Should we relax the current drug laws

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by fishhead, Oct 30, 2014.

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    I know it's a hoary old subject but it has raised its ugly head once again to today with the publication of the report which the BBC have had as their lead story all day.
    The main thrust seems to be that drug addicts should be treated as victims rather than criminals(as at present) and the focus should be on curing the addiction rather than locking the addicts up for any crimes they've committed while trying to get the money for drugs.
    One quote in the linked article from an addict says "no-one choses to be an addict". Probably not, but plenty chose to take drugs knowing full well they are addictive and the likely consequencies of prolonged use but do it anyway. Will throwing a protective arm around these people encourage any other potential users to carry on safe in the knowledge that the good old NHS are ready to try and pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong?
    I am, at present not convinced any camp in the argument has made their case fully to make my mind up so remain to be convinced one way or the other.
  2. It's an awkward one, if you relax drug laws do the dealers get away with it seeing as they supply the stuff. If you relax the laws and basically legalise some of the drugs (not all of them) do you tax them.

    Make Class B's legal, Class A illegal, then is it legal to use Class B but not supply?
  3. Fair point about the tax, particularly as the best guess at the value of traded drugs are now counted in the EU assessment of our GDP and increases clock up against the Consumer Price Index.

    Anyway, I see 2 distinct druggy groups here. There's the "working class" escapee from the misery of being at the bottom of the food chain, as we're led to believe. Then there's the "upper/middle class" with more money than bloody sense who like the buzz and living the lifestyle of "celebrities".

    Personally, I've no time for either group and think they both corrode the fabric of our green and pleasant land. I would guess that throwing either group in the slammer offers no improvement and may well make it worse.
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  4. The current system appears to be a massively expensive cluster that causes more misery than it prevents and serves only to enable Daily Mail readers to feel self-righteous.

    Other systems that some other countries are trying appear to be far superior, in that they're cheaper and cause less misery.

    Which news article is that in? I can't see it in the one you linked.
  5. It isn't in the article but is the way I interpreted what was being proposed. I may have got the wrong end of the stick.
  6. Rehab and recovery programmes in this country should be improved- it can take years to get from seeking help to recieving effective help. Even then the provision is somewhat sketchy- does someone deserve to be condemned to a life of addiction, ruined relationships (family, friends, partners), a ducked up body, possibly relying on crime to get the next fix, and dedicating their lives to drugs just because of a stupid mistake? The important thing to remember about heroine for example, is that it is not just about will power- when in withdrawal you can actually die. If someone is actively seeking help, partaking in the treatment successfully, trying to turn their lives around then i believe that more should be done to help them, it is possible to be an addict and turn your life and health around. However if someone isn't arsed then its more complex of an issue.

    There are times during recovery when potentially for various reasons opiates are needed, and if there was some way to legally obtain them through one of these programmes, that is preferable to having to line the pockets of some dealer arse hole. There isn't a solution that would please everyone- but saying who deserves care and who doesn't is a dangerous game. Smoker with lung cancer? Fat person with diabetes? Where would the line be drawn?

    I dont think laws for personal possession and dealing should be relaxed- but in the case of rehabilitation in a regulated, long term programme, in a controlled environment, there could be benefits to reviewing treatment.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  7. I think so. As I read it, the suggestion is that perhaps taking a drug shouldn't be met with a prison sentence, but instead something that might actually help everyone involved.
  8. There is also the argument in favour of regulating drugs or so called "legal crack houses" there would be many benefits to this approach, someone has previously mentioned tax, along with helping to wean people off them in a controlled way through the use of methadone etc, the purity of the drugs would be as close to 100% as you could get it so the health risks would be a lot lower, drug dealers would become unemployed (although most likely will resort to some other form of crime) and, although I previously touched on the subject, rehabilitation could be provided to get addicts off the drugs and help to start on the road towards securing a job (for the unemployed) or even just turning their lives around.

    I do realise that there will also be a few negatives so I will leave those for someone else to pick up on.

    Just something to consider.

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  9. IMHO they have it all wrong. Someone gets done for possession of a class C, slap across the wrist at worst, not a deterrent, they carry on using get hooked onto stronger stuff, start to rob to pay for more. If they got hammered the 1st time out rather than the slap on the wrist, they may have decided that it was not worth it and quit then.

    Possession with intent to supply, should carry a mandatory 10 years
    Possession of a Class C - Minimum of 80 hours community service and a curfew, and breach of either, 3 months inside, with a 2nd offence a minimum of 12 months
    Possession of a Class B - 3 months minimum, 2nd offence 3 years
    Possession of a Class A - 1 year for 1st 5 years for 2nd - Minimum

    I stopped reading the local rag a while back, but in the court section, week after week, druggies were getting fines of up to £120 for possession - how the hell is that a deterrent
  10. One of the key points of the article is that harsh punishments don't deter, so getting hammered the first time wouldn't work.

    Remember, these are people who by definition are not capable of making sensible decisions about what to do now to ensure that they have a good future, so why would we expect them to be deterred by harsh sentences? We know they make decisions now that give themselves a worse future, so we can't expect harsher punishments to be an effective deterrent.
  11. The trouble is getting a balance; you need to offer effective and accessible programmes and support to addicts, but at the same time the deterrent should be present so it never wiggles its way into the mainstream. The trouble in nipping it in the bud by busting the dealers is that the big dons are untouchable. They only make themselves known to a select few, and those few know that if they blab they will face consequences, and not a huge pile of people to narrow down to see who the snitch is. So you are left with just the minions who go and do the dirty work.
  12. Decriminalisation worked with booze in the U.S. after Prohibition,the criminals moved on to other areas and the gov ernment got a large tax income.Might the same approach work for the softer thype of drugs,say Class C stuff?
  13. US Prohibition was a totally different scenario, booze was legal then made illegal, with every country on it's borders have alcohol on the streets.

    Drugs are already illegal so no comparison.
  14. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Drugs won't go away, they can't be uninvented. It is odd that we treat users as delinquents in this particular field but not in other comparable areas of consumption, which are taxed, regulated and self-funded legitimately.

    I guess the question is simply whether the production, manufacture, distribution and retail of drugs should be nationalised as a legitimate profit-making tax-paying industry or should we continue to let unsavoury criminals have exclusive ownership of the profits without civil responsibility.

    If legitimised & regulated, the revenue raised would allow government/society to use an element of the profits and create the infrastucture to look after those with specific needs arising from the effects of over-indulgence - this already happens with Food, Tobacco and Alcohol addicts.

    You don't have to like the fact people use drugs, you don't have to use them and certain occupations such as the Armed Forces, transport, emergency services (and lots more) should not permit their use if it endangers others, but the bottom line is we need to address the issue rather than simply make it illegal, unregulated & extremely costly for those of us that pay taxes to create an environment that supposedly safeguards our society.
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  15. .

    I am all sure that we all know people who have been incapable due to both drugs and drink - well we can choose to associate with them or not as we please.

    The problem comes as to how these people function in a position of responsibility.

    With drink there TENDS to be a lot of experience both in drinkers and their work associates as to what can be expected and what signs to look out for . AS A GENERALITY the signs for the longer-term effects of drugs tend to be more subtle and IF drug use was to be more tolerated then people would need to be trained in what to look out for in their work colleagues (!)

    Many civilian firms have "regular" ( !!! once every 12 to 18 months ) drug screenings, but these tend to catching soft drug users rather than occasional hard drug users.


    I would LIKE to be liberal in allowing drug use, but seeing how voluntarily getting drunk is somehow seen as an excuse for people committing violent acts or causing accidents as if it wasn't their responsibility I worry that similar excuses will be made for people acting under the effects of drugs.

    Having said that the Government (and populace) need to decide whether they want to actually "win" the "war on drugs" - as it is the present system seems designed (like prohibition) to merely transfer money from weak-willed people to a set of thriving criminals who then use their money in other criminal activities.

    I know policemen who laugh at the present system and would much prefer de-criminalisation of soft drugs but extreme punishments for hard drugs dealers - but they hold out no real prospects for that happening.

  16. I wonder if the relaxation of drug laws actually nothing to do with decriminalising drug use but a way of relieving the pressure on the prisons? At the end of the day if getting caught smoking a joint doesn't hold a mandatory stretch at HM's pleasure then the Judiciary don't have the option of putting the miscreant away hence the prisons can be used to house the terrorists/rapists/paedophiles etc instead of being full of teenagers who got caught with half a kilo of hash.

    If drugs were freely available and legitimate then a) it would generate tax £notes and b) would remove the impurities from cut drugs which is often what causes the problems. But having just done a prescriber's course and delved into pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics and the variants that have to be taken into consideration when prescribing even the most mundane drug I cannot understand why people take drugs without actually knowing what it does to the body and what the side effects are.
  17. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Another way of looking at it:

    Why are drugs illegal and their use a criminal offence outside of areas where they are expressly and specifically prohibited?

    People ingest all sorts of substances from foodstuffs including drinks and chemicals to legitimate drugs and medicines from commercial outlets which are stringently regulated.

    Recreational drugs are not regulated so their purity, hygiene, precise content, specific quantities, actual qualities etc., are not subject to monitoring by all the professional bodies that already regulate accepted foodstuffs. The mechanisms in infrastructures are already in place, such as the Weights and Measures regulations, NICE, conformity assessments, approved manufacturers and the food standards agency. It is not as huge a stretch as politicians would have us believe.

    You don't have to like it, you don't have to condone it, but world-wide governments waste billions trying to police something that could actually be legitimately self-regulated and which would still generate surplus revenue rather than a deficit.

    Yes, people become ill and die legitimately from ingesting tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods. They also deliberately bring on their own death through using legitimate drugs in excessive amounts. Legitimising recreational drugs will not automatically increase users, nor will it deter those who already use the stuff illegally. The difference would be that the revenue raised would be proportional to the volume of users. Those who take it to excess would be treated for their addictions medically rather than by the penal reform system (which doesn't work).
  18. I don't claim to have the answer but the current system isn't working. Simply locking people up for possession of a few pills is not the answer either.
    Ecstacy is neither addictive or likely to fuel violent crime on the users end. Keeping it illegal does however ensure that a lot of money gets in to some unsavoury hands and prevents the substance from being controlled and hence keeps it dangerous.
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  19. What??????????????? Do I take from this that you advocate the use of Ecstacy on the grounds of it's not addictive or fuels violent crime? The fact that it kills people on a regular basis doesn't make it dangerous then. OkeyDokey then!:confused:
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  20. Even if some is legalized there will still be a black market for cheaper stuff- like the cheap tobacco people buy from abroad, and cheap paint stripper/vodka some of the more dubious shops sell. 'Party' drugs such as cocaine are dangerous to legalize in my opinion, it opens them up to a wider market and to be honest its probably only a matter of time before it is as normal to have a line on a night out as it is to have a pint.
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