patterns of drug use. An example of which would be someone swallowing everything on the sight of police etc
countries of which adopt harm minimisation strategies tend to have comparatively lower overdose rates
If Alcohol and tobacco are allowed, it’s rather hypocritical to be handing out jail sentences for other substances that are arguably less dangerous.
With the legalisation and taxation of numerous “soft” or “intermediate” level substances, the amount of revenue generated can be put into funding legitimate campaigns aimed at educating the populace regarding harms/risks, similar to how programs have been created to cut down rates of tobacco usage. I’m not referring to programs like DARE… that was a load of shit that supposedly led to increased… not decreased rates of illicit substance abuse.
Pill testing when trailed has been demonstrated to potentially save lives, as potentially lethal contaminants are typically found within certain batches of pills
Locking up an otherwise productive member of society is counterproductive
There’s the argument “but what about burden on the public healthcare system”, particularly in relation to chronic substance abuse (AAS factor in here). Studies have anecdotally demonstrated within certain areas wherein cannabis is legalised that upon legalisation, problematic use/use rates of the compound either remain unaffected and/or SLIGHTLY increase, hospitalisations rose regarding adverse psychiatric reactions (disproportionately pertaining to edible products… enterohepatic metabolism and more potent/psychedelic metabolite 11-hydroxy THC would be to blame). There is the prospect between “illicit drug use, mental health” etc, but this correlation also exists with booze, whether legalisation actually leads to more cases of psychiatric illness due to higher rates of use or whether more people come forward due to no fear of punishment/stigmatisation is unknown. People currently clog up the healthcare system regarding burden of disease associated with recreational substance abuse… It isn’t as if things will dramatically increase tenfold if legalisation occurs, I believe such a conveyed ideology is fear-mongering/fear of change. Say crack cocaine was decriminalised, no one/VERY few will be dumb enough to use because the prospect of jailtime has been abolished. The “law” doesn’t deter people from indulging, how could we possibly think “if this hasn’t worked for the past 50 years… we need tougher restrictions” … Drugs are still a problem within the Philippines… Under Robert Duterte’s rule drug use/possession is punished by either life in prison or execution… if that doesn’t serve as a deterrent, nothing will. If we adopt a harm minimisation style protocol, we may have a slight uptick within ER visits… but on the plus side less people will die, people will be more eager to seek help for problematic patterns of use.
In my opinion this should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal one. Expend resource to catch suppliers, not the civilian. QLD incarcerates 2x more people than the rest of Australia combined for minor drug possession alone. An enquiry into practice regarding punitive measures recently found QLD and Aus in general (similarly to America) has a problem with mass incarceration. A large chunk of offenders being in prison for minor, non-violent drug related offences. The report hypothesized had illicit drug use been decriminalised, the overall amount of incarcerated would drop by 30% within the next five years alone…
I’ve made this very long; I have a lot to say here and wanted to link literature… But I don’t wish to write a book on the introducing post. 1500 words isn’t a book, statistically 90,000 words is)
I should clarify this is a CIVILISED debate, for those who become hostile/aggressive and/or condescending, I will not respond. There’s a chance I may be wrong, one of the best aspects of “freedom of speech” is that we all get to convey our ideologies… regardless of who they clash with. If we all harboured similar opinions on everything the world would be incredibly dull.
Look at countries that have adopted harm minimisation policies (Netherlands, Canada, Portugal etc). Low overdose rates, relatively low incarceration rates, the Netherlands has a very high rate of inhabitant satisfaction; the sky didn’t fall. The majority of cannabis/soft drugs consumed in say, the Netherlands tends to stem from tourists coming down to experience what they feel to be “taboo”. With government regulation, it’s no longer quite as enticing, especially for the younger crowd.
For those who say I don’t know what I’m talking about due to naivety… I’ve unfortunately been around quite a lot of drugs throughout my life, I’ve seen the havoc addiction can wreck upon a life… I’ve seen bad/acutely psychotic reactions too, I’m not oblivious to potential harms… I may not be well versed on say the usage patterns of certain substances as I will never use cocaine, methamphetamine etc, but I’ve been around enough under the influence and/or using it to know how it can alter someones demeanor. The worst consequences I’ve seen from acute intoxication were Alcohol induced.
I’m not arguing drug use is healthy or that it should be seen as acceptable (though alcohol is seen as acceptable), I’m arguing a different approach should be made to deter use/employ harm minimisation tactics for those who decide to use regardless as the law typically won’t deter anyone from getting high/jacked (this also refers to alcohol and cigarettes… however it’s taxed and regulated, the outcome has been alright). Statistically within the US, alcohol is involved within more homicide’s comparative to all other substances, one could argue “if we kept it illegal this wouldn’t have happened…” what about speakeasy’s, bootleg liquor killing countless, organised crime. One could argue they’re not used as often; hence they aren’t implicated within as many homicides, I’d say moot point… even if decriminalised the general populace won’t start using crystal methamphetamine (should be noted methamphetamine hydrochloride is a legitimate pharmaceutical) …. Anecdotal experience does play a role here as well as literature…. I’ve only seen fights, destruction of property, grave bodily injury with people using booze (and cocaine once… and benzodiazepines mixed with booze)
If this isn’t an appropriate discussion for the politics sub-thread, this can be moved over to the “off topic” thread
@BrickHead the thread has been made. If anyone wants me to provide literature to back my opinions I will gladly do so. Literature exists that backs both sides (punitive vs harm reduction)