18 March 2010

Legal Equals Safe

Two teenagers have died after taking MEPHEDRONE!!1!

(oh and alcohol and methadone.)

The toxicology results won't be back for weeks. Until then, we don't know how these young men came to their sad end. But the press have decided: they died because of mephedrone.

What has alarmed me about today's moral panic is the prevalance of the attitude that 'legal' must mean 'safe'. I find this a terrifying attitude for individuals to take towards their own well-being.

This is yet another conseqeunce of prohibition. When the government's remit becomes to protect people from themselves, some people - perhaps inadverently - outsource their personal responsibility to the state. When the daudling machine of government is inevitably too slow to keep pace with social progress, the people who handed their personal well-being to the government are left without a safety net. This will always be a failure of an authority-led society, no matter how democratic and well meaning.

It's one fucker of a problem to solve. Moving away from a culture of state dependancy for our own safety after decades of the nanny state is an almighty effort. All we can do is keep pointing out how the prohibitionist solution fails us. Over and over and over.


Anonymous said...

I've been around so long I never got into taking any of the illegal mind-altering substances.

Of the legal ones - I tried a ciggie once and thought it was so horrible I never wanted to try again.

As far as alcohol is concerned I was at an early age given to understand that mixing certain types of alcoholic drinks was a bad idea likely to make you more drunk more quickly.

It seems to me that this is a key message which needs to be got over to people about mixing alcohol and any other type of mind-altering substance.

dazmando said...

Duncan thats a good point, ao many people think legal means safe. Its human nature, people need education on drugs. maybe then there will be a mass movement against prohibitionist

Martin said...

Actually, if you look on the Talk To Drug website, they have a poll on on this very issue. The image below shows the question, and the results of that poll:

Maybe this isn't such a widely held view.

Duncan Stott said...

I doubt that the people visiting a drug education website are representative of the population.

You can infer very little from un-weighted online polls.

Then again the polling evidence I have is zero...