Cigarettes and alcohol worse than ecstasy, LSD and cannabis

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That's the conclusion of a new report in Britain that seeks to rank the actual physical and social harms of 20 recreational drugs. The report was commissioned by the UK's House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. According to news@nature.com:

Twenty drugs were rated in this system by psychiatrists, chemists and other experts. At the top came the class-A drugs heroin and cocaine. But ecstasy came near the bottom of the list. "We just have to accept that some drugs seen as class A, such as ecstasy and LSD, are not as dangerous as we thought," says [Bristol University psychopharmacologist David] Nutt. Meanwhile, alcohol was placed fifth, and tobacco ninth.

What do you want to bet that policymakers will conclude that they should loosen restrictions on ecstasy, weed, and LSD rather than impose further restrictions on booze and tobacco?

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  1. Anyone who has ever been around a heroine or a cocaine addict or watched someone drink themselves to death could have figured that one out. I have know people who literally stole from their families to support their cocaine habits and known alcoholics who kept drinking even after they knew it was going to kill them. While I will admit that most of the dope smokers I have known haven’t always been the brightest bulbs, their lives haven’t turned too badly. In the public sphere think about David Crosby versus Tim Leery. Crosby was a degenerate cocaine addict who despite making millions ended up on skid row on the run from the law. Leery dropped acid daily for years and never seemed any worse the wear for it. Despite all of the horror stories about people frying their brains in mental institutions (which were PCB users not LSD users) I have never seen any real side effects to marijuana and LSD and indeed LSD had real potential as a psychiatric illnesses before the government made the research illegal. Why those drugs are still illegal is beyond me.

    1. “Why those drugs are still illegal is beyond me.”

      While arguing with a friend about why drugs that have been shown to be less harmful than legal ones are prohibited I pushed him into admitting he actually thought “the people making the laws are smart and the law is that way for a reason therefore it must be good.” 😐
      Pretty much his own words. And that is how most people really think, as most people are supportive of prohibition.
      There is no need for reason if we have laws, right?

  2. Didn’t the publisher of LIFE magazine and his wife (Luce, I think the name was) drop acid pretty regularly in the Fifties?

  3. Taken on their own merits, alcohol is way worse than heroin or cocaine. It’s comparable in rates of addiction and much much more toxic. People can be a full time junkie for years, get themselves clean, and come away with only the missing years nagging urge to use again. Contrast that with someone, who spent a decade at the bottom of a bottle, half a brain, no liver, and diabetic.

    Most of the “physical and social harms” of heroin and cocaine are the direct result of prohibition. Users are by definition criminals. Even if they are able to hold down a minimum wage job, they are unemployable. They are discouraged from seeking help. The cost of supporting their habit is much higher than it would be, even if taxed like alcohol.

  4. mescaline is the best!

  5. Warren,

    Coke does terrible things to your heart and eats away at your nose. Actually, I think I would rather be a heroine user than a coke head. There is no denying there are a lot of old junkies. I don’t see too many old coke heads.

  6. John,
    Heroin withdrawal can kill you. Coke withdrawal cannot kill you. Coke is damaging to your heart but is by and large only psychologically addictive and not extremely physically addictive like heroine. Of course addiction is addiction, but its very difficult to get off heroine vs coke and arguably cokeheads are more productive members of society than junkies.
    just look at our president, the former “snowman” back in college.

  7. I dont really care if heroin is more dangerous than alcohol or more dangerous than making up fake diseases and forcing the taxpayer to pay for its treatment (drug treatment). I would very much like to reserve the right to poison my body with bad drugs and poison my mind with bad books thank you very much.

  8. Beer is worse than Speed? Maybe it’s time to change my habits…

  9. I wouldn’t want to be hooked on either one wug. I would be curious though to see if anyone on here has ever used herione recreationally. I have known a lot of people who snorted coke occasionally in the 80s or in college and never got addicted to the stuff and eventually grew up and stopped doing it. I have never known anyone who shot herione who wasn’t a raging junkie. I wonder if there are people out there who just took it a few times for fun and never got addicted.

  10. John,

    Do you not know how to spell or do you not care? It seems obvious that your spelling is not the result of poor typing skills.

    “Leery … PCB … heroine” cannot be the result of hitting the wrong keys as “e” and “a” and “b” and “p” are not adjacent. The “e” added to heroin is equally perplexing.

    Of course, I could just be falling for an intentionally annoying eccentricity of yours …

    Tschussie!

  11. Apostate Jew,

    Did you know that a Google search for site:reason.com rediculous yields 123 results?

  12. I’ve known a couple people who shot up heroin a handful of times and didn’t get addicted. Based on anecdotes it seems many people puke the first time, then the high sets in. I would guess that the psychological addiction precedes the physical addiction with heroin.

  13. Apostate Jew,

    It is an intentionally annoying trait of mine that I adopted specifically to drive you nuts. Not people like you, but you in particular.

    In all seriousness, my mind has always worked faster than my fingers. Professionally, I have to write something, spell check it, leave it alone for ten minutes and go back and re-read it to catch all of the mistakes like heroin?e? and such. It is a pain. I have since college, however, been able to produce letter perfect products. For whatever reason, if you ask me to spell a word, I can nearly always tell you how to spell it. If you ask me to type three sentences, I can nearly always find a way to misspell at least two words I would otherwise know how to spell. Producing letter perfect copy does not and never will come naturally to me. I just don’t care enough about a posting on a message board to go to the kind of effort necessary to produce it.

  14. Do you not know how to spell or do you not care? It seems obvious that your spelling is not the result of poor typing skills.

    I’ve changed my mind. The absolute pits is being addicted to grammar.

    Apparently, it totally shrinks your penis.

  15. I have heard about the puking part which always turned me off to trying it. Codeine based pain pills always make me puke and take all of the fun out of taking them. I don’t see the attraction of throwing up. I don’t care how high you are, puking is no fun.

  16. John,
    The majority of heroin users, (like the majority of all other drug users) use recreationally. It amazes me how the prohibition propaganda of “everybody who uses even once becomes a homeless thieving addict” is so universally accepted, even by people I think should know better. Of course recreational users snort it, or even smoke it. I think your right that injecting smack is probably a “you know you’re a junkie when” activity.

  17. I never tried heroin because I’ve heard (and told) these stories many times:

    “This one time, we were all on (insert any of the following: LSD, marijuana, alcohol, mushrooms, 2-CT7, DMT, DXM, etc…) and (insert fun and/or exciting thing that happened as a result)”

    but have never heard this story:

    “This one time, we were all on smack, and (insert fun and/or exciting thing that happened as a result)”

  18. I would be curious though to see if anyone on here has ever used herione recreationally.

    I’ve smoked opium, and it’s cool enough. Never felt the need to start shooting its purified form into my veins.

  19. I don’t know the overall statistics Warren, but my experience matches Rich Ard’s. I have heard lots of “I was crazy in college and used to snort coke, drop acid, smoke pot, etc.. but I don’t do that stuff anymore” stories but I have never once heard anyone talk about how they used to use heroin and have the story end happily. Maybe I just don’t know the right people.

  20. Maybe I just don’t know the right people.

    Don’t apologise John. Sounds like you don’t know the wrong people.

  21. I used to snort heroin in once in awhile, at $20 a bag it isnt in my budget and is certainly not worth the price of where I have to go to get it even if I had the money. I dont think it is as physically toxic as alcohol, as some on this thread have noted, hey heck that is my opinion.

  22. I’m surprised that no one has cited Jacob Sullum’s 2003 Reason article, H: The surprising truth about heroin and addiction. (It’s adapted from his book, Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.) Here is an excerpt:

    Despite its reputation, . . . heroin is neither irresistible nor inescapable. Only a very small share of the population ever uses it, and a large majority of those who do never become addicted. Even within the minority who develop a daily habit, most manage to stop using heroin, often without professional intervention. Yet heroin is still perceived as the paradigmatic voodoo drug, ineluctably turning its users into zombies who must obey its commands.

  23. I have never once heard anyone talk about how they used to use heroin and have the story end happily.

    Probably because people with that story to tell do not tell it.

    My observation is that people for whom drug use becomes a problem have many other underlying problems which either exacerbate or are exacerbated by the drug use.

  24. It’s true, smack is not a party drug, and I’m not here to testify to the joys of opiates.

    I just want to draw attention to the fact that the drug warriors exaggerate to ills of smack and crack, while giving booze a pass. And also, what I think should be self-evident, that prohibition makes all the problems of drugs in society much worse.

  25. I contend that Warren is correct in his reply to John: Most users use recreationally. The reason for that is that hardly anybody can tell that the user is high! That’s why our culture has never managed to eradicate drugs from society because, despite their best efforts, the typical non-user has no idea what to look for.

    Listen (uh, well, read) to this story that I just shared with my brother and his girlfriend over the weekend: I used to teach HS and ran the clock/scoreboard at football and basketball games. One Friday night I was running a little late for the game and, against what would constitute good judgement in that particular situation, caught a buzz on the way while speeding up I-95. I arrived maybe 90 seconds before kickoff, thumped up the stadium stairs noisily and obviously not discreetly, stumbled into the booth and sat down next to the very straight-laced chorus/music teacher. The game began and he was just bursting to tell me a story about how he’d turned in a student for being high in his class. And he turned to me and said in all seriousness, “Don’t these kids know that we can tell when they’re high?” I certatinly had to smell like smoke, I’d made a loud and hurried entrance in front of the entire school body plus paretns and siblings, and I can only imagine that my eyes were completely bloodshot. He had NO FREAKING CLUE! I am certain of this because, if he had known, he would certainly have reported his suspicions ot the principal or at least started the rumor mill. I almost fell out of my chair. And I believe that the same is true for users of other drugs as well. A few have symptoms that other users might recognize but, mostly, I suspect that most of us have any idea how many people we pass at the mall, stand behind at the deli counter, or are cutting the grass next door are under the influeance (whatever that means…) at right then. I don’t necessarily believe that they’re performing optimally during that time but talented, hard-working people can make that difficult to ascertain. And there are many talented, hard-working users in our society.

    The point is that most users and many addicts (whatever that means…) continue to lead otherwise normal lives, blending in and actually positively to society, raising families, paying their bills on time, and generally behaving in an acceptable manner. If people could easily tell that others were under the influence, it would be as simple as profiling for Islamic-looking people at the airport. Oh, wait…

  26. If we could ever reach a critical mass of folks able to evaluate drugs minus the hysteria, how long would it be before there is a book, “Mood Alteration for Dummies”?
    Imagine the “harm reduction” then!

  27. “Mood Alteration for Dummies”: erowid.org (pops)

  28. Heroin addiction is not as bad as alcohol addiction.

    This kind of argument always reminds me of ones like…

    IDF caused deaths are not as bad as those caused by Hezbollah.
    Lethal injection is more cruel than electrocution.
    David Lee Roth was better than Sammy Hagar in Van Halen

  29. But David Lee was better.

    Sorry – couldn’t help myself.

  30. Pi Guy,

    Oh, he was, he was…
    But that ain’t a very high bar to jump (go ahead and…)

  31. MSM
    Huh? I’m not getting what you’re getting at. All those examples are very different to me.

    Heroin addiction is not as bad as alcohol addiction.
    The point here is to emphasize that heroin is illegal, and has this terrible reputation while alcohol is legal and accepted.

    IDF caused deaths are not as bad as those caused by Hezbollah.
    This is the kind of “everything our enemy does is unpardonable because they are pure evil without redemption, while everything we do is justified because we are just doing what we have to in response to a wicked enemy” fallacy that drives me to drink

    Lethal injection is more cruel than electrocution.
    I’ve heard criticism of lethal injection, but never that it is more cruel than electrocution. In any event, I think that if we are going to execute people, we should do so as humanely as possible. Certainly the cruelty of the method of execution is a worthy topic of discussion.

    David Lee Roth was better than Sammy Hagar in Van Halen
    I imagine most people couldn’t give a shit one way or another, and if they don’t, there’s no reason they should. But is there anyone on the planet who would dispute this?

  32. Where I grew up, on Staten Island, heroin came thru blue collar white nieghborhoods like a tidal wave, starting around ’65. For a lot of us young teenagers, drinkin beer & singing accapella on corners , in front of big glass storefronts (reverb) and at the entrances of old mauseleums (GREAT echo effects) soaked up vast amounts of hours, us younger guys all knew or had brothers whose accapella groups had made 45’s….
    Anyhow, heroin came thru in a rush, & by 67, ALL my hs friends were junkies. Accapella simply vanished. Not recreational users, by & large, but stone junkies. several did fine workin as runners on Wall Street & selling heroin to brokers. They could afford to stay high, so for them it wasnt a problem.
    I used to read a lot & knew there was a wider world out there, so I never jumped on the bandwagon…..but I know what its like to sit around w/ a passles of junkies on the nod. Far better environment than tweakers or babbling moronic cokefiends.
    ANYHOW, the point is, as far as the rest of us go, it aint the dope, its the price of the dope. Some nitwit wants to be a junkie, it dont impinge on me at all, unless he has to steal to pay for the dope.
    Seeing where I grew up turn into a landscape of zombies made enlisting in 67 a good idea.
    Every few months, me & Herself will load up on percs or suchlike, and turn off the phone. Good fun…..
    VietNam of course, made me appreciate opium…..
    Legalize it, quit lockin people up for it.

  33. So what if current drug classifications are inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary? We are in the process of banning all drugs. We are bannign things one by one, and it just so happens that, at this particular time, due to cultural and historical factors, we have not *yet* been able to ban alcohol and cigarettes. Don’t worry — we’ll get there soon, and then the law will be consistent because everything will be banned. In the meantime, we won’t back-slide by easing prohibition of any currently prohibited substances.

  34. David Lee Roth was better than Sammy Hagar in Van Halen
    I imagine most people couldn’t give a shit one way or another, and if they don’t, there’s no reason they should. But is there anyone on the planet who would dispute this?

    Only one person, and even then it would depend on whether Sammy was around.

  35. Onto this new study, this ranking is malformed* as well.

    *http://scienceblogs.com/purepedantry/2006/07/towards_a_more_rational_drug_c.php#comment-183602

    The British public thinks differently**

    **http://img114.imageshack.us/img114/1561/ukpollia0.gif

  36. David Lee Roth was better than Sammy Hagar in Van Halen

    Is this what you wanted? Sammy Hagar?
    Sammy Hagar? Is this what you wanted, man?
    Dave lost his hairline, but you lost your cool, buddy
    Can’t drive 55, I’ll never buy your lousy records again

  37. Theodore Dalrymple wrote a great article in City Journal a few months ago arguing that only criminals get addicted. Basically that we have it backwards, it is the underlying criminal personality and criminality that causes the addiction not the other way around. Dalrymple is a prison psychiatrist in England and talks about his clients faking withdrawal to get put on methadone and joking about it with their friends in the waiting room before doubling over in faux pain upon entering his office. My experience with addicts in the criminal justice system supports these assertions. All of the drug users I ran into were engaged in other criminal activity that had nothing to do with their drug use. Yes, the drug use kept them in the system by getting them to violate probation, but usually it was things like theft or violence that got them in the system in the first place and it wasn’t theft steeling to support their habit. It was theft just because they were criminal scumbags who would rather steal than work.

    There is a whole multi billion dollar industry built around the idea that drug addiction is a disease in need of treatment. They certainly have a motivation to argue that expensive therapy is the only way to kick drugs. The older I get the more I distrust the claims of the addiction industry.

  38. As one of those 12 step program members for oh 15 years, I have to say that the problem of giving up one substance over another always seemed to me to be secondary to giving up the lifestyle. This substance or that substance was just a means to an end, namely, alowing me to avoid identifying my poor behavior as poor behavior, because,”everything is still o.k.” . It seems to me that those of us who eventualy end up on heroin are simply at the last stop of substances that continue to work toward this end. Those who end up on herion are people who are working real hard to avoid identifying that this lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are probobly lots of people who use heroin or coke recreationaly but the people who have real problems with “addiction” end up skewing the data as to which drug is worse. Those who research drug addiction also feed this notion too that one drug is worse than another. Anyone who has been to a 12step N.A. meeting can tell you that herion and crack are usually the topic of what brought us there. But is it the herion and crack or is it that herion and crack simply are a symtom of how bad our denial of our behavior become.

  39. Satan,

    The closest I have ever come to actually understanding drug addiction was after I cut my hand badly about ten years ago and had access to some serious pain pills. There were other issues going on in my life to be depressed about and I found that whenever I took the pills, I was in a good mood and was optimistic about things and whenever I didn’t I was very depressed. I never felt any physical need to take the pills. I could definitely see how if I had had access to them after the prescription ran out, I could have definitely become psychologically dependent on them. They were such an easy way out of dealing with life. I doubt I would have ever ended up in the gutter, but if they were available, I can’t say I wouldn’t be taking them to this day.

    That said, there have to be millions of drug users who never commit a crime and function just fine in society. The sheer size of the illegal drug trade tells you that. If every drug user ended up in the gutter, there wouldn’t be the tens of billions of dollars to support the trade.

  40. Warren,

    You’re working too hard.

    In all the examples, the distinctions are meaningful, but are just shades of bad. None rise to the level of being good. It’s a very small point.

  41. “Theodore Dalrymple wrote a great article”

    If by great you mean pseudoscientific drivel, sure.

    His premise is based on a very skewed sample, and ignores the biological facts.

    X steals.
    X is an addict.
    Trait Y causes X to steal.
    Therefore trait Y causes addiction?

    Z is an addict.
    Z does not steal.
    Does Z have trait Y?

    Maybe trait A is common to both Z and X, but trait Y isn’t.

    Maybe stealing and addiction are not causally linked at all. Or maybe trait A causes a need for $, that occasionaly pushes those with trait A to steal, but the reverse arrow seems like pushing a rope uphill to me.

  42. MainstreamMan,

    Why is that millions of people use drugs and never become criminals? Drugs have been around since the dawn of civilization. It wasn’t until the last 100 years or so that people started to associate drugs with criminality. Why does one have to cause the other? Perhaps, since not all criminals use drugs and not all drug users are criminals, drugs have nothing to do with criminality. In fact, as Satan points out above, some people are just fuck ups who will find any excuse to mess up their lives. In our theraputic society, we have found this wonderful thing called drug addiction to excuse any behavior.

  43. John:
    If your only experience with drug users is via the criminal justice system then it is likely that many of those users were scumbags – even the ones who didn’t use. The point that I’m trying to make is that that is a very small percentage of the user base and that you can’t assume that all users are scumbags simply because the ones that you’ve encountered there were.

    I strongly suspect that if there was suddenly some sort of legal and social reprieve on drug use and that all users could come clean and say, “My name is John and I’m a pot head.” that the quantity and quality of people admitting to being users would be staggering. On the other hand, if cigarettes were suddenly made illegal a black market for would be established immediately, and an increase in violent crime associated with that market, to feed the needs the raving nic-fiends. If you doubt that, let me ask you: Are you familiar with the 18th Amendment? I assume that you are since you’re somehow intimate with the criminal justice system. Note that alcohol doesn’t have any greater hold on people now than it did in the ’20s but, when it was illegal, there was a significant increase in violence associated with its distribution via the black market. And the Kennedy’s got filthy rich off of it.

    Satan:
    While it might seem to contradict my other statements, I agree that users are basically self-medicating and that they are really battling some, if not many, other demons. But many are able to get the dosages just right and not all users are on the path to herion or crack just because they use other drugs. For some, I think that that is just enough to help some people manage get by without blowing a gasket on the rest of us.

  44. Theodore Dalrymple wrote a great article in City Journal a few months ago arguing that only criminals get addicted.

    Wow, I’m a criminal and didn’t even know it.

  45. If there should be a priority on legalizing any drugs it should be the tryptamine and phenethylamine class of drugs…they have the greatest potential for societal good, and the least potential for societal harm.

    forget about cannabis and coke…
    lsd and mushrooms can stimulate learning, heal mental disorder, and strengthen the spirit

  46. >David Lee Roth was better than Sammy Hagar in Van Halen

    Oh come on! Of course he was. Sammy Hagar is unredeemingly lame. Let’s review:

    Your Love is Driving Me Crazy
    I Just Can’t Drive 55
    1-2-3 Lock Box

    All of these had me reaching for the remote any time the videos came on MTV.

    DLR, on the other hand, was funny, entertaining, and kinda hot stuff. He had a great rock voice and he was certainly the most athletic rock singer I can recall.

  47. Pi Guy,

    I agree with you that lots of perfectly respectable people use drugs. As I said above, there is no other way to explain the huge amunt of money in the drug trade. That money has to come from somewhere. A lot of people with jobs and lives and money use drugs.

    That goes to prove my point that drugs don’t cause criminality. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many users who are not criminals.

  48. John,

    Do you agree with your own position?
    You are presenting the counter argument to Dalrymple ‘s hypothesis, it what seems to be an attempt to support it.

  49. MainstreamMan,

    Dalrymple’s position is that some people are criminals and it is their criminality that causes them to commit crimes and abuse drugs. I totally agree with that. That is why when people who are not anti-social and criminal use drugs, they don’t become criminals. I look at it this way, I could use drugs for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t go out and knock off a bank. The fact that someone who robs a bank also happens to use drugs, doesn’t make the drugs or their addiction to them the cause of them robbing the bank, despite claims to the contrary.

  50. I don’t think we’re “in the process of banning all drugs”, but we may be in the process of medicalizing them all, which starts just by labeling them “drugs” (i.e. medicines). The bar will be tended by a health professional of some kind, etc.

  51. John:

    I re-read your post and realize that you are essentially arguing the same point as I. I misinterpreted one of your points. My humble apologies.

    People on qualudes should not blog.

  52. John,

    Your basic points are sound, but do not support the conclusion that Mr. D made when he was

    “arguing that only criminals get addicted.”

    This assumes that the non-criminals who abuse (note that we are not talking about those that simply use, but those that abuse) drugs are not addicted.

    “Dalrymple’s position is that some people are criminals”

    These seems as much of a cop out in regards to personal responsibility as blaming it on the drugs, IMHO. Just shifts the demon to some abstract trait Y that causes criminal behavior.

  53. “Sammy Hagar is unredeemingly lame.”

    You forgot “RED”

    Red, red, I luv red,
    Move over purple,
    Move over purple,
    Red’s a mother fucker.

    But how much better, really, is “Hot for teacher?”

  54. It’s true, smack is not a party drug

    I’m not a party drug. I am the party!

    And I’m not ill.

  55. Uppers are always more fun than downers, since downers are nothing more than a way to escape.

  56. Hot for Teacher was pretty lame too. But
    Van Halen had some great songs. Jamie’s Cryin’, Runnin’ with the Devil, Dance the Night Away, Beautiful Girls…those were all really good songs in the hard rock/pop genre and David Lee Roth was a great front man. Sammy Hagar is just boring.

    Question: can maintenance heroin use/addiction destroy your internal organs, given enough time. I’m really asking in case someone knows the answer, because I don’t.

  57. “And I’m not ill.”

    Yeah, but you are illin’.

  58. You forgot Ice cream Man!

  59. I’m not a party drug. I am the party!

    Smacky,
    You and David Lee Roth have much in common. insert tire sniffing remark here.

  60. mg,

    Shiiii…I am not illin’. I be chillin’. Or something.

    Sidebar: I actually Googled the word “illin'” just to be sure I got the right definition. (I would’ve searched Urban Dictionary but apparently my workplace is trying to shield us from urban culture.) I’m not sure I got the correct definition of the word, but I did find this amusing forum of white theater nerds arguing over urban slang: http://www.musicals.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=600643

  61. insert tire sniffing remark here.

  62. insert tire sniffing remark here.

    Warren,

    I’m not sure I understand this reference…but maybe it would be best for all of us if we left it at that.

  63. insert tire sniffing remark here.

    Warren,

    I’m not sure I understand this reference…but maybe it would be best for all of us if we left it at that.

  64. Mainstream,

    I would not define “criminality” as I mean it to be some factor that causes people to do things. I use the term as a general purpose one to describe people who for whatever reason choose to be anti-social and do criminal things. I did not mean to in anyway imply that I mean to use “criminality” as a way to diminish personal responsibility.

  65. Van,
    You are making my point for me.
    The distinctions are real, but unimportant in the big picture.

    portrait of a great frontman?
    http://usuarios.lycos.es/hardrockbuenosaires/paginas_varios/Fotos/david_lee_roth.jpg

  66. pi guy- I couldn’nt agree more. I guess my point is that this talk of which drug is worse misses the whole point. The drug is not the problem it’s the individual using the drug. I’m sure, in fact I know, quite a few people use various drugs socially. I have never met a social crack, cocaine, or heroin user not to say that they don’t exist. But the people who the studies are based off of are usually real “addicts” in jail or treatment facilities and there inlies the skewed data and conclusions. The argument seems to go : “These people all have social ills and the worse the social ills the more likely they are to use heroin or crack therfore the problem must be the crack or heroin.” There also lies the drug war argument. If only we stop the usage of the drug our social ills will stop. In reality even if you were able to get rid of the drug the “addict” will find some other means to “escape”.

  67. “for whatever reason choose to be anti-social and do criminal things”

    So explain again how this relates to drug addiction.

    Remember, the premise was that only people who make this kind of choice can be called addicted. Others who abuse drugs don’t do it because they are addicted. Only those that make anti-social/criminal choices (for whatever reason) in realms outside of drug use can be called addicted, according to Mr. D’s hypothesis.

    He is arguing that we turn the convential logic on its head, but his upside down logic falls apart very quickly.

  68. >>Van,
    You are making my point for me.
    The distinctions are real, but unimportant in the big picture.

    Which big picture? In the big picture of the history of popular music in the 20th century the distinctions are important.

    I’ll stop now.

  69. The “Duh” of the week award…..
    “Why is that millions of people use drugs and never become criminals? Drugs have been around since the dawn of civilization. It wasn’t until the last 100 years or so that people started to associate drugs with criminality. ”
    It wasnt until the last hundred years drugs became criminalized. Jesus friggin murphy. When drugs became crminalized, drugs went to the black market. When they went to the black market, the Invisible Hand increased the cost by orders of magnitude. Then people had to steal (either with gun, jimmy bar, or fountain pen) to PAY for the DRUGS!
    Jeez. Is everyone on drugs around here??

  70. Just about every society classifies drugs into some which are socially acceptable and others which are not. However, these classifications vary between cultures and change over time.

    In Victorian times laudanum (opium dissolved in brandy) was widely used by respectable ladies; today opium is almost universally illegal. In modern times many countries have seen tobacco move out of acceptability as its health risks have become more widely known, while marijuana has moved towards acceptance as it has become apparent that dope smokers are not after all a threat to all civilised life as we know it.

    It seems to me that a more useful classification would be by the amount of harm done, not to the users (who should be free to abuse their own bodies and minds) but to non-users. If you want to fry your brains or pickle your liver, that’s your business. If you want to force me to breathe your carcinogenic second-hand fumes or be run down by your car because you’re driving while drunk, then it becomes my business. A rational drugs policy would address the wider effects of drugs rather than arbitrarily labelling them as good or bad.

  71. just gimme 200 micrograms, a few shpongle albums and some space to do yoga…

  72. I spent 5 years willingly in the hell that was heroin…
    There are numerous lasting physical, and emotional after effects of such an addiction.
    We will ignore for this the danger of contracting HIV from shared needles used for jacking, and if you say “then don’t share needles” you’ve obviously never lived in the land of nnod…
    When you are on the smack, everything is fine. it’s not like your problems go away, far from it, but they just don’t matter to you. it disconnects your nervous system, as well as your emotions for the most part. maybe that was just the effect i got from it, but it’s what most of the people i did it with were seeking, and found. The only real difference between smack, and booze, is that booze is legal in the states, and far more socially acceptable. Much like booze, it has an exponential effect. though not truly exponential, the curve for heroin is much higher than the curve for booze. what i mean is that to get drunk you need a certain amount of alcohol put into your body. over time, you will need more, and more to get to the same state of drunkeness as before. it is much easier, and quicker to build this tolerance with heroin, and is therefore easier to notice the curve. But you are still poisonng your body, and taking much higher dosages of the poison to get off. over time, a junkie, and a boozehound, will find the magic number, which gets him off, and has topped out his body’s ability to stave off, and compensate for. or, they will eventually overdose, and succeed in their subconscious desire to commit suicide through chemicals.
    because booze is government controlled, taxed, and packaged, you can be sure of what you are getting, and exactly how to dose yourself. unless of course you are imbibing homebrew moonshine…
    with heroin, and other banned drugs, you have no quality control. you don’t always necesarily know the product you are obtaining. sid viscious died of a horse overdose, because the bag he procured happened to be far cleaner, and more pure than the average street smack. he dosed himself appropriately for street grade, and his addiction level. had it beena state accepted, taxed, and regulated chemical he was doing, he probably would not have died.
    at least not that day.
    having been on just about every recreational chemical that makes the rounds of the scenes, and quite a few that don’t, i can say with authority, that booze, over time, will screw you up far worse than anything else out there.
    for context, i should admit, that i do believe that heroin is the devil, and that if you let it, it will destroy your life, and everything of any value, or merrit in your world.
    but i also feel you should be free to make that decision. and that you should be given true, factual information before you make that decision.
    i feel that the us government is simply doing it’s part to exert control, and extort it’s citizens by continuing to ban heroin, marijuanna, lsd, cocaine, and just about every other “recreational” drug out there. further, that it would service said citizens far greater to legalise, and control the marketplace for it like they do for tobacco, and alcohol.
    i could now get into a sermon about the evil of the prescription medication marketplace, and how many of those “medicines” are far worse for you than careful use of heroin, or marijuanna… but i won’t.
    i will however point out that up untill just a few short decades ago, all of these chemicals were legal for you to purchase, manufacture, and sell…. even as medicine. i will point out that the number 1 factor for new addicts is the rebellion inherrant to doing something illegal, and that legalisation would effectively nix a large portion of those people… if i had a nickle for every raging boozehound who pretty much quit drinking after they became legally able to buy the stuff, i would be a rich man.

    the truth of the matter is that drugs do not kill people. people kill people. if you want to die, you will find a way to do it, or at least make it as painless for youself while it happens. either by shooting some smack, or downing all of moms valium. it’s all pretty much the same thing.

    all of the sermons over though… i had a great time on drugs. there were even some great times on the smack. the withdrawal was worse than death, but it made it that much sweeter when we were able to get back to some sincere smack. when i quit the heroin i made the conscious and unconscious decision to do so, and quit it cold turkey. after a while i slipped back into the “softer drugs” and had a wild ride, that i will never forget. lsd opened parts of me i didn’t know were there. marijuanna was far better than paxil at combatting my social anxiety’s, and treating my ADHD. i am clean now. i still smoke tobacco, and will occasionally drink alcohol, but thats because marijuanna is still illegal, and i have a son, and a job i don’t want to lose to an unjust, and criminal law.

    legalisation is the answer, deciminalisation is on the right path though. but getting out the truth is the only way to get us down that road.

  73. ghb is my favorite. Was there any physical harm at all?

  74. If you like GHB, try GBL. Same (or better) drunk, without all that sodium.

  75. jf,

    Did you know that a Google search for site:reason.com rediculous yields 123 results?

    And when you spell ridiculous right, it yields around 1,970. How rediculous [sic] is that?

    😉

  76. they wont restrict tobacco and alcohol… too many business making billions… with a good portion going to lobbying…

  77. I think that the definition of addiction is at the foundation of this whole argument. IMO its not level of an individuals need of a substance that is the problem, rather the consequences of usage – heroin or alcohol – that should be the measure of how “bad” it is. How many innocent people die each day due to a drunk driver? How many families of alcoholics live desperate lives? It seems to me, that barring the artificial circumstances created by the law, in the case of heroin & morphine, that the deaths caused by heavy addiction to those substances, would be negligible.
    Science has unequivocably proven the effects that nicotine & alcohol have on the human body but that hasn’t caused them to be outlawed. Apart from the obvious fact that it would outrage not only the general populace but big business, the important factor is that moderation is the key, as in all things. People who overuse any substance, including food, do so because of unfulfilled emotional needs. Instead of spending billions of dollars on policing the drug trade, perhaps that money would be better spent on providing the help THEY need!

  78. that is so true
    people should not hit and run

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