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Author: Subject: Where do you draw the line?
SubliminallyOveranalyzed
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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 10:56
Where do you draw the line?


If it's ok in principle, for the government to say, you cannot consume drugs because it will do you harm, then why is it not also ok to make things like over-eating, for example, a crime/punishment and/or legal issue as well (which by the way, kills A LOT more people EVERY year than all illicit drugs combined), or skydiving, skiing, surfing, state's/parishes or territories with no helmet laws for motorcycles, etc., etc., this list could easily go on and on(you get the point).......

So where do you draw the line? Simply where one CHOOSES to draw the line, is that the criteria?

Well if so, then a drug war is not about harm reduction in ANY way.

What then, is the real intent of a drug war?

What actual purpose is being served?

Just a thought
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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 11:07


The difference between overeating and *MOST* illegal drugs is
1. It is not nearly as detrimental to your health as meth,cocaine,heroin, etc. Though things such as marijuana are much different and shouldn't be treated any differently than normal tobacco smoking.
2. Drugs are very expensive, and will force you to buy more and more of them. Combine that with the state of mind they put you in, and that can destroy societies in a matter of months.
3. Drugs are rather hard to make, and combined with the ignorance of our politicians, set the stage for gangs and cartels to form, which do much damage on their own.
That isn't to say that the drug war is a bunch of caring,passionate figures who sincerely want the best for us and our freedom. I typically compare it to anti-terrorism.




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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 11:15


Drugs operate in the cash economy, and are not under the control of the Government.

The big problem for the Controllers is that the black economy is HUGE and can afford armies, weapons, etc.

This poses a serious Domestic and Foreign threat to both Income and Security.

Any notion that your government gives a shit whether you live or die is a fallacy.

So long as enough living people donate money to them, it's all fine with them.

This is not a remark aimed at the USA government : all governments are the same.

Some people try hard to force their government to be Good.

Sadly Money talks, hence things like the Monsanto Act.

[Edited on 30-8-2015 by aga]




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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 15:13


Maybe the drug war in the US is another run at annexing Mexico. US destroys their social structure with gang warfare, supplying weapons to both sides, and when they're on their knees US steps in with offers of higher standards of living for the majority of them and takes over. The aggregate standard of living in the US decreases further but Trump and Hillary don't care. They revel in their riches and take credit for giving pittances to the poor who are now the vast majority of Amexican citizens.



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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 15:59


Sorry, TheAlchemistPirate, but I'm going to take issue with your points!

Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  

1. It is not nearly as detrimental to your health as meth,cocaine,heroin, etc. Though things such as marijuana are much different and shouldn't be treated any differently than normal tobacco smoking.


How much of the detrimental effect is due to the drug, and how much to social factors? Heroin, for example, is actually quite a non-toxic drug, with few long term side effects - UNLESS you're forced to buy impure heroin of unknown potency from a black market source at inflated prices and practice unsafe behaviours like non-sterile injection and reuse or sharing of needles. Likewise, many other drugs - ecstasy, many common hallucinogens, even stimulants other than (meth)amphetamine - tend to have few significantly detrimental acute or chronic effects on health which can be attributed purely to their pharmacology.

Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
2. Drugs are very expensive, and will force you to buy more and more of them. Combine that with the state of mind they put you in, and that can destroy societies in a matter of months.


Please provide examples of societies which have been destroyed, let alone ones which have fallen apart in a matter of months, because of the cost of drugs. Drugs have always been around, and probably always will. Animals get high! Also, how much of the expense is due to the black market factor? Most illicit drugs which also have medical uses - such as morphine or amphetamine - are VERY cheap when prescribed. They'd probably be even cheaper if mass produced for recreational consumption.

Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
3. Drugs are rather hard to make, and combined with the ignorance of our politicians, set the stage for gangs and cartels to form, which do much damage on their own.


Most common illicit drugs are very easy to synthesise from scratch (methamphetamine, ecstasy, etc) or are easily prepared from easily produced precursors (cocaine by extraction, heroin from morphine, LSD from ergotamine). Certainly the stage is set for criminal exploitation, but that's mostly because they're NOT difficult to prepare if you have access to the reagents needed.

Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
That isn't to say that the drug war is a bunch of caring,passionate figures who sincerely want the best for us and our freedom. I typically compare it to anti-terrorism.


Something along the lines of largely ineffective theatre? I'd agree with that. But perhaps even more insidious, since many of the negative effects of drug use can be blamed on criminalisation, rather than on the effects of drug itself.

As to the original post, the idea of "drawing the line" is always going to be a complicated issue, but I think regulation is only a small (albeit important) part of any change (excluding, of course, significant changes like decriminalisation of drugs, which of course is a critical step!). Ensuring that drug use (or overeating, or whatever) is treated as a health issue (meaning efforts towards effective education, harm minimisation and effective treatment - as opposed to imprisonment or treatment as punishment - when required) would probably go a lot further to solving problems than the criminal systems we have in place. Likewise, social change - which on highly contentious issues like this will probably only come through generational change - towards safe use, harm minimisation and seeking treatment when needed will be similarly important.

As to the war on drugs itself, I think it's a misguided - although maybe genuine when conceived - attempt to solve a perceived problem, which has since spiralled out of control. Yes, they should have learned from previous attempts (prohibition); yes, they should by now have realised it's ineffective and harmful; and yes, it's long since become a weapon which politicians are either happy to wield (some cynically, some because they genuinely think it's the right thing) or are scared to criticise.

The war on drugs is NOT about harm minimisation - it's about drug minimisation, the same way "abstinence only" sex education is about sex minimisation. This is because many people (or at least many people who have loud voices) believe that drug use (or sex, or whatever) is a moral, rather than a health, issue, and so ANY drug use is bad, no matter if it's safe or not.
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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 16:47


You might find this thread interesting:

https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=20...

The interesting thing about talking about narcotics is that I believe it is impossible to have a logical discussion on the subject. Opinions on the subject tend to be concrete one way or another, even those I have spoken to that claim to be neutral, on investigation, are only neutral through the eyes of the individual. Convictions are steadfast because, in spite of any scientific evidence, people have had their own first-hand experience and to divorce oneself from that experience and to look at <b>all</b> the facts with an open mind... well... we're not machines and it would be fallacy to assume one could do such a thing.

Someone who has watched a family member suffer through addiction will be viewing the world through a different lens than someone who remembers partying with friends and no amount of discussion on the internet, no matter how well reasoned, has but the slimmest chance of changing hearts and minds.

I mention all of this simply because whenever passions run high the chances of a flame war run high as well.

To compare illicit drug use to eating is certainly a false equivalence; eating is necessary for life, an act performed from birth. Illicit drug use is usually a choice and certainly not necessary for life.

The lines have been drawn steadily over the years, based mostly on cultural momentum (though you may debate the cause of that momentum). You compare risk taking (skydiving, skiing, etc.) with drug use but high-risk sports have been banned, base jumping is popular in some circles but there are plenty of places where it is banned because the risk is too great. You bet you can ban a sport, just like you could ban a food that carries too much risk (you're not going to get Casu Marzu here in the states). Plenty of things get banned all the time, drugs are not an exception.

That being the case your conclusion about the drug war not being about harm reduction is not quite as justified as you may have intended it to be. The mob rules and it swings both ways, look at the leaps and bounds that marijuana regulation has taken in the states. Personally I am against illicit drugs, I <b>have</b> seen my family torn apart by them because they are addictive and we're only human after all. Drugs can be addictive, but heck, people can become addicted to lots of things. But to me the choice to take dugs is, as I've said before, tantamount to self mutilation.




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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 17:41


I'm going to take issue with your points!

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
Sorry, TheAlchemistPirate, but I'm going to take issue with your points!

Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  

1. It is not nearly as detrimental to your health as meth,cocaine,heroin, etc. Though things such as marijuana are much different and shouldn't be treated any differently than normal tobacco smoking.


How much of the detrimental effect is due to the drug, and how much to social factors? Heroin, for example, is actually quite a non-toxic drug, with few long term side effects - UNLESS you're forced to buy impure heroin of unknown potency from a black market source at inflated prices and practice unsafe behaviours like non-sterile injection and reuse or sharing of needles. Likewise, many other drugs - ecstasy, many common hallucinogens, even stimulants other than (meth)amphetamine - tend to have few significantly detrimental acute or chronic effects on health which can be attributed purely to their pharmacology.


I agree with you that hard drugs in part dangerous because of what they are cut with, but that is only a portion of a larger danger. Many opiods are safe in small doses in a medical setting, but with continual use at dangerously high doses, they are extremely detrimental to someones health:
"Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations."
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroi...

In regard to impure drugs being the main cause of harm, I would point to the fact that everyday 44 Americans die from abusing prescription painkillers. These drugs have not cut and are safe at low doses.
http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/public.html

MDMA? Safe? Really?!? Studies show that ecstasy use irreversibly lowers serotonin levels, in addition I have talked to several people who have had direct experience with this drug who have confirmed that it detrimentally effects well being and cognitive ability.
Ricuarte GA, McCann UD, Szabo Z, Scheffel U. Toxicodynamics and long-term toxicity of the recreational drug, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine(MDMA, “ecstasy”).

Even Erowid acknowledges that MDMA is dangerous and cognitavely debilitative!
https://www.erowid.org/general/survey/survey_ecstasy_article...

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
2. Drugs are very expensive, and will force you to buy more and more of them. Combine that with the state of mind they put you in, and that can destroy societies in a matter of months.


Please provide examples of societies which have been destroyed, let alone ones which have fallen apart in a matter of months, because of the cost of drugs. Drugs have always been around, and probably always will. Animals get high! Also, how much of the expense is due to the black market factor? Most illicit drugs which also have medical uses - such as morphine or amphetamine - are VERY cheap when prescribed. They'd probably be even cheaper if mass produced for recreational consumption.


I would say that most communities are resilient enough to withstand the harsh effects of drugs for more than a few months, but I agree that they eventually ruin a society if their use is not restricted.
The correlation between drug use and urban crime, which clearly negatively impacts society, is heavily documented: "Drug-related violent crime soared in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s, accompanying the rise of the urban crack markets. As the crack markets waned during the 1990s, levels of violence also subsided."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719901/

An example of a society ravaged (but not destroyed) by drugs is the West Virginian town of Oceana, dubbed Oxyana due to the overwhelming oxycodone epidemic there: http://oxyana.com/trailer.html

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
3. Drugs are rather hard to make, and combined with the ignorance of our politicians, set the stage for gangs and cartels to form, which do much damage on their own.


Most common illicit drugs are very easy to synthesise from scratch (methamphetamine, ecstasy, etc) or are easily prepared from easily produced precursors (cocaine by extraction, heroin from morphine, LSD from ergotamine). Certainly the stage is set for criminal exploitation, but that's mostly because they're NOT difficult to prepare if you have access to the reagents needed.


Maybe these are easy to produce in developing countries, but here in the US most precursors to illicit drugs are apparently quite difficult to obtain. Maybe you are a much more competent chemist (this isn't my area of expertise) but from looking at erowid making lysergic acid from ergotamine requires heating in liquid hydrazine (rocket fuel), washing with diethylamine, and then heating in a "bomb" (whatever that is) or under nitrogen for many hours. If that is an "easy preparation" and "easily produced precursors" for you, kudos, you are an amazing chemist.

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
That isn't to say that the drug war is a bunch of caring,passionate figures who sincerely want the best for us and our freedom. I typically compare it to anti-terrorism.


Something along the lines of largely ineffective theatre? I'd agree with that. But perhaps even more insidious, since many of the negative effects of drug use can be blamed on criminalisation, rather than on the effects of drug itself.

As to the original post, the idea of "drawing the line" is always going to be a complicated issue, but I think regulation is only a small (albeit important) part of any change (excluding, of course, significant changes like decriminalisation of drugs, which of course is a critical step!). Ensuring that drug use (or overeating, or whatever) is treated as a health issue (meaning efforts towards effective education, harm minimisation and effective treatment - as opposed to imprisonment or treatment as punishment - when required) would probably go a lot further to solving problems than the criminal systems we have in place. Likewise, social change - which on highly contentious issues like this will probably only come through generational change - towards safe use, harm minimisation and seeking treatment when needed will be similarly important.

As to the war on drugs itself, I think it's a misguided - although maybe genuine when conceived - attempt to solve a perceived problem, which has since spiralled out of control. Yes, they should have learned from previous attempts (prohibition); yes, they should by now have realised it's ineffective and harmful; and yes, it's long since become a weapon which politicians are either happy to wield (some cynically, some because they genuinely think it's the right thing) or are scared to criticise.

The war on drugs is NOT about harm minimisation - it's about drug minimisation, the same way "abstinence only" sex education is about sex minimisation. This is because many people (or at least many people who have loud voices) believe that drug use (or sex, or whatever) is a moral, rather than a health, issue, and so ANY drug use is bad, no matter if it's safe or not.


Personally I am divided on the issue of legalizing hard drugs. I am compassionate for those in there grip who would be better helped if legalized and it would be great to take gangs out of the picture but at the same time I feel it would introduce them to many people who would have otherwise avoided them, because, as mentioned earlier, they aren't great for your health!

I hope we can all agree that simply letting the drug issue fester, without trying to wipe them out drugs, legalize them, or provide more resources to those addicted is a terrible idea.




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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 18:37


Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
"Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations."
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroi...

There's much more simple words to describe the phenomenon. It's called "learning". Please don't post the stuff you have no idea about, opiates have been used for centuries without any problems.
Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
I would point to the fact that everyday 44 Americans die from abusing prescription painkillers.

And do you know how many people die from paracetamol or antibiotics?
Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
MDMA? Safe? Really?!? Studies show that ecstasy use irreversibly lowers serotonin levels, in addition I have talked to several people who have had direct experience with this drug who have confirmed that it detrimentally effects well being and cognitive ability.
Once again, MDMA is just as dangerous as antibiotics/paracetamol are. Until you take much higher than normal dose or drink alcohol - you are completely fine.

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
I would say that most communities are resilient enough to withstand the harsh effects of drugs for more than a few months, but I agree that they eventually ruin a society if their use is not restricted.

I'm just thinking about dropping this answer and walking away. Because you talk about something YOU HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT. People have been using drugs for centuries, including opiates, mushrooms, cannabis, ayahuasca, salvia, without any problems.
The reason for crime level to rise is drug restriction, not the drug availability. Bans are the reason for most of the drug problems. Mafia was created by ban on alcohol.

For preparation of LSD from ergot alkaloids there's much easier route via POCl3.
Quote:
That isn't to say that the drug war is a bunch of caring,passionate figures who sincerely want the best for us and our freedom. I typically compare it to anti-terrorism.
Terrorists are completely guided and are fonded by governments. The question is only which government fonds a particular group. So talking about anti-terrorism either makes no sense or does not describes the problem.

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
it would introduce them to many people who would have otherwise avoided them, because, as mentioned earlier, they aren't great for your health!
It's not about health, it's about your ability to perform work, to wake up early in the morning, go to the office or to the plant, and to do the work you hate.
Another reason why drugs are banned is because after taking mdma or lsd might start questioning status quo, and that's a great danger for government.
Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
I hope we can all agree that simply letting the drug issue fester, without trying to wipe them out drugs, legalize them, or provide more resources to those addicted is a terrible idea.
You don't realize the root of the problem, that's why we can't agree.
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[*] posted on 30-8-2015 at 19:37



Illegal drugs?.....in my opinion it's a way for the government to tell you what to do some more. If choose to stop eating .... it will kill you , does the government make that illegal .......or is it that the gov. just has no way to make their fair share of the monies being generated by the selling and using of drugs which they deemed illegal?

.....the gov is all about making laws to protect the capitalism and themselves, not about protecting your rights to be free to live your life any way you choose......what is the alternative, do what you want to do, where you want to go , as the song of the Mamas and the Papas gave to us in our generation....still holds true to today's generation.....do your and live yours, and if it offends someone.....they will get over it , save the feds..they want to lock you up.....so much for democracy and freedom......this is how i see it .......solo




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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 03:21


Quote: Originally posted by solo  
If choose to stop eating .... it will kill you , does the government make that illegal ......


At least in the states, if you try to stage a hunger strike and are near death they will force you to eat using IV fluids, nutritional paste, etc. If you are just starving yourself for the heck of it you can bet that they will tag you with any of a number of mental ailments and force you to eat and get you therapy to make you think that eating is good.




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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 10:32


The only real question in the war on drugs is:

If "hard drugs" where allowed to be distributed under a tightly regulated system, would there be more people using them than there are now?

If you look into it alcohol and tobacco are quite nasty drugs and high on the addiction scale, yet the majority of the population can manage their use. Millions of others use opiates short term for pain control without issue (and this is without most of them even knowing what a dangerous drug they are taking, if they did know many would not take them).

Drugs ARE devastating communities. But the war on drugs doesn't do much to stop people from using them and turns "lost productivity" into harm not just to the drug user but to many of those around him. Get busted with hard drugs, you are a felon. Good luck getting a job, what are you going to do?
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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 11:09


Quote: Originally posted by gregxy  
The only real question in the war on drugs is:

If "hard drugs" where allowed to be distributed under a tightly regulated system, would there be more people using them than there are now?

If you look into it alcohol and tobacco are quite nasty drugs and high on the addiction scale, yet the majority of the population can manage their use. Millions of others use opiates short term for pain control without issue (and this is without most of them even knowing what a dangerous drug they are taking, if they did know many would not take them).

Drugs ARE devastating communities. But the war on drugs doesn't do much to stop people from using them and turns "lost productivity" into harm not just to the drug user but to many of those around him. Get busted with hard drugs, you are a felon. Good luck getting a job, what are you going to do?


I am not sure of what I am talking about, but wasn't there something about Portugal decriminalizing all drugs?
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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 11:58


Legalistion under scrutiny (same as booze and tobacco) is the only logical choice, as there is zero control of the drugs, the money, the workers, the quality, the effects on users etc at the moment.

Illegality isn't working at all.

USA Politicians should already know this due to the experience gained in the Prohibition period.

If i were in charge, i'd legalise Theft (and Banking) as well, imposing a tax on activity, same as every other Occupation, however with death being a penalty for non-conformance rather than just a fine or costly imprisonment.

Terry Pratchett said it best in one of his books : "30% per-capita would be acceptable. If not, de-capita is an option" (or words to that effect).

Face the Facts head on : All the nasty stuff happens anyway, whether Legal or Not, and current Controls simply do not work very well.




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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 12:09


After a quick google search.

Portugal did decriminalize hard drugs in 2001. The results seem to be indeterminate. If you read liberal stuff things got better, if you read conservative stuff, they got worse. Deaths definitely went down.
There definitely was not a large increase in new users. There is a surprising lack of information of information (that I can see).

Since the drugs still need to be obtained from illicit sources, I would think there would still be lots of crime associated with them.

I remember reading that legalizing pot in Colorado actually resulted in less use among teenagers.
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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 12:30


It's worth noting the reasons why people don't use illegal drugs. The reason I'm not a drug addict is not because I am afraid of getting caught by the government, not because I can't find/make any drugs, not because I've been shielded from anything related to them and therefore don't know enough to manage to get a high. I don't use drugs because I'm smart enough to avoid getting addicted to something that essentially dissolves your mind and ruins your capabilities for the rest of your life. If hard drugs gave you any real chance to escape and get clean it would be different. The government has proven their ineptitude quite well when it comes to changing an area/culture for the better. These people need help, not jurisdiction.



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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 12:58


Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  
It's worth noting the reasons why people don't use illegal drugs. The reason I'm not a drug addict is not because I am afraid of getting caught by the government, not because I can't find/make any drugs, not because I've been shielded from anything related to them and therefore don't know enough to manage to get a high. I don't use drugs because I'm smart enough to avoid getting addicted to something that essentially dissolves your mind and ruins your capabilities for the rest of your life. If hard drugs gave you any real chance to escape and get clean it would be different. The government has proven their ineptitude quite well when it comes to changing an area/culture for the better. These people need help, not jurisdiction.


You have got to fuel the machine somehow. Otherwise, what keeps this house of cards from collapsing in on itself? ;)
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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 13:09


Not much is the real answer.

Fortunately Nature tends to find a place to settle, and thrive.

Might be without humans though.




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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 14:09


The only difference between a government and a corporation is that you don't HAVE to buy a corporation's products.

There is no such thing as non-profit, someone always finds a way to line their pockets.
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[*] posted on 31-8-2015 at 18:16


Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
I'm going to take issue with your points!


Please do!

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
I agree with you that hard drugs in part dangerous because of what they are cut with, but that is only a portion of a larger danger.


I agree - hence why the presence of impurities - including cuts - was only one aspect that I mentioned. Also, the impurities themselves may not be the issue - after all, the dose is likely to be small, or the cutting agents fairly harmless, and thus the damage minimal. Rather, the impurities mean that dose is uncertain, thus increasing the risk of overdose. The social factors are a larger component - including having to interact with criminals (and, in turn, supporting broader criminal activities through drug profits), and the costs of purchasing an illegal substance (which leads to crime). And, of course, the many unsafe behaviours.

Yes, long term use of just about any substance - including food and oxygen - may cause negative physiological changes. And opioids are widely used for long-term pain control without, as I said, significant toxicity. As with all things, it's a risk-benefit consideration, which, I think, was the context of the original point about "drawing a line". And, to be clear, "having fun" is a benefit that must be considered.

You're also correct that people die of overdoses and side effects from prescription drugs. I never said they were harmless - just that many of the harms come from criminalisation rather than pharmacology. Also, many overdoses can be blamed in part on the court's response to users - if users are forced into ineffective treatment and subsequently relapse, they often return to their pre-treatment doses. Often, however, their tolerance has waned and thus they're taking an overdose - and many have died this way. If it was treated as a health issue, however, the users wouldn't be forced into treatment under threat of jail; the choice of treatment would be based on medical research without the need to punish the user; they would be monitored by health professionals throughout and after their treatment; and they would be given information on what to do if they relapse, rather than just being told "don't".

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  

MDMA? Safe? Really?!? Studies show that ecstasy use irreversibly lowers serotonin levels, in addition I have talked to several people who have had direct experience with this drug who have confirmed that it detrimentally effects well being and cognitive ability.
Ricuarte GA, McCann UD, Szabo Z, Scheffel U. Toxicodynamics and long-term toxicity of the recreational drug, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine(MDMA, “ecstasy”).

Even Erowid acknowledges that MDMA is dangerous and cognitavely debilitative!
https://www.erowid.org/general/survey/survey_ecstasy_article...


As much as I hate to lead with an ad hominem, any research on MDMA from the Ricuarte lab is suspect, after the furore surrounding a paper retracted from Science in 2002 (doi 10.1126/science.1074501). Furthermore, the paper you've cited from Erowid is a survey - run by Erowid and, so far as I can tell, never even peer reviewed - which asked users of MDMA how safe they think it is. This is not the same as examining the pharmacological profile of the drug and determining safety. The survey asks what users think; the only way to find out if they're right is by clinical research.

Also, please remember that anecdotes - one, two, or a thousand - are NOT data. No matter how many people THINK it harmed them, unless you have controlled data, you can't say that it did (or that it didn't, mind you). Maybe it was the ecstasy, or maybe it was all the late nights, heavy drinking, loud music, or other drug use! Or maybe they were never harmed at all - they just feel a bit slower because they're getting older!

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  

I would say that most communities are resilient enough to withstand the harsh effects of drugs for more than a few months, but I agree that they eventually ruin a society if their use is not restricted.
[...]
An example of a society ravaged (but not destroyed) by drugs is the West Virginian town of Oceana, dubbed Oxyana due to the overwhelming oxycodone epidemic there: http://oxyana.com/trailer.html


Sorry for breaking this block up, but we'll get to it. One - documentaries are not scientific data. I can't comment, because I don't know the details and lack time to find them, but provide the data which shows excessive rates of use, and how that is responsible for the "ravaging" of the town (and how it is the drugs, and not the criminal factors associated with their use) and we'll talk about it. Two, as stated by byko3y, drugs have been around a long time - I'd personally say that drugs have existed since life began, but in a purely human timeframe, we've got evidence of alcoholic beverages perhaps going back as far as 12,000 years.

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  

The correlation between drug use and urban crime, which clearly negatively impacts society, is heavily documented: "Drug-related violent crime soared in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s, accompanying the rise of the urban crack markets. As the crack markets waned during the 1990s, levels of violence also subsided."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719901/


I agree - there definitely seems to be a strong link between drug use and urban crime. But is that because of drugs, or because of the criminalisation of drugs? For example, if heroin could be purchased for one quarter its current price, would desperate users be more able to afford the drug without needing to resort to theft? Likewise, if your pharmacy sold heroin, would there be any need for local gangs to fight over where they sell their heroin?

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  

Maybe these are easy to produce in developing countries, but here in the US most precursors to illicit drugs are apparently quite difficult to obtain. Maybe you are a much more competent chemist (this isn't my area of expertise) but from looking at erowid making lysergic acid from ergotamine requires heating in liquid hydrazine (rocket fuel), washing with diethylamine, and then heating in a "bomb" (whatever that is) or under nitrogen for many hours. If that is an "easy preparation" and "easily produced precursors" for you, kudos, you are an amazing chemist.


You're making an argument from personal incredulity here. OK, cool, it's difficult for you to comprehend. That's fine - car repairs or plumbing are difficult for me. Synthesis of complex organic molecules, however - many of which make LSD look like playing with a Lego set by comparison - is my thing. And I'm not an amazing chemist - I'm a good chemist, with a PhD in the field, but that means little. With the relevant expertise this stuff is not complex - and to be clear, the synthesis of most drugs can be taught to and performed by any capable undergraduate student, and is clearly achievable by motivated novices in their back sheds. Also, import of precursors cannot be more difficult than import of, for example, cocaine. If you can get cocaine into the USA (or Australia, where I am), then a few barrels of precursors - many of which are important industrial chemicals with many legitimate uses - is probably simple (and probably less risky, too). Hard for you or me to obtain, sure, but probably easy enough for organised criminal groups.

By the way, describing hydrazine as "rocket fuel", while accurate, is misleading and unhelpful. Yup, it can be used as rocket fuel, but it's also an extremely useful and widely used reagent for organic synthesis, which can be handled and used safely by any competent person. It's no different to claiming that you shouldn't make aspirin because to do so you need to use acetic anhydride, which is also critical for making heroin!

Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  

Personally I am divided on the issue of legalizing hard drugs. I am compassionate for those in there grip who would be better helped if legalized and it would be great to take gangs out of the picture but at the same time I feel it would introduce them to many people who would have otherwise avoided them, because, as mentioned earlier, they aren't great for your health!

I hope we can all agree that simply letting the drug issue fester, without trying to wipe them out drugs, legalize them, or provide more resources to those addicted is a terrible idea.


The evidence from countries who have partly or largely decriminalised drugs - Portugal and the Netherlands, primarily - shows that drug use tends to decrease - or, at the very least, not increase - following decriminalisation. It's also fairly likely that providing legal access to drugs would do some serious damage to the budgets of organised criminals. And if, as I contend, many of the health problems stem from criminalisation, then the health costs would be reduced as well. We will NEVER wipe out drugs (see above re. 12,000 years of alcohol use). And I certainly agree that we need to provide more resources to the problem - but via the health systems, rather than criminal justice processes we use now.

---

BromicAcid, I accept your comments, and I fully understand the problems associated with overcoming out preconceived notions and world views. That said, I think you do humanity a disservice when you suggest that we are incapable of overcoming our biases and considering the facts with an open mind. If nothing else, I think that most of us are capable of doing so on certain issues - we all have our "sacred cows", so to speak, but for many of us even those can be dispensed with given sufficient reason. But science as a whole does this reasonably well, given enough time. Even if individual researchers go in with a bias, their work will be scrutinised by their peers - many of whom have equally strong opposing biases - and we will slowly move towards a more and more accurate picture of reality.

One thing that I think we should all be able to agree on is that we cannot allow anecdotes and individual cases to drive our responses to issues like this on a societal scale. Of course, we all know that they do - but I think most of us here recognise that responding to anecdotes as if they are data leads to ineffective or counter-productive outcomes. Take, for example, California's insistence on labelling everything that may contain an ingredient that may cause cancer - the warning, which may for some items be absolutely warranted, becomes meaningless because it appears on just about everything! There is no reason that we couldn't perform "clinical trials" to establish effective policy - and it has been done for certain issues. Of course, the political will to do so is lacking, because the public is more easily swayed by anecdote rather than data.

I should also clarify that, when I said the war on drugs is not about harm minimisation, I'm talking about the criminal justice motivations. There are certainly many people - and a growing number of them - who are extremely dedicated to the idea of harm minimisation, and those people often include police and members of the judiciary. But the motivation underlying treating drug use as a criminal - rather than health - issue can only be to minimise use, rather than harm. Compare it with theft - punishing a thief doesn't reduce the harm of the theft; it's intended to deter other potential thieves.

---

TheAlchemistPirate, it is, once again, not that simple. Drug use is not a matter of intelligence. Many people of varying levels of intellect choose to use drugs, do so safely, have some fun, and then give them up and get on with their lives. It is also entirely possible to lead a normal life while addicted to drugs - cigarettes are, after all, a perfect example. Many intelligent, hard-working, highly paid and successful individuals likewise support an ongoing heroin or cocaine addiction.

Then there are all the very many people who become addicted to prescription drugs - used for a legitimate purpose - and then turn to illegal drugs out of desperation once the doctor ceases prescribing the medicine. Or the chronic pain sufferer, for whom prescription painkillers prove ineffective, who might choose a hallucinogen or dissociative to escape from the pain.

Most illicit drugs are pharmacologically relatively benign, even with chronic use - certainly most of them do not "dissolve your mind". Drugs CAN be used safely, and people who choose to do so can overcome addiction - some all by themselves, and many more when appropriate support structures are in place. And, as I said, many more can support ongoing addictions without significant impact on their lives, under the right circumstances.

I fully agree, though, that "people need help, not jurisdiction" when it comes to issues surrounding drug use.
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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 06:00


Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
BromicAcid, I accept your comments, and I fully understand the problems associated with overcoming out preconceived notions and world views. That said, I think you do humanity a disservice when you suggest that we are incapable of overcoming our biases and considering the facts with an open mind. If nothing else, I think that most of us are capable of doing so on certain issues - we all have our "sacred cows", so to speak, but for many of us even those can be dispensed with given sufficient reason. But science as a whole does this reasonably well, given enough time. Even if individual researchers go in with a bias, their work will be scrutinised by their peers - many of whom have equally strong opposing biases - and we will slowly move towards a more and more accurate picture of reality.

One thing that I think we should all be able to agree on is that we cannot allow anecdotes and individual cases to drive our responses to issues like this on a societal scale. Of course, we all know that they do - but I think most of us here recognise that responding to anecdotes as if they are data leads to ineffective or counter-productive outcomes. Take, for example, California's insistence on labelling everything that may contain an ingredient that may cause cancer - the warning, which may for some items be absolutely warranted, becomes meaningless because it appears on just about everything! There is no reason that we couldn't perform "clinical trials" to establish effective policy - and it has been done for certain issues. Of course, the political will to do so is lacking, because the public is more easily swayed by anecdote rather than data.

I should also clarify that, when I said the war on drugs is not about harm minimisation, I'm talking about the criminal justice motivations. There are certainly many people - and a growing number of them - who are extremely dedicated to the idea of harm minimisation, and those people often include police and members of the judiciary. But the motivation underlying treating drug use as a criminal - rather than health - issue can only be to minimise use, rather than harm. Compare it with theft - punishing a thief doesn't reduce the harm of the theft; it's intended to deter other potential thieves.


Faked peer reviews prompt 64 retractions
Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
Beware the creeping cracks of bias

There are not just crackpot links, these are recent papers and posts from respectable journals and they are not in the minority. Again it is my own personal bias here supplying these links, my bias is that the peer review system is flawed (though it is the best we have till double-blind peer review becomes the benchmark [which will never happen because we don't have the resources for standard peer review with gibberish papers making it past peer review]) so that is the point that I am trying to express. I could be wrong but I don't want to dig, I cherry-pick the papers relevant to my discussion rather than put forth a concerted effort to read both sides of the story. And that is one of the issues mentioned in these papers, with big data and so much information out there, who has the time to look at everything? If your numbers are correlating, correlation may not equal causation, but heck, if you change the numbers just right you might have a paper to publish.

(Warning, anecdote) It seems the standard complaint in the biotech industry is that they are working on a project, the data does not look good (i.e., there is no or minimal effect) and this is the third study that they have run, however there was a blip somewhere that showed this might be promising. You could look at this two ways, the scientists (and people making decisions) are doing due diligence and making sure this blip was a false positive. Or you could look at the fact that they have sunk hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars into this and they are going to massage the numbers until they don't come out empty handed. I think the second of those is the most indicative of the human condition. Not simply bias but outright manipulation.

I agree with the majority of your point save the ability of humans to disassociate themselves from their inherent bias even when they are aware of its presence.

BTW: Where is the thread originator on all of this? One post on the whole forum and this is it?




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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 08:38


OP's probably blown away by the sheer dazzleaciousness of the forum's replies.

Personally i know where to draw the line : Absinthe. Definite no-no.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 09:08


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
OP's probably blown away by the sheer dazzleaciousness of the forum's replies.

It is kind of great that most tricky arguments here end up as increasingly-larger walls of text, rather than degeneration into illogical reasoning and insults as happens on most other forums. Yeah, we might have our differences, but I really, really like this place.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 09:38


Anyone who thinks that people should have free reign over everything simply because to be alive is to be free are showing their ignorance. Sure those who say that may think the world is like them but I've been to a methadone clinic and taken group, the majority of drug users are NOT at all like the majority of people who frequent this forum. You give the individuals living in society way WAY too much credit as they routinely spew vastly incorrect facts and spread the disease of ignorance through their own community. If given access to everything under the sun they would destroy themselves and take out countless "smart" people with them.

The laws that are in place, be it for firearms or drugs, are needed in this particular point in societies history. Perhaps with technology we can over come the need for some general restrictions but for evidence you need only look to our "energetic forum"as everyone who can read thinks this gives them the "right" to synthesize explosives. Until people can make the informed decision of what they can or can not do without jeopardizing everyone in the process of learning due to a failure to realize their own limitations, we need laws that prevent idiots from killing me or my mother or YOUR mother. Some idiot will retard his way into your life through his "inflated sense of entitlement" because of his ability to read coupled with the internet.

Being on this forum means your different from everyone who isnt and the majority of people you wish to trust with drugs and fire arms probably have an 8th grade education just so you know.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 11:22


Quote: Originally posted by szuko03  
Being on this forum means your different from everyone

I'm not.




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[*] posted on 1-9-2015 at 11:44


Quote: Originally posted by aga  

Personally i know where to draw the line : Absinthe. Definite no-no.

That's surprising




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