Mr Stephenson has somewhat preempted this posting, but seeing as we both wrote at similar times, I'm posting my version anyway.
I am not a drug user (other than red wine), but it was almost impossible to have gone through living in London in the mid to late 60's, then having spent five years at various Art Colleges, without having tried a few of the illicit products on offer. This must have been much the same for certain politicians.
In those days, the most common, and popular, 'naughtiness' was Hashish; a compressed Cannabis resin (above) that was smoked having been crumbled into Tobacco. Unfortunately I found Hashish far too soporific, and stopped smoking it almost at once; I was missing-out on too much fun.
I wonder what happened to Hashish; its name is hardly ever mentioned these days. Even in Morocco, where it used to be sold openly in the form of government stamped slabs, it is no longer offered either in cafés or on street corners.
Other products around at the time were Acid (LSD), and very occasionally Opium. Purple Hearts were the pills of choice for 'Mod' clubbers.
Drug culture has become the norm these days, with the most unlikely of people regularly consuming a few lines of Cocaine at the weekend (Gove?). Everyone from wealthy City traders to sink-estate no-hopers enjoy (if that is the right word) their regular snorts. Convicted Drug-Drivers have now overtaken the number of Drink-Drivers. Synthetic drugs are everywhere, and they become more inventive and numerous by the day.
There are those who wish to legalise the whole drug arena; they suggest it would rid the country of dealers. Others wish to take a much harder line, and throw both dealers and users into prison indefinitely. In either case the use of drugs has become an openly everyday occurrence, and is having a profound effect on the world's criminality, mental health, and economy.
Much of our present day drug/crime/sex/corruption parallels can be compared to the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and one can but wonder what modern day Odoacer will replace a latter day Romulus when Gibbon's opus is rewritten.
Personally I think the decline is already well advanced. Everything seems to be going wrong, and the strict morals of yesterday have become the new liberalism of today. Much of that is OK (desired even), but there are too many unwelcome side issues that will probably bring us all down; drugs being one!
Yes, the drug culture has caused so many problems and no real answers.ReplyDelete
I stand with the "legalise them all" school of thought.
After all, tobacco and alcohol are also addictive and sometimes dangerous but are perfectly acceptable?
There are perfectly logical answers to both sides of the problem. The problem is to find a solution that rids the streets of dealers, yet doesn't turn the nation into a load of zombies.Delete
I doubt the nation of zombies, the Dutch have a saying "one joint doesn't make a druggie any more than one beer makes an alcoholic".Delete
The 'Zombies' are already there. Certain towns in the North (particularly) have them falling about in the streets; mostly from something called 'spice', which I believe is very cheap.Delete
I would legalise the soft drugs like Hashish and this would remove the soft drug dealers.ReplyDelete
Most Hashish users probably do so at home whilst listening to Hendrix et al. They are not usually the type to jump in a car causing mayhem.Delete
We allow people to kill themselves through alcohol and tobacco. I wonder why it's illegal to kill yourself through drugs? I wonder why users are locked up rather than just given help? I wonder why a plant that has been medicinal for thousands of years (cannabis) and now proven to help children suffering from epilepsy and cure some cancers is having to be fought for in the UK. We have to rethink.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately most cars stopped by the police (in the UK) for minor infringements, are found to contain various drugs, and the drivers found positive for usage. It worries me that so many people on the road are doped-up to their eyeballs.Delete
In road checks by the police here in Vienna it is now the case that far more drivers are under the influence of drugs than of alcohol. It has got so bad that police want new legislation to take blood samples from suspected drugged drivers. The death toll on the roads here is roughly twice as high as the UK.Delete
Mr Strache until recently deputy chancellor (the deputy PM) of Austria resigned after a video emerged of drinking session in Ibiza with the niece of a Russian oligarch who was in fact a Bosnian student. It was a sting and the whole government has now fallen and Austria is being ruled by a committee of experts, a new unelected cabinet of public officials, which could go on until the end of the year. The 'drug' which had Strache and his companion (another politician) behaving like gullible idiots was simply a mixture of vodka and a well known energy drink. Point is you can make your own drugs. No need to go illegal. My drug is beer, often a non-alc. variety) in moderation.Delete
The mix of alcohol and a pretty girl can usually trap the average politician. A small amount of flattery will soon have their trousers off.Delete
I've never even tried smoking a cigarette, and I don't drink much, but I've met plenty of people whose potential was ruined either by the effect of drugs on their brains, or by the lifestyle and friends they adopted. And that applies to drink as well as drugs, The last time I met one of my dearest friends I went away and cried at the state he was in. He died soon after (drink). Drink being 'legal' doesn't seem to be any deterrent at all, so why would legalising drugs work?ReplyDelete
I drink some red wine every day, but I don't get drunk, or make a nuisance of myself. I drink as a natural part of my evening meaL.Delete
I too have known a few drinkers whose lives have been ruined, but they were always those who started their day with a few cans, or glasses of Scotch. They were usually beyond hope.
Hash has fallen into obscurity because loads of petty criminals are making lots of money from horrible home-grown skunk, which I would classify as a class A because of the damage it does to people's mental heath. The question of criminality is another thing altogether. Socially, things are so bad these days that many law-abiding people would start using drugs if they were de-criminalised, so it is a tricky issue. Only a few years ago, codeine could be bought over the counter at Boots. Same with cocaine in Victorian times.ReplyDelete
I wonder if the tax revenue from legalised drugs would offset the drop in productivity.Delete
I believe that Codeine is the main ingredient in 'Purple lean', which is now sweeping the UK and Europe.Delete
Never heard of it, but I might get some.Delete
The main drug dealers today is Big Pharma. Millions of people have become addicted thru powerful prescriptions and end up dying on the street by overdosing with street drugs.This plague hits all ages and all economic classes and might, as you said, lead to the decline of society. The drug companies are being called to answer but they are very powerful and I doubt if anything will come of it.ReplyDelete
The big drug Co's hold us all to ransom. They have become beyond the law.Delete
Given the Gove admission and the Johnson admission which has now been withdrawn this is a pretty hot topic. I can truthfully say that I have never taken any illegal substance whatsoever and, boringly some may say, have only been properly drunk once when I was 18 (that was quite enough to teach me that I didn't want to feel like that again nor lose control ever). In the greater scheme of things, though, I suspect (without any concrete evidence to hand) that alcohol has ruined far more lives than cocaine has. I have pondered over the legalisation of soft drugs and have never managed to convince myself one way or the other. I have held the view for many years that if one has an addictive personality then whether it be cigarettes or gambling or speed (as in racing!) then legal or not you will find a way.ReplyDelete
I also find it difficult to come down on one side or the other; both sides have logic in their arguments. However, I think the whole drug epidemic problem is only in its infancy, and could spiral out of control within a very short time.Delete
I don't understand it at all, why does anybody feel the need to take anything at all? Am I the only one who thinks the human race is getting stupider by the minute? I was astounded by some dim woman on Hugh's (Fearnly-Whittingstall) fight against plastic (on TV yesterday)who bought her cheeses individually, all in little plastic wrappers because she liked to just eat a little bit each day. So dim that it didn't even occur to her to buy a big block, chop it into bite sized pieces and freeze them, taking out her one piece (plastic free!) each day. What's the matter with people, can't they think for themselves any more? Oops, sorry Cro, rant over!Delete
Drug dependency is a strange thing. Certain products are so addictive that just one introduction to them is enough to have them hooked, although the addict has usually been en route (via other products) for a while. It does seem crazy to us of stronger will power, but many addicts simply have no hope in life.Delete
Imagine what must be in the minds of the new generation. What we find absolutely intolerable they assume perfectly desirable and okay. They have nothing to compare to. Imagine having a loved one killed or maimed for life by a drunk driver or a drugged driver. Stop the world - I want to get off!ReplyDelete
My cousin was murdered in Canada for drugs (he was an eminent doctor) by the boy next door; a Judge's son. So I know exactly what you mean.Delete
Of course for the toffs Hashish and Opium was widely available in the 19th century, sold by barbers, tobacconists and stationers. Writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Dickens all used the drug, for pleasure!ReplyDelete
de Quincey even extolled it.Delete
I don't have a freezer, not everybody does.ReplyDelete
Really? I have two, I thought everyone did.Delete
No. I don't like to pollute the planet with excessive use of electricity.Delete
stick it in the icebox of your fridge then...Delete
The weather in the Dauphinè cycle race today looks about the same as the UK.ReplyDelete
Dreadful here all day. One minute sun, the next rain.Delete
I think there has always been a rising and falling of the way society behaves - the Victorians (many of their practices and beliefs were still around when I was a child and my parents were definitely of that ilk)ReplyDelete
eventually morphed into the behaviour of the - I daresay we shall suddenly begin to slide the other way.
The liberal society does seem to have gone too far, no doubt the tide will turn again.Delete
Some European countries have legalised and so controlled drug use and it seems to have been successful in getting illegality out of drug distribution and the corruption that goes with it.ReplyDelete