19 April 2010

Who exactly stands to benefit from our ill-founded anti-drug campaign?

The government suddenly started telling us that the drug use or abuse problem is serious in this Village, especially among the youth, and that more stringent controls are needed, including that of a school-based drug test. They tell us that drugs are harmful, and nobody should ever use them; not even once. The whole society should do whatever it takes to drive them out.

Let's take a good look at this graph:


Where are the two legal drugs, namely alcohol and tobacco, on the rational scale to assess the harm of drugs? Ketamine, the "evil" drug that is now haunting our schools according to our government, is far less addictive than alcohol and tobacco, though inflicting more physical harm. So I guess our kids are alright; they will get over it sooner or later. More old fashioned stuff like LSD and ecstasy are actually better drugs; they're less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and are far less addictive. Time to worry about our wine loving Chief Sec Henry Tang, maybe?

The point I want to make here is that, all these governmental drug controls and wars on drugs might be arbitrary upon choosing what to ban and what to allow. Governments around the world decided that they want to cash in with the selling of alcohol and tobacco, even though they're scientifically proven to be more addictive and harmful than other stuff like cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy. They waged a war against all drugs other than alcohol and tobacco, calling those other drugs evil and their users scum.

They ban the possession and usage of those drugs, arrest and imprison the users. However, everybody knows that drug use will never go away. Like prostitution and gambling, these outlawed activities became criminal businesses. We all know that the criminals and triads will take up the operations of whatever that is outlawed, even KFC. They sell drugs at a unreasonably high price, make even higher profit by diluting the drugs with dangerous contaminants. They lure the users into harder and harder stuff, so that the junkies will be even more hopelessly addicted. They make these drug users the free labour of their dirty deeds in exchange of drugs. Their tricks we all know.

The government just carries on fighting its moral war against drugs. With more stringent measures, they effectively drive the users deeper underground and more towards the triads. Drug users, due to the arbitrary classification and criminalisation of drugs, are seen as criminals and lower lives. Nobody wants to hire them for work, nobody trusts that they will become sober. They ask everybody to stay away from drug users and never befriend them. The only "friends" of drug users are their dealers. Just like sex workers, drug users are marginalised. They're the people we "normal" people try hard to avoid and are educated to hate. Drug users are left to deal with their own problems in their own way, or more precisely, the way our triads and criminals so desired.

Harm reduction policy on drugs

There exists another plausible way of dealing with problems related to drug use and abuse. We can rationally treat drug use as a health problem per se, trimming the criminal and moral burden off the issue. We can take on a harm reduction approach.

We can decriminalise drug use. We can legalise the prescription of harder drug like heroin to addicts. Heroin assisted treatments are proven to be effective and will improve the health and social situation of addicts. Addicts will no longer have to deal with criminals and triads. They will no longer have to do dirty works to support their addiction. They can pay a reasonable price for getting safe prescription of drug with quality guaranteed. They get their injection with clean syringes at safe sites monitored by medically trained personnel. There will be far less chance of getting infected with HIV or hepatitis through injection. They will be patients who need regular treatment just like people with cancers.

In such a situation, they can truly see the chance of kicking the habit if they desire. After all, the nasty part about drug addiction is never the physical dependence. Even heroin addicts could quit the drug in seven days cold turkey. It's more about quitting the dealers - the people who make money out of the addiction, the people who would like to see the addicts getting into a deeper shit.

We should also start to ask why we allow the selling and consumption of alcohol and tobacco while banning "softer" drugs like cannabis and LSD. I left this question to Eric and Wes to answer later this week. I could only say that, in a society where drugs are criminalised, triads and criminals are the only people benefited. Everybody else loses.

Drug abuse and addiction can be nasty and harmful to the society. However, it's the same for any other types of abuse and addiction. Internet and World of Warcraft can be addictive as well. In a liberal society, we should stop playing everybody else's parents and help them to decide what's good for them. We leave these matters to their personal choice. We only offer help when they need it.

We should stop saying no to drugs. We should lower the war flag against drug. We should stop considering drug addiction immoral. We should stop all the propaganda that makes drug users ugly and the government officials looked good and responsible.

We should start treating drug addicts as people who need help and have a health problem. We should start respecting people's choice for recreation, just like we respect others for their responsible drinking. We should take back the selling and manufacturing of drugs from the criminals. We should wage our war against drug trafficking and illegal dealing. We should provide safe, quality, and legal high and rehabilitation.

We should end our unjust war against drug users. War on drugs has been ill-founded from day one, it's never been fought against the drug but the helpless users themselves.

5 comments:

  1. lucy in the sky with diamonds21 April, 2010 14:48

    i like this article - a lot.

    And the whole anti-anti-drug campaign week thing is refreshing in this ridiculously sheep like village of ours.

    Big up Libertines!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you LSD. It made my day by starting the humming of the actual "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in my head!

    Friend us in FB, follow our tweets, and subscribe to our feed - Satisfaction guaranteed!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The anti-drug propagandists got me early, and they got me hard. When I was in elementary school, all students were required to participate in a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program which taught us that all *illegal* drugs are bad and we should condemn those who choose to subvert authority by using said drugs. I was a stellar student in this program. In fact, they even gave me a medal in 4th grade for an essay I wrote about staying "drug-free". This positive feedback made quite an impression on me, so needless to say, I was very upset when I found out that people close to me were smoking marijuana. I was naive and indoctrinated. It has taken much hard work (not only on my part, but on the part of a certain liberal minded, if not liberated, individual) to un-indoctrinate myself.

    It is ironic though that now I take some of the legal, more addictive drugs which profit major corporations...so I guess in the end they did get me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Do those corporated made shits give you high?

    LOL! thanks for the supplimentary info about DARE!

    ReplyDelete
  5. No, they just help me focus. Very unexciting.

    ReplyDelete

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