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It's just as wrong to use drugs as it is to sell them

By Synesthesiac, Oct 21, 2008 | Updated: Oct 21, 2008 | | |
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  1. Synesthesiac
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4804226.ece

    From The Times
    September 23, 2008

    It's just as wrong to use drugs as it is to sell them

    George Michael has been treated far too leniently

    Ross Clark

    Imagine being a latterday Pontius Pilate presented with two offenders and faced with a dilemma: which to grant a second chance and which to sentence to a long term in jail. Do you free the nervous Jamaican single mum caught at Heathrow with 30 capsules of cocaine in her intestines, having been persuaded to act as a drug mule by a gang promising money to educate her children? Or the multimillionaire pop star caught with crack cocaine in a London public lavatory?

    No prizes for guessing which gets let off under Britain's bizarrely inconsistent war against drugs. The former can expect about eight years in Holloway prison, which is bulging with drug mules.

    As for the latter, George Michael was released with a caution after being caught red-handed in Hampstead last Friday, despite this being his second offence in 18 months - last May he was given a brief driving ban and ordered to do community service after being found slumped in his car with cannabis and liquid Ecstasy in his blood.

    With stolen goods, illegal weapons and child pornography, the law is clear: the user is as guilty as the supplier. The police didn't let Gary Glitter off with a little rap on the knuckles and the rest of us didn't shake our heads and say: “Poor Gary, how sad that he has fallen victim to these evil porn dealers.”

    Background



    He was prosecuted, quite rightly, on the basis that those who provide the market for child porn are implicated in its production. So why then do such different attitudes persist in the case of drugs? If it is wrong to produce and trade drugs, then it is equally wrong to use them.

    And yet how many drug users live in fear of ending up behind bars?
    At worst they can expect to be ordered to attend a rehabilitation centre, where they will be showered with therapy and treated as victims.
    Or even heroes: remember David Cameron saying that he was “incredibly proud” of a relative who had been through treatment for an addiction to hard drugs? Among drug users and drug peddlers alike, there are, of course, sometimes mitigating circumstances. If you have been brought up by drug addicts, beaten and abused, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise if you grow up with a somewhat confused sense of right and wrong.

    But none of this applies to George Michael, who is intelligent enough to know that taking crack is not just an issue of personal liberty: there is a clear association between use of the drug and propensity to commit violent crime. If caught with illegal drugs he should be treated to no less a punishment than if he had smuggled them into the country and sold them on the streets.

Comments

  1. bcubed
    In a sense, I agree with this post. There is nothing inherently wrong with either use or sale, thus you could say they're "equally wrong." I mean, who is more "culpable" for social costs associated w/ alcohol use--the drinker, bartender, beer wholesaler, or brewery?

    The concept of dealing being "extra" bad is a concession to practicality: the production, distribution, and sale of drugs requires a level of criminal organization, and that organization is easier to target than users. Were it easier to target users, using would be "extra bad."

    In short, demonizing drug dealing is done for the same reasons that we demonize "stealing from the dead": if it weren't so, everybody would be doing it.
  2. Sloop
    Easier targeting drug dealers and supply chains) and not users?

    Bullshit, vast majority in the jails and with convictions are those from the bottom of the pile I am afraid (often the distinction between dealer and user here is blurred though)

    Most difficult to target are those running the rackets for then they would be targeting themselves, all of our cops work for the mafia (directly or indirectly) by default when it comes to drugs whether they want it to be that way or not (and if our cops tell the truth on this they lose their jobs).
  3. MrG
    What a ridiculous statement and this "journalist" should hang his head in shame for such a painfully inappropriate and, more importantly, incorrect analogy.

    Child porn makers, distributors and users are all as guilty as each other and, yes, should all be treated with equal abhorrence. Every facet of their disgusting trade requires there to be a child victim at its root.

    Drug producers, distributors and users, however, could operate perfectly well without the need for anyone to ever be harmed or for any, non anti-drug, law to be broken. Unfortunately, due to the WoD, the amount of money to be made in the illicit drug trade lends itself to the types of peope who do not fear jail and for whom the taking of a competitor's life is simply a business matter.

    The act of an adult, in full control of his/her faculties, to voluntarily consume a drug in order to experience its psychoactive effects is a victimless crime.

    Everything and I mean *everything* else, with regards to problematic drug use or addictions, violence against persons or property, smuggling, gangs, etc. are the result of an ineffectual system for coping with drugs in society.

    It's pathetic, we could cope perfectly well with drugs in our society if we would simply stop pretending that we can solve the problem by punishing people for using drugs.

    Wherever gambling is illegal there is illegal gambling. Wherever prostitution is illegal there are illegal sexual services to be found.

    Why? Because most people resent being told to live some sort of fundamentalist inspired puritanical life! If they could go to a legal casino they would, if they could visit a legal brothel where those offering professional services are protected under the law from being exploited, they would.

    Do you see a connection here?
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