Yet more drugs

Lord Norton

The report from the Home Affairs Committee on Drugs: Breaking the Cyle is a serious contribution to the debate about tackling drug use.  It deserves to be read and it certainly does not merit a knee-jerk response from Government.  I particularly welcome the recommendation (para. 132) for a Royal Commission to examine the issue.  As regular readers will know, I have previously argued the case for an evidence-based review of policy and for the creation of a Royal Commission or similar body. 

Royal Commissions are often criticised as ways of kicking issues into the long grass.  Harold Wilson once observed that they are bodies that take minutes but sit for years.  However, on this occasion, I think one is merited in order to get to grips with the scale of the problem and to have the gravitas necessary to ensure recommendations are taken seriously.   The Select Committee recommends that it be established immediately and report by 2015.

When I previously proposed such a step, one response was that there was no need to review the facts: all the facts that were needed were already available.  The Select Committee takes a different view, noting that in some areas reliable data are not available.  Having recently taken part in the evidence-taking sessions on ‘legal highs’, organised by the All-Party Group on Drugs Policy Reform, I realise the sheer scale and complexity of the problem.  A thorough, full-scale review by a Royal Commission is well merited.

12 comments for “Yet more drugs

  1. MilesJSD
    11/12/2012 at 5:23 pm

    “Drugs: Breaking The Cycle”
    needs first to be set within the larger failing-civilisational* Context, of

    “Multiple-Human-Livings Addictions: Coming Down To Earth”.

    [ * The ‘First World’ Individual-Capitalism ‘Democracies’ have about 10% of the World’s People but are consuming almost 50% of the World’s resources;
    and are ‘conrnering’ and ‘controlling’ over 90% of the Renewable and Non-renewable resourcews and Stock of the Earth]

    [… and there is more, evidencing this Global Failure of the ‘First World’ Countries
    and evidencing the unpreparedness of all other Countries to set a Globally-Emulable Example, of both a sustainable and sustainworthy Civilisation, Leadership, and Population ].
    This increasingly conflagrational ‘cliff’ and ‘slippery-slope’ should already be causing the lighting-up of an avenue for a new
    ‘one-human-being: one-human-living’
    basic model and set of lifeplace standards,

    which both Human-Development professionals (educators, remedial-practitioners, governance-committees, and enforcement-bodies)
    and individual-impairees such as drug-users, could benefit from cost-effectively and individual-human-development sustainworthily.
    Another instance: immediately, the 12-Step programme could re-write at least its opening credo
    which has members standing to recite, negativisingly, that
    (“)We admitted we were powerless…(“)

    and state instead
    “We are coming to recognise our positive and healthy-living abilities;
    and to recognise how addiction not only destroys our ability to choose what and how-much drug to take
    but insidiously erodes our other, pre-existing, and potential healthy living habits also”.

    Surely a focal-movement, with groups, CDs/DVDs, and classes, could be established within the existing National Health Service’s prevention and health-education arms, promoting and delivering health-building via both Zinn-type Mindfulness Meditation
    and Felden-krais “Awareness and Sustainworthy Health Through Right Movement” ?

    Recommend to both the general public and to special-condition groups, that individuals in any walk of life or of need,
    go purchase and start to make headway, alone,
    with these affordable expertise guidelines.

    You could even set such a ‘Movement’ abroad before Christmas this year;
    you’re surely going to find that 2015 is a too-far deadline
    that can be brought forward to 2013.

    Whichever Context you scrutinise, the drug one, the Civilisationally-Overshadowing one of “Failed First-World”, or any of the lesserly Underlurking ones such as “Talking Therapies” versus “Cold-Turkies”,
    this Drugs Problem is a part of a Top-Priority Predicament;

    and we have each and all to start “living” our way out of this slippery-precipice we are all already insidiously sliding down, and quite urgently complete a re-lifestyling, this time “for the right reason”, both 100% effectively and long-term sustainworthily.

    My last word, to all and sundry as well as to any individual drug-addict, or to any drug-use-legislator or other control-professional:
    both the Zinn mindfulness-meditation, and the Feldenkrais increasing-self-awarenessing guidelines, are so easy and personally-rewarding to ‘marry-into’ that you will in-deed begin moving forward a truly comfortable, affordable, and safe, ‘peaceful-revolution’; and you will begin to feel that ‘new-peace’ from your first hour alone taking-on the guidelines.

    • Rhodri Mawr
      14/12/2012 at 11:44 am

      “Drugs: Breaking The Cycle”

      The most effective breaker of the drug cycle in recent years was the sudden change of law with regard to one class of drug and the equally rapid change back again, which had the effect of causing wholesaler chaos, not knowing what the value of their entirely unlawful product was.

  2. Senex
    12/12/2012 at 10:24 am

    Why has the Noble Lady the Head of State separated her subjects and her conscience from their rightful protection in Constitutional Law in the High Court in Parliament?

  3. Rhodri Mawr
    12/12/2012 at 7:36 pm

    recognise how addiction not only destroys our ability to choose what and how-much drug to take
    but insidiously erodes our other, pre-existing, and potential healthy living habits also”.

    That is not to say, that addictions can not be caused by lawful prescription of pharmaceutical products, for wrongly diagnosed illnesses,
    or that there are not side effects, for some people, to many otherwise useful drugs.

    Morphine is given to relieve the pain of life of old people, whereas the street trader
    gives diamoprhine to relieve the pain of life of people who in their opinion, or that of the wider society, are no use to it.

    The young die when they shouldn’t and the old die when they and their doctors decide together that they are ready to do so.

    What of that?

    • MilesJSD
      13/12/2012 at 4:04 pm

      Yes, you are describing a complex ‘evil brood of vipers’
      (a metaphor borrowed from a Bishop of London’s Lent Book “The Eight Deadlier Sins” by Hubert Libby c1950)

      which can apparently no longer be effectively tackled under the (sucession of) definitions of
      Iatrogenia = “caused by the physician or doctor (or ‘teacher/adviser/authority’)”

      – including ‘commission’, by inclusion of wrongful advice, prescription, action, material, and/or referral,

      and ‘omission’, by exclusion of right/relevant advice, prescription, action, material, and/or referral.
      A whole range of mind-functional ‘sharpenings-up’ are vitally needed,
      of individual-human-developmental, physiological- emotion- environmental- and spiritual- knowledge & practical-know-how;
      both for and by (1) Workplace Professionals
      and genericly for and by
      (2) Lifeplace ‘Lifestylers’

      and not just of ‘scalpels’ and ‘correctional-centres’ …

      (I give way)

  4. jake____
    14/12/2012 at 7:00 pm

    The facts on drugs:

    – Human Beings enjoy taking drugs for recreational purposes because they are enjoyable!
    – The majority of people who take drugs for recreational purposes don’t develop problems
    – Those who do develop problems usually have other mental disorders, often caused by traumatic childhoods/events in their lives
    – The most vulnerable (and poorest) get treated as sub-human scum because of their drug abuse, thrown in jail and set on a course of punishment as opposed to rehabilitation (which incidentally costs the taxpayer more than prevention and treatment)
    – ‘Drugs’ aren’t classified by their level of harm, and the ones listed in the MoDA aren’t controlled in any sense of the word
    – you can’t stop people taking drugs, even under the most oppressive of regimes
    – Prohibition of an inelastic commodity will always fail
    – There is no easy fix, the best we can do is mitigate the harms to individuals and minimise the cost to society
    – The current prohibition policy has demonstrably failed by every single metric, it is time for a new approach

    “That the government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways – including the possibility of legalisation and regulation – to tackle the global drugs dilemma.” – David Cameron 2002

    “I think we should continue with that[reduce drug use/keep them out of prisons] rather than have some very, very long-term royal commission.” – David Cameron 2012

    Lord Norton, I would love to know if politicians ever actually contemplate why there is such distrust and contempt held towards them, or if they actually believe they are providing a ‘public service’ when it comes to issues such as ‘drugs’?!

    • MilesJSD
      17/12/2012 at 5:34 pm

      Getting stoned, drunk, or simply ‘tipsy’, is “enjoyable”

      so is the first stage of catching an STD;

      thus also the ‘recreational’-drug,
      is in many if not most cases ‘de-creational’;

      a parallel piece of ‘spin-doctoring’
      and of whitewashingly COWARDLY copping-out [you are on-target to alert us to this dangerously insidious lazy habit which is probably seriously impairing our governing-classes and subsequently disabling us ordinary democratic citizens, jake]
      “Ethnic Cleansing”

      • jake____
        27/12/2012 at 9:07 pm

        “so is the first stage of catching an STD;”

        Ah yes.. so following the same logic as you are applying to (some)drugs, we best change the law on consensual adult sex to “send a message” that most kinds of sex are bad and shouldn’t be practised no matter how educated, safe or responsible you are, and if you do so you’re going to go to jail and have a criminal record that will hinder job prospects and likely lead you down a path of even less safe sexual practices. Would it not be better, and this applies to drugs too, to actually (read honestly) educate people of the dangers and how to mitigate the harms to prevent STD’s. You were at least honest enough to admit that people like having sex, so kudos. However, you still cannot seem to accept that the overwhelming majority of drug users (INCLUDING Alcohol & Caffeine users) are non-problematic, enjoy their drug use and gain a benefit from it, be it relaxation or heightened social enjoyment etc.

        But yes, all drug users are “lazy”.. just like this lot – I guess most of our world leaders, CEOs, inventors and entrepreneurs are automatically lazy because they have used drugs or relax at the end of a hard week with a glass of wine.

        Your argument is absurd and devoid of facts and the reality of Human nature.

        • MilesJSD
          02/01/2013 at 12:37 pm

          your ‘argument’ too is “absurd and devoid of both facts and the realities of human nature”.

          Nonetheless, there is cogency, factualities, and respect for healthy-human-nature
          in both your submission and in mine, discernable once we set our respective emotionalisms aside, perhaps.

          Let us focus upon what this leader (Lord Norton) sees as being the necessarty new scope and detail-depth of
          “a need now for an evidence-based review”,
          shall we ?

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      17/12/2012 at 9:12 pm

      Jake: There has tended to be a head-in-the-sand attitude. This continues to some extent with the claim that the law should be maintained as there is some decrease in drug use. Drug use continues regardless of the law. Legislating by itself does not really get to grips with the issue. There is, at least, some growing recognition that the way we have gone about it is not working, with rather appalling consequences in some parts of the world, and that there is a need now for an evidence-based review.

      • jake____
        27/12/2012 at 9:20 pm

        Thank you for your response. What does “some growing recognition” mean? Surely many of the politicians, many who have tried ‘controlled’ substances and suffered no setbacks in their careers, know the true chasm of factual disconnect between what they say to the public and what they KNOW?! Do they not feel bad? Do they not feel constrained by the status-quo and thus just protecting their own hides and think its acceptable to use doublespeak on the public? Cameron himself knew the facts 10 years ago.

        I have to be honest, I think that it is both disgusting and criminal the way our supposed ‘leaders’ behave on topics such as this – its no wonder many of my friends tune out if I begin to talk about politics, turn outs are low and the public is so misinformed on so many issues. It seems that enlightened change for the better takes at least a generation yet to scale back civil liberties or reduce public services takes all too short a time – doesn’t feel like a minority governing for the many, quite the opposite on so many issues, and all because our leaders are afraid to actually lead – and ‘drugs’ are the perfect example of this.

  5. MilesJSD
    02/01/2013 at 1:01 pm

    Lord Norton, Jake,
    and others focusing upon both reform and the need to sort-out Britain’s (and The World’s) Individual & Collective Human Development intentions and programmes, please:

    Lord Norton, what is meant (and is likely or ‘going-to-meant’) by
    “there is a need now for an evidence based review (of Drugs/Usages)”;

    and Jake, what is to be understood, and developed by both theoretical and practical philosophies, curriculums, syllabuses, subjects, modules and topics
    on the one hand in Education-for-the-Real-World Lifeplace
    and on the other hand in ‘closed’ Training for-the-removed-from-lifeplaces Workplace ?

    [Could some other submissor kindly clarify how training-for-jobs must differ from education-for-lifeplaces ?
    and how this might help in the Norton-envisaged ‘evidence-based-review’ etcetera;

    and in the Jake senses of “our leaders are afraid to actually lead” and an essential (forgone) need for “enlightened change for the best*” ?]
    * because of an element of freedom-of-imagination in ‘human-nature’, I have chosen here to distinguish between “for the best possible outcome” and “for the gambler”.

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