Drug-related articles with an emphasis on the truth...
The ultimate killer
Heroin: 'the big lie'
The 'War on Drugs' is not about 'drugs'
One drug in particular, takes a huge toll on young people. It is a drug that has almost universal acceptance amongst the population and one that forms an integral part of many people's lives. It is present at the vast majority of social gatherings and indeed if it were absent, there would be consternation regarding its ommission. The drug is alcohol.
Annually, in the US and as regards those attending college, it is estimated that: "1,825...students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes."
As regards violence associated with the drug: "696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking."
It is implicated in a vast number of sexually-related incidents: "97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape."
The most dangerous drug for the young. Image: Isabella Mendes
The obvious question is, since the apparent foundation for the laws controlling drug use in the US and elsewhere is protection of health and welfare, why then is the supply and possession of alcohol not subject to criminal sanctions? Why is a drug that leads to so much harm amongst the young exempt from laws supposedly in place to protect people from drug-related harm?
Quite simply because of the following, which is expanded upon in the 'Policy' page of this site. Current 'drug law' or the 'War on Drugs' has nothing whatsoever to do with controlling drugs of any kind with a view to safeguarding health and welfare. If it was concerned with this goal, obviously, it would address the supply and possession of alcohol and tobacco. Both these drugs and caffeine are exempt from 'control'.
Current 'drug law' or the 'War on Drugs' is merely a way of defining a minority that is able to be exploited for political and financial gain. The drugs are merely a way of defining the minority. Alcohol is exempt from control because it is a drug of choice of the majority of society and those enabling and performing the oppression. Quite obviously, it would be problematic to oppress eighty-percent of the population and eighty percent of the population have no wish to be oppressed.
For those who use alcohol and who are inclined to take issue with the preceding reasoning, they are free to petition government to add alcohol to the list of 'controlled' substances. Of course, they will not do this, as they do not wish to be subject to criminal sanctions for the use of a drug of choice. Only those who do not understand the current situation or who benefit financially are inclined to defend current 'drug law'.
If the 'War on Drugs' was actually about preventing and reducing harm from drug use, alcohol would be a 'controlled' substance, as it is second only to tobacco in terms of harm caused. The deceit and duplicity of the laws surrounding drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine cannot be understated. The toll taken on the young by alcohol serves to graphically illustrate this point.
All statistics in this article are from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States of America. Web page address: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/ alcohol- health/ overview- alcohol- consumption/ alcohol- facts- and- statistics
There is one drug that stands head and shoulders above all others when it comes to the ability to cause disease and death. One drug has an inarguable association with various cancers and cardio-vascular and respiratory disease. It is so addictive that users are commonly known to persist in its use even after having an operation for throat cancer. It is generally accepted that it kills around fifty per-cent of its long-term users and the US Center for Disease Control describes the drug as being responsible for around twenty percent of all deaths in the US, which equates to approximately 480,000 deaths per annum.
Those not aware of the true nature of the 'War on Drugs' might rightly ask why is this drug not made 'illegal'? It is a reasonable question given that current 'drug policy' or the 'War on Drugs' is promoted as a strategy to protect the health and welfare of people in regards to 'drug' use. If the policy regime is about protecting the health and welfare of people, why is the most exquisitely dangerous drug not 'controlled'? Why are the manufacturers, distributors and users of it not made subject to criminal sanctions in order to punish and disuade them from producing and using a highly dangerous drug?
The drug in question is of course tobacco. It is the perfect example on which to base a discussion about the duplicity of the 'War on Drugs'. The answer to the question of why the users and suppliers of tobacco are not subject to criminal sanctions is quite simple. The 'War on Drugs' has nothing whatsoever to do with the prevention of harm caused by the use of drugs. It is about political advantage and the aquisition of money from a black market in 'illicit' drugs and from government. If it was actually concerned with preventing drug-related harm, tobacco would be its primary focus.
The most dangerous drug by far, yet its users and suppliers are not arrested or imprisoned.
Why aren't the police pursuing, arresting and incarcerating smokers? Fundamentally, because approximately twenty percent of the population use tobacco. This number of people is a sizeable political force, and would never be subjected to criminal sanctions for possession and supply of a drug of choice. It would be an untenable act to even suggest 'criminalising' a large segment of society on the basis of drug use. As regards enforcement agencies such as police, the farcical situation would exist of members being forced to arrest a number of their colleagues for use of a drug of choice.
Most importantly, amongst the proportion of the population that use tobacco would be some of those who formulate and enact legislation. A politician is never going to propose or allow legislation that subjects themselves or a large number of the voting public to criminal sanctions due to the use of a drug of choice. A mere proposal along these lines would be an act of political foolishness and would generally be treated with derision before being immediately dismissed. This scenario is further discussed in the 'policy' page of this site.
A brief discussion based on the most dangerous drug in existence, tobacco, provides us with a couple of simple insights. Firstly, the 'War on Drugs' is not actually concerned with preventing drug-related harm. If it was, those in possession of and supplying tobacco would be subject to its mechanisms, including criminal sanctions.
Secondly, self interest dictates that those perpetuating and profiting from the 'War on Drugs' would never allow themselves to be subject to its oppression. This is the fundamental reason why alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are not 'controlled'. Such people are however, more than happy to enable and participate in the oppression of others for financial and political gain. Drug use is merely the dishonest and false justification for this behaviour.
The decades-old narrative goes like this: the purpose of 'drug policy' or the 'War on Drugs' is to protect the general populace in particular, from a drug whose use can result in death due to the simple act of taking 'too much'. The story is however, completely untrue, as detailed on the 'heroin' page of this site. The assertion that heroin is a dangerous drug is the enduring concept that provides a false justification for 'drug policy' that applies criminal sanctions to the possession of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
In actual fact, the substance in question when discussing heroin, is morphine. Morphine is the primary active metabolite of heroin, meaning heroin breaks down into morphine in the body. Therefore, morphine is predominately the substance that exerts the effects that heroin is taken for. Morphine is not toxic in the way that alcohol or tobacco are: its two major side effects are nausea and constipation.
Quite simply, there is not and never has been any evidence to support the concept of fatal 'heroin overdose'. There is no evidence whatsoever that taking 'too much' heroin (morphine) can result in an adverse event due to 'respiratory depression' or arrest. Why? Because morphine is broken down so rapidly so as not to reach levels in the blood that have the potential to be dangerous. In a stringent clinical study, single intravenous injections of 450mg of heroin resulted in a maximum concentration of 1.35mg of morphine per litre of blood. This is not a dangerous level. Subjects exposed to overdoses of 150% of their usual maintenance doses did not suffer any adverse effects.
So, what happens to people that have an opioid in their bloodstream and suffer a drug-induced adverse event related to breathing? As detailed on the 'overdose' page, the following situation: heavy sedation from a combination of drugs, leading to airway obstruction and asphyxiation (lack of oxygen). Contrary to popular belief, this is not related to having 'too much' morphine in their bodies. It is a consequence of combining central nervous system depressant drugs. This scenario can happen with many combinations of drugs that do not involve an opioid.
So, is heroin (morphine) dangerous? No, apart from opioid-induced constipation. Is heroin 'instantly addictive'? Not at all. In the medical realm, the vast majority of people have a distinctly unpleasant experience with morphine induced nausea and are wary of having the substance administered again. Very few people use morphine on an ongoing 'recreational' basis due to the nausea and constipation.
Why are morphine users arrested, fined and imprisoned? Because they are a tiny minority in society and to treat them in such a manner is profitable and politically advantageous. Why are they denied a 'legal' and quality assured supply of their drug of choice? Purely so as to obligate them to acquire it from and therefore sustain a world-wide black market in morphine.
Its as simple as this; if the 'War on Drugs' was actually a policy to reduce harm associated with psychoactive substance (drug) use, the people getting arrested, fined, imprisoned and executed first and foremost, would be those found in possession of and those involved in the supply of the two most dangerous drugs in existence, alcohol and tobacco.
As explained in detail on the 'policy' page, the 'War on Drugs' is not in any way concerned with reducing harm related to drug use. It is concerned with political advantage and the acquisition of money, be that from government or from the massive black market in drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
The foundation in law that allows such a situation is the 'Controlled Substances Act' in the US and its international variants. The two most dangerous drugs (alcohol and tobacco) and caffeine, are exempt from 'control'. These exemptions facilitate one of the most entrenched human-rights abuses in the history of humanity.
The fail-safe and obvious way of proving that the 'War on Drugs' has nothing whatsoever to do with preventing and reducing harm due to the use of 'dangerous drugs' is to offer the following:
If current 'drug policy' or the 'War on Drugs' is actually a response to harm due to the use of 'dangerous drugs', it follows that for it to be relevant and fair, the supply and possession of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine must also be subject to the criminal sanctions that currently apply to other drugs.
This statement brings evasive, misleading and untrue responses from the vast majority of people. People are well aware that they would not accept criminal sanctions being applied to their use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and that it is inequitable and wrong to apply criminal sanctions to the use and supply of some drugs.
The statement easily demonstrates that the policy is simply a way of defining and utilising a minority for the purposes of financial and political advantage.