More random thoughts.
Why do we have a society? We clump together to do things for ourselves, to and for each other. We claim it is for mutual protection. What? Are we like schools of sardines on their annual migration up the east coast of South Africa? We cling together for mutual protection only to allow the predators to have bigger meals? That is what it seems like.
Look at it this way, there are so many things we do because they seem “right”. We “intuitively” know that some things are morally and ethically not appropriate, so we cling to that belief irrespective of evidence. Look at how we fail to deal adequately with drugs. I say we fail to deal with drugs properly because the situation with regards to drugs is continuing to deteriorate. Obviously, our zero-tolerance policies are failing, as there are more users every year. Drug related crimes are growing, so we need to review what we are doing, look for better outcomes, find workable solutions. We need to, but we don’t, because morally and ethically, we “know” drugs are not appropriate.
Assessing failure of drug policies is easy. We can connectect an awful lot of shootings, burglaries, thefts, house breaking and other criminal activity to drugs. Those connections are multiplying – we know because the police tell us so. Things are getting worse, not better, ergo, there is a massive policy failure, they do not work.
What is going to work? The obvious answer is legalisation, but that is something no sane person would want to be associated with.
Olympic atheletes run record times and are later stripped of their medals. Champion cyclists use drugs, undetected, for 7 years and are completely discredited, so much so people are demanding refunds for the services he did for them and was paid for before the detection and admission of using drugs. (I must admit my own disappointment at Lance Armstrong, not for the use of drugs, but for his failure to let authorities know who else was involved. I’m not silly enough to believe he accomplished such a grand scheme alone, without the active and/or tacit support of a lot of officials and anti-doping agencies.) Entire football clubs use drugs in one form or another, and in Australia, this is some horrendous event? Oh please, give me a break. The Adelaide Crows admitted to using colostrum in their Premiership team in 1998. So why were they not crucified? Colostrum is a dietary supplement, but it is also a performance enhancer.
The use of drugs in sport has unknown consequences, as those effects will not be known for at least another decade. If a lot of former high level athletes start dropping dead for no obvious reason, there may be a connection. I suspect that high levels of drug use will have its own outcomes, and they will not be pleasant for the users. The problem with drugs in sport is completely different to the problems of social drugs.
It is the social drugs that cause the majority of our problems. So why would legalizing it make any difference? Without the real pressure on importing drugs, drug barons would never have considered the development of alternatives to their bulkier and less potent opium products. It is certainly arguable that crack-cocaine would not have been developed if there was no need to carry smaller and more potent packages. With legalization, I contend, most of the hard drugs we know are out there would not exist. There would be no need for them.
With legalization, the “Drug Wars” could end. The use of guns to protect shipments and as essential accessorizing would not be required. Another part is that if the production of medicinal quality medications is created, then the need for a lot of health support services would cease to be required. A doctor once told me that what kills addicts is not the opium or heroin, it is the impurities used to cut the drugs, then sold in the end product. (Rat poison to cut heroin, how stupid is that, but rat poison is probably cheaper to buy than baby formula.) Addicts are not given support to manage their addiction, and they require large sums of cash to buy their drugs. Where do they get it? Criminal activity- everything from prostitution, selling drugs to break and enter, mugging, theft and burglary. Legitimate pursuits do not yield enough immediate cash to be sustainable in the longer term, so crime it is. This is well known, has been for decades, but we consistently refuse to do anything about it. We make harsher laws about dealing and supply and even use, but they have little or no positive impact. We ignore reality in pursuit of the myth.
There is a real risk for us is in those draconian laws. Sooner or later the laws will become a real threat to our civil liberties – if they have not already. We recently saw laws struck down by a South Australian court for this reason, but how long can a court continue to do this? How long will it be before some smarter lawyer drafts laws that do serious damage to our lives but we cannot fight against. Certainly this has happened with the so called anti-terrorist laws in Australia – we cannot get them repealed – no-one who has the money has the desire, or vice versa, to get them into the High Court to get them struck down. To fight such laws risks branding the combatant as “andi-austrayian” and “supporter of terrorists”. Who would want to do so if it meant being branded an “illegal drug supporter”?
“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent.” And this is what is happening, great evil is building within our social constructs and we are staying silent. I understand that production of cleaner, less toxic, opium is actually quite cheap, that supply is driving cost. Cheap drugs means a large shipment has arrived, high cost means a shipment has been intercepted. Locally manufactured opiates in large quantities will drive the cost down, more in keeping with traditional market forces. If addicts can purchase cheap, clean drugs anonymously, then the impetus for rising crime rates declines. I would also go so far as to suggest that the financial advantages accrued by selling drugs illegally would be lost, essentially, so the sources of income currently enjoyed by bikie gangs and such would dry up. No money, no power – no power, no influence, less corruption. This is, for me, a no brainer.
Call me insane if you like, but all I am really doing here is trying to draw people’s attention to an uncomfortable image. Things are not rosy, and we are not doing anything about it.