Drugs are bad. In all situations. No matter what.

In every single War we have – whether a war on drugs, the war on terrorism, or the war on poverty – there are those who claim the moral high ground and ask us to make policy decisions based on emotional fluff rather than a cautious perusal of the evidence. As Milton Friedman said, “I admire these people for the softness of their heart, but very often that softness extends to their head too”; rigorous reasoning is not their forte.

To get an indication of the quality of thinking in the Australian Federal Parliament, one need go no further than the Senate Committee’s 2007 report titled The Winnable War on Drugs. Almost immediately, we get an indication that this will be a report that prefers ideology over evidence. From the foreword:

The destruction of an individual’s humanity by the use of illicit drugs is unarguable.

And who are you, dear pompous politicians, to cast moral judgment on adults who make a choice to ingest drugs for medical, recreational or other reasons? Are you God? The saints…oops, I mean politicians…continue their damnation of mere mortals (p.3):

It should be clear that all use of illicit drugs is misuse and abuse.

And then, a bold-faced lie:

There is emerging evidence that any illicit drug use does damage to a person’s physical and mental health, especially during a young person’s development.

Really? On cannabis, at least, the facts are unambiguous. There has never been a single recorded death directly linked to cannabis usage. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest it has medicinal properties that would help alleviate suffering for people dying of cancer. And let’s not forget that alcohol and tobacco have killed more people through usage than all the illicit drugs put together. In the interests of fairness, I propose we ban cars – a bigger killer than the illegal drugs.

Remember, the Government cannot make the world 100% risk-free. It can try, but in the process you will lose every liberty you have.

26 thoughts on “Drugs are bad. In all situations. No matter what.

  1. “If the government can’t keep drugs away from inmates who are locked in steel cages, surrounded by barbed wire, watched by armed guards, drug-tested, strip-searched, X-rayed, and videotaped – how can it possibly stop the flow of drugs to an entire nation?”
    (Ron Crickenberger, former political director of the American Libertarian Party)

  2. Yes, there is too much hysteria involved whenever anyone wants to have a reasoned debate on drugs and perhaps changing the societal outlook. Peopel who are anti drugs(and in many ways I think drugs are destructive but that’s a moral choice I make)may be right or have some valid points…but surely there should be an open debate.

  3. Hey, welcome back Sukrit.
    Lay off JC, if Sukrit is contemplating posting here again we do not want to see a repeat of the tag team attacks on him we had before. The article is about drugs. We can all agree on that I hope. Or at least limit the fight to that topic…

  4. Welcome back Sukrit. I’m happy to hear your views on drugs, wars, foreign policy or whatever takes your fancy.

    JC, I’m happy to hear your views on drugs, wars, foreign policy or whatever takes your fancy but don’t be a jerk.

  5. Well done Sukrit. Welcome back.

    “The Winnable War on Drugs”

    It’s funny that they’ve admitted they can’t ban prostitution but they think they can eliminate drug use.

    Idiots.

    I think these guys were smoking something a little stronger than pot when they wrote that report…or were receiving their “education”.

  6. We can have either a drug-free society, or a free society- not both!

    Incidentally, the report’s comments on drugs and their effects on young people is true, but also applies to alcohol and other intoxicants. This should be something that nuclear families decide for themselves, not the extended ‘social family’ of the nation.

  7. And also consider how many people abuse legal over the counter and/or prescription pharmaceutical drugs.
    Do our “saints” ( as a previous poster referred to them) want to ban them too?

  8. One other thing, Terje.

    This isn’t your site, so stop pretending or behaving as it is. I really don’t need lessons from you on these matters up to and including currencies and the gold standard.

    Sukrit…I was only joshing around. Hope it didn’t offend.

  9. And also consider how many people abuse legal over the counter and/or prescription pharmaceutical drugs.
    Do our “saints” ( as a previous poster referred to them) want to ban them too?

    Or destroy their lives with jail sentences. My good friend’s brother was a junkie. He needed drugs and when it was far too late he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

    He did drugs all his adult life. On several occasions he forged doctor’s scripts and did two jail terms. On the first occasion it was about 5 months, however he was a re-offender and ended up getting a 4 year jail term. Jail destroyed this non-violent troubled guy. It ruined his life.

    He eventually got out and then died of an overdose.

    That’s a small statistic in this inhuman war on drugs.

  10. JC – I recently told Humphreys to remove the implication on his blog that ALS is my blog. It’s not my site, I never claimed it was and I don’t want it to be my blog. All I said was don’t be a jerk. But don’t worry I was only joking, you actually can be a jerk if you really want to. 😉

    p.s. I am not without mirth.

  11. Don’t really give a shit what you told John. If I need a mirth or tone master you’ll be sure to get the first call.

  12. The third strikes law in the US had unintended consequences, like a higher murder rate. Another was that drug users were treated like serial rapists and armed robbers.

    Over half the US prison population is drug related.

  13. Oh, Great!!! Now someone’s done it! The computer must be on drugs! Look at the weird writing and numbering of the last four posts!

  14. SRL:

    This friend’s bro had never ever committed violent crime and he ended up getting a 4 year jail term for changing the last prescription. It’s so wrong, I’m speechless.

  15. I think the heading is quite accurate. As Mr Garrison says, “Drugs are bad, OK?” That’s a simple medical fact – we are blessed with a certain number of neurones and the ability to make them work together. Drugs either disrupt that ability or kill neurones.

    The issue is whether the government has a role in preventing us from using drugs, to our potential detriment. As Sukrit points out, other things are “bad” too, including alcohol and cigarettes. And of course there is salt, sugar and fatty foods.

    To my mind, even assuming drugs destroy an individual’s humanity, are misused and abused, or they damage physical and mental health, I say so what? What makes that the business of the government?

    The government is simply busy-body public servants with a few politicians thrown in. Most public servants couldn’t get a real job, and most politicians are control freaks. Neither is qualified to run our lives.

  16. There was one consequence of the prohibition era that I find appalling that perhaps people aren’t aware of. That was the introduction of poisons to industrial alcohol, a major source for bootleg alcohol.
    The problem was, people continued to buy and drink bootleg alcohol as they had done throughout prohibition.
    The estimate below claims 10,000 US citizens died from drinking poisoned alcohol in the prohibition era. Considering these poisons would not otherwise have been in the alcohol and considering that without prohibition people would have been buying alcohol safe for drinking, I think it is fair to say that 10,000 people were directly killed by government policy.
    Defenders of prohibition might say that if they had obeyed the law they wouldn’t have died. But I would ask, do you think a bootleg drink of booze should be punishable by death? Then I’d ask, why does the government have the authority to control what sane people choose to do to their own bodies?

    http://www.slate.com/id/2245188/

    “by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people”

    “By mid-1927, the new denaturing formulas included some notable poisons—kerosene and brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. The Treasury Department also demanded more methyl alcohol be added—up to 10 percent of total product. It was the last that proved most deadly.”

    We see a similar argument now against ecstasy and amphetamines: “you never know what’s in it” or “you never know what dirty meth lab that was made in”. This is a definite concern for users, but it’s almost entirely only a concern to them because of government policy. eg/ When I was doing some forensics classes (over ten years ago now admittedly) at university, we were told by a police lecturer specializing in this area that most ecstasy deaths in Australia had been due to PMA not MDMA. MDMA is the proper active ingredient, PMA is the result of incorrect manufacturing and is more toxic.
    The lecture also contained a flow chart showing all the “precursor” chemicals and medications that had been banned or regulated over the years. But the manufacturers seemed to always be one step ahead and kept finding alternate chemicals and methods, eg/ We saw photos of what I thought was a particularly inventive set up that had used electrolysis (using electrodes fitted to a car battery charger) as opposed to a chemical method in order to perform a reduction reaction (one of the steps involved with converting pseudo-ephedrine to amphetamine). Thankfully car battery chargers haven’t been banned!

    Drugs are controversial and I don’t expect much political action on this issue from anybody but some MPs are actively seeking to toughen already tough drug laws. Some MPs like Chris Pyne go as far as actively condemning pill testing or injection rooms. This is clearly wrong in my opinion.

  17. Decided to quickly update myself on the PMA story,
    From University of NSW: http://www.med.unsw.edu.au/NDARCWeb.nsf/resources/NDARCFact_Drugs1/$file/PMA+FACT+SHEET.pdf

    NB/ PMMA is another possible result of dodgy manufacturing, similar to PMA. The point to note is that ecstasy = MDMA, neither PMA or PMMA are ecstasy even though they are sold as ecstasy.

    “There have been a number of animal experiments using PMMA which indicate that there is a narrow margin between the active and lethal dose of PMMA. Therefore it is believed that there is a high risk of poisoning for humans – something we rarely see with MDMA. There are also risks resulting from using the drug with alcohol, MDMA, amphetamines and ephedrine.
    As it becomes more difficult to manufacture MDMA, chemists create other recipes, sometimes producing far more toxic chemicals than a true ecstasy pill. It is believed that some manufacturers intentionally make drugs such as PMMA to avoid prosecution if they are caught, as there are currently no laws regarding their production.”

    This last paragraph makes a good point about the incredible difficulty of stopping local drug manufacture. (let alone stopping importation and police corruption sources) However note the typical comment at the end suggesting that another chemical should now be banned. Regulation begets ever more regulation and the impossible war is never won.

  18. “Drugs are bad. In all situations. No matter what.”

    To the contrary; The intelligent use of drugs is what separates us from the lower animals.

  19. I have been looking around blog.libertarian.org.au and really am impressed by the good content material here. I work the nightshift at my job and it really gets boring. I have been coming here for the past couple nights and reading. I simply wanted to let you know that I have been enjoying what I have seen and I look forward to reading more.

  20. Thank you, Jami!!! I’m going to go on living now, because of those kind words! You know, you can also contribute- by putting information into these comments. And welcome to the libertarian side of the political spectrum!

  21. Our governments are ignoring the very treaty they use as their excuse for their war against drug users, the Treaty says they must supply for medical and scientific purpose.

    The WHO is now saying cannabis is not a drug of dependence, and given we now have 4 cannabis based medicines on the TGA list, one of which is Sativex a pure plant extract, proving the inconsistency that is in these laws.

    The drugs laws are in breach of human rights and ignore the ICCPR and the W.H.O. not to mention their own citizens, you know the ones they declared war against.

    If you want a show of how bad they are come along to County court Melbourne 604 on Monday 10.30 am, we are being royally screwed by the despot on the bench.

    He has removed all of our defence, including all witnesses, no explanation, then he brings in a jury, the prosecution does their thing and we don’t even know what we are permitted to ask their witnesses as he ruled everything out, and then demands we put up a defence on Monday.

    This was a very small amount and recognised as personal medical, and he is treating us as if we were major dealers, oh yeah and we are Autistic, another thing he has completely ignored.

    Not a bloody lawyer in sight to help us in this nightmare, and every barrister in the County court has told us not to expect any type of law or justice in Victoria.

    At 60 years of age, I wonder what has happened to our once great state and it genuine justice system.

  22. ???

    Get in contact with us at the ALS (Australian Libertarian Society), LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) or Liberty Australia (LA).

    Your story is very concerning.

  23. We only have until 10.30am tomorrow to get some help, as we are in court then and this guy will not permit us to put anything as defence including reason for us doing what we do.

    I am very concerned about our freedom, what he will do at the end of this, and no one seems to want to listen because we use cannabis for medicine.

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