Posted by: martinworster | March 10, 2009

151. ECSTASY IS BAD FOR YOU: PEANUTS & HORSEPLAY

Ecstasy isn’t that bad for you…Like the War On Terror, the War On Drugs is a pointless battle with no victors…

copy-of-_dsc00851There was an interesting story in the UK recently when the government drug advisor Prof David Nutt wrote a report stating that horse riding is more dangerous than taking ecstasy. In terms of deaths per year he is right. The drugs debate is so over burdened with baggage, myth and moral hypocrisy and I thought his comments were a fascinating fuse. I’ve often thought that in a ‘free’ world where responsible adults take informed decisions about the risk of their actions, taking drugs is at the lower end of the scale. I love snowboarding – but I am probably much more likely to come to harm or even death on the mountains than I would be out of my nut on pills. But that’s my choice. Similarly, driving a car on any road in any part of the world has to be considered one of the most dangerous tasks we can undertake. More people in the US die per year eating peanuts than they do necking ecstasy. 

Britain experienced an ecstasy revolution in the 90s that saw millions of the pills being swallowed every week up and down the country. My own experiences were mostly positive. In the user it produces empathy for those around you. The cliche of telling strangers you love them is true. In a world blighted by violence and ill will to fellow human beings, I can only see the habit of ecstacy taking as a positive when done safetly.

It was initially developed to treat the emotionally damaged and it is a great drug for opening yourself up to others and being very receptive to music. The decline of football hooliganism in the UK in the late 80s is largely attributed to the massive rise in ecstasy consumption. When taking pills, the last thing you want to be doing is headbutting and knifeing someone who supports a different team. Much more positive to hug them, chat and enjoy the music together.

As with many things, taking E in extreme would be bad for you. Just like eating too much fast food, gambling, compulsively washing your hands, shopping, internet porn, drinking, smoking or any other activity that is potentially addictive isn’t good for you when pursued all the time.

Since time began, humans have always been getting intoxicated. Anthropologists studying other cultures observe the taking of narcotics as an almost natural, innate pursuit of humans – in many societies it carries a spiritual function, a part of our quest for meaning in a confusing world. Which points to the fact that no matter how hard you try, you will never stop humans from taking drugs. Prohibition isn’t working. The war on drugs criminalises decent humans, creates a massive black market and makes hardcore criminals and drug lords very rich and powerful indeed. Witness what is happening in Mexico, an important route for drugs into the US currently experiencing a civil war as the government and drugs gangs shoot each other and everyone in their way in a battle for power. 

After the first great depression in the US, prohibition of alcohol was ended as it was seen as a costly excercise that could never be won. A war on drink? A losing battle. The government wisely saw alcohol sales as a way of raising taxes. Imagine how much money could be raised through the legalisation of drugs and subsequent taxation? Perhaps enough to make a serious dent in the current financial crisis. All the people in prison who shouldn’t really be there, arrested for a spliff, a couple of Es, a wrap of coke? Tax payers money wasted on keeping them incarcerated – and they could be contributing in normal society as law abiding tax payers.

The War on Drugs – another stupid idea, largely attributed to 80s era Regan. Like the ‘War on Terror’, what does it actually mean? It’s a nebulous enemy. Is it a war against the drug takers, many normal healthy functioning individuals like you and me? The developing world farmers who grow the cash crops? The drug lords? How do you achieve victory in this war?

Once you ‘win’ the war in one part of the world, such is the appetite for narcotics, another part of the world will quickly fill the production gap.

It’s time to wise up. Open up the debate. Act now. Be brave enough to speak the truth. The war has been lost and it was a pointless battle to start with. Legalise all drugs now.

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