Monday, June 23, 2008
Bad ice and hillbilly heroin make a joke of prohibition
A possible new kind of 'ice' and news stories about 'hillbilly heroin' underline the ineffectiveness of prohibition in controlling drug use or minimising harm from drugs.
A local retailer is most upset because both an employee and a relative appear to have been badly mentally affected after briefly smoking something sold to them as 'ice'. He claims there is a new chemical variety on the streets which has sent both people into acute psychosis, hearing voices and acting irrationally. The employee is now retrenched and the relation, a young mother, is in danger of losing her two children.
Meanwhile ABC Radio's AM this morning reported on the abuse of pharmaceutical opioids such as MS Contin, quoting a Kings Cross drug dealer who dresses respectably and 'doctor-shops' for prescriptions. The painkillers are then onsold to addicts for injection. They may prefer heroin but tolerate this 'hillbilly heroin' because it lasts longer and costs a lot less.
Such drugs currently make up 46% of injections at the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, with heroin down to 36%, while 'ice' accounts for only 6%.
Meanwhile the US reportedly has developed 'killer funguses' to spray all over the planet in order to wipe out the opium poppy and cannabis. The stupidity is that, all things being equal, the natural drugs being targeted are less dangerous than the artificial drugs described above, and even if the Yanks did poison the planet, people would just switch to other more harmful alternatives – the 'balloon effect'.
And the 600 kg of pseudo-ephedrine which disappeared from under the noses of several international police forces in the recent Mark Standen case demonstrates how the high profits of drug-trafficking under prohibition will always beat the police who can be either outsmarted, corrupted or both. That's a potential $21 million worth of ice out there wreaking havoc in one case alone.
Under a legal and regulated model only the safest drugs of any variety could be licensed, and possibly rationed, and priced low enough to make the black market unprofitable and irrelevant.
Harm would be reduced and we wouldn't risk poisoning the planet with weapons of mass destruction. And another $21 million worth of ice would not even be in the pipeline.
Posted by The Editor at 5:38 pm