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Drugs/Alcohol: Harm & legality (cont.)

On 9 Oct 2010 at 9:13pm MC wrote:
I'm very sorry jrs, but I can't let this lie without trying again to make my point to you as it's obvious from your last post in the "Skoking in pubs/private clubs" thread that I've still not managed to make myself clear, i.e:

>> Your comments about "Sounds like the children of alcoholics to me....." implies you are in denial about the health and death problems created by drug use.

The point I am making is that alcohol is a drug, in the same way as marijuana, ecstasy, mephedrone etc are drugs. All drugs (including alcohol) can cause harm. The main and most pertinent difference between alcohol and most of other drugs is that alcohol is the chosen drug of our society and for this reason it is legal and the harm it causes accepted as par for the course (The Daily Mail had a field day when they wanted to portray Leah Betts as having died from ecstacy... but the evil rag never gets excited by the countless deaths and harm caused on an almost daily basis by alcohol ).

It is plainly undeniable that alcohol causes harm... and it causes and awful lot of it too; and death due to long term over indulgence is only a small part of alcohol's harmful equation.

I am certainly not defending drug use (I too have dead and damaged friends & family due to drugs, but I include alcohol and tobacco in this). I am just pointing out that by far the biggest difference between some illegal drugs and alcohol is their legal status.

And that's it.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 10:30pm Twinky wrote:
If alcohol were discovered today, it would instantly be banned - more addictive, more effect oh behaviour, more physical damage to health than many class A drugs.
On 9 Oct 2010 at 11:14pm Just a Thought wrote:
Incorrect Twinky. I rarely drink though I do enjoy it. thus i'm not addicted to it. You're obviously on the smack and trying to convince yourself it's not so bad.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 6:08am Thread Bear wrote:
Everything in moderation...
well not EVERYTHING - of course - have to draw the line somewhere, now need to include alcohol but exclude nasty chemical things... hmm toughie...
addictiveness of substance AND users psyche need to be included here too...
oh bollox I'm off to bed
On 10 Oct 2010 at 8:46am jrsussex wrote:
BrixtonBelle - I also spend an about an hour on the net looking at BBC news and other newspapers. Sounds boring but being retired I have the time on my hands and I hope it gives me a balanced view of the days events.
MC - You have well and truly made your poinbt with me, pleaes do not think you have not. But the fact remains that alcohol will, generally speaking, only cause death if you drink excessively, the medical profession advised that in sensible quantities it can actually do us good, That, as far as I am aware, cannot be said of smoking and illegal drugs, correct me if I am wrong. My own father smoked heavily all his life only dying in his 75th year from a non-smoking related condition, but he was lucky I assume.
You are clearly against alcohol and that is OK by me. I have stated in several of my posts that I accept alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs are all addictive and can all cause health problems to the point of death, I am not sure how much plainer than that I can put it for you to understand what I am saying.
In the 32 years I dispensed alcohol to the public I witnessed death from all three. I have tried to remember them this morning. From alcohol I can recall less than 10, and a slightly higher amount from smoking. From the cases of illegal drug deaths, to include OD's, suicides, accidental death related to illegal drugs and from long-term use number 34 persons. How about the man of about 28 making his way home from Glastonbury, having been on puff for several days just veered of the M4 and dided instantly, a really nice person and a customer of mine.
As ststed I accept all three can be harmful but you will never persuade me that illegal drugs are on the same level as the other two in regard to death and other problems they cause. Never heard of a burglar committing crime daily to feed their habit of smoking cigarettes or drinking budwiesser. Think of it as a world wide matter, not just Lewes, I cannot even begin to imagine how many people are dead as a direct result of drug abuse throughout the world.
I cannot imagine you would offer support to drug traders, but unwittenly that is what you are doing. You are presenting an argument that illegal drugs are no worse than any other addictive substance/product which is the very excuse that many traders in illegal drugs use for plying their evil trade.
This is my last word on this subject I do not feel I have anything to add without repeating myself.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 4:04pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
You could say the same about drugs, though JR - that they only cause harm if used excessively. The occasional rock of crack or bit of smack isn't going to hurt anyone. It's only when people OD or become addicted (or drive) that it all goes horribly wrong, same as with alcohol.
I think there's also a strong case for saying that drugs don't generally lead to violence in the way that alcohol so often can, too. As a police officer once said to me "You never hear of anyone getting so stoned that they go home and beat up their wife".
Imo, most of the harm from drug use comes from the crime involved in getting the money to buy the gear, not the use itself. I also suspect that the role of alcohol in premature deaths is quite possibly under-reported. A lot of heavy drinkers neglect themselves in other ways because of the booze and fail to get prompt medical treatment for other things as a result and then go on to die from them.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 7:04pm sashimi wrote:
The reason alcohol has a special place in our culture is that it allowed the population of Europe to expand beyond the natural control levels of water borne disease. The human population should have reached a critical point where it infected the water supply to such an extent that the population was held in check. Those who drank alcohol (made with boiled water) were less inclined to succumb to disease. As a result Europeans also developed a greater tolerance to alcohol. In other parts of the world, the human population beat the rap by drinking tea - and so have less genetic tolerance for alcohol.
On 10 Oct 2010 at 9:29pm MC wrote:
Tolerance, predilection and (now) genetically inherited predisposition to...
On 11 Oct 2010 at 12:24am Billy Goat Gruff wrote:
And don't forget that many drug related deaths are due to the unregulated and extremely variable quality of heroin etc. How many more deaths would we have from alcohol if it were produced and sold by criminals? JRS's anecdata is a good argument for the regulation of the recreational drugs trade not the silly war on drugs we have now.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 12:30am Dave wrote:
What's this got to do with Lewes?
Isn't there a drugs and alcohol issues forum somewhere called Talk to Frank or something like that.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 7:09am Billy Goat Gruff wrote:
Dave, this forum is for the people of Lewes to talk about anything they like, there are no rules about subject matter.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 9:16am jrsussex wrote:
I did say I had hed my last on this thread but Billy Goat Gruff has made a a sensible post (in my opinion). You may be aware that the illegal drugs of today were, in the main, legal approximately 80/100 years ago, legislation was passed making them illegal due to the damage they were causing in Society.
So, having soaked up the comments in this interesting thread, I suppose there may be a case for some drugs, where it can be scientifically proven they are not harmful unless excessively abused, to be made legal if only to control the quality.
Sensible discussion can work in persuading people there is, possibly, another way forward.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 9:43am stan wrote:
I am really interested in why people use illegal drugs and why and when they stop. Anyone been addicted or a heavy user? What is it that made you start and stop. I can't claim any virtue in not using as it always scared the hell out of me!
On 11 Oct 2010 at 10:22am Clifford wrote:
Stan, the only illegal drugs I ever used were amphetamines, marijuana and LSD. The reason in each case was curiosity. I particularly enjoyed marijuana and LSD and never felt any physical or psychological dependence (unlike with nicotine, which I've only recently been able to shake off). I stopped because - as with alcohol (which I only occasionally have now) - I simply lost interest in the effects. My experience leads me to think that everyone should try them if they feel like it but to be particularly aware that it's very hard to stop smoking cigarettes once you've started.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 10:31am sashimi wrote:
Stan, I have been (and I suppose still am) seriously addicted to nicotine though I haven't smoked for 30 plus years. Why did I start? Example set by parents and peers, cool image, and (at that time) general social acceptability. Why did I stop? Habit seemed out of control and I didn't like being a slave to it; very expensive; girl friend persuaded me it was in my best interests (like Aristophanes' Lysistrata, she made it clear that all favours would be withdrawn unless I complied). Did it work? Well, yes, but it was really hard and I always feel it's a major achievement worthy of inclusion on my CV. Could I backslide? Yes, any time. One fag and I'd be back on 20 a day within a month. Is nicotine as addictive as say heroin or alcohol? I've no idea, but probably not. But giving it up must be a very similar process. Most of all you have to really want to - and the trouble with addictive things is that they are very seductive. So you have to pick the right moment.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 12:55pm Independent thinker wrote:
Sashimi, there's a Royal College of Physicians report on drug addiction available online. In terms of dependence among users, Nicotine ranked first, then Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol and Caffeine. When it comes to withdrawal symptom severity, it was alcohol first, then heroin, nicotine, cocaine and caffeine in that order. Alcohol, heroin, nicotine and cocaine were ranked equally for difficulty achieving abstinence.
On 11 Oct 2010 at 3:50pm Billy Goat Gruff wrote:
JR I would be amazed if drugs were made illegal as the result of a reasoned evidence based discussion, far more likely that the laws were changed because of religious pressure groups, Daily Mail type hysteria and maybe even lobbying by the alcohol industry (which now openly lobbies against the legalisation of cannabis in California). Personally I'd like to see heroin, amphetamine and cocaine addiction treated as medical problems rather than legal ones and most other drugs sold by responsible retailers
On 11 Oct 2010 at 6:12pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Imo people take drugs because they're fun. By the time the not-fun they cause outweighs the fun derived, it's usually too late to stop easily.
I think the same applies to alcohol too. I've largely stopped drinking because it makes me so damn ill now - the pain (well, nausea actually) outweighs the gain. I used to love a good skinful, too.
On 13 Oct 2010 at 4:51pm Peter Byron wrote:
In years to come we will be able to (and I do not wish to) buy heroin over the counter and have to find a dealer to supply us with ciggies, you see my friends, in Amsterdam you are told (son and I went weekend) you can only smoke drugs in certain cafes, no fags allowed, I nearly fell over when the chap informed me!! B-)
On 13 Oct 2010 at 11:09pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
Anyone seen the MIghty Boosh ? No need for drugs watching that, although a little puff would enhance the experience....
On 14 Oct 2010 at 10:44pm Peter Byron wrote:
On 15 Oct 2010 at 7:54pm Independent thinker wrote:
For those still following what kicked off this whole discussion, David Nuttals motion to exempt pubs and clubs from the smoking ban was defeated in the Commons on Wednesday 141 votes to 86, so love it or hate it, the ban is clearly here to stay.
On 16 Oct 2010 at 11:19am Peter Byron wrote:
Hurrah, we will all live forever now! Sad for the 40 pubs closing per week but hey we need to be protected from our vices ha ha. Best and Cheers to all, Peter

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