Monday, December 01, 2008
Rare commonsense about recreational drugs
At the same time 68% of Swiss voters supported their prescribed heroin program, Lisa Pryor published a thoughtful view in the SMH about why alcohol is legal and ecstasy isn't.
She reports on a drug conference which looked at personalities in terms of strong engines and weak brakes (or vice versa). Confidence, outgoing personality, goal-setting and reward-seeking make for a "strong engine" and are qualities we try to instill into young people. Research shows that "strong engine" types are also those who use ecstasy to enhance the good things in life, as opposed to "weak engine/strong brake" types who are more likely to choose drugs which provide an escape from bad times -- like alcohol, valium [and heroin].
Prior says ecstasy should be legal and ways should also be found to minimise drug use in teenagers who are still developing their prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that controls inhibition or its opposite -- in other words, the brakes.
Ideally, people should have strong engines and strong brakes.
Pryor challenges the 'normative' view that people who drink are OK and those who take ecstasy (MDMA) are 'screwy', a widespread misconception that underpins prohibition.
PS: A Swiss mother who opposed heroin prescription said she would rather her four children were dead than on prescription heroin. Now that's screwy!
PPS (22/12/08) A "bad batch" of GHB (also known as fantasy or liquid ecstasy) hospitalised 12 and overdosed another 30 at a Melbourne rave party, reports The Age.
GHB is the drug that killed Dianne Brimble on THAT cruise. No prizes for guessing that this blog sees this latest incident as another failure of prohibition -- first because the drug was so freely available despite the law, and secondly because this sort of waste of people and resources would be far less likely if people could get reliable, good quality ecstasy MDMA at their local Chemist. Why would you take illegal and dangerous GHB when safe, legal ecstasy is available? The effects are similar, I am told. Meanwhile the prohibitionists rant about MDMA as if it was just as dangerous as GHB, so kids are put at risk through misinformation. GHB is dangerous and MDMA isn't but the truth is apparently "the wrong message", so lies prevail.