I’m using this post to respond to recent commenters. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts. And special thanks to those who can express their views without having to resort to swearing.
The blogging world is both personal and impersonal. You can express very personal views without revealing your identity. Of course, those who are sufficiently determined would find a way to discover a blogger’s identity. Some people have such strong views that we cannot help but get a reaction. And reactions are important to stimulate debate.
Most of the reactions recently have been related to drugs, legal or not.
First of all, I would like to emphasize the point that I do not favour tobacco or alcohol any more than I do the illegal drugs. Despite “scientific” evidence that moderate drinking is good for you, I would never encourage anyone to even have a drink a day. That would be irresponsible. There is nothing I can say that is positive about tobacco. The damage from tobacco is more long-term, though some short-term effects, such as shortness of breath, cough, and wheeze does exist. Alcohol gives a “buzz” to most people, and again, it has long-term consequences.
The effects of illegal, or unregulated, drugs are less well-known. This is in part due to the fact that they are not as readily available, so fewer people use them and there is less “study” of them. I will admit that I do not have “data” to show that these drugs, such as 4-MMC, are deadly. But, having worked in the ER and seeing kids brought in dead on arrival after a night of mixing drugs, the best conclusion is that those drugs are linked to the death, even if current testing cannot conclusively show that any one specific drug is to blame.
Enough is known about the class of drugs which 4-MMC, or mephedrone, belongs to that scientists can say that it acts as a stimulant. Similar drugs include amphetamines, ephedra, and ecstasy. Based on that alone, I cannot see why 4-MMC should be treated any differently from those drugs. It is interesting that drug users demand to be given scientific evidence that something is harmful, yet they are willing to risk their lives before scientific evidence proves that something is not harmful.
Anyone who has read my blog would know that I tend to be sceptical about any scientific study. There always seem to be some flaw which leads to different groups studying the same thing and getting different results. Though I’m not advocating willy-nilly beliefs, I do feel that we need to be careful of drawing conclusions based solely on science. Sometimes, observational studies are just as important.
Drug users will then argue that if you go to a club and observe those getting high you will see that they are all tranquil. That’s baloney. Try holding down someone on a real “trip”. You wonder how that little person could be so strong.
So, why does tobacco and alcohol have such special status? I can’t answer that except to say that it is such a huge source of revenue for the government that they would be unable to reverse things. They are available and at the same time, they are discouraged. Or, in the case of alcohol, “drink responsibly”. I agree that the various methods for smoking cessation should be made accessible and well-regulated. I only warned against using products that are unregulated, as there may be hidden dangers.
Can they really do that with other drugs? It would be extremely irresponsible for the government to just turn a blind eye to other drugs. We have laws in place in to protect people from themselves and from others. Some may argue that the government should not be our moral authority, but wouldn’t that just encourage anarchy?
Education is important to prevent the misuse and abuse of drugs. It is not enough just to say that drugs are bad and leave it at that. Some people are not willing to take that at face value. They have to experience it themselves and make their own conclusions. Sometimes, unfortunately, they are not given another chance.
Regulation is important. If a drug is illegal, it should be banned. If it is not deemed illegal, there should be regulation. What would this mean? First, it would mean the government gets a cut. They would have to have people in place to test drugs to see that they are not adulterated. Part of the danger in using drugs that are bought online and unregulated is that they may contain contaminants which make the drugs cheaper and more deadly. Regulation would mean that there is less of a problem with inherent crime associated with the drug. Perhaps it may decrease the attraction of the drug. For young people and early experimenters, it is the thrill of doing something not quite legal that contributes to the “high”.
Does 4-MMC deserve to be regulated rather than banned? It would be very difficult to defend this drug when so many other countries have already banned it based on its effects and associated risks. Some would argue that its risk lay in overdosing, but what is an overdose? Drug levels are never the same in everyone.