Last time we looked at the first lie about drugs; that they are of themselves an enemy – a social evil. Now we can look at another lie commonly spoken of drugs.
Lie Two – Drug takers hurt us all
We often hear politicians or extremist nut-jobs (is there a difference?) telling us that drug users frequently run rampage in violent drug frenzies; that all drug users will happily kill their grandma’s to get more money for smack and that all drug takers are welfare scroungers because they can’t hold a job.
The idea we are sold is that drugs are not a victimless crime. Far from harmlessly sitting at home laughing at the wallpaper and eating biscuits, people who take drugs are destroying our society. This is, of course, utter balls.
I will look at dealers and cartels later, but here we are looking mostly at users – people who, if they could, would go to a super-market and buy drugs.
The Drugs Don’t Work
In reality, people who take clean drugs generally fall asleep, fall down wasted, or fall over laughing. These are not good states for rampaging or grannie-stabbing. The main venues for drug taking are large fields in the middle of nowhere and peoples homes. Ooh, feel the danger.
The military has tried to put drugs to use in making better soldiers and failed (1, 2, 3). The majority of drugs don’t make us aggressive – and those that do are mostly legal and aimed at sports (such as steroids), not used for recreation or ‘switching off’ like illegal street drugs.
The Drugs Go Beserk
Prolonged over-use of a drug can cause psychosis, it is true. However, prolonged over-use of alcohol can cause psychosis too.
Because alcohol is legal, more can be done to prevent and treat addiction and related illnesses.
One of the things that can send a drug-taker loopy is that street drugs are often cut with all kinds of crap, from baking powder to horse tranquillisers. Dealers want to make more money by diluting the drug, substituting cheaper drugs or making non-addictive substances addictive by adding harder drugs. You never know quite how strong a drug is, or exactly what’s in it or what it will do.
Imagine sipping a regular beer only to find an hour later that the world has changed colour and is melting. It would mess up anyone’s head.
The Drugs Co. Works
The best way to ensure people don’t go mad is to have control of the supply to keep it clean, and to provide adequate education on drug use (which is still lacking even for alcohol). A clean regulated supply means one always knows the dosage and content of the drug.
The same goes for addicts killing their grannies for money. With a regulated supply the cost would drop hugely and no-one would need to kill anyone.
I showed in part one that drugs used to be a normal, accepted part of life, as tobacco and alcohol are. If they were to be so again, there would be no more ‘drug crime‘ than the unavoidable degree of crime we have in every area of commerce.
The Drugists Don’t Work
The people who really cause harm are not the takers but the dealers. Until they are priced out through a legalised supply they will continue to fight for territory and ‘customers’. Since they cannot fight legally, because drugs are not legal, they will fight illegally through violence. If drugs were legal, dealers would become traders just as if they traded coffee or shoes, with legal recourse to protect their businesses.
Meanwhile, since organised large-scale dealers are the real source of violence, jailing drug users is like discovering banks have acted criminally – and so jailing all those who have accounts with the bank and leaving the bankers free.
The Drunks Don’t Work
As to the idea that drug-takers can’t hold down jobs – this is horse-shit. Not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, and likewise only a tiny number of drug takers are the stereotypical, messed-up, wrung-out junkie who can do nothing but think of his next score.
There are thousands who work and who also, quietly, peaceably roll a joint in the evenings, or drop acid on weekends. By far the biggest culprit for missed work is the alcohol hangover, which you don’t get with other drugs.
As things stand I would guess that drugs actually save countries money – since working in drugs is the only job available to ghettoised and disenfranchised populations. There are probably more people not claiming welfare because they support themselves dealing, than there are who claim and just get wasted. No dealer with sense would claim if he didn’t have to, it brings with it too much examination of one’s circumstances.
This Pun Don’t Work
The cause of the drug war is a failure of understanding from governments. You cannot stop people wanting things, and making what they want illegal only creates crime – just as prohibition should have taught us.
But the government cannot act effectively, because it has become fundamentally detached from the realities it is trying to legislate.
Since this post is quite long already, I’ll write another in which we’ll look at this more deeply.