Friday, July 15, 2005

The Snow in Europe

Update: Did I mention that there are many people in North America who would like to see the following discussion made illegal - any discussion of legalizing drugs made illegal? Amazing is it not?

Now, I am against the prohibition of recreational drugs though I would never recommend using cocaine. Granted it is not quite as addictive as its little brother crack or heroin but anything as addictive as coke with the tendency to make your heart run like a gas chain saw is not something I would want my hypothetical future kids messing with (try talking to them). That being said, the extreme sacrifices that the war on drugs demands from society are so far out of line that only the most irrational can justify them. (Unfortunately those are the people who come out to vote in large numbers.)

Given the progress being made in addiction research like vaccines which temporarily teach the body to mop up small chemicals like cocaine, nicotine and heroine (by sticking them on the end of big proteins so the immune system can recognize them - currently being tested) and like drugs which interfere with the hijacking of the reward system of the brain and help reduce the cravings, now would seem like a good time to end the destructive law enforcement "war on drugs" and start a medical "war on addiction". This would require a redirection of resources from abusing our civil liberties to financing medical science (as opposed to medical studies which are done by drunken frat boys and publicized on the nightly news).

The following is a story about how someone in the E.U. parliament is doing coke in the staff washroom. It would be so cool if they had evidence that it was a politician but it is likely a low level staffer. What I hate is that if coke was discovered in a private sector washroom there would be massive drug tests.

I recently saw an episode of Myth Busters (the only cool reality TV show on earth - they spend their time experimenting on urban myths and cracking jokes instead of swearing at each other and building stupid bikes, cars and houses) which demonstrated that the general purpose drug tests which many companies buy on the Internet are so sensitive that they will show someone who has eaten a couple of poppy seed bagels as testing positive for opiates (like heroine). They estimate that a significant fraction of job applicants have lost opportunities because of drug tests due to poppy seeds and since there is no law saying you need to tell someone they flunked a drug test, they never know. The false positive rate on these tests is frighteningly high.

It is interesting that the governments of the world (influenced by the American "War on drugs" will criminalize any drug which causes an hallucination or a euphoric sensation, regardless of the real addictive or negative health effects. It is as if pleasure and altered visions are in and of themselves damaging. There is a similar fear of using strong pain killers on terminally ill patients in case they somehow survive and become addicted to the meds or if they accidentally die 3 hours early. It seems that whenever the government makes a decision on medications it almost always makes the most unethical one, thanks to bio-ethicists .

I can tell you this - if Serotonin/norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors ever become illegal I will be running black-market supply chains within 3 days. Tom Cruise can kiss my ass.

But the idea that there are people using coke on a semi-regular basis in the EU parliament while their member nations have laws making citizens into criminals for doing the same seems somewhat hypocritical to me. People lose jobs and have their lives ruined over the choice of chemical they use to relax but if you are rich or politically connected you can just find Jesus and get out of trouble for free.

Let us focus on harm reduction and stop giving a monopoly to organized crime. Alcapone is dead. Lets put the boots to his Hells Angels descendents.


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