Tackling drugs to reduce poverty

By Lunar Loops · Feb 1, 2007 · Updated Feb 2, 2007 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    Interesting article (and linked articles) from id21 website ("www.id21.org/insights/insights-h10/art00.html") :

    Tackling drugs to reduce poverty

    The United Nations Office of Drug Control claimed in 2006 that 'Drug control is working and the world drug problem is being contained'. Yet the scale and diversity of the illicit global drug trade has increased in the last decade, as have rates of drug use in most countries.
    Global estimates suggest there are nearly 200 million illicit drug users (five percent of the world's adult population) and over 13 million injecting drug users (IDUs), of whom 80 percent live in developing or transitional countries. The true magnitude of the global drug use problem is probably far greater. Around 10 percent of new HIV infections worldwide are linked with drug injecting, whilst 0.5 percent of deaths globally are due to illicit drug use and almost nine percent from tobacco.
    The links between drugs and development

    Drug use and production and attempts to control them are connected to poverty. International drug control efforts are based largely on the premise that enforcement against drug producers, traffickers and users may lead to the reduction and eradication of illicit drug markets and associated social, health and economic harm. Yet there is increasing concern about the balance between policies favouring eradication and those accepting the need to better manage drugs production and use in order to reduce risks to health and development. For example, crop eradication programmes in South-East Asia, Colombia and Afghanistan have been linked with increasing poverty among poppy and coca farmers, accelerated deforestation and social discontent, and in some instances have exacerbated armed conflict. Crop eradication without effective development initiatives threatens to reduce development potential. Tough law enforcement may aggravate the social and human costs of illicit drug use and related trade.

    This issue of id21 insights health debates the links between drugs and development. David Mansfield reminds us that development initiatives are often blind to the economic plight of illicit drug producers. Kelley Lee highlights how tobacco farmers too are often exploited in their attempts for economic survival. Susan Beckerleg argues that the khat industry in East Africa is at 'full capacity', with eradication attempts potentially causing greater overall harm than a well regulated industry. As Axel Klein describes in St. Vincent, law enforcement interventions can bring unintended negative consequences for health and development.
    Equally important, Chris Lyttleton and Patrick Griffiths highlight how mainstream development sometimes worsens existing drug problems. The pressures of increasing engagement with the global economy have led to new markets for illicit and legal drug use. Sheryl McCurdy and colleagues report how in sub-Saharan Africa rapid social and economic change in the 1980s and 1990s have increased alcohol consumption. David Macdonald and Mohammad Zafar illustrate how 25 years of conflict in Afghanistan has sustained drug use and production and has required strategies that integrate both demand and harm reduction.
    These articles highlight firstly the importance of integrating drug control within a development framework, and secondly, the need to give greater commitment to the reduction of drug-related harm alongside an existing tradition of law enforcement.
    Tim Rhodes
    Director, Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street WC1E 7HT, London, UK

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  1. Micklemouse
    Shroomonger - could you take out the links on this page? It takes forever to fully load (250 seconds & counting!), with a message at the bottom of my screen saying 'Waiting for id21.org...'. There is a handy remove links button next to the Insert Links if you click Edit then Go Advanced.

    Cheers mate!
  2. Lunar Loops
    Apologies, did not think it would have that effect. Have now removed all links except for the one to the original article. They were included as they link to related articles which are also worth a read (of course this can also be done by accessing the original article).
  3. Micklemouse
    Sorry mate, but it's still doin' it. 100 seconds & counting!
  4. Lunar Loops
    Don't understand that at all my good mouse. Was not doing that for me and was loading straight away. Anyway, ALL links now removed and the graphic images.
  5. old hippie 56
    Found this article the other night, kinda thinks it goes hand in hand with the proverty issue.

    Have a Toke and a Smile

    by Daniel M. Ryan

    Imagining time travel is often useful as a thought-tool, to expose the effects of the "common sense of ignorance and prejudice." Imagine, à la the Back To The Future trilogy, you went back to 1955 to discuss the consequences of legalizing gambling with ordinary, astute citizens of that time. If you asked what strategy the gaming industry would use to seek after profits, you would probably get an answer like this:

    "Easy; they’d build upon what the illicit gambling houses do now. Maximize the house’s take, and lure people in by wild promises of effortless wealth. Hire muscle men to serve the drinks and run the tables, which’ll impel anyone who would otherwise skip out on a debt into paying up. Wear the wealth you scoop up as the owner of the place and pretend to be a patron, so as to mislead the customers into thinking that they’ll be ‘sure winners’ too. Set up a clearinghouse of vice inside the casino, so as to take back any winnings that the lucky might receive. That’s how any kind of legalized gambling outfit would clean up."

    This response sounds so sensible, it would probably become the mainstream forecast in the entire room. If you responded by disclosing what the gaming industry is really like nowadays – promoting family-friendly vacations for the bricks-and-mortar gaming spots, and competing through keeping the house’s take low [2–10%] for the [Internet] casinos with no vacation spot attached to them – you would probably be met with scoffs of disbelief. "Can you believe this guy/gal? The next thing we’ll hear is that the Soviet Union will magically disappear by 2005!"

    After finding out what Cassandra herself had to put up with, you then go back to 1925, only this time, you decide to wrest a bit of fun out of the opinion-finding trip by concocting a fast one, about what the alcohol industry "will" be like if Prohibition were repealed. Instead of disturbing people with the truth, you unveil this spiel, once you’ve gotten the ear of a group willing to speculate about alcohol being legalized:

    "If Prohibition should end, the alcohol companies will have to build upon the bathtub gin by getting rid of the impurities in it; they would lack the impunity enjoyed by organized crime. But, organized crime has paved the way towards a future rationalization of any such industry. It seems evident that the alcohol industry of the future will sell near to 200-proof alcohol, which you can add to any drink you like. It’s the more efficient way of doing it, as 0.6 ounces of the pure stuff will equal what a mug of beer used to do. People will buy a bottle and dispense it themselves, much like the way you buy gasoline at the rail-head nowadays. Beer and even whisky will be obsolete."

    Now you have the crowd on your side – as of now. Your tall tale is treated as hard-headed sense. Until you get to this point:

    "It’s a lot like the cocaine industry would be like if cocaine is legalized, except the cocaine industry will be more prone to the efficiency strategy because there’s no taste barrier with respect to that powder whereas with alcohol – Yes, ma’am?" You stop, and let a dowager, who has something to say, speak up:

    "I am sorry to interrupt your story, but that is not the way cocaine would be marketed if it should become legal – again. I remember when it was; the most salable way in which it was sold was the drink Coca-Cola, as it then was. They put in enough to give you a nice crank-up, but not enough to make you addled, as the substance in pure form would undoubtedly do. There is no way that cocaine would be sold, in the open marketplace, in the way that you have described. Free enterprise simply does not work the way you imagine it does."

    Where’s The Volume?

    A survey of any industry devoted to entertainment or leisure, which a legalized drug industry would probably be pegged as, reveals a certain paradox: the kinds of entertainment that are revered as "extreme" don’t generate that much sales volume, let alone profits. Look around in any kind of entertainment or leisure industry: the big dollars are pulled in by companies that offer moderate experiences. Yes, this includes alcohol too. It’s almost a certainty that you’ve heard of "Kentucky firewater," or some other triple-proof alcoholic drink, but it’s probable that you’ve never drunk any.

    The same rule of thumb would apply to marijuana, cocaine, LSD, narcotics, and stimulants. The "hard core" segment of the market, where the pure stuff "rules," would undoubtedly be a dwarf when compared with the market for milder variants. People are quite capable of guessing what the consequences of a serious "bender," for any mind-altering substance, will be. The hard-core "druggie" is as much a walking deterrent as the hard-core "alkie" is.

    "Have a toke and a smile." Hidden subtext: This product is mild enough to induce you to relax, without scrambling your brain in the process.

    Sure Thing? I Don’t Think So

    Because I was in the hospital for a seriously broken arm, I can attest to the effect that morphine has on me. While waiting for myself to be operated upon, I was able, for part of my stay there, to dispense morphine into my bloodstream whenever I wanted it. Since I was in some pain, I used it freely.

    Until I experienced the psychological effect. Under its influence, I felt sulky, and I didn’t want to be bothered. Since I normally feel obliged to be sociable, this reaction bothered me.

    Since I was wounded, in a hospital bed, I could cover that sulkiness up by pretending that I was too tired to talk, or to listen. Had I taken morphine at a party, though, I wouldn’t have had that excuse; instead, I would have had to "drag my hump" though it. This reaction of mine to morphine implies, for me, that I wouldn’t be any kind of regular customer for any legalized narcotic. In fact, the reminder of my own bad experience would make even socializing with a morphine user somewhat of a turn-off for me. This reaction of mine would reduce the demand for narcotics, except among people who would peg me as a "square" for acting that way.

    This same limitation applies to any kind of mind-altering drug. The person who experiences a panic attack after smoking a marijuana cigarette is going to be a walking "anti-advertisement" for the substance. The person who is unhinged by a "hit" of LSD is going to be the same thing. So would the person deranged by a hit of cocaine. Any one of those people is going to contribute to demand reduction for any such substance. The potentiality for such is going to provide a real incentive, for any company that manufactures and sells a mind-altering substance, to cut down on the "high." Doing so cuts down the risk of adverse reactions, at least according to common sense.

    This dilution strategy is most likely to occur for LSD, because of the effect of a full "trip." Not very many people can withdraw from the world for a 12-or-so hour stretch. The present age is more centered on intellectual capital, so more people nowadays than in the 1960s will be deterred by the risk of having their brain derailed by even one single "trip." On the other hand, a dose below approximately 100 mcg of the stuff does not induce a "trip," but instead makes the imbiber giggly, in a manner similar to Ecstasy. Given current lifestyles, it seems almost a certainty that a 200-mcg dose of LSD would be a slow mover, while a 50-mcg dose would be the mainstay of the market.

    Ode To Joey Camel

    Any company that moves into the selling of legalized mind-altering substances will be fully subject to the law. That body of law very much includes case law.

    The cigarette companies – purveyors of legal products – have, whether rightly or wrongly, faced and lost huge class-action lawsuits, as a result of the long-term deleterious consequences of the use of their product. With the decisions against the tobacco companies serving as precedents, sufferers of any long-term deleterious effect resulting from the regular use of a mind-altering substance will have the right to launch a serious lawsuit. With case law with respect to recreational substances being what it is, any company that would step into the breach vacated by organized crime will have to watch its products very carefully. Given this legal hazard, it would not be surprising to see, say, a morphine or heroin manufacturer plow some of its profits into the discovery of pharmaceuticals that would make it easier to kick the habit. Companies selling other kinds of mind-altering drugs would be pursuing a similar course, out of fear of liability or boycott losses. They wouldn’t be hamstrung by denial, as the cigarette companies were and perhaps still are.

    Such precautionary measures wouldn’t stop there, either. All it would take would be the reasonable fear of, say, an LSD user being blinded by the light, from staring into the sun for too long, to impel LSD purveyors to offer, say, dark glasses with welder-visor lenses with a dose of the drug as a package deal. Or, at the very least, to add a warning label, if a consumer-protection agency hasn’t already forced it to do so.

    It should never be forgotten that legalization of mind-altering drugs will not only bring the protection of the law to the sellers and manufacturers of them, but also to the consumers of them. This fact alone makes the dark forecasts of a "society of drug addicts," much beloved by Drug Warriors, something akin to a collection of scare stories, not serious predictions.
  6. El Calico Loco

    Simple hyperlinks won't cause this problem, but graphics will - the d-f page tells your browser to connect to the remote site to fetch the images, thus leading to a delay if their server is slower or busier than this one. Links won't cause any such delay.

    (is a huge nerd)
  7. El Calico Loco
    Nice article, Old Hippie 56.

    I think the only reasons the tobacco companies got shafted the way they did was because so many of their executives were caught lying. If a heroin supplier puts text on its package that reads, "This drug is highly addictive and can ruin your life and kill you," I think they'd be in the clear. I would hope, at least...but in this area of "everything is anybody else's fault but mine" and "I'm a high-powered lawyer who will work on commission," I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't matter.

    And where did most of the tobacco money go? To the cancer victims? Nope. To the states and to the lawyers. And who wound up paying for it? The corporations? Nope. The smokers. Since the poor smoke more than the rich, it was like the perfect regressive tax. But it made everyone feel so good.

    If drugs were decriminalized, I think we would begin to see the rise of places resembling the opium dens of old. People could go there and take heroin, psychedelics, powerful dissociatives, or whatever. There would be rules about noise and fucking with other customers, bouncers to keep freakouts from harming themselves or others, and possibly medical personnel in case the worst happens.

  8. Nagognog2
    Heinrich Himmler's House of Heroin! Coast to Coast! Or...Cheney Crack-House-Over 50,000,000 Enslaved! Or...need I go on? Just legalize it, and get it from cool people. You want a good hamburger? Don't go to McDonalds. Cook it yourself!
  9. El Calico Loco
    My friend Swim is lucky to live in a great town where the little mom-n-pop shops outnumber the corporate chains. Many of them have excellent burgers, some better than he can make himself.

    Were drugs legal, he would probably open his own mom-n-pop pot-n-psychedelics den. I think he would stay away from serving cocaine and amphetamines...they would go against the vibe. Heroin might be okay, as those who enjoy said substance tend to be quiet. Alcohol's a tough one...he loves it himself, but it can make some people loud and obnoxious. And it's not like there's any shortage of bars.

    Not everyone in the business world is an evil mutant like the corporate kleptocrats currently running America. In Swim's personal experience (having worked as a consultant all over the business world, from mom-n-pops to the biggest corps), they are the exception more often than the rule. He's encountered his fair share of sleazy smiling idiot politicians, but they've been middle management more often than executives. Real politicians (especially local Democrat and Republican party hacks) have been the worst. Nothing makes for a complete waste of flesh quite like a combination of utter ignorance and impenetrable arrogance. He swears they'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

    (Good thing he has more patient friends (like myself) to keep him in check, or he'd be raising an army right now.)

    No doubt there will be McTweaker's, which will serve cheap, contaminated (though less so than most of today's street product) meth on paper plates with plastic pipes, but there will also be Dirty Uncle Joe's Crack Shack, where you will be able to buy the finest rock and best pipes for a decent price and get a big smile from Uncle Joe (and the other loyal regulars) when you do.

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