Monday, March 29, 2010

Mephedrone wars

So the latest in the 'ban this eeevil substance' takes an interesting turn. Once again it seems that politics just can't stay out of science with yet another resignation in the ACMD as the government tries to add mephedrone to the prohibited drugs list and seek to control those from whom it is supposed to seek advice.

There is as yet no evidence that mephedrone is dangerous, none that it has caused death or even contributed towards it; yet our government seeks to prohibit its use. The results, as evidenced by every other drug on the banned list, will not to be cut use; it will not make the drug any less dangerous it but the exact opposite.


Orphi said...

I think this war is about a little bit more than just mephedrone.

There are quite a number of angles here. One of them is the government's position of “we take advice from an independent panel — but only if they give the advice we want to hear”. What's up with that? Although, to be fair, they got rid of Professor Nutt (surely that can't be his real name?) because of what he said to Joe Public, not what he said to the government.

Then there's the “why the hell is the government so terrified of bad publicity that it is willing to put the country's safety at risk rather than deal with the press?” They're not there to be popular, they're there to do a job! Grow a spine, people!

Then there's mephedrone itself. Now I've heard a lot about how it was supposedly linked to this and it maybe contributed to that. What I haven't heard anybody anywhere mention is what the intended purpose of this drug is. What's it supposed to be used for?

The comments on the news stories are interesting. There seem to be several distinct schools of thought going on here.

For example, one person actually thought it was irresponsible for this vet to resign and thereby delay the banning of this drug. “What would she say to the families who have lost their sons and daughters because of this drug?” she wrote. Um, WTF? So far it wasn't been proven to have killed one single person. And if you lost your son or daughter because of this drug, it was because they were stupid enough to willingly take it! It's not like we're talking about something in the water that you can't see. It's something you have to deliberately seek out and take.

This person then went on to condemn the scientists for taking forever to reach decisions and not really caring about how many people die in the meantime. Oh, excuse me, the scientists want to do a propper and thorough job? What, maybe you'd prefer that they just take a while guess and hope that's OK? Jesus, what planet do these people come from? If it was clear that the drug was dangerous, it would just be summarily banned. The fact that it's taking time to reach a decision indicates that it's unclear that there's any danger.

Other people are like “typical nanny state trying to stop young people having fun”, as if taking drugs is somehow necessary for “fun” to occur, or as if every human being should have the inalieble right to harm themselves in any way they desire. Again, WTF?

Rather than asking whether mephedrone is dangerous, I think that the important questions are “Why do certain people thing that you have to take drugs to have a good time in the first place?” or “Why are large collections of people incapable of behaving in a rational mannar?” or “Has the entire world gone stark raving mad?”…

FlipC said...

That really is his name and as for what he said to Joe Public the government is trying to stop that with the line in it's code stating "Government and its scientific advisers should not act to undermine mutual trust". That means if the government decides to act contrary to the scientific advise it is given, those who gave it shouldn't run to the public/press.

As for popularity, sad to say that perhaps the biggest perception of any of the parties comes from the media, piss them off and you can kiss your election chances goodbye no matter how good you are in the job. So knowing that who would you court?

As for taking the drug itself, there's the worrying view that 'if it's legal it must be safe' I don't have to think about anything that's the government's job, the side-effect being that it becomes irresponsible for someone to throw a spanner in the works.

As for the length of time it takes, well yes we expect things to be done now. We've been trained not to have to expect to wait for anything and thus get annoyed when reality intrudes.

On your final note. Yes that is the main point, as I've said banning drugs doesn't alter seem to alter the number of people taking them so the real question is "Why are they taking them?", because they're bored, there's nothing to do.

Orphi said...

It seems to me that most people have barely heard of mephedrone and couldn't give a hoot whether it gets banned or not. But somehow when you put a large number of people together, a few of them become hysterical and start shrieking that the sky is falling, and before you know it utter pandemonium has broken out. Why the hell does the human race behave this way??

I guess the craziest, most delusional people tend to be the loudest. But why is society not designed to dampen their panicky ravings, rather than amplify them? And can't we come up with some system where politicians actually do what's beneficial rather than what's popular?

I give up.