Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The problem is that addiction and its successful treatment have very little to do with the actual chemical properties of the drugs concerned and an awful lot to do with the cultural and physiological context in which they are taken.  

Do you have AIDS, are you drinking, taking other drugs as well, could you be pregnant, do all your friend take it, is it the only rush you have in your life, are you the nerd in the corner of the party if you don't, do you know about dosages, purity of the product ...... the issues around the impact of drugs are hugely context specific which is why many people experience none of the down sides and consequently argue that its all a lot of establishment scare stories.  

It is also a hugely political area, with much of the "establishment response" determined by that.  Thus Heroin is often the drug of choice for drop outs, petty criminals, working class people etc. - and often attracts a severe police response.  Cocaine is a fashionable middle class drug and is tacitly condoned in many respectable, fashionable, and politically correct circles.  It is partly this blatant hypocrisy which feeds the anti-establishment drug culture.

That is why I have deliberately avoided the topic of the specific chemical properties of individual drugs - they are often almost entirely tangential to the POLITICAL debate around ther criminalisation.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 05:48:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that addiction and its successful treatment have very little to do with the actual chemical properties of the drugs concerned and an awful lot to do with the cultural and physiological context in which they are taken.

I'll readily grant that there are psychological and social factors that contribute to the ease with which dependency forms. Nevertheless some drugs do have a shorter and deeper tolerance curve than others, and some drugs do have more severe withdrawals than others. It is, for instance, much easier to go cold turkey on caffeine than on nicotine (although I would not recommend doing so in the week leading up to an exam :-P).

If we desire an evidence-based approach to the legislation surrounding drugs, some consideration of chemical properties is inescapable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2008 at 09:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
If we desire an evidence-based approach to the legislation surrounding drugs, some consideration of chemical properties is inescapable.

I don't dispute this for a moment and take it as a given.  I suppose I was more trying to steer the discussion in terms of  the general issues around criminalisation/decriminalisation rather than the specific case around each particular drug.

Clearly if we adopt the general view that we should proceed with an incremental evidence based approach to de-criminalistion, then the next step is to consider each drug on a case by case basis, both clinically in terms of its specific effects, drug interactions, contra-indications, etc., and socially in terms of risks of contamination, dirty needles, access, education.

I am not medically qualified, so I am reluctant to get involved in the clinical debate.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series