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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 9, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    Time to Get Real on Drugs

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Great to hear journalist Ed Vulliamy suggesting it was time to extend the idea of ethical behaviour from activities such as air travel or the purchase of clothing to the sphere to drug usage. He has a new book called Amexica, about the US-Mexican border, where horrific misdeeds are being perpetrated by the drug gangs. This is the other side of the coin to the middle-class coke-sniffers at their house parties. He also pours scorn on the idea of legalising hard drugs. To listen, click here. Vulliamy is also highly-critical of the US “war on drugs”: click here.

    • I think Ed Vulliamy is a bit simplistic and unrealistic (as far as I’ve listened so far) with his notion that drug X was available legally that most people would still source a cheaper illegal version. Or that drug use is entirely down to be people being miserable, I think drug abuse could be viewed that way but most drug usage is not because those involved are out and out miserable.

    • Liam says:

      the facts are still that the governments created the gangs by prohibition laws. go back to the 1950′s and you could buy cocaine in a city centre pharmacy. Make risky behaviour a crime at your peril. As a parent I’m more concerned with the fact that a generation of kids are growing up on a high fructose corn syrup diet. The large food companies should be a bigger concern to overall health rather then the current illicit substances. However as I guess they have a good lobby the poisoning of our kids will continue while “we” chase shadows

    • paul m says:

      hear hear!

      now we can fully appreciate an investigation into the ethics of big pharmaceuticals too! love to see how far that one goes before being buried by lobbyists.

      people have gotten real on drugs, it’s policy makers who haven’t a clue what to do about it. Zero tolerance doesn’t work, it creates a blackmarket goldmine, and is nigh on impossible to enforce due to the manpower and costs involved in effectively controlling it. Just look at the toll it’s taking on Mexico, Venezuela has never fully succeeded and poppies still get harvested in Afghanistan. legalising doesnt work as it would alienate half the electorate and effectively end your political career. Or so we’re told.

      It’s funny that casinos employ former tricksters and gamblers to cover all the hustles in their premises, lock and car manufacturers employ former thieves to test and develop their systems to cover the best in the business. Sure we’ve seen even how the feds used one of the best forgers to catch the best out there and change the system.

      so where are the former drug barons, drug mules, growers and recovered addicts sitting on a panel with government bodies about shaping legislation? Sounds fanciful alright but I cant see how you could shape legislation without dealing with those who fully understand how the business works from every aspect of it. After all it is a business more than it is a disease/addiction/affliction. We have tons of research showing the merits/harms of drugs, it cant be the only source of information for developing a strategy to deal with it.

      seeing as we’re on the topic of drugs, can we include social networking in that category too? Class S drugs perhaps.

    • I think that one day we might realise that the law isn’t (a) the only tool that society has to change behaviour and (b) necessarily the best approach to take to solving some problems.

    • cockneyrebel says:

      Nothing new here then…Is this topic on a loop…?…Can you get it on CD then you wouldn’t have to keep repeating the same old same old…NEXT ONE PLEASE….!

    • Jose says:

      I found Ed Vulliamy opinions to be uninformative and misguided. As a ‘drug user’ myself, I do not have an unfulfilled life, I am a very well-grounded person as my students could tell you. That Ed Vulliamy is pompous enough to suggest that taking some drugs is highly unethical as if it were a new idea shows he has nothing new to say on the the subject. Also, why are the middle classes and people from London singled out as being the main consumers behind the coke market, is this based on evidence?

    • de profundis says:

      @6 Read the ‘Time to Tackle Drugs in New Ways’ post on this blog..think it was May if you look at the archive…that should give you a good idea…!

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