Guardian

  1. Day 1 PA (Post abstinence) - Even nice girls do coke

    In which a migrant laborer gave up drugs for Lent, swam to an island, and gave Buddhism the once-over.

    Otto Pérez Molina, president of Guatemala, in today’s Guardian:

    "Decades of big arrests and the seizure of tons of drugs and yet consumption and production of damaging substances are booming. 

    "The fall in the consumption of one drug is rapidly undermined by the rise in demand for another. 

    "In the same vein, the destruction of drug production in one territory is quickly replaced by the increase of drug production in another. 

    "The causes for drug consumption seem to multiply over time, as do the incentives for drug production. 

    "This is not a frustrating fact. 

    "It is just a fact.

    "Knowing that drugs are bad for human beings is not a compelling reason for advocating their prohibition. 

    "Actually, the prohibition paradigm that inspires mainstream global drug policy today is based on a false premise: that the global drug markets can be eradicated. 

    "We would not believe such a statement if it were applied to alcoholism or tobacco addiction, but somehow we assume it’s right in the case of drugs. 

    "Why?

    "Moving beyond prohibition can lead us into tricky territory. 

    "To suggest liberalisation – allowing consumption, production and trafficking of drugs without any restriction whatsoever – would be, in my opinion, profoundly irresponsible. 

    "Even more, it is an absurd proposition. 

    "If we accept regulations for alcohol and tobacco, why should we allow drugs to be consumed and produced without any restrictions?

    "Next weekend, leaders from the Americas will meet in Cartagena

    "This is an opportunity to start a realistic and responsible intergovernmental dialogue on drug policy. 

    "The presidents of Colombia and Costa Rica, Juan Manuel Santos and Laura Chinchilla, have both already expressed their interest in fostering a dialogue on drug policy. 

    "It is not by coincidence that both presidents have served as ministers of security or defence. 

    "Those of us who have experience on security matters know what we are talking about.

    Guatemala will not fail to honour any of its international commitments to fighting drug trafficking. 

    "But nor are we willing to continue as dumb witnesses to a global self-deceit. 

    "We cannot eradicate global drug markets, but we can certainly regulate them as we have done with alcohol and tobacco markets. 

    "Drug abuse, alcoholism and tobacco should be treated as public health problems, not criminal justice issues. 

    "Our children and grandchildren demand from us a more effective drug policy, not a more ideological response."

    Otto is a tough guy who has put away some really tough guys, and his views are succinct and sensible. 

    Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens, by contrast, is a dick.

    "Campaigners for drug liberalisation are almost invariably drug users, whose motives are self-serving, though they generally don’t say so. 

    "It is their illegal act which impels them to join this cause, because they would rather it were legal."

    It’s unlikely that Pete would espouse his views face to face with Otto.

    Pete is a drug user, in his case alcohol, but would probably object to the description.

    He might not have ever taken cocaine, but consumption of psychoactive drugs, whether nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis or others, is effectively universal.

    Why do people persistently do drugs? 

    It can be argued it’s a human urge comparable to that which drives sexual activity.

    Should the state pass and enforce laws which govern interpersonal relationships? 

    Sure, to the extent of effecting an agreed upon standard of common good.

    Should the state pass and enforce laws which govern the consumption of psychoactive substances? 

    Sure, to the extent of effecting an agreed upon standard of common good.

    So how to agree upon the standard of common good? Scientific evidence would be a start.

    There is no evidence that the current framework of classification of substances from A thru to freely available bears any relation to the relative harm the use each drug is associated with.

    In most countries cannabis is illegal to possess or supply, its use kills no-one.

    Cigarette smoking on the other hand kills millions, and fags are available at every corner shop.

    Alcohol use is associated with a wide range of health complaints ranging from the minor to the lethal, and is celebrated in a wide range of activities from post sports match piss ups to religious ceremonies.

    Ecstasy use is relatively safe, but can you buy pills at Cosmic Corner?

    The current system works better as a guide to the relative recreational effectiveness of each drug.

    The laws aren’t designed to limit the dangers of drug use, they’re an unfeasible attempt to limit the amount of fun that can be had.

    It’s not illegal to buy a dozen beers and a bottle of vodka and drink till you throw up, otherwise known as an overdose, every day for a year.

    However it is illegal to consume half an ecstasy tablet and go to a rave and have an amazing night even once in your life.

    It’s perfectly legal to chain smoke cigarettes, but it’s not legal to sit in your own home, smoke a spliff and watch a funny movie.

    Sure, how fun a drug is should be taken into account when decisions are made about its availability, but so should health consequences and societal aims.

    Both formal drug education in schools and informal education in media is so compromised and skewed as to be mostly useless and at times actively unhelpful for both individuals and society.

    A child could see thru the hypocrisy, and children frequently do.

    Good luck for the upcoming summit Otto.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Lent is over and so of course is Giving Up Drugs For Lent 2012 altho another mix is in the pipeline so keep a look out for that.

    I drank half a glass of wine with dinner tonight and briefly felt drunk which was quite fun.

    Re: cannabis, I’d happily disappear into a haze of vapor but my guy is all out so let me know if you’ve got any hook ups.