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PaulS

Drugs

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I wonder what people here think about drug use and the criminality associated with drugs?

Would countries be better off allowing all drugs to be legal perhaps and spend the billions of dollars otherwise spent on law enforcement on other ways of improving our communities, which in turn is likely to see the desire to turn to otherwise illicit drugs as less necessary?

Or, should countries continue to burn billions of dollars in efforts to stem the flow of illicit drug trading?  Do people think this is the most successful strategy we should continue to employ?  Is it working?

Is there any other alternatives?

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Paul,

I don't know. What do you think?

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I wonder what people here think about drug use and the criminality associated with drugs?

Would countries be better off allowing all drugs to be legal perhaps and spend the billions of dollars otherwise spent on law enforcement on other ways of improving our communities, which in turn is likely to see the desire to turn to otherwise illicit drugs as less necessary?

Or, should countries continue to burn billions of dollars in efforts to stem the flow of illicit drug trading?  Do people think this is the most successful strategy we should continue to employ?  Is it working?

Is there any other alternatives?

Paul … I think what we are doing at the moment is not working. Doing more of the same is not going to help. Recently, I have read Pollan  (and  a year or so ago Harris) on the subject. We might try something different (legalizing?) and monitor the effects closely. 

 

And funnily enough I touched on the subject here.  Some of the drugs are starting to be called entheogens - in God. To be honest, I am in ethanol at the moment  … not finding god … but feeling oneness. Until the  liver gives up the ghost that is.

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6 hours ago, JosephM said:

Paul,

I don't know. What do you think?

I am probably split between decriminalization and continuing enforcement.  Perhaps it should be a more multifaceted approach - I have no issue decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis and I believe there would be lots of benefits in doing so.  However, I'm not as comfortable with decriminalizing say methamphetamine, simply because it seems such a damaging substance and I think many people are not aware just how easy it is to become addicted to and how damaging that addiction can be.  I don't think cannabis is in the same class.

I'm not sure what the main problems are with drugs in the US (or more to the point, which drugs), but it seems the US does spend a lot more on fighting drugs than say Australia.  I imagine your close proximity to countries like Columbia and issues with cocaine feature more heavily than Australia which is much more isolated (or maybe Americans have a greater penchant for drug use?).  In any event, where Australia spends about $1.5bn of its $1.4t economy on drug law enforcement, it seems the US spends something like $51b from its $21t economy.  Maths isn't my strong point but it seems that the US spends nearly twice as much (as a % of its economy) than Australia, so possibly there are others issues there which we don't have in Australia?  Or maybe Aussies are just tight :)

But that aside, much of the argument for decriminalizing cannabis comes from better use of the money otherwise spent on drug enforcement.  It has been speculated here that something like 70% of that budget is used to fight cannabis.  I'm not certain how accurate that it, but even if it was only half of that 70%, it does seem like a significant waste for a relatively harmless drug (but up there with tobacco and alcohol).  It has been suggested that if cannabis was licensed like tobacco and alcohol, that it could be worth nearly $5b a year to the economy.  If this is similar for the US, then greater amounts of money and a greater % of GDP could be better utilized also.

Maybe cannabis is the low fruit though.  Australian States have decriminalized it before (only to change it when usually a conservative government re-enters power) without any significant effect and I know many US States are moving toward decriminalization and/or legalizing cannabis.  But what about the other drugs.

Like I mentioned, meth or ice seems a bit harder for me to accept as allowing them to become freely available.  It's impact on people is rapid and tragic.  I'm not sure anyone starts taking it intends to become an addict but that is how many end up, very quickly.  So clearly there needs to be a lot more education about such drugs, but where do governments get the funding from?  Taking it away from drug enforcement activities that are no longer required?

I wonder if illicit drugs are much different from what today we call legal drugs, such as alcohol.  A large percentage of the population choose not to partake in the consumption of alcohol, and of those who do partake there are many who have no problems with it.  But of course there are many who do struggle with alcoholism.  I wonder if legalizing drugs might be a similar scenario - there will continue to be those who don't want them, there could be a percentage of the population who take some drugs and live just fine, but then there will likely be a certain cohort that suffer addiction and ill effect.

But perhaps it is the reasons people take drugs in the first place that could be addressed with surplus ex-enforcement funds?  Nearly 2.3% of adult Americans battled an illicit drug use disorder in 2017 - why?  (I would quote an Australian stat but I can't find one - presumably we're up there too).  Why do people desire to take mind-altering drugs?  Would some maybe not if we simply stopped telling them not to?  Would there be less interest in drugs if they weren't illegal?  Are lower-socio economic groups more represented in illicit drug use (I suspect so) and if so, why?  Is it because many are disillusioned knowing they are unlikely to break out of the poverty cycle.

I would have to say "I don't know" as well, Joseph, but that's why I'm putting it out there to discuss.

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6 hours ago, romansh said:

To be honest, I am in ethanol at the moment  … not finding god … but feeling oneness. Until the  liver gives up the ghost that is.

I know the feeling - I am partaking of a lovely South Australian Shiraz as I type.

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It does seem to me that declaring war on something often strengthens it rather than defeats it. That is the limit of any contribution i might have on this subject other than i do not know.

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Portugal legalized everything over a decade ago to an extremely good effect.

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4 hours ago, PaulS said:

I know the feeling - I am partaking of a lovely South Australian Shiraz as I type.

I went through an Australian shiraz phase. If I visit Australia I will add the Barossa Valley to the itinerary. Currently in a Malbec phase … though it is 8 in the morning here so it is time for a cup of tea.

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9 hours ago, Burl said:

Portugal legalized everything over a decade ago to an extremely good effect.

Yes, I had read about Portugal and it seems to be a huge success in many ways.  There are still issues, but we have issues with current legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco too.

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

If I visit Australia I will add the Barossa Valley to the itinerary. Currently in a Malbec phase … though it is 8 in the morning here so it is time for a cup of tea.

The Barossa is lovely, but for the most scenic wine region in Australia, consider my state's southwest region - Margaret River!

As for Malbec at 8am - it's always wine o'clock somewhere in the world!

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On 9/21/2019 at 5:07 PM, PaulS said:

The Barossa is lovely, but for the most scenic wine region in Australia, consider my state's southwest region - Margaret River!

I went there on a day trip from Perth … certainly pretty. We were looking for a place to have lunch … we ended up at a brewery.  My friends were philistines.

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10 hours ago, romansh said:

We were looking for a place to have lunch … we ended up at a brewery.  My friends were philistines.

Oh the horror!

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24 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Oh the horror!

To be fair it was early winter … June

The wineries seem to be taking  some time off.

 

But it was horror ...

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12 hours ago, romansh said:

I went there on a day trip from Perth … certainly pretty. We were looking for a place to have lunch … we ended up at a brewery.  My friends were philistines.

Your friends should have been filling steins.

  • Upvote 1

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

filling steins.

:)

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