/ Britain's child drug runners

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girlymonkey 21 Nov 2019

There is a documentary on channel 4 at the moment called Britain's child drug runners. I would encourage any of you who use drugs or have friends and family who use to watch and understand the impact that it has on young lives. 

I found it quite sad to watch, but I think important to understand what is going on around us.

5
capoap 21 Nov 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

How on earth did you get a dislike for that.

2
mick taylor 21 Nov 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

Aye, and think about people being trafficked from Vietnam etc, and the fact that chances are, further up the supply chain (or not), your hash money is buying guns.

I'm increasingly in favour of legalisation, just a matter of time methinks.  

1
wintertree 21 Nov 2019
In reply to mick taylor:

> I'm increasingly in favour of legalisation, just a matter of time methinks.  

Indeed.  One possible addendum to the OP is to think about how our current legislative mess also contributes on the impact to young lives.

Timmd 21 Nov 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

I have a friend who occasionally asks me if I've gone vegan yet when she's drunk, but she'd never quit her harsh smoking, MDMA taking or occasional line of coke, it would be a full change of lifestyle and mindset for both her and her partner I think. Ta for the mention, I will find and share it on facebook. 

For many people I know, it seeems to be a case of, go green, buy fair trade, buy organic, buy free range, go vegan - but fund organised crime and not think about that....

Post edited at 17:49
1
girlymonkey 21 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

And one guy in the documentary makes that exact point. Yep, worth showing it to your friend

girlymonkey 21 Nov 2019
In reply to capoap:

I have a serial disliker. I get it on all my posts. I'm ok with it! Lol

7
girlymonkey 21 Nov 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Yes, I agree that legalising seems like a route to safer supply chains. I'd be interested to know if countries who have legalised drugs have fewer problems like this, or if the gangs find some other way of exploiting these vulnerable young people for money.

1
Bobling 21 Nov 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

And the tax, think of all that lovely, lovely tax money HMRC!  But instead it is getting funneled straight into organised crime.  Dontgettit.

Jon Stewart 21 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I have a friend who occasionally asks me if I've gone vegan yet when she's drunk

I don't want to be mean to your friend, but if there is one group of people who can f*ck right off, it's vegans who do coke. Jesus wept.

4
Timmd 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart: I've pondered that a bit to be fair, and concluded that it depends on how much/whether one sees life as 'a virtue competition', after which it stopped mattering, more or less. 

Post edited at 02:14
aln 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Coke is vegan.

1
marsbar 22 Nov 2019
In reply to aln:

Technically its plant based. However if you consider the number of humans murdered in the drugs trade, the land ripped up to plant it and the fish killed from the by products dumped it's not really vegan.  

marsbar 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

It's not a virtue competion.  But having a hypocrite question my food choices would irritate me.  

ebdon 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Although it isn't a virtue competition and they are totally different issues I can never get my head around making a conscious decision to improve animal welfare and/mitigate climate change and also making a conscious decision to fund organised crime, murder, child exploitation etc...

Timmd 22 Nov 2019
In reply to ebdon: I did offer to go veggie if she never took coke again, and she looked perturbed at the idea of that, so I gave up minding. The climate footprint from meat likely leads to human suffering too, but more indirectly. 

I notice I've had no reactions to my facebook share about what the OP shared, or comments.... 

Post edited at 11:21
Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to aln:

> Coke is vegan.

That's what I was thinking.

Mind you an evangelical vegan off their tits on coke would be a right pain in the arse.

Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to ebdon:

> Although it isn't a virtue competition and they are totally different issues I can never get my head around making a conscious decision to improve animal welfare and/mitigate climate change and also making a conscious decision to fund organised crime, murder, child exploitation etc...

Some people care more about animals than people? Seems quite straightforward to me, that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with their lifestyle choice but I understand it.

coinneach 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

A Vegangelist !

FactorXXX 22 Nov 2019
In reply to aln:

> Coke is vegan.

Don't a lot of mules get forced into drug trafficking and sometimes even die when swallowed packages rupture?

1
stevevans5 22 Nov 2019
In reply to mick taylor:

Everyone is subscribed to this line of logic so I'm obviously missing something, but this line of logic is confusing me. it reads as "This thing is illegal and attracts criminals so we should legalise it so it no longer attracts criminals"... You would not apply this to anything else, eg de-restrict gun ownership so people aren't exploited to smuggle guns illegally. 

I assume the unwritten assumption is that all the reasons for it to be illegal aren't that valid? And as there are tangible downsides to it being illegal it should be legalised? 

Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to stevevans5:

Yes.

Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

..if I drowned in a lake would that mean that water was no longer vegan?

This is getting a bit silly really.

skog 22 Nov 2019
In reply to stevevans5:

> Everyone is subscribed to this line of logic so I'm obviously missing something, but this line of logic is confusing me. it reads as "This thing is illegal and attracts criminals so we should legalise it so it no longer attracts criminals"... You would not apply this to anything else, eg de-restrict gun ownership so people aren't exploited to smuggle guns illegally. 

Wasn't this pretty much exactly why prohibition of alcohol ended in the USA?

> I assume the unwritten assumption is that all the reasons for it to be illegal aren't that valid? And as there are tangible downsides to it being illegal it should be legalised? 

That would be pretty much my take on it - don't generally legalise guns because there are good reasons for keeping them illegal that outweigh the downside of creating a black market for them. (Also, it's a smaller black market - a large fraction of people will buy illegal drugs, not so many will buy illegal guns).

I'm not at all convinced that all recreational drugs should be legalised - it should depend on the likely harm vs benefits - but I think quite a lot should be.

stevevans5 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Cool thanks for clarifying! I should probably do a bit more reading about this as it's highlighted my ignorance! 

skog 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> ..if I drowned in a lake would that mean that water was no longer vegan?

> This is getting a bit silly really.

It depends on the definition of vegan that you're using.

It can mean avoiding eating or using any animal products, but e.g. The Vegan Society adopts a slightly different version:

"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

I think that is probably a more sensible definition - as you're obviously not doing any harm drinking the water in the tongue-in-cheek example above, but you obviously are by buying cocaine even though it may not actually contain any animal products.

I was a proper, pain-in-the-arse vegan for a few years in my youth, and I remember there being an ongoing discussion in the Vegan Society as to whether a baby drinking breast milk wasn't vegan. It was split between the overly-literal ("of course it isn't vegan, that's an animal product"), and the reasonable pragmatists ("well, I suppose so, but you're missing the actual point of being vegan").

Post edited at 13:45
Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to skog:

Fair enough.

So a person is regarded as an animal? 

skog 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Yup, vegans aren't supposed to eat people.

In seriousness, there was also the oral sex debate...

skog 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Thinking about it, the letters to the society's magazine were a lot like a very slow-moving version of Twitter.

Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to stevevans5:

You're welcome.

Read up on drug legislation reform in Portugal for a possible way of changing the legal status of recreational pharmaceuticals in the UK.

profitofdoom 22 Nov 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Don't a lot of mules get forced into drug trafficking.....

I think lots of mules are in it for the money, and are not forced into it by threats

1
Eric9Points 22 Nov 2019
In reply to profitofdoom:

> I think lots of mules are in it for the money, and are not forced into it by threats

I'd have thought carrots and a few bales of fresh hay?

1
profitofdoom 22 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I'd have thought carrots and a few bales of fresh hay?

No, they much prefer cocoa and Weetabix

1
Jon Stewart 22 Nov 2019
In reply to stevevans5:

> I assume the unwritten assumption is that all the reasons for it to be illegal aren't that valid? And as there are tangible downsides to it being illegal it should be legalised? 

Yes.

I actually suspect we're in a weird scenario where hardly anyone who's still alive believes in the reasons that were given for making many drugs illegal. We're just used to it being the law so we go along with it or ignore it. No one believes in "reefer madness"; people have been taking psychedelics and it's obviously been doing them more good than harm for decades; anyone who's got any experience of club drugs like MDMA, speed and cocaine thinks they're mundane and would see them as similar to alcohol in risks and benefits. Heroin (and maybe crack cocaine) is the only drug that's really managed to hold its own as something anyone with any knowledge or experience believes people should be protected from.

The emperor's old clothes I guess?

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nawface 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

As someone who is fully experienced in recreational use I have come to disagree.  The fallout some years later amongst my group in terms of severe mental health issues, addiction and unfortunately one fatality has removed my belief in what you say.  

Whilst you may be like me and walk away unscathed and with a load of amazing hedonistic memories it can also eat you up and spit you out.  Although as I say that I wonder if I'll reap what I've sowed in old age.  Guess we'll see what happens to first wave of the rave generation.

That's not to say I think they should be illegal.  Quality control, open education and the removal of criminal influence would be welcomed in my view.  But in terms of mental health it's a potentially dangerous game to play.  

Post edited at 02:02
1
Timmd 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yes.

> I actually suspect we're in a weird scenario where hardly anyone who's still alive believes in the reasons that were given for making many drugs illegal. We're just used to it being the law so we go along with it or ignore it. No one believes in "reefer madness"; people have been taking psychedelics and it's obviously been doing them more good than harm for decades; anyone who's got any experience of club drugs like MDMA, speed and cocaine thinks they're mundane and would see them as similar to alcohol in risks and benefits. Heroin (and maybe crack cocaine) is the only drug that's really managed to hold its own as something anyone with any knowledge or experience believes people should be protected from.

> The emperor's old clothes I guess?

I occasionally think it's hard to be objective about the amount of 'good' things like psychedelics or cannabis do, if looked at in the round to do with a person's life-effectiveness, and having a life that is more multifaceted if they become a habitual part of a person's life. From observing people I've known for quite a long time, they can become happier with doing less, in not having as much of a range of things going on.  Whether they 'find their centre' and need to do less, or become less effective in living a full life - it's hard to know. 

Post edited at 05:29
marsbar 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've seen some unpleasant things in my working life.  On balance I support legalise but its still the case that once the line is crossed from recreational use to problematic use then it can be disastrous.  Better funded child and mental health provision and much earlier robust intervention in domestic violence where children live in the home would probably do more to prevent problematic use in any case. 

Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I occasionally think it's hard to be objective about the amount of 'good' things like psychedelics or cannabis do

I wouldn't lump cannabis and psychedelics together. I can't think of any examples of recreational cannabis use doing anyone any good, it's fairly habit-forming and stoners have fewer of  their faculties working properly. But psychedelics are physically harmless, not habit-forming, and IME most often have psychological benefits that outweigh the risks. Different kettles of fish (but still needs to be treated with respect, i.e. good education, regulated etc.).

As you say though, it's difficult to be objective because there is no relevant research, and our experience will vary so much. 

Post edited at 09:13
Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to nawface and marsbar:

I didn't intend to say that I thought the risks were not considerable, only that they're comparable with alcohol (generally, varies for each drug from much lower to roughly equal except crack and smack, see Prof Nutts work) and we don't need to be protected from them by prohibition.

The point is that it seems like a small minority of people who believe the arguments for prohibition, but there's no movement to change the policy. 

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

The problem with legalisation is that in a free and fair society cannabis use should be freely available to everyone, otherwise it’s just selective legislation.

1
oldie 23 Nov 2019
In reply to skog:

> Wasn't this pretty much exactly why prohibition of alcohol ended in the USA? <

Another reason is probably that alcohol production is much harder to police than other drugs. Anyone can easily make it from a huge variety of plant materials (probably animal material too). It is controlled with a degree of success in many countries, particularly with non-secular Islamic governments.

Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

I don't understand the problem. I think drugs like cannabis should be regulated - since they have health risks, they shouldn't be sold in a free market where companies profit from shifting as much as they can.

Eric9Points 23 Nov 2019
In reply to nawface:

My conclusion is that overindulgence isn't good for you.

That goes for most things in life.

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Regulated for what reason? Medicinal use or Recreational use?

Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> Regulated for what reason? Medicinal use or Recreational use?

Recreational. Bit like alcohol and tobacco but stronger - only sold in certain places, age restricted, taxed to nudge behaviour towards responsible use, crucially no marketing, education at point of sale, loads more stuff I haven't thought of.

The principles I believe in are:

1. As an individual, I should have the right to make informed decisions about what substances I will or won't put into my own body

2. No one should be allowed to exploit others' vulnerabilities and ruin their lives for money (sorry, tobacco industry)

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yes well good luck with nudging behaviour toward responsible use...

Legislation should be for all really, but cannabis legalisation would, regardless be selective. 
Anybody who works in transport, industry or construction would face dismissal if tested positive. Unless you were (if it were possible?) going to set legal THC limits for say...airline pilots? And then try to square public confidence with such policy.

Its a can of worms.
Status quo might not be ideal, but at least everyone knows the consequences 

7
Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> Yes well good luck with nudging behaviour toward responsible use...

Compare with alcohol. There's extensive attempts to nudge, with some success and some failure (still plenty of alcoholism). If we can accept that there is some failure with alcohol, then we should accept that there will be some failure with other drugs too. Prohibition doesn't even try to address problematic use, in fact it makes responsible use problematic, and thus should win the award for Worst Policy Ever.

> Anybody who works in transport, industry or construction would face dismissal if tested positive. Unless you were (if it were possible?) going to set legal THC limits for say...airline pilots?

Industries should have policies about drug use and testing according to risk. What's the problem? If I'm an airline pilot, I would expect the policy to be that I can't do drugs between shifts. If I was really into get wrecked, I'd accept that flying planes probably wasn't a viable career choice for the time being.

> Status quo might not be ideal, but at least everyone knows the consequences 

It's totally shit, and I don't get the advantage you're trying to say exists.

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Cannabis is legal.  I’m an airline pilot, why should I not exercise my legal right to enjoy recreational cannabis just like everyone else? I‘m on leave, what’s the problem?

There is myriad industries that have zero tolerance toward drugs and alcohol. Alcohol will metabolise in the system far quicker than cannabis and the testing is precise, unlike THCs. So you can enjoy your legal cannabis when you’re on leave, and still test positive the day you return.

Therefore the legislation will always be selective. If you walk to work and sit in an office all day, you should be fine. If the legislation is to be fair, then the regulation will be a minefield.

Additionally, I don’t buy the argument that legal cannabis will be safer, or raise massive revenue. There will still be a huge black market industry out there, the kids will prefer their skunk to government strength dope and all the revenue will be spent on regulation.

As for the status quo being totally shit, it depends on your viewpoint. It makes no difference to me one way or the other.

13
Eric9Points 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> Additionally, I don’t buy the argument that legal cannabis will be safer, or raise massive revenue. There will still be a huge black market industry out there, the kids will prefer their skunk to government strength dope and all the revenue will be spent on regulation.

Have a look at what the result of legalisation in Colorado has been. The reason many states in the US are legalising, or one of the reasons, is the substantial tax revenue they raise. You seem have a number of preconceptions about legalisation that are erroneous, almost like you're thinking up reasons not to legalise.

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

I’ve got no preconceptions at all. Legalisation bothers me not one way or the other.

2
Offwidth 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

Your argument is bogus as pilots can already smoke dope legally or semi-legally (wont be prosecuted for personal use) in some of the heaviest air traffic regions of the world that they fly to. Any area of work where drugs are a potential serious issue already have rules and in some areas of work employees are subject to testing regimes. These organisations main interest is in safety, not legality of consumption. Very little will change in regulatory work safety terms if its legalised in the UK

I strongly suspect, if cannabis is legalised for recreational use in the UK, that the main motive for the black market will remain cost, not 'strength', as it will be taxed heavily. Those criminal gangs gain on counterfeits of legal products (esp tobacco) as well as selling illegal drugs.

Another benefit of legalising cannabis is the government can then own up to the fact that pretty much all the most harmful data on cannabis relates to varieties like skunk and be more open about risk versus benefit  balance of other varieties (all have risks).

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02530-7

Post edited at 14:22
Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> Cannabis is legal.  I’m an airline pilot, why should I not exercise my legal right to enjoy recreational cannabis just like everyone else? I‘m on leave, what’s the problem?

Your contract says you agree not to smoke dope, so don't do it! Why do you need a law that applies to people who work in MacDonalds equally, which criminilises them when it's none of anyone's business which plants they do or don't smoke in a bong in their spare time. 

> So you can enjoy your legal cannabis when you’re on leave, and still test positive the day you return.

And? If your contract says don't smoke weed when you're on leave, don't do it. Where there's a big safety issue and the testing is imprecise, then the appropriate policy to be implemented in employment contracts may be zero tolerance and regular testing. Why do you need criminalisation for all? I can't see any advantage, and I can see enormous disadvantages.

> Therefore the legislation will always be selective. If you walk to work and sit in an office all day, you should be fine. If the legislation is to be fair, then the regulation will be a minefield.

No. Preventing, e.g. pilots from taking drugs for safety reasons is employers' responsibility. It already is, since they know everyone ignores the laws because they're stupid and aren't enforced. There is no additional requirement for regulation to stop certain people using drugs, the regulation is about how drugs will be sold to anyone over an age limit.

> Additionally, I don’t buy the argument that legal cannabis will be safer, or raise massive revenue. There will still be a huge black market industry out there, the kids will prefer their skunk to government strength dope and all the revenue will be spent on regulation.

Who's proposing that the legal weed is shit so there's a black market for strong skunk? That would be a fail. It's absolutely obvious that the market in drugs is unimaginably huge and it can be leveraged for public gain.

> As for the status quo being totally shit, it depends on your viewpoint. It makes no difference to me one way or the other.

The argument is looking at pros and cons across society. If you choose just to look at the impact on you, you're not really engaging with the issue.

Post edited at 14:18
birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Any airline pilot that tests positive for cannabis will have their ffa medical certificate revoked leading to a loss or suspension of their license.

But yes. As you say, they won’t be prosecuted.

1
Offwidth 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

You are just proving my point. You said regulation would be a minefield: give some eexamples of why (outside tax... which is irrelevant as the producers and the government will both profit)? Plenty of places have legalised cannabis and don't see such a problem.

Jon Stewart 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Another benefit of legalising cannabis is the government can then own up to the fact that pretty much all the most harmful data on cannabis relates to varieties like skunk and be more open about risk versus benefit  balance of other varieties (all have risks).

Did you see the Prof Nutt Channel 4 show where John Snow smoked a massive lung of nice mellow hash and had a nice time...and then smoked a massive lung of skunk and totally freaked out? It made good TV (although I did feel quite sorry for John while he was pretty much having a televised panic attack, as I think he's a good guy).

birdie num num 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

You didn’t make a point. And it’s not a problem. Provided you accept that the legislation is (technically) selective.

1
Offwidth 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Of course....weird but great journalistic TV....

Cannabis is very complex.. one area where birdy might be right is increased research spending to try and sort these complexities out.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/blood_sweat_and_smears_by_gary_gibson-712741?v=1#x9087238

Timmd 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> As for the status quo being totally shit, it depends on your viewpoint. It makes no difference to me one way or the other.

Which is why a society based perspective needs to be taken, for the unwitting immigrants lured/trafficked over here with the promise of jobs, who find themselves living and cooking in the bathrooms of terraced houses tending cannabis farms to 'pay of their debts' - it definitely is totally shit. It's simply one more revenue stream for gangs who generally make life worse for the rest of us.

Post edited at 17:34
Timmd 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> There is myriad industries that have zero tolerance toward drugs and alcohol. Alcohol will metabolise in the system far quicker than cannabis and the testing is precise, unlike THCs. So you can enjoy your legal cannabis when you’re on leave, and still test positive the day you return.

I'm not out to have a go, it's more my brain is working slowly today after a night out last night (to do with more than one response), but with cannabis use being reasonably widespread anyway, legalisation won't change the situation you describe (much). 

Post edited at 18:35
Stichtplate 23 Nov 2019
In reply to nawface:

> As someone who is fully experienced in recreational use I have come to disagree.  The fallout some years later amongst my group in terms of severe mental health issues, addiction and unfortunately one fatality has removed my belief in what you say.  

> Whilst you may be like me and walk away unscathed and with a load of amazing hedonistic memories it can also eat you up and spit you out.  Although as I say that I wonder if I'll reap what I've sowed in old age.  Guess we'll see what happens to first wave of the rave generation.

> That's not to say I think they should be illegal.  Quality control, open education and the removal of criminal influence would be welcomed in my view.  But in terms of mental health it's a potentially dangerous game to play.  

I shared much the same experiences as you, including one fatality among my friends. I also spent my first 16 years growing up in a pub and witnessed far more physical and emotional carnage as a result of alcohol abuse. Working in a frontline area of the NHS I continue to see the fallout from peoples commonplace desire to get off their tits and for what it's worth, alcohol has always seemed to have more severe physical and mental consequences.

I don't know the answer to the problems of addiction but I do know that we've had enough history with prohibition to know it doesn't work. Personally I'd like to see legalisation and the resultant tax money ring fenced for dealing with the consequences.

Edit: I belong to the first wave of the rave generation and 30 years down the line me and the majority of my friends are doing just fine.

Post edited at 19:03
Timmd 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Stichtplate: I guess pubs and hospitals are places where alcohol is (often) drunk to excess, and where people go when it's caused them injuries, underlining that anecdotal experience isn't the best yardstick, I say this because I've not known of anybody to have alcohol problems, but have known plenty of people who've had experiences like newface describes, which is ultimately why statistics are useful.

I think I'd be in favour of a unit price for alcohol being introduced, like it has been in Scotland with positive results.

Post edited at 19:33
SenzuBean 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> I shared much the same experiences as you, including one fatality among my friends. I also spent my first 16 years growing up in a pub and witnessed far more physical and emotional carnage as a result of alcohol abuse. Working in a frontline area of the NHS I continue to see the fallout from peoples commonplace desire to get off their tits and for what it's worth, alcohol has always seemed to have more severe physical and mental consequences.

Multiple fatalities from drink driving amongst my peer group as well (four in one crash for example).

Stichtplate 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

If you reread my post you'll see that my experiences, while anecdotal, have given me a 360 view of both alcohol and illicit drug usage and emergency services see the fall out from both.

nawface 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

I looked up Prof David Nutts results from his research as mentioned above

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HarmCausedByDrugsTable.svg

I was struck by the difference in terms of harm to others/user ratio for alcohol compared to the rest.  Such a destructive force on people around you when you're in its grip.  

I agree with the above about keeping big business away from the sale of legalised drugs.  Potentially scary but I bet they'd be after it.

I wonder if and when political discussion/public opinion around this topic will become more reasoned and allow proper debate and not lead to situations such as Prof David Nutt getting sacked for talking complete sense.  

By the way, 

His book, Drugs without the hot air, is excellent.

Looks like he has a new book coming out about alcohol and our health.  I'll be getting that, and then probably cutting down drinking even more.

Tom V 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Compare with alcohol.

Fine by me but I'm surprised some knobhead hasn't chimed in with a claim of Whataboutery before the end of your sentence.

balmybaldwin 23 Nov 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

You are right that testing for cannabis is imprecise. To be honest it's not fit for purpose and wholly unfair.  The impairment due to a substance is what matters, not how long it can be detected in the body.

At the moment the tolerance levels for Cannabis are so low that even 3 weeks after completely giving the stuff up I would still have tested positive on a police drug wipe and subsequent blood test. I stopped being impaired about 12 hours after I had my last joint especially as I had been ramping down my use (I was a regular and long term user - smoking around an ounce a month at the beginning of the year, down to 1/8th in September and nothing since. I believe I'm now below the limit, but I can't really tell without being tested.)

The limit for cannabis is 2 Microgrammes per LITRE of blood. That is a truly tiny amount to detect and naturally means that tests are less accurate. and it means effectively that anyone that smokes or eats it on any kind of regular basis e.g. a friday night spliff or 2 is probably illegal to drive (at any time) even though if they are sensible and leave round 12 hours they are not impaired to any real degree and certainly not as impaired as someone with 79mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (the legal limit being 80mg/100ml)

If drink tolerances were as low as cannabis most people would be over the limit many days after drinking, yet its somehow legal for me to go and drink 2 pints and get straight in the car to drive simply because that drug is socially acceptable, and anyone who does this will know that even at low levels there is a distinct difference from driving completely sober.

It seems to me the definition of drug driving is heavily influenced by the illegality of the drug, and not the impairment it causes.

This doesn't change the fact that people doing jobs that require alertness (drivers/pilots/heavy machinery operators etc) need to be proven to not be impaired, however we all know people that have poor reactions or judgement that get worse with age and mobility issues for example. I would much rather we focussed on ability and impairment than an arbitrary limit to judge if someone is legally capable of doing these things.

Post edited at 21:09
Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Compare with alcohol.

> Fine by me but I'm surprised some knobhead hasn't chimed in with a claim of Whataboutery before the end of your sentence.

Or we could have Jacqui Smith's worst argument of all time: "Professor Nutt, you cannot compare an illegal activity to legal one". I would have loved to have seen the expression on his face (I'd actually have loved it even more if he'd just punched her - he was losing his job anyway).

Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

>  I would much rather we focussed on ability and impairment than an arbitrary limit to judge if someone is legally capable of doing these things.

Alcohol as well as cannabis?

Eric9Points 24 Nov 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

There's very little evidence that cannabis in moderate quantities impairs driving at all. 

I certainly wouldn't recommend driving while tripping though.

balmybaldwin 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Alcohol as well as cannabis?


Yes. The issue is impairment. I think Alcohol impairment is more directly related to how it is measured, but the same principal should apply.

balmybaldwin 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

It depends what you mean by moderate quantities. 

I think the effects are different.  Alcohol seems to embolden and add confidence leading to more reckless driving.  Cannabis tends to chill people out and increase paranoia - this could result in slower driving, but also lack of reaction speed when required.

Neither are good

2
Offwidth 24 Nov 2019
Eric9Points 24 Nov 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

You'd think so but there are quite a few trials that concluded it doesn't make any discernable difference.

That's ganja I'm talking about by the way, not acid.

Eric9Points 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Yes and if I had half an hour to spend I could show you other reports suggesting otherwise.

Timmd 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> If you reread my post you'll see that my experiences, while anecdotal, have given me a 360 view of both alcohol and illicit drug usage and emergency services see the fall out from both.

Yes, I was addled yesterday, anecdotal was probably the wrong word to use. I did read your post, and it seemed to downplay (by omission) the fall out from taking street drugs, but text can be open to different interpretations.  Something which the neighbour of a friend who'd taken too much acid and too many mushrooms who I still know a little bit has always stuck in my head, which is that when working in mental health he'd seen more people who'd had issues from taking MDMA than hallucinogenics. I found that quite interesting, given that people 'losing the plot' from taking too much acid etc is something quite often referred to, while allowing for the fact there's other variables which may need to be accounted for (the location of his place of work, and the drug use in the population who would attend there for example).

What strikes me is that compared to alcohol (which can wreck lives but is a known quantity in it's effects), the population is currently experimenting on itself regarding the health impacts of recreational drugs, and that as we learn more about them and possibly too about how they impact individual people's genes and DNA, there may be some people who'd be well advised to never ever use certain recreational drugs, with other people being able to fine. I heard a scientist recently, who said that MDMA can be a peculiar drug, in that the same person can take the same dosage of the same purity on different occasions, and their body can react to it in a different way on each occasion.

Post edited at 15:27
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Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Well I'm pretty sure that at 17 stone I can drive better  with six pints inside me than skinny little women who've had a small glass of Pinot Grigio so I look forward to legislation which takes this into account.......... 

oldie 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Degree of mental effect is presumably related to blood levels of alcohol. That's also what legislation is based on. lf someone is much bigger they'll have a bigger volume of blood to dilute a given amount alcohol....nature backs up the law to some extent.

oldie 24 Nov 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> I think the effects are different.  Alcohol seems to embolden and add confidence leading to more reckless driving.  Cannabis tends to chill people out and increase paranoia - this could result in slower driving, but also lack of reaction speed when required. Neither are good. <

From personal experience pretty sure that alcohol has bad effect on reaction time too. And on coordination.

Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to oldie:

I get your point but am left wondering why the same shouldn't apply to cannabis, as some are suggesting.

Timmd 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> That's what I was thinking.

> Mind you an evangelical vegan off their tits on coke would be a right pain in the arse.

She's never off her tits on coke, but her good (drunk) friends laughed at her wedding when her dad mentioned her strong sense of morals, in knowing how she can be. The thing which is steering me towards venison as my source of meat, in the end, isn't being asked if I've gone vegan yet by her, but reading about the sense of fear which animals can display during the slaughter process. With deer being conscious one moment and then dead the next, that's much more the experience I want any animal I eat to have. it's relatively sustainable if it's from herds which are managed to protect woodlands too. Until lab grown meat arrives at least, as I appreciate that deer can't feed meat to everybody, and that farmed deer are increasing in number (possibly negating the sustainability argument).

Post edited at 21:06
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Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> I get your point but am left wondering why the same shouldn't apply to cannabis, as some are suggesting.

My understanding is that alcohol is a CNS depressant, making reactions slower and motor tasks less accurate, with poor interpretation of feedback. Conversely, driving on a stimulant like speed or cocaine is likely to be perfectly accurate and great reaction time, but might be over-confident or dangerous in some other way (although I would probably rather be driven by someone on speed than someone who was really really tired). Cannabis is a funny one because it's not a CNS depressant nor stimulant, it's kind of "sideways" (but not as far sideways as a psychedelic, god forbid driving on LSD or mushrooms when you wouldn't even know what the car was or why you were in it).

As such, I'm not convinced that reaction time is necessarily the problem with driving stoned (it might or might not be an issue). The issue is going to be concentration and judgement. Distraction or misinterpreting visual cues would seem to be very likely ways to crash a car while stoned. It's certainly going to be impairing but probably not as much as alcohol, since there isn't the same loss of motor control.

Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It's a bit difficult to find comfort in your explanation, really: you're saying an alcohol impaired driver might react more slowly to brake lights coming on in front of him but a cannabis impaired driver  might have less idea about how far in front of him those brake lights are. 

Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

I don't think there's much comfort to be found in the idea of people on drugs driving cars! (Except caffeine, or even better modafinil which is the ultimate driving drug.)

Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Yes, I was addled yesterday, anecdotal was probably the wrong word to use. I did read your post, and it seemed to downplay (by omission) the fall out from taking street drugs, but text can be open to different interpretations. 

I think that the fall-out from taking street drugs is in general vastly overplayed. We need don't need to rely on anecdotal data, the stats have been crunched are linked above.

> he'd seen more people who'd had issues from taking MDMA than hallucinogenics. I found that quite interesting, given that people 'losing the plot' from taking too much acid etc is something quite often referred to

Yes and vastly overplayed. MDMA is a far more absuable drug than LSD. It's really quite easy to control the risks with psychedelics because those risks are purely psychological: take these drugs in a good setting and know your dose. MDMA is still statistically not much to worry about (considering occasional use here), but there are lot more risks than with psychedelics: it's nowhere near as physically benign, and people can get into taking lots of it every weekend, which is extremely unhealthy. That said, the risks are small and manageable and the benefits pretty considerable.

> What strikes me is that compared to alcohol (which can wreck lives but is a known quantity in it's effects), the population is currently experimenting on itself regarding the health impacts of recreational drugs

It's only the new drugs like mephedrone that can be seen as an experiment (but it's so similar in action to well-known drugs, I doubt very much we'll be in for any great surprises). We can see what's happening to the rave generation (there are follow-up studies) and the answer is: not a lot. They've got families and jobs as quantity surveyors just like those who didn't get f*cked up at raves. 

> I heard a scientist recently, who said that MDMA can be a peculiar drug, in that the same person can take the same dosage of the same purity on different occasions, and their body can react to it in a different way on each occasion.

That's true, but if you want to make a rational, informed choice about what you put in your body, the relevant consideration is how many doses of MDMA are taking every week, and how many adverse reactions there are. The risk is non-zero but small. Do you think the benefit will outweigh the risk? Yes, the drug can be abused, but it can also be used responsibly.

There's a right answer to this stuff, it's facts not opinions. What is the risk statistically? How can the risk be controlled? What is a safe or responsible level of use? 

None of this stuff really matters to me now since I don't have kids, but if I did, I would have to be factually accurate with them to expect to be listened to. If I told them "don't do acid, it can make you go mad" they're more likely ignore me, do it in an inappropriate setting and be at risk. I said, "if you do acid, you've got to make sure it's in exactly the right environment with the right people" then they're more likely to be fine. Overplaying risks ends in loss of credibility.

Post edited at 22:26
Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

I think farmed deer might also negate your "conscious one moment and dead the next" ideal.  There's a very big deer farm near here where I've done a bit of work and it's undeniable that the animals have a good life, but however  pleasant it is to see them grazing contentedly and in spite of the fact that there is an on-site abbatoir (which  I believe also services other deer farms in and around the county) the end of their life is probably not much different from that of  many other livestock beasts. 

Timmd 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think that the fall-out from taking street drugs is in general vastly overplayed. We need don't need to rely on anecdotal data, the stats have been crunched are linked above.

By what measure is it overplayed, what two things are you comparing? I can be rather literal, possibly that's not quite what you mean.

> Yes and vastly overplayed. MDMA is a far more absuable drug than LSD. It's really quite easy to control the risks with psychedelics because those risks are purely psychological: take these drugs in a good setting and know your dose. MDMA is still statistically not much to worry about (considering occasional use here), but there are lot more risks than with psychedelics: it's nowhere near as physically benign, and people can get into taking lots of it every weekend, which is extremely unhealthy. That said, the risks are small and manageable and the benefits pretty considerable.

''he'd seen more people who'd had issues from taking MDMA than hallucinogenics. I found that quite interesting, given that people 'losing the plot' from taking too much acid etc is something quite often referred to''

Which is overplayed? MDMA mental health consequences, or  hallucinogenic ones?

> It's only the new drugs like mephedrone that can be seen as an experiment (but it's so similar in action to well-known drugs, I doubt very much we'll be in for any great surprises). We can see what's happening to the rave generation (there are follow-up studies) and the answer is: not a lot. They've got families and jobs as quantity surveyors just like those who didn't get f*cked up at raves. 

I vaguely think that people need to be tracked until old age, presumably they will be, and then the whole picture will be known. 

> That's true, but if you want to make a rational, informed choice about what you put in your body, the relevant consideration is how many doses of MDMA are taking every week, and how many adverse reactions there are. The risk is non-zero but small. Do you think the benefit will outweigh the risk? Yes, the drug can be abused, but it can also be used responsibly.

I guess it depends on whether one thinks a night of fun is worth the (however small) risk of being one of the statistical unlikely people to f*ck up from taking MDMA.

> There's a right answer to this stuff, it's facts not opinions. What is the risk statistically? How can the risk be controlled? What is a safe or responsible level of use? 

It is indeed facts/statistic. 

> None of this stuff really matters to me now since I don't have kids, but if I did, I would have to be factually accurate with them to expect to be listened to. If I told them "don't do acid, it can make you go mad" they're more likely ignore me, do it in an inappropriate setting and be at risk. I said, "if you do acid, you've got to make sure it's in exactly the right environment with the right people" then they're more likely to be fine. Overplaying risks ends in loss of credibility.

I agree completely, what you describe as not the approach to take, is what my drugs education was like at school, which is what played a part in my own exploration, and the lost years regaining my mental health. Which very likely informs my view on drugs, which is that since we're born with perfect brains, risking what is the root of our consciousness might be seen as 'deep play' as described by Paul Pritchard. Obviously, I accept that other points of view are valid. 

Edit: I think drugs education needs to be about both the statistics, and also what one is risking, in having one's consciousness and peace of mind sent askew, the far reaching nature or depth of that if it happens.

Post edited at 22:54
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Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

I wouldn't like to die in a commercial abattoir particularly, but I've always thought that the bolt-gun through the head thing looked alright. I'd rather have that than dying slowly of disease, but hey-ho.

Post edited at 23:00
Timmd 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> I think farmed deer might also negate your "conscious one moment and dead the next" ideal.  There's a very big deer farm near here where I've done a bit of work and it's undeniable that the animals have a good life, but however  pleasant it is to see them grazing contentedly and in spite of the fact that there is an on-site abbatoir (which  I believe also services other deer farms in and around the county) the end of their life is probably not much different from that of  many other livestock beasts. 

It depends where you buy it from, there's places where the deer isn't farmed or sent to an abbatoir. 

Post edited at 22:52
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Jon Stewart 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> By what measure is it overplayed, what two things are you comparing? I can be rather literal, possibly that's not quite what you mean.

The best benchmark is alcohol, because we're all familiar with it, we know it can dangerous and abused, but most people choose still to use it, but manage the risks by using responsibly. There is a general perception that street drugs are much more dangerous than alcohol, and this is where I think the risks are being overplayed.

> Which is overplayed? MDMA mental health consequences, or  hallucinogenic ones?

The risk of losing it after taking acid.

> I vaguely think that people need to be tracked until old age, presumably they will be, and then the whole picture will be known. 

Vaguely, but there are no good reasons I've heard of, from the neurological perspective, to believe that there is some time-bomb effect. How would that work?

> I guess it depends on whether one thinks a night of fun is worth the (however small chance) of being one of the statistical unlikely people to f*ck up from taking MDMA.

Indeed it does. The key to a rational decision is understanding the magnitude of the risk, and how that compares to other risks you take e.g. on transport, climbing, from crime, blah blah.

> I agree completely, what you describe as not the approach to take, is what my drugs education was like at school, which is what played a part in my own exploration, and the lost years regaining my mental health.

Do you think you'd have had the same problems if you'd really known about the risks in detail, i.e. if you smoke x amount of weed, that increases your likelihood of y problems by z amount? That's the kind of info that I believe would be helpful. There's a huge difference between saying "cannabis can cause psychosis" to saying "people who smoke a quarter of skunk every week for more than 3 months are 50% more likely to suffer the following symptoms...". It's this level of useful, detailed information that young people should have access to so that they can make better decisions about what chemicals they decide to put in their bodies.

Tom V 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Some might say that the only drug you need when driving is the scream of a flat-plane V8....

 (I know., I know, after all I've said about him)

Toerag 25 Nov 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

Of interest to this discussion:- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50494610

Toerag 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The best benchmark is alcohol, because we're all familiar with it, we know it can dangerous and abused, but most people choose still to use it, but manage the risks by using responsibly. There is a general perception that street drugs are much more dangerous than alcohol, and this is where I think the risks are being overplayed.

I think the issue with Street drugs is the unpredictability. With alcohol you can easily 'work your way up' by starting with a small volume of low strength drink. You don't get that with street drugs.

Timmd 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Toerag: Which is why they need regulating.  There's a longer history of research into alcohol too.  

Stichtplate 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Which is why they need regulating. 

Absolutely. Legalise and then they can be tested, classified and regulated just like alcohol, medications and every other potentially harmful consumable... or we could just carry on letting criminals do the regulating for us.


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