Monday 12 January 2009

“Drugs should be legalised because they are dangerous!”

Everyone seems to like the Motilium frog, that fat amphibian who lies on his back groaning and moaning about the state of his belly. Mr. Frog has been seriously overdoing the consumption, and is now painfully filled to the brim, farting like a wizard in a colander, and having more painful contractions than when your young Beatrice had her quads, eight pound each they were, god bless her.
Brilliant, so now when we’ve turned into turgid lumps of blubber leaking dribble onto the carpet as we use our human snouts to sniff out more irresistible delights, all we have to do is take a wee pill and our stomachs will suddenly leap into action and it’ll be as if nothing ever happened.
Or, call me crazy, we get off the continental shelves that our arses have become and drag our lardy sacks of body fat out of the house for a walk.
Blimey, look at that! One foot in front of the other and all of a sudden you’re breathing better, your muscles are working, your spirit is getting a lift and oooeeerrrr, yes, yes the stomach, something is happening in the stomach. It’s moving now alright. Blimey, is it moving. OOOOoooh motherrrrrr....
Before the boys and girls from legal get onto me, I’m quite sure Motilium is a great drug,
but we have all become dangerously confused about the putrid privy that houses both the illegal drug and pharmaceutical industries.
We encounter all manner of drugs every day of our lives, and for our convenience, we endeavour to split them up in our minds, into two groups. There’s harmful and safe, and also legal and illegal.
Safe is removed instantly from the list, as any single substance consumed in too large an amount can be lethal. Sure, you can drown after drinking too many glasses of water, so nothing is safe.
That, you see, is why the universe invented intelligence.
Now we’re left with drugs legal and illegal, and here's where intelligence really comes into its own. In the last two weeks I’ve seen two different children, one a toddler and the other a baby in a pushchair, sucking on their cans of Red Bull, as if drinking from Venus’ own nipples.
As I saw their proud mothers and fathers walk by, I wondered and saddened all at once.
These were smartly-dressed adults who had purchased splendid pushchairs. Far from ill-educated people, you’d think. Maybe they just bought a can of Red Bull in the shop, because they could, thinking that if they could it must be safe. The thought of the Red Bull baby was scary enough, but actually I span out of control in my grey noodle stew when I saw the second child, the toddler, slugging back his taurine testicular extract and caffeine cocktail.
I mean, the thing about babies is that they don’t toddle. They roll, pooh, puke and make more noise than a small atomic bomb, but they don’t run around insanely destroying everything in sight, like Supernanny off the tele’s worst acid trip nightmare: a toddler on Red Bull.
Thankfully, most of us have at least a small part of our brains working, and understand that just because some drugs are legal, they are not necessarily compulsory. We’ve got enough addictions going on as it is, and as you fall asleep from drunkenness and drop your burning fag butt down the side of your armchair, never forget we are in a state of war.
Well two states of war, if you count the War on Terror, which is in fact very similar to the War on Drugs. We had no choice about our involvement in either, and yet we deeply feel in all our hearts that each is worse than pointless.
While the War on Terror perpetuates itself by creating more hatred, radicalising more swathes of population and turning them into recruits, the War on Drugs supports a global
industry of organised crime, whilst simultaneously criminalising so many millions of users that the very stigma of criminalisation becomes diminished.
Sorry, are you feeling a little delitaco, lying there like post-festive beached beluga whales?
Well, even though this colyoom doesn’t usually approve of such things, I’ll give you a number, because going by your hangover and the size of your ‘orrible swollen belly, and because you are now coming down off alcohol, sugar, caffeine, nicotine, paracetamol, Rennies, Motilium, Alka Seltzer, aspartame, salt and gord knows what other drugs and chemicals, I reckon a simple single number is just about the only thing you might understand.
Deep breath.
200 million people are at this moment using and misusing illegal drugs.
There you go. Wasn’t too painful was it? Consider that for a second. That’s 40 Irelands!
Generally I am very wary of using numbers, but this one I trust, because it came from the very excellent Danny Kushlick, founder of Transform Drug Policy Foundations.
The man himself explained to the Observer’s Carl Wilkinson:
“Drugs should be legalised because they are dangerous, not because they are safe. They should be brought within the law where consumers would have information like ingredients and purity. We need to manage the people who use them and not criminalise them. In prisons I saw drug users who were damaged in almost every way they could be - the last thing they needed was to be incarcerated. People who want to use illegal drugs are already using them, their illegality is not a deterrent”
Kushlick is passionate about his fight. He cites the way that the mafia rose and grew out of 13 years of alcohol prohibition in America.
“It created the mafia and corrupted every US federal institution. When you have that kind of money involved combined with that level of demand, you have one of the largest commodity markets on earth, totally unregulated.”
These days, the prohibition of drugs allows organised crime to make €180 billion a year, every year. If these dangerous and addictive drugs were legalised, regulated and controlled, the very personal agonies of addiction and self-control could be removed from the hands of the criminal cartels who exploit farmers, and mafiosi who blackmail mules to smuggle for peanuts.
How widespread is the problem? Well consider the fact that almost every single bank note in the UK is contaminated with cocaine. Yes, I know Sterling is cheap right now, but don’t go getting any ideas. There’s only a billionth of a gram per note!

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