Double measures, double standards.

by asifemily

This is something I started writing a few days ago but hadn’t got round to finishing.  I read this from Junk Philosophy and was inspired to air my own views and weigh in on the madness that is the legal classification system…
I’ll tell you, if you ever need any reminder of the negative aspects of alcohol being part of the social norm, work in a bar.  Two of my colleagues have been taking liberties with the relaxed nature of my bosses, which is making me fairly uncomfortable.  Perhaps it’s an unpleasant reminder of my past, perhaps I am just sick of breathing in rancid beer breath, but over the last few days my attitude to alcohol has undergone a change…i’m not sure yet if it’s further resolve or a terrible – although evidence would suggest unfounded – fear of once again getting myself into the same situation.  
I question the logic of the legal classification of alcohol when one takes into consideration the difference in behaviors between a drunk and a junky.  It seems to me that the detrimental effects of heroin on society as a whole (theft, prostitution, eyesore areas of cities) are a direct result of the illegal status of the drug.  Yes, the negative effects of heroin on the individual – risk of sudden death, physical problems – are present and of course contributed historically to the classification but I would argue that the excessive consumption of alcohol has exactly the same personal risks along with the added bonus of turning one into a blithering, slobbering idiot.  And that’s just the short term picture.
I remember when M-Cat first hit the scene in my hometown about five years ago.  Word on the street was, there was a brilliant new drug that you could buy legally online (under the moniker ‘plant fertilizer’) and have delivered to your house!  Always open to new experiences, I bought fifteen quids’ worth.  It was a great experience, like a really intense version of MDMA.  And FYI, that paltry fifteen quid was enough to carry my best friend and I through a wild weekender.  And then some poor kid ended up taking too much and dying, horror stories started appearing in the newspapers (talking about ‘miaow-miaow’, which by the way no one called it; it was hard enough to get one syllable out when high on that stuff, let alone two!) and then M-Cat was finally illegalised.  The result of that was that purity plummeted and nice, middle class kids like me were forced out to all sorts of dark corners to get their weekend high.
I firmly believe that the detrimental effects of illegalising substances outweigh the positives.  If your looking for rising crime rates, make something illegal – common sense, or so I thought?  Making something a class A doesn’t mean that people will stop doing it, just that they will start taking higher risks when doing so.  I believe information is key.  I remember learning about Leah Betts when I was in secondary school.  Far from putting me off taking ecstasy, it taught me the valuable lesson that one should be mindful of water intake when high and I was able to prepare for my first ecstasy experience accordingly.  So, this is a call to all the people responsible for legislation of this kind: preparation is the best form of defense.  Stop mindlessly slapping restrictions on substances.  You’re responsible for the criminal activity of your people.