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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 26, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    Time to Tackle Drugs Problem in New Ways

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    The reports of a major international drugs bust are impressive testimony to excellent police work and international coordination. But we need to tackle this problem in more than one way.

    As mentioned in my previous blog-post, I have been shocked by anecdotal evidence of the level of consumption of cocaine in this town by people who should know better.

    The depravity of the international drugs trade is well-known. There is no excuse for anyone who helps to perpetuate the problem. If someone takes a drink and goes for a drive, it is accepted that s/he is at real and legitimate risk of legal sanction.

    But there seems to be no such feeling among drug-users. I am not talking primarily about the pathetic addicts we see asleep on our streets at night. These are people plunged into despair by terrible circumstances.

    No, the users I want to target are the middle-class, well-educated and, by definition, well-paid individuals who are doing well out of this society and have a responsibility to maintain certain minimum standards of behaviour.

    Surely there must be a way of dealing with these people who pass themselves off as respectable members of the community but through their personal lifestyles are propping-up one of the greatest evils of our time?

    The age of drug-taking with virtual impunity should be brought to a close. For a start, it would help if elements of the media ceased covering the drug habits of ageing rock-stars in a tolerant and amused fashion. Drug-taking should incur the same level of public obloquy as, for example, paedophilia. I am talking mainly about cocaine and other drugs of that class, not a marijuana joint passed around at a party – although the suppliers may be the same people.

    The practicalities, of course, are difficult and challenging and I would welcome comments on how these obstacles could be overcome. We do not want a reign of terror. It would not be necessary to impose heavy punishments: as with drink-driving, even a mild brush with the law would send most of the current users, in the social layer I am speaking of,  running for cover.

    There is a poster campaign around town with a slogan along the following lines: “Litter is disgusting and so are those responsible”. Why isn’t there such a campaign about coke-users?

    • Thanks Joanna, that’s the 200 mark passed! First time in the two-year existence of this blog, far as I know. Thanks to all – even you, Ruby ;-)

    • Kynos says:

      Every drug dealing criminal would, if they could, and will, if they can, become a respectable businesswo/man. And then most probably a philanthropist. And then probably a Stateswo/man. Their moral character will meanwhile remain entirely unchanged perfectly fitted to all the roles as it is. The usual look of surprise will be found on their dead faces in due course. Law tries where religion fails but time serves.

    • rubyrubyrubyruby says:

      Another anecdote Joanna but of course you are not asked to focus on the issue…i.e.
      Is celebrity recreational drug use comparable to Paedophilia?
      Deaglan guess you think size matters then!
      Your stupid little target makes you not only a bore but a petty one…however I note you’re gratuitous little reference to me, anybody’d think your were mad about me!

    • rubyrubyrubyruby says:

      @Furthermore Joanna…will a couple of high profile arrests and prosecutions solve the global drug problem…Why wait until the magic number to contribute you’re a Politician what’s your solution?
      Since anecdote seems to suffice for hard evidence here’s my contribution…
      I walked behind a young woman pushing a buggy was on my way to work recently. She had another child by the hand, on their way to school. She was smoking a spliff…the stench of skunk made me gag…
      It is smoked openly on public transport, in the street and, apparently, on the way to school.
      Maybe I should save it for my autobiography…or indeed you for yours Joanna…or is it different strokes for different folks on this issue as well?

    • Ruby a chara, You’re the one who is always writing to moi :-) I am the mere passive recipient of your attentions. Anyway, glad to hear you have work to go to and are not spending all day helping me to achieve my “stupid little targets”. Couldn’t have done it without you, Rubes :D

    • Joanna Tuffy says:

      Ruby,

      My argument is that tackling inequality (of incomes) and getting more people to stay on for longer in education might help. In fact there is a lot of evidence that points that way. It is not a solution, but just a part of the solution.

      Anecdotes for politicians are par for the course. People like to listen to or read little stories and your anecdote is a good read. Your comments, anecdotes, asides and all, helped to keep me keeping an eye on this debate, and as it neared 200 I thought what the hell, I’ll say something, just in case you abandoned the discussion as you threatened to, more than once.

      Deaglán,

      That idea you have could have unintended consequences if research by NUI Galway, recently reported in the media, that suggested road safety ads aimed at young male drivers encouraged those drivers to take more risks rather than less, is anything to go by.

    • Kynos says:

      People take drugs for many reasons but I think you can distill most of them to say that they’re more comfortable in their heads with drugs than without them. Now nobody gets out of their head the first time as an addict. As a potential addict yes and perhaps the second time they do they’re an addict (yes coke is that much it for about 2% of the population of coke users). But the first time they do, they’re not an addict de facto. So something else is making being out of their heads preferable to being in their heads. Boredom is certainly one factor. I suspect abuse is the predominant one though. So how do you stop people abusing kids? How do you make it so that a young person, or perhaps even not so young, trying a drug for the first time does not find the effect more enjoyable than not trying it?

    • rubyxcube/d says:

      Joanna
      Just not quite as adept as they are at avoiding the question.
      Anecdotal evidence is neither here or there…’A good read’…? I can think of other descriptions…I won’t waste my time…
      I’m glad that I am so captivating that you read 200 comments before avoiding the substantive issue. A little voyeuristic methinks…
      The blog is about Recreational drug use amongst celebrities and the preposterous suggestion that it was comparable to Paedophilia…NOT about the ‘underclass’ you refer to…
      Do YOU think it is comparable to Paedophilia?
      Do you think the solution is a couple of high profile arrests and prosecutions?
      Fantasy solutions are not acceptable…eradicating Inequality and poverty might just fall into that category…
      Dream On…
      Try thinking outside the box or maybe I’m the one fantasising…

      Deaglan…I don’t write to YOU…I contribute to the blog…just to disabuse you of that little fantasy…

    • rubyxcube/d says:

      I was interested in this post until it became clear the Moderator was not interested in any argument however persuasive that did not agree with his ridiculous proposals.
      The only reason I continued to comment, having lost interest in the topic, was to defend myself against gratuitous personal an/or offensive comments…In my profession, that which is not denied is deemed to be accepted.
      I did not accept his jibes however it seems Deaglan cannot let matters go, he has to respond however fatuously.
      I could care less if you get 200 or 2000 comments…if that’s your priority in life Deaglan then God bless you…
      However if Aidan and some of the more enlightened contributors are interested in pursuing the Debating Society issue, maybe an annual jolly/debate of some description I am prepared to give it some thought and use my contacts to that end.

    • rubyxcube/d says:

      kynos…where u been babe?

    • rubyxcube/d says:

      Joanna
      As well as stating your position on the drug habits of the well got ‘high-fliers’ (puns intended) you might also say whether you agree with Deaglan that gender issue ‘trivialise’ debates on ‘serious contemporary issues’?

    • Ruby:

      In Comment No. 121 You sought to turn a serious discussion between Aidan and myself about the drugs issue into a macho contest between two “fellas”.

      In Comment No. 122, I responded as follows: “I love the way you trivialise the discussion by reducing it to gender categories. It’s not a serious debate about a major contemporary issue, it’s just fellas being macho, eh?”

      It was you who was trivialising the gender issue by introducing it to a discussion where it was neither apt nor relevant.

    • BTW Ruby: I was down the country and working on my laptop in a hotel. For whatever reason, when I initially approved your above comment this morning, the system wouldn’t let me respond to it with a comment of my own. I was faced with the prospect of a completely false representation of my position standing unchallenged all day until I got home, so I temporarily withdrew your comment. I am back home now, I have approved your words and also stated the true factual position in a comment of my own.

      If you decide that I have done you wrong and that you will never again contribute to this Blog, you will make me a very happy man :D :D :D

    • kynos says:

      Janey let’s all calm down these are only words on an anonymous (largely) blog and one that isn’t even current so like nobody else is reading it. We all just random collections of molecules and I can safely say I don’t know anyone here other than as cyphers so what anyone says I won’t take personally (provided I’m not gargled) so why should anyone else? I’m talkin to YE, Ruby and Deaglan. I’m going to read all 200 comments presently and say something else. But like let’s not fall out over the negative personal opinions of people we’ve never met what do their opinions about us matter? Less than zero. Look Deaglan people have been getting out of their heads for thousands of years even elephants do it apparently when a certain type of plum is ripe it ferments in the African sun and the elephants go mad for it and get drunk as lords and tear up a few trees and trumpet a lot. Haven’t heard of apes and chimps doing it but they probably would if someone gave them booze or they discovered some way of getting it for themselves. Point is that it’s for better or worse part of human nature to have a section of society that wants to get out of its head. Maybe it’s tied into the wider human need for ritual, and the sacred gnosis of immanence and mystery and so forth. It certainly seems that in primitive society drugs are used in a ritualistic manner and experienced shamans direct the proceedings. Long way from that to tribes of porky people wearing green skins swaying together while chanting Olé olé olé olé oooolaaaayy oOOoolaay while being conducted by the drunkest of them or maybe not really. Back in 1990 some of them even managed to catch a glimpse of paradise..anyway. So we make illegal something that is a fundamental part of human nature, except in case of one or two drugs of (ab)use, and they are heavily taxed and dominated by massively powerful lobbies and corporations that maximise the revenue potential of uncountable occasions of human joy and misery, celebration and mourning. Nothing in itself wrong with that but there are lots of things wrong with making criminals out of people who just can’t live in their own heads all the time. I don’t support drug abuse seen too much of the damage legal and illegal drugs do. In that I’m an hypocrite as is plain from all I’ve writ on here these manys a year. It would be nice if everyone had the undamaged and comfortable places to live in that are many people’s heads, but many other people don’t. Paedophiles are highly dangerous to children and indeed the many who may meet those victims of abuse later in life and be someway harmed by them. Drug ab/users are primarily a danger to themselves, and we have laws to deal with them if they become a danger to anyone else. I don’t accept your equation Deaglan and you’ve done nothing to persuade me to from what Ive read but I’ll read the whole lot later and retract that if you have.

    • kynos says:

      Busy as all hell ruby kids stuff work stuff gogogo barely get time to make a decent comment on this site at the mo. Interesting idea that debating society I’d watch Oireachtas report all nite see it sometimes on my parents’ telly and ain’t that sad come to think of it like watching paint dry but you never know when someone’ll say the odd sincere or interesting thing and or interesting thing.

    • Kynos:

      1) You’re anonymous but I’m not. It’s an important difference. If I write something nasty and false about you, it doesn’t affect your reputation as you are an unknown individual. When contributors misrepresent my views, I have to respond to protect my good name.To be frank, I don’t know why I approve some of Ms Ruby’s comments for publication, given that they consist almost entirely of really quite nasty and virulent personal insults from a pseudonymous source, with little or nothing of substance on the issue at hand. I have been strongly advised by colleagues to exclude her in future: we’ll see.

      2) I gather you contribute to all the blogs, though I haven’t had time to check that out. The length of your comments and your free-association writing-style are quite offputting but you do contribute genuine insights from time to time.

      3) I stand over my moral equation of drug-users with paedophiles and remind you of the analogy I used: the crew-member of the aircraft dropping an atomic bomb over a city is no less guilty – in fact a lot more so – than the sniper or bomb-planting killer on the ground.

    • rubyrubes says:

      I note you have still not removed my comments as requested…
      Please do so…as you have pointed out several times they have not in your opinion added anything substantive to the debate therefore please remove them…Just as you remove comments when requested to do so by other commentators…
      Don’t add pigheadedness to your long list of unattractive qualities…

    • rubyrubes says:

      @216 Flip flopping as usual Deaglan.
      Please don’t use my comments to inflate the numbers on your topics whilst contemporaneously making snide unsubstantiated insulting remarks.
      I do not initiate ‘nasty or virulent’ comments however I will defend myself when people attack me.
      You might want to check back over some of your comments directed at myself Aidan and kynos, which are some of the nastiest comments posted, and not only on this topic.
      However I now realise it’s a ruse to detract from your hopeless arguments.
      If my comments are not substantive it’s because there is nothing to substantiate, as Aidan pointed out.
      Since you believe they contribute nothing to the debate why do you refuse to remove them?
      Please do not keep referring to me in responses to other commentators.

    • rubyrubes says:

      Well you’ve written plenty that’s false and defamatory about me so I await your apology and withdrawal.

    • rubyrubes says:

      And STOP addressing/referring to me in inappropriate over familiar sexist terms.

    • rubyrubes says:

      Actually my comment @121 referred to your insensitive testosterone fuelled snide insults about Aidan’s ability to write ‘repetitive tracts’ when he’d actually made a relevant point.
      A point you never seem to direct at your most verbose and equally boring poster boy whose defamatory comments about your professional integrity you brush aside as letting off steam…

    • rubyrubes says:

      Seems without my input you can’t even make it to double figures on your current topics…And don’t lecture me about Sexual Politics you haven’t got the first notion…just as you didn’t have the first notion about the significance of Bloody Sunday,regarding it as just another Sectarian atrocity…well we disabused you of that didn’t we…i.e the English lawyers…I could care less If I never met another spineless Irishman in my life…

    • rubyrubes says:

      @215 No it’s not sad kupkake…hope you had a lovely Father’s Day with you grrlzzz…we love our dad’s…catch you on facebook…which JO’D are you ? No ulterior motives… purely platonic… maybe we can sort out the debating…without debaiting people…:-)

    • rubyrubes says:

      @216 Which colleagues might those be and perhaps they’d like to substantiate their ‘strong advice’ with hard evidence (I know this goes against the grain on IT blogs) or withdraw their slurs along with yourself!

    • rubyrubes says:

      I expect you’re down the country or somewhere…mar dhea…if you’re not going to remove my comments when I ask you to then PUBLISH them…and answer the f*ckin’ questions

    • Tud-tut Ruby, you are losing your cool here. I won’t remove your comments for the simple reason that, for good or ill (mostly the latter, unfortunately) they are part of the narrative of the debate.

    • Kynos says:

      I did Ruby. Have a lovely Father’s Day with three of them at least. JO’D is me. There’s another JO’D in this county I’m aware of but he’s a respectable Guard and not me therefore. You can prob find a piccie of me sitting in a big fat American Mustang out in California looking remarkablly pleased with meself as I always am when ensconced in a tasty bit of cyaarr. Deaglan sorry I’ve not yet had the time to read all 226 posts as yet am just wrapping up a long day’s work now and another one begins in roughly five hours time so can’t do owt but sleep now yet in that sleep what dreams may come and I’m putting together some thoughts on the main Q of this thread in me head and hope to have them down on silicon by the time the weekend’s out. cheers j

    • Kynos says:

      In Ciudad Juarez in Mexico over 1000 young women have been murderd for sport. Literally. Murdered for sport. By men who do not deserve life. And they are so powerful, so rich beyond imagining from the narco trade (I infer), that they kill women for their own amusement, so jaded are their tastes. So perhaps you have a point in what you say. Mind you, would you consider (illegal) drug users who grow their own exclusively in good Canadian or Irish compost for their own use to be equivalent to paedophiles? For a world class reporter I still think you’re generalising to an unconscionable degree. now I’m going to bed.

    • It’s a feminist issue as well as everything else. The grow-your-own brigade are obviously less culpable but they are contributing to the perpetuation of the culture.

    • rubycubes says:

      One of the ‘most read’ pieces in today’s Irish Times concerns Iris Robinson who is now under investigation by Police regarding her ‘financial affairs’ whilst in Public Office.
      The piece also refers to her ‘affair’ whilst in public office with a ‘teenage boy’….
      Ergo, by your own logic she is no better than a celebrity ‘cokehead’…should be arrested and prosecuted to deter others from having affairs with ‘teenage boys’
      Or is she is deserving of our ‘deep personal sympathy’ as you stated when the story broke in January… ?
      Or maybe this topic is just ill thought out…otherwise I look forward to your piece clamouring for her head…!

    • rubycubes says:

      Keep lookin’ for your piece in the print edition…guess you’re too busy…it’s not as if it’s a big deal or anything!

    • Good to see you addressing issues of substance instead of engaging in personalities, Ruby. I was worried I was going to have to consign you to Spam if you kept at it.

      I don’t think there is any law against affairs with people over the legal age of consent whereas coke dealing and usage are against the law. I stress at the same time that I don’t think relationships between 19 and 60 year olds are a good idea. I would have deep sympathy for anyone going through personal trauma but that does not extend to any financial matters of the kind you mention, which were not what I was referring to when I wrote that piece nor were they in the public domain to the extent that they are now, as I recall.

    • Kynos says:

      Very good ho ho. Contributing to the culture. From the Latin cultura, growing, cultivation of the soil. Excellent pun there Deaglan.

    • Kynos says:

      But frankly, how can growing one’s own herb for exclusively one’s own consumption leave one with blood on one’s hands? I mean if I BUY drugs, legal or illegal, clearly my money will ultimately fund arms purchases and indeed other undesirable socially undesirable things such as bent politicians fiddling their expenses and skewing the pitch to the advantage of their cronies and hawking justice like cabbage in the markets. That I grant you. Every pint I buy every packet of fags contributes revenue to governments that will use it to buy weapons and facilitate the deaths of innocent people in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Likewise if I buy a bit of spliff from Langer n Skanger down behind the pram sheds in some miserable urban desert like Ballymun used be then I am contributing to the underworld’s purchase of weapons that may facilitate the deaths of innocents (but clearly on a miniscule scale by comparison to my purchase of legal drugs of abuse). But if I plant a few seeds in a bucket of peat moss and stick a metal halide lamp over them for a few months adding in NPK in varying quantities depending on whether we’re in vegetative or flowering cycle, tell me, how is that making me equivalent to a paedophile or causing the blood of innocents to flow?

    • Your apparent technical expertise intrigues me, Kynos. Just to clarify things: the grow-your-own drugtaker is just as guilty in his/her own way as the bigtime coke smuggler. Similarly, the paedophile who creates his/her own pornographic material – photographs, for example – is just as guilty in his/her own way as the person who downloads it from the internet. Drugs and paedophilia are both evil and they threaten our society and civilisation. I wish people would get as angry and agitated about the drugs issue as they do about, say, climate change.

    • Kynos says:

      Oh to be quite honest I’ve also grown my own herbs of all sorts and varieties. Some in PRC which would not be legal here and indeed were not legal in PRC, only because the Uighers grow them also and the sons of Heaven in Beijing consider that it keeps the Uighers quiet they don’t bother too much about it. Was more of an experiment than anything else for me but I learned a lot about gardening. Of course I don’t do it here. Not in this illiberal society. China’s one thing. Here is quite another.

    • rubyrubes says:

      Hi Deaglan…What’s your position on recreational drug taking and Gerontophilia…?!

    • That’s a new one on me, Rubes. Could only think up words like that after a couple of G&T’s!

    • rubyrubes says:

      Surely you’ve heard of ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ by soon to be beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman…Or Gerontion by T S Eliot..?
      Gerontophilia opposite of Paedophilia…
      I know a nice girl shouldn’t know about such things but I guess I’ve spent too much time with Criminals…!
      I was being a soupcon facetious but I guess you recognised that…
      So, now that I’ve ruined your innocence (if I believe you) what would your take be…?
      Btw I know lots of BIG words…like…’marmalade’ ..!
      Anyway thought you didn’t drink! Chin Chin!

    • My, my, we are a learned individual, aren’t we? Facetious, vous? Never!? No, I don’t drink but would need to be fortified by alcohol to cope with these concepts of polysyllabic perversity that you unfold before my unworldly gaze. I’ve never heard of anyone engaging in “Gerontophilia”. Does it exist or did you make it up to score a point in this interminable argument?

    • rubyrubes says:

      I don’t know who ‘we’ are…have you taken to referring to yourself in the plural…?
      I am indeed very learned and educated…I pride myself on both…
      Contact with the less palatable areas of life is an occupational hazard I’m afraid…
      Look up the definition you may discover you are more familiar with the phenomenon than you think…!
      The decision whether or not to continue this ‘interminable argument,’ as you put it, is entirely in your hands…
      I rest my case….

    • rubyrubes says:

      Or if that’s too esoteric you could just listen to the Dubliners…’An Old Man Came Courtin’ Me’…

    • rubyrubes says:

      Did you mean polsyllabic depravity…?
      I think if you check the dictionary definition perversity means something quite different…not that I’d want to be perverse…!

    • rubyxcubes says:

      Oh dear looks like my message got lost in the ether…again….!
      I’m a little surprised that your concerns about the KirkN/Iris soap opera are restricted to mere legalities…
      I thought the whole celebrity sex drugs rock n roll issue was the BIG moral morass of our time…the blood of the Innocents and all that…Or is this another shift in your position having exposed another gaping hole in your argument…
      When is your BIG solution going to print btw…? Or are you quietly hoping to bury this turkey…?


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