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Hard Drugs and Society

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sivispacem
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#31

Posted 19 October 2014 - 09:46 AM

If you don't work hard you can't afford cocaine. The "decriminalising drugs means higher rates of use" argument is factually wrong too. Experiences with decriminalisation have resulted in lower rates of use, not higher.
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eroch
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#32

Posted 19 October 2014 - 05:33 PM

If you don't work hard you can't afford cocaine. The "decriminalising drugs means higher rates of use" argument is factually wrong too. Experiences with decriminalisation have resulted in lower rates of use, not higher.

Actually cocaine in the United States is relatively cheap because most cocaine is grown in Central/South America and gets sent up here. The rampant cartel activity allows for them to grow it down there, and send it up here with relative ease. The rest of the world has Cocaine being extremely expensive, like where you live, because nobody grows cocaine in western Europe, and the coca plant is native to the Americas. 

 

Also, I never said that decriminalization leads to higher usage, I'm just saying that it would render every health program active worthless since these drugs with prolonged use can do more damage more quickly than most unhealthy habits most people partake in.

 

Analogy: What does it matter if I smoke cigarettes and die in 40 years of lung cancer, when I can accidentally overdose on heroin at any time?

 

The level of hard drug users is also extremely low as is. Legalizing such drugs would please such a tiny portion of the population that it wouldn't be worth the time in Congress to legalize it, which they wouldn't. Apologies if my endless droning in these topics about the US government seem ignorant of me, I just assume that many other people here live in the US, but it appears many users live in the UK as well.


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#33

Posted 19 October 2014 - 06:21 PM

Just because the easy way of dealing with these issues is to legalise or decriminalise drugs doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do though. The idea that we'd allow hard drugs like heroin and crack to be freely used is disgusting. And for what? Do you really think that would be a benefit to society, to have these harmful dangerous drugs available to everyone? How the hell is that a good thing.

Sivis already said it, but Stu you're not appealing to reality with this argument.

 

we don't "think" there will be a benefit to society from legalization, we know there will be a benefit to society.

let me turn your question around on you.

 

after 125 years of utterly failed prohibition, you do really think that doubling-down on such a policy will be a benefit to society?

to have these useless, corrupt, racist laws eroding the credibility of our criminal justice system?

 

how the hell is that a good thing??

 

The war on drugs is not supposed to be easy and simple. Yes there are things inherently wrong with current systems that are in place to fight the illegal drugs trade, but it's better to try and reform these systems and the way we operate against the illegal drugs trade than to simply give up the fight. 

this sentiment only belies an ignorance on your part of the mountains of research we have that says exactly otherwise.

 

in places where governments have experimented with legalization/decriminalization the statistics are shockingly clear:

  • crime goes down
  • illicit drug use goes down
  • rates of overdose and fatality go down
  • emergency-room visits go down
  • tax revenue goes up (in the case of regulated marijuana)

none of the scary scenarios that you heard in your DARE program ever come to fruition.

you cannot fight this issue through prohibition. the only way to control drugs is to regulate drugs. making them illegal ONLY MAKES EVERYTHING WORSE. we know this. we know this from hundreds of years of research and practice in public policy.

 

check your emotions at the door.

this issue can be resolved with education and liberalization, not through force or violence or criminality.


sivispacem
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#34

Posted 19 October 2014 - 10:31 PM

Actually cocaine in the United States is relatively cheap

Relatively cheap != cheap, certainly not in comparison to other illicit drugs or even legal ones.

Also, I never said that decriminalization leads to higher usage

Except where you said:

legalizing them will just help them reach a larger consumer base.

Which is quite literally the same thing.

I'm just saying that it would render every health program active worthless since these drugs with prolonged use can do more damage more quickly than most unhealthy habits most people partake in.

Why? This falsely assumes that the potential harm from drugs is higher when they're decriminalised, which is the polar opposite of reality. If decriminalisation doesn't lead to more people using drugs, and doesn't lead to a higher degree of potential harm, then can you explain to me how such a policy would render "every health program active worthless" when the quantifiable impact on the healthcare system would most likely be lower?

The level of hard drug users is also extremely low as is.

669,000 US citizens used heroin alone in the last year according to the findings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2012. That's not an "extremely low" level of use.
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eroch
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#35

Posted 19 October 2014 - 11:23 PM Edited by eroch, 19 October 2014 - 11:24 PM.

 

Actually cocaine in the United States is relatively cheap

Relatively cheap != cheap, certainly not in comparison to other illicit drugs or even legal ones.
http://www.havocscop...cocaine-prices/Cocaine is inexpensive in the United States, even taking income into consideration. If you look at the list, you notice a pattern between prices of Cocaine and where that price is located.

Also, I never said that decriminalization leads to higher usage

Except where you said:

legalizing them will just help them reach a larger consumer base.

Which is quite literally the same thing.
Help does not mean will. I said that legalizing these drugs would help them reach a larger base, not that they would. Higher usage does not mean higher user base either. Usage means the amount of drugs a user intakes. Users are the amount of people using a drug. Sorry if I'm being vague.

I'm just saying that it would render every health program active worthless since these drugs with prolonged use can do more damage more quickly than most unhealthy habits most people partake in.

Why? This falsely assumes that the potential harm from drugs is higher when they're decriminalised, which is the polar opposite of reality. If decriminalisation doesn't lead to more people using drugs, and doesn't lead to a higher degree of potential harm, then can you explain to me how such a policy would render "every health program active worthless" when the quantifiable impact on the healthcare system would most likely be lower?
I did not assume that potential harm is higher once decriminalized, I said that it would be ironic for a government to promote eating healthy or not smoking if you can go snort a few grams of cocaine and die of a heart failure and they have no issue at all. Potential harm stays the same legalized or not, the irony is key.

The level of hard drug users is also extremely low as is.

669,000 US citizens used heroin alone in the last year according to the findings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2012. That's not an "extremely low" level of use.

669,000:318,968,000 or .2%. By comparison, .3% of Americans have HIV/AIDS, .6% of Americans are amputees, and 41.9% of Americans have used Marijuana.


sivispacem
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#36

Posted 20 October 2014 - 07:15 AM

You know that, according to the UN figures, cocaine prices are the second highest in the US, not the lowest, if that table is to be believed? I'd explore the user submitted page more but that doesn't actually seem to work.

I also can't fathom why you think that decriminalisation would help drugs reach a larger base. The production and distribution are still illegal, it's the mere act of possession which is no longer criminal. If evidence from the various trials on decriminalisation and nations that have already engaged in it are to be believed, both use and abuse rates tend do decrease, partially because more policing attention can be given to targeting illicit distribution and production rather than wasting huge amounts of time on users.

I don't think decriminalisation is tantamount to condoning drug use. It's merely a measure which aims to remove the criminalisation of addicts and endure they are portrayed as ill instead.

If a single narcotic has a use rate not dissimilar to the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the US I think it's fair to say that use rates are not "extremely low". Methamphetamine- 1.2 million users annually. Cocaine users- 1.9 million of which 350,000 were crack users. MDMA- 3.2 million, although I'm of the belief MDMA is not much more harmful than THC and arguably less than alcohol at therapeutic doses.

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#37

Posted 20 October 2014 - 07:56 AM

I know this post doesn't contain any debatable content, but I do have a question. What is 2ci? Is it similar to acid?


sivispacem
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#38

Posted 20 October 2014 - 11:09 AM

It's a synthetic Phenethylamine, historically referred to as a "designer drug". The easiest way of summarising it would be to describe it as a mixture of ecstasy/MDMA and acid but a bit milder.
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eroch
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#39

Posted 20 October 2014 - 05:19 PM Edited by eroch, 20 October 2014 - 05:19 PM.

You know that, according to the UN figures, cocaine prices are the second highest in the US, not the lowest, if that table is to be believed? I'd explore the user submitted page more but that doesn't actually seem to work.

I also can't fathom why you think that decriminalisation would help drugs reach a larger base. The production and distribution are still illegal, it's the mere act of possession which is no longer criminal. If evidence from the various trials on decriminalisation and nations that have already engaged in it are to be believed, both use and abuse rates tend do decrease, partially because more policing attention can be given to targeting illicit distribution and production rather than wasting huge amounts of time on users.

I don't think decriminalisation is tantamount to condoning drug use. It's merely a measure which aims to remove the criminalisation of addicts and endure they are portrayed as ill instead.

If a single narcotic has a use rate not dissimilar to the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the US I think it's fair to say that use rates are not "extremely low". Methamphetamine- 1.2 million users annually. Cocaine users- 1.9 million of which 350,000 were crack users. MDMA- 3.2 million, although I'm of the belief MDMA is not much more harmful than THC and arguably less than alcohol at therapeutic doses.

The page says $300 to $8. It makes far more sense for more cocaine to average nearer to the $8 mark because of the price of the cocaine in the countries it is produced in, the amount of drugs flowing to the US, and the proximity of the US to those countries. If you notice, many drugs on the list start at very low prices, but can move up to insane levels. This is because either the drug can be purchased in a more refined/user-friendly form, or those drugs are received from elsewhere in the world and are more expensive because of transport costs. Other countries have a set price because they don't use so many drugs as the US (in a way that would merit a range of prices), and when they do, it all gets sent from long distance (South/Central America), so it costs far more. As a result, you cannot necessarily buy Cocaine for $20 a gram in the UK because of how difficult it is to transport large amounts of cocaine to the UK from South America. In the US, cocaine has a range of prices because of proximity to the source and variations of the drug.

 

Decriminalizing a drug and not allowing for marketing and distribution is senseless unless your goal is just to apologize to drug users. Allowing a user to own cocaine, but making it illegal to make or distribute cocaine makes no sense because he would have to use an illegal distributor to acquire said drugs. The government cannot manufacture or distribute said drugs either because they would be tantamount to the distribution ban as well. 

 

Regardless of the feelings of hard drug addicts, the act of allowing you to own drugs like cocaine with no backlash is akin to basically removing all health campaigns active. It would not matter anymore what the government says about personal health if you can own cocaine and basically get apologies from the government. In fact, cocaine addiction is entirely the user's fault. It isn't the government's job to apologize for what was clearly the choice of the user. I understand helping these people with their addiction, which is a sensible and morally correct thing to do, but telling them it's not their fault and voiding their crimes makes no sense. Lessening their crimes? I can agree with that, but not completely voiding them.

 

On a national scale, anything less than 1% is generally considered low, especially in a high-population country like the United States. the 99th percentile is generally considered irrelevant, as their numbers are far too low to merit sustained recognition. All of those drugs you have listed move into the .5% range, which is still far too low to require focused recognition from the government, especially when far more pressing matters like diabetes, cancers, and STDs exist. This is the reason why if you see a hard drug campaign in the United States, it usually takes the form of a short commercial or a media campaign similar to 'Faces of Meth.' The number of users is far too small overall to make it a big enough problem to focus on. It may be disappointing, but it's the way it works.


sivispacem
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#40

Posted 20 October 2014 - 08:51 PM

The page says $300 to $8.

You see, I'm not entirely convinced that isn't just an error on the part of whoever wrote the site. In every other instance where a range of prices is presented from a particular source, the lowest price is first and the highest second, as would be semantically correct in reporting. The US ranks second highest in terms of price according to the actual numerical indexing of the page, which ranges from highest to lowest.
 

Decriminalizing a drug and not allowing for marketing and distribution is senseless unless your goal is just to apologize to drug users. Allowing a user to own cocaine, but making it illegal to make or distribute cocaine makes no sense because he would have to use an illegal distributor to acquire said drugs. The government cannot manufacture or distribute said drugs either because they would be tantamount to the distribution ban as well.

No, it really isn't. As I've said numerous times, every case study on decriminalisation (which only ever applies to possession, not producing and distribution- that's what "decriminalisation" means in this context) shows lower abuse rates and lower harm rates. I think you fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of decriminalisation; it isn't designed to enable ready access to controlled drugs but as a form of harm reduction, to remove the social and criminal stigma surrounding abuse, leading to higher instances of rehabilitation from addiction, and to permit police resources to be better employed tackling the illicit production and distribution aspects of the drug market. Examining the most frequently referenced case study for decriminalisation, Portugal, it's difficult to see decriminalisation as anything other than a resounding success:
 

Portuguese policy is that possession of small amounts of any drug is not a criminal offence; if you are found possessing it, you can be put before a panel of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser, who will decide appropriate treatment. You are free to refuse that treatment, and a jail sentence is not an option. Drug trafficking is still illegal and punishable by jail.

I'll just go through the figures; apologies for the slew of statistics. Drug use among 13- to 15-year-olds fell from 14.1 per cent in 2001 to 10.6 per cent in 2006. Among 16- to 18-year-olds it has dropped from 27.6 per cent to 21.6 per cent. This, incidentally, has come after years of steadily increasing drug use among the young; between 1995 and 2001, use in the 16-to-18 bracket leapt up from 14.1 per cent to its 2001 high. This drop has come against a background of increasing drug use across the rest of the EU. There has been a mild increase in use among older groups, 19-24 and up, but this is expected due to the rise in use in the young in the 1990s; it's a "cohort effect", meaning that young people get older, and take their habits with them. Further, HIV infections among drug users fell, drug-related deaths fell, there was a decrease in trafficking, and a huge amount of money was saved by offering treatment instead of prison sentences.

I know that correlation does not equal causation, but until 2001, Portugal had some of the worst drug problems in Europe. The turnaround since decriminalisation has been dramatic, and expert opinion attributes it to the change in policy; a study by the World Health Organisation and another published in the British Medical Journal found similar things.


I wouldn't normally reference someone like the Cato institute but on this subject, they're absolutely right. They did a fairly sizeable whitepaper on the benefits of decriminalisation.
 

Regardless of the feelings of hard drug addicts, the act of allowing you to own drugs like cocaine with no backlash is akin to basically removing all health campaigns active. It would not matter anymore what the government says about personal health if you can own cocaine and basically get apologies from the government.

With comments like this, I really don't actually think you understand any of the fundamental point I'm making. It has nothing to do with apologism, and everything to do with not wasting vast quantities of resources imprisoning people who basically suffer from a severe illness, albeit a self-inflicted one.
 

In fact, cocaine addiction is entirely the user's fault.

So are many other illnesses to which people are entitled extremely costly, state-funded assistance. Smoking, alcoholism, obesity and sedentary lifestyles for instance, all of which are far more costly to the average developed nation than illicit drug use.
 

but telling them it's not their fault and voiding their crimes makes no sense. Lessening their crimes? I can agree with that, but not completely voiding them.

Why should the mere act of personal drug use be a crime at all? It doesn't, in itself, have any negative effect on society. It doesn't create direct harm, or indirect but tangible harm. Infact, I would go so far as to say that the only argument for the continued criminalisation of illicit drug possession would be a moral one, and moral arguments are almost universally based on subjective and often contradictory opinions, influenced by centuries of dogma and social norms, rather than by rationality or empiricism, and therefore are fundamentally worthless when discussing matters of criminal justice.
 

On a national scale, anything less than 1% is generally considered low

According to whom? It's simply false to say that the levels of drug use in the US don't merit sustained recognition. They already receive sustained recognition- it's just that the US' default response to the issue has been to target the low-hanging fruit- IE users- and basically leave the criminal enterprises who actually do all the societally harmful activity to their own devices.

Rates of drug use in the US are abnormally high compared to many other Western/liberal nations. The 2006 UN World Drug Report puts cocaine use in the US higher than anywhere else save from Scotland. Opiate use levels are higher than almost all of Western and Central Europe- only the UK, Spain, Luxembourg and Switzerland coming in above the 'states. According to the UNODC World Drug Report 2012, the US comes in the top ten of three of the five categories of drugs measured; seventh, seventh and sixth for cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines respectively.

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#41

Posted 20 October 2014 - 10:34 PM Edited by eroch, 20 October 2014 - 10:35 PM.

/snip

The page does run from highest to lowest. It just so happens that the max price of Cocaine in the US is the second highest price of cocaine overall. It literally makes no sense for cocaine in the US to be more expensive than in say, France when you can travel from the source (Columbia, Peru) all the way back to the Southwestern US in short time.

 

The results of the Portugal laws were:

-More users of Cannabis, Cocaine, and Heroin

-Reduced HIV among drug users (a given)

-The amount of drug related deaths lowered, but later returned to what they were before legalization

-Less adolescents used said drugs

-Less drug-related crime/street drug prices decrease (a given)

http://en.wikipedia....al#Observations

 

The only relevant results from this legalization were a temporary drop in users, less adolescents using said drugs, and an increase in total drug users overall. These results are also completely worthless because Portugal is in a completely different zone overall than the United States. Implementing a program that worked in a comparatively tiny country like Portugal to the United States is insanity. There are far too many factors to consider, including, but not limited to:

-The size difference of the US

-Population of the US

-Amount of users in the US

-Healthcare in the US

-Amount of HIV sufferers in relation to injection-drug using HIV sufferers

-Ability of drug enforcement in the US

-Amount of drugs in the US

 

It was easy for Portugal to single out their issue and resolve it because they are such a tiny nation that they can enforce such a ruling. I'd have a hard time believing that the US could accurately enforce a committee to review drug sufferers and enforce their rehabilitation.

 

Many other conditions may be the user's fault, but none are as inherently dangerous as cocaine or heroin. Not punishing these people does nothing except say that their drug use was bad, but we sure as heck aren't going to do anything about it; except of course give you medical assistance and a light ban on certain rights.

 

Drug possession is a crime because possession implies that you own it, and the sole purpose of owning a drug is to consume it or give it to someone else. Selling a drug to someone else implies that you are perpetuating the deterioration of public health by knowingly selling dangerous drugs to potential users. Consuming a drug is a crime because you're deteriorating your own health. Yes, the government can punish you for making personal health choices. For instance, you can face charges for wanting to commit suicide by doctoral assistance. You can also face charges for coming into contact with dangerous diseases or chemicals and bringing them back into the general populace (reference!)

 

The US does have an extremely high amount of drug users. Unfortunately, these criminal enterprises that you mentioned that supply said drugs are actually South American groups. The US has no jurisdiction over these groups, and the countries the groups are based in cannot allocate enough resources to combat the sale of these drugs. Almost all drug users in the US are consumers of Marijuana. A bit over 40% http://en.wikipedia....ed_States#Usageof people in the US have used Marijuana at least once in their lives, and about 1 in 9 have used Marijuana this year. 1 in 9 Americans is about 35 and a half million people. By comparison, the .5% of people (1.9 million) cocaine users is relatively small. Honestly, anything that effect that low an amount of people is generally ignored by the government. Something like a fifth of the country is in poverty and they barely get any assistance. The government will never allocate the resources to hire a review committee for every person in this low amount of people.

 

In addition, Congress would be the group to implement such a law, and honestly, it wouldn't even be possible. Even if everyone in Congress agreed with this kind of proposal, they would need permission by 3/4ths of the states to make such a bill an amendment. If we couldn't even pass an Equal Rights Amendment, something like this probably wouldn't pass.

 

But I digress, this isn't a discussion about implementing these ideas, just about whether or not they would be worth it. I certainly think drug sentences should be lessened, but not removed. I also think mandatory rehab treatments should be provided by the state the user lives in. I basically agree with everything you say up to the point where you say prison sentences for ownership/consumption should be removed. I apologize for not understanding what you meant by decriminalization.


sivispacem
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#42

Posted 21 October 2014 - 08:05 AM

I'm sorry but I really don't understand how you can claim that the page showing cocaine prices isn't ranked from highest to lowest. It starts with the...well, highest, and continues to the, er, lowest. Whilst I completely understand the logic of what you are saying with regard to minimal geographical movement, I'm inclined to think that there are at myriad of larger influencing factors that could mitigate this.

It's worth noting that, of the points made regarding drug use in Portugal that suggest comparative increases in harms and lifetime use, there are other factors which can explain the variance, such as the dramatic increase in the numbers of autopsies taking place and the removal of the social stigma surrounding drug discussion. Lifetime use statistics aren't very good for tracking rates of use- the annual use statistics make much more sense for this.

I also don't see how administering a policy of this nature would be any more politically or socially complex than the current policy of hounding and imprisoning drug addicts. I think that the only real barrier to this kind of policy is the social stigma and even that is changing these days.

You say that cocaine and heroin are more dangerous than other social and medical harms, but that's entirely dependent on how you categorise harm. On an individual basis they have equal or higher addiction potential and higher harm potential than, say, tobacco and alcohol but because the levels of use are comparatively so low the social harms of them are arguably much lower, as is there cost to society. It's also worth noting that several families of "hard" drugs- amphetamines, MDMA and derivatives, Phenethylamines, Tryptamines, Barbiturates, Ergolines and the various NMDA receptor antagonist disassociatives, have harm potential and/or additction potential orders of magnitude lower than alcohol or tobacco, so we aren't simply discussing heroin and cocaine here. The argument that criminalisation serves the purpose of emphasising illicit drug use harm seems pretty contradictory when most of the higher-schedule drugs in the US, and Class A ones in the UK, are less measurably harmful than alcohol. Even if it were the case, do you really think that the most effective way to deal with drug addiction is through the courts and the prison system, which is responsible for something like 40% of drug dependency in the US on its own?

In respect of the supply of illicit drugs in the US, your summary is an oversimplification. Certain drugs- cocaine and cannabis plus derivatives such as hash come in large quantities from South America but the latter is also imported from North Africa. Methamphetamine production is part domestic, part Far Eastern and part Mexican. Almost all opiates come from Afghanistan with a smaller contingent from East Asia, aside from synthetics like Fentanyl which come from Eastern Europe and Russia. Designer drugs like Tryptamines are domestically produced, though their distribution is on a much smaller scale. The majority of the large scale preparation, packaging and distribution is managed by criminal organisations operating inside the United States.

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#43

Posted 21 October 2014 - 07:26 PM

I'm sorry but I really don't understand how you can claim that the page showing cocaine prices isn't ranked from highest to lowest. It starts with the...well, highest, and continues to the, er, lowest. Whilst I completely understand the logic of what you are saying with regard to minimal geographical movement, I'm inclined to think that there are at myriad of larger influencing factors that could mitigate this.

It's worth noting that, of the points made regarding drug use in Portugal that suggest comparative increases in harms and lifetime use, there are other factors which can explain the variance, such as the dramatic increase in the numbers of autopsies taking place and the removal of the social stigma surrounding drug discussion. Lifetime use statistics aren't very good for tracking rates of use- the annual use statistics make much more sense for this.

I also don't see how administering a policy of this nature would be any more politically or socially complex than the current policy of hounding and imprisoning drug addicts. I think that the only real barrier to this kind of policy is the social stigma and even that is changing these days.

You say that cocaine and heroin are more dangerous than other social and medical harms, but that's entirely dependent on how you categorise harm. On an individual basis they have equal or higher addiction potential and higher harm potential than, say, tobacco and alcohol but because the levels of use are comparatively so low the social harms of them are arguably much lower, as is there cost to society. It's also worth noting that several families of "hard" drugs- amphetamines, MDMA and derivatives, Phenethylamines, Tryptamines, Barbiturates, Ergolines and the various NMDA receptor antagonist disassociatives, have harm potential and/or additction potential orders of magnitude lower than alcohol or tobacco, so we aren't simply discussing heroin and cocaine here. The argument that criminalisation serves the purpose of emphasising illicit drug use harm seems pretty contradictory when most of the higher-schedule drugs in the US, and Class A ones in the UK, are less measurably harmful than alcohol. Even if it were the case, do you really think that the most effective way to deal with drug addiction is through the courts and the prison system, which is responsible for something like 40% of drug dependency in the US on its own?

In respect of the supply of illicit drugs in the US, your summary is an oversimplification. Certain drugs- cocaine and cannabis plus derivatives such as hash come in large quantities from South America but the latter is also imported from North Africa. Methamphetamine production is part domestic, part Far Eastern and part Mexican. Almost all opiates come from Afghanistan with a smaller contingent from East Asia, aside from synthetics like Fentanyl which come from Eastern Europe and Russia. Designer drugs like Tryptamines are domestically produced, though their distribution is on a much smaller scale. The majority of the large scale preparation, packaging and distribution is managed by criminal organisations operating inside the United States.

Oh yes, I agree that cocaine may very well range up to $300 in the United States. The thing is that this site can gather far more data from the United States than say, Kuwait, the top country on the list, because of the thoroughness of the DEA or ATF. They can acquire a range of prices because they have far more intel on ranges of street prices. Because there is no average price for the United States, and the cost of cocaine in the countries of origin are so ridiculously low, it can be safely inferred that cocaine price in the United States is, on average, nowhere near as expensive as the average European price.

 

In response of how dangerous these drugs are, what I meant was that --->

Amount Used: Relative Harm --->

is way higher with Cocaine or Heroin than alcohol or cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are in no way safe, but they're less dangerous per amount of used. Ditto with Opioids. In fact, opioids are some of the most addictive drugs on the planet.

 

A policy like Portugal's would be difficult to implement because Portugal is a unitary semi-presidential republic, whereas the US is a federal democratic-republic. The federal nature of the US and the bureaucracy would make it impractical to implement such a thorough system as exists in Portugal. The prison system stays because it has always existed, and it is easier to update an existing system than to create a whole new agency for the public sector. It would also be more expensive to contract a monitoring service for every apprehended hard drug user in the US, and to hire a team of consultants to inspect these users, than to simply keep them in jail. 

 

I only included lifetime use to indicate the scale of marijuana usage in comparison to hard drugs. The number of marijuana users per year is closer to 1 in 9, which is still far more than the <1% of hard drug users.

 

Cocaine is produced in places other than the US, but the coca plant is native to Central and South America, and most cocaine in the US comes from these regions. Most heroin in the US is manufactured in either Mexico or SE Asia, and since we are these nations' only practical customer, we get most of their product. I will agree that most designer drugs are home grown, but that only means that they'll be much cheaper because they don't have to go through borders.

Much of the marijuana in the US is transported in by Mexican cartels, as well as a few South American cartels. Because of the nature of their business, these cartels also transport most of the cocaine, heroin, and opium sold to US citizens. The drug trade in the US is primarily between private citizens and cartels from Central/South America.

 

I'm not trying to make a statement about whether or not such a program could work if implemented, I'm saying that it couldn't even be implemented, at least not the Portuguese system. There also remains the problem of actually convincing these users to actually stop doing their drugs when there is a readily available source just south of them.

 

I am in support of some form of civil, but criminal punishment for drug users. Regardless of whether or not they could control their actions because of addiction, they still broke United States laws by consuming these drugs. There needs to be some way to let hard drug users know that their actions are not right without using a weak system of light fines and a committee. People barely respect the parole system in the US, and that's enforced by police officers, they have no reason to listen to a group of white-collar workers like on the Portuguese boards.


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#44

Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:38 PM

Anyone heard of "legal highs" 


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#45

Posted 27 January 2015 - 11:52 PM

Anyone heard of "legal highs" 

yes.

you can legally get high in Colorado and Washington state.

 

what exactly do you mean by "legal highs?"

you have to elaborate.


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#46

Posted 28 January 2015 - 12:09 AM

 

Anyone heard of "legal highs" 

yes.

you can legally get high in Colorado and Washington state.

 

what exactly do you mean by "legal highs?"

you have to elaborate.

 

 

Was just a general question if anyone was aware of legal highs

 

It's quite stupid how legal highs aren't banned. They are banned in Ireland and I also think they are banned in Wales, meanwhile England and Scotland remain the only countries part of the United Kingdom which allows legal highs to be sold. Not only that, they've caused sh*t loads of deaths and weird side affects usually happen. I've personally used them - only smoked them in roll-ups and bongs - nasty sh*t in my opinion


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#47

Posted 28 January 2015 - 01:48 AM Edited by Irviding, 28 January 2015 - 01:48 AM.

Can you tell what exactly you're referring to? Based on googling it it seems to be like a combo of various already illegal drugs?

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#48

Posted 28 January 2015 - 03:42 AM

Can you tell what exactly you're referring to? Based on googling it it seems to be like a combo of various already illegal drugs?

Legal highs are usually made illegal quite quick. I remember doing this acid nBome when it was legal and a week later it was made illegal.

 

Legal Highs seem quite widespread in the UK, I don't know about the US. Frank has some information on them, bear in mind though that it has a major anti-drug bias. http://www.talktofra...rug/legal-highs


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#49

Posted 28 January 2015 - 08:20 AM

They're basically compounds which are related to currently illegal drugs closely enough in chemistry to have similar effects, but distantly enough that they don't fall under existing legislation outlawing them.
  • Zook and Webster. like this

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#50

Posted 28 January 2015 - 12:06 PM Edited by Doc Rikowski, 28 January 2015 - 12:11 PM.

I'm reading this amazing book about Cocaine by Roberto Saviano, Italian journalist and writer that lives permanently under escort due to his previous book about Camorra.

It explains how cocaine basically became the most profitable commodity in the world and its role in the global economy.
This part for me kinda says it all: if in 2012 you had invested 1000$ on Apple in the stock exchange (most valuable company) you would have got back 1670$.
If you had invested 1000$ in cocaine you would have got back 182.000$...
I'm still one third into the book that so far has covered the Mexican cartels' history.
Mexico comes out of it basically like a failed state in a constant situation of civil/criminal war.
The executions, violence and cruelty performed by the cartels make look IS like a bunch of school kids in a playground.
Very interesting read.

http://www.amazon.co...o/dp/1594205507

On a side note: I believe decriminalization of drugs is the first step to take.
The second is creating social alternatives where the drug is produced.
Cocaine gives a job to thousands of miserable people and it is the only chance to gain money in some of the poorest areas of the world.
The cartels and the criminal organizations can count on an endless source of cheap labour for their trade.
The third step is fighting the corruption and the connections between political power and criminal power.

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#51

Posted 28 January 2015 - 06:59 PM

They're basically compounds which are related to currently illegal drugs closely enough in chemistry to have similar effects, but distantly enough that they don't fall under existing legislation outlawing them.

 

Pretty much

 

@ Irviding - you can get cannabis-like substances, pills which give the effects of Ecstasy and powders which give the effects of cocaine. In the UK, anyone can walk into a shop (usually 18 and older but I've known people that are 16 and have bought legals) and buy a gram of anything which comes to the cost of five pounds (8 dollars). Late 2014, there were 113 deaths in the UK. Most of the deaths are related to the legal high pills and some powders - it usually comes down to teenagers using too much or the chemicals having a negative effect on the body which can put them into a coma on the spot or their hearts can just stop beating) The legal high cannabis bags, if anything, can make people sick or feel sick, I only believe under 10 or 5 people have died from them.


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#52

Posted 29 January 2015 - 10:11 AM

I've got a close mate who smoked some kind of synthetic cannabis, I wasn't there but apparently it got pretty crazy, he started vomiting blood and had to be taken away in an ambulance. 

I've tried AMT before which is a popular one. I didn't feel much, but recently someone died about half an hour away in Swindon, so it's made me a bit wary.


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#53

Posted 29 January 2015 - 02:14 PM

I've got a close mate who smoked some kind of synthetic cannabis, I wasn't there but apparently it got pretty crazy, he started vomiting blood and had to be taken away in an ambulance. 

 

Yeah I've tried them. I've only had one bad experience with the cannabis, it was when I was on a bus with my friend and my eyes started rolling back and I started going cockeyed and felt like sh*t. My friend said I went completely white. Whenever I used them, it had several side effects on me. Whenever I was in the street, everything and everyone was completely blurry. I couldn't see people's faces unless they were up close, also whenever I looked at someone I instantly thought I knew them, it was like Déjà vu whenever I looked at someone. My speech would constantly slur and I would attempt to talk but half of the words I couldn't say unless I spoke really slow. Paranoia happened - and has grown on me although I haven't done them since December - whenever I was high, I would have to constantly look behind me and around me. When using them, my heart would beat like sh*t. 

 

The good effects are laughing without a reason, just simply laughing because the other person is laughing and it's funny. But I couldn't hold it in because me and my friends would go to public places and big cities and everytime I looked at someone for above 10 seconds I would just start smiling then piss myself laughing





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