Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hari's rats: is drugs liberalisation the answer?

"Powerful interview with Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream.
This will completely change the way you look at the war on drugs: - ‪#‎EndTheDrugWar"

Hari has his own agenda, but I agree with him and Russell Brand that addicts (of all kinds) need treatment.

I worry that decriminalising drugs will lead to a massive increase in their use among children - you have only to see how porn and violent fantasy have spread down the age brackets. And of course, there are millions of stressed and depressed adults who will be tempted to lean on any available - if ultimately disabling - crutch.

Hari argues (from a 70s rat experiment) that a well-balanced society produces individuals who are unlikely to abuse drugs. I think he misses the logic of his own argument: it implies that we shouldn't liberalise until we have such a society.

I see every day traumatised young people who are prime potential victims of illegal and prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Billionaires are waiting in the wings, ready to develop another market in exploiting weakness. These lions are eager for us to tear down the fence between them and the lambs.

Yes, a purely punitive approach is not enough. But until that sane and loving society has been established - somebody tried it 2,000 years ago and we see how long that lasted - we need some way to protect addicts and potential addict-recruits from themselves, plus therapeutic help for those who are already caught in the trap.

This may not please those who call themselves libertarians, but I don't agree with the latter that you can do exactly as you please to yourself without in any way impacting on others.



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Wolfie said...

I'd like to see a war on child abuse (pedophilia) but it looks like the elite are too busy doing it to police it.

Sackerson said...

There's a lot of work being done in this area now - and about trafficking children for sex.

There are several categories, including:

1. Abuse by family members and relations - complicated by the fact that it's said "all abusers have been abused, but not all who have been abused go on to become abusers." Mixed pity and rage.

2. The cold grooming of youngsters to bring them into the sex trade - we saw a chilling dramatisation of that process last term. One wants to kill.

3. The abuse of power and wealth that we read in the papers, first to use youngsters like sex objects (Private Eye repeatedly named Kincora Boys Home in Belfast over decades) and then to escape justice until gaga or dead. This is a tiny fraction of the overall number of cases but the arrogance has one wanting to undo the safety catch on the machine gun.

Paddington said...

And yet, according to most statistics, this is the safest time in centuries, taking most violence and abuse into account. Isn't it strange what over-exposure to the world's miseries can do to our perception?

Sackerson said...

Padders - as long as the Welfare State and Internet last: bread and circuses.

qalqal said...

An excellent way to reduce hard drug abuse would be to sanction the USA for its opium cultivation in Afghanistan instead of stupidly penalizing the naive and vulnerable user.