Sunday, February 08, 2009

Prohibitionists persecute quadriplegic

Already living a life-sentence trapped in a body that does not function because of a car accident, quadriplegic Paul Baker faces another as the NSW legal system works out what to do with him after convicting him of manufacturing ecstasy.

The cost of care to keep this unfortunate man in jail is reported to exceed the $300k per year we shell out to keep a prisoner in maximum security.

The drug itself is dangerous in certain circumstances – about as dangerous as international air travel if you compare the number of people who use it to the casualties. 

But, since the 1930s, prohibitionists have carefully constructed a moral panic about first cannabis and then every other recreational drug besides alcohol. No-one has done the same about air travel. So most of us sit, contentedly cocooned in our misinformed mindset and happily let  the forces of prohibition destroy people's lives in the name of a social illusion.

As long as it happens to someone else, we can ignore it, right? Even when a quadriplegic is to be jailed for committing a crime that's no more harmful than a Qantas pilot doing his job. What a travesty of justice.

According to our own crime researcher Don Weatherburn, you have to inflict harm to prevent harm, a puzzling proposition bordering on the Kafka-esque. But no-one weighs up and compares the harms. Likely no significant harm would have come to anyone if Mr Baker had actually produced good quality MDMA ecstasy (and a lot of people would have had a brilliantly good time). But locking him up for the rest of his life -- at our expense -- is a definite harm. And it won't even teach him a lesson because the lesson is nonsense.

From Wikipedia:
The chief executive of the UK Medical Research Council stated that MDMA is "on the bottom of the scale of harm," and was rated to be of lesser concern than alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis, as well as several classes of prescription medications, when examining the harmfulness of twenty popular recreational drugs. The UK study placed great weight on the risk for acute physical harm, the propensity for physical and psychological dependency on the drug, and the negative familial and societal impacts of the drug. Based on these factors, the study placed MDMA at number 18 in the list.[78]

It's worth checking the link on the above quote. Apparently 500,000 people take ecstasy every weekend in the UK. When this is taken into account, the moral panic that prohibitionists create about the drug falls into an evidence-based perspective. Let's get real, please, and leave Paul Baker to his own devices.


Anonymous said...

Daily Mail 9th February 2009

Prof. David Nutt claimed that ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding

Has April Fools’ Day come early this year? Professor David Nutt is the chairman of the Home Office’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and thus the Government’s chief adviser on this most troublesome and sensitive issue.

Yet the Advisory Council will this week propose the downgrading of ecstasy from category A to category B — having apparently learned nothing from the debacle over cannabis, the downgrading of which contributed to an explosion of all drug use.
More astonishingly still, Professor Nutt has said that ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding.
In an academic paper, he ridiculed concern about the effects of ecstasy by comparing it to ‘equasy’ or ‘Equine Addiction Syndrome’.

Since the pleasure of horse-riding meant people were prepared to risk death or brain damage from falling off a horse, he said, the risks from taking ecstasy and other drugs could be seen to be much exaggerated.

You really do have to scrape your jaw off the floor. Not only will such trivialisation of ecstasy cause grave distress to parents whose children have died from taking the drug, but it knocks the ground from under the feet of parents terrified that their children will start taking it.
The comparison is simply ridiculous. Horse-riding is not inherently harmful. Drug-taking is. Horse-riding is not addictive. Drug-taking is. Most people who ride horses do not come to any harm. The only reason there are not many more deaths from ecstasy is that unlike horseriding, it is illegal.

And the ill-effects of ecstasy are not limited to death. Professor Nutt says horseriding can lead to brain damage — but fails to say that ecstasy almost inevitably harms the brain.
Professor Andy Parrott, of Swansea University, is the UK’s leading expert on ecstasy, having spent more than 14 years researching it. He says that nearly everything Professor Nutt has said about ecstasy is incorrect.
Ecstasy has a powerful effect on the brain, he says, maybe even stronger than cocaine. Among its effects are lethargy, irritability, depression and aggression and, in the longer term, damage to the cognitive part of the brain and to the immune system.
Nutt says there are ten deaths from ecstasy per year. Parrott says the real annual figure is 40-70 deaths.
Nutt says it is not addictive, leads to neither violence nor road traffic deaths and causes neither liver cirrhosis nor heart damage.
Parrott says it causes compulsive and escalating use; its strong overstimulation of
the metabolism makes it exceptionally dangerous for users to drive under its influence; it has profound effects on the heart and has even necessitated liver transplants among Scottish 30-year-olds.
Professor Nutt’s astoundingly inopportune comparison with horse-riding is not, however, some passing aberration.
The idea that drug-taking should be treated rather like a sport, with children taught how to do it without hurting themselves, is central to the ‘harm reduction’ approach which is a Trojan horse for drug legalisation — and which, dismayingly, has made huge inroads into the British establishment.
Professor Nutt, it seems, is among its number. In his article, he went much further than merely downplaying the effects of ecstasy. He came close to suggesting that it is as absurd for dangerous drugs to be illegal as it would be to make dangerous sports in general illegal.
And he argued that Britain needed ‘a new approach to considering what underlies society’s tolerance of potentially harmful activities’.

Ecstasy 'almost inevitably harms the brain'
This sounds very close to the argument that what is wrong with drug policy is the fact that dangerous drugs are illegal.
This is not altogether surprising, given Professor Nutt’s links with the legalisation lobby. For example, he is listed as a scientific adviser to the Beckley Foundation, which is committed to legalising drugs under the guise of ‘studying consciousness and altered states'.
One of the Foundation’s directors is Mike Trace, Tony Blair’s former deputy drugs
czar, who was forced to resign from his new job at the UN after the Mail revealed he had been a self-described fifth columnist at the heart of the British Government, working covertly to undermine the UN drug conventions which commit member states
to the goal of eradicating drug use.
His co-director, Amanda Neidpath, who advocates the bizarre practice of ‘trepanation’
(boring a hole in the skull) as a protective measure against dementia, told a meeting of the World Psychedelic Forum that the Beckley Foundation’s projects included investigating the ‘possible beneficial use of micro-doses of LSD to improve cerebral circulation’.
Moreover, in an interview on Radio New Zealand a year ago, Professor Nutt said he would like a ‘complete review of the drug laws’ in the UK; when pressed further, he said he thought the time had come to be ‘more creative’ about drugs overall, and that approaches such as taxation and the regulation of their use ‘might be applicable to some drugs’.
How can such a man remain as the chief drugs adviser to the British Government, which remains committed to the UN goal of eradicating the use of dangerous drugs by keeping them illegal?
By downplaying the risks of ecstasy and other drugs, moreover, Professor Nutt has almost certainly ensured that yet more young people will try them.
After a display of such irresponsibility, there should be no place for him in any government committed to the elementary duty of keeping young people safe from drugs.
Indeed, how can such a man have been appointed to such a position in the first place? To answer that, you have to appreciate the extent to which the establishment has been taken over by the legalisation lobby.
The Advisory Council is riddled with ‘harm reduction’ advocates who, believing it impossible to prevent young people from using illegal drugs at all, are therefore reluctant to admit the full extent of the harm they actually do.
Accordingly, Professor Parrott had a struggle to persuade the Advisory Council to allow him to give evidence to its ecstasy review.
In an open letter to the Council last November, he protested that it seemed unwilling to consider some of the most important scientific literature about the effects of ecstasy.
Devastatingly, he wrote: ‘It is inadequate to just sit around and listen to a few people speak one morning, then have a “vote” on this important question — especially when the outcome seems predetermined, as it was the ACMD which instigated the downgrading in the first place.’
The Government clearly understands that it has a serious problem with the Advisory Council. The Prime Minister has apparently already decided to reject its recommendation to downgrade ecstasy, just as ministers ignored its opposition when they decided to re-classify cannabis upwards from class C to class B.
Now the Government is saying privately that it will review the Advisory Council’s role. It must act decisively. Professor Nutt should be sacked, and the Advisory Council either comprehensively cleaned out or wound up altogether.
The single most important reason why Britain’s drug problem is now out of control is that a critical mass of defeatist police officers, spineless politicians, global legalisation lobbyists with bottomless pockets and the ‘great and the good’, determined to prevent their drug-taking offspring from acquiring criminal records, all talk down the risks of drug use and talk up legalisation.
Horse-riding it isn’t; but there’s an Augean stables here which cries out to be cleaned.

The Editor said...

Just one problem with the rant above: Cannabis use declined in the UK after it was downgraded.

The fool who wrote it denies that horse riding is inherently harmful. How can he deny those poor parents whose children have been killed or maimed while horse riding?

Ecstasy is neither inherently harmful nor addictive. Why do you post such time-wasting nonsense here? I'm very tempted to delete it simply because it's so long and SO stupid.

It's just a political attack on harm reduction which in effect means the writer wants to maximise harm in the name of "prevention" and the fantasy of a drug-free world.

The writer is far more toxic than MDMA ecstasy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Ed I thought the Comments department on this blog was for actually commenting rather than reposting someone elses unedited junk from other publications. I don't visit this blog to read the mainstream newspapers.

Terry Wright said...

Delete it.

It's inaccurate and just more trash media. If I want to read this crap I will buy the Daily Telegraph.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the support I'm the idiot going to jail the judge said he will notify the jail to prepare my cell as in 8 weeks from the 19th of Feb 09 I will be back in court where he will sentence me to a prison term at longbay jail in the same section with Neddy Smith the murderer and Robert "Dolly" Dune the pedophile.

The Editor said...

Hi there.

If you are genuine, (and you can't tell from anonymous comments) give me a ring on 933 22251 so we can talk.


Paul Baker said...

hi Michael, sorry for the delay can you call as my mobiles playing up.

Paul Baker

bluelady said...

Well you shouldn't have done the wrong thing,should you Anonymous?

The Editor said...

But the point is, blue lady, that he didn't do the wrong thing, only the illegal thing. Ecstasy MDMA is safer than peanuts and more fun than just about anything. I bet that if you asked people who have partied on MDMA and also been busted whether they have any regrets, I'll bet most will say no.

They would be thanking the people who produced the stuff and are happy to pay $25 or more per pill.

Paul Baker said...


I hope your still the editor, I'm out of gaol, they nearly killed me in there no one Knew how to care for me nurses did not know about my specialised needs so when my blood pressure was in a critical points they that it was fine, I couldnt convince them my resting bp was 100/60 so if it Ross by 40 points they thought it was a little high but safe but for me it was critical a condition call autonomic dysroflexia , I was often locked in my cell struggling to self administer a nitro lingual spray I carried in case of emergencies to lower my blood pressure I would often inform them I had

Paul Baker said...

a UTI only to have to wait 5-7 days just to get them to take a sample for testing as the nurses would tell me they where to busy and to ask someone else, I started lossing control of my wheelchair crashing into doorways and off the footpath and into the garden, I told the doctor on many occasions but nothing happened, for the first two years I was there they never took me to my annual check ups at hospital especially important due to my inability to control my chair, before I was arrested I agree I was not in a mental state to do some of these things for myself

Paul Baker said...

  due to the depression I had been suffering ever since I had become disabled, but as I was under the supervision of the state Its expected that they do the right thing by me but I was treated like dirt, in gaol I was a perfect prisoner helpingguys who could read and teaching them phonices to sound out the letters , I even had my sister send in writing books for 5-10 years old kids but the guys who I helped where thrilled someone gave a dam, even big tuff guys in the DD unit they eventually sent me to asked for a book to take to their room to practice a DD unit stands for developmentally delayed yes as I was physcally disabled they locked me up with guys who couldn't read all the way threw to guys who where off the planet, I had lite matches and cigarettes , cricket balls and basket balls thrown at me , and two carers with mental health issues of their

Paul Baker said...

own trying to care for me when they could barely look after the selfs if you leave me your contact details I'll tell you everything if you have a spare 10 or 20 hours. By the way in the end I got that sick in their hospital I was the first person in the history of the law to be given early parole on health grounds, I don't know how well it will do me as I found out myself last year as to why I could drive my wheelchair proply whilst  I was admitted to hospital on one of my many emergency visits for chronic UTI's after they let it fester inside my body for weeks I asked the spinal doctors about my fears, he ordered a MRI it was discovered I have a syrenix in my spinal cord filling the cord with fluid slowly killing me by putting pressure on the spinal cord crushing it against the inside of the spinal column., so far I had had 4 operations on my spine 2 on my back and 2 on my neck this last operation on my neck as the first operation fail and filled up with puss , they had to operate and remove it all and repair the operation site, I was on IV antibiotics for weeks with the strongest medication I thought I was going to die, but this proply won't be the end as

Paul Baker said...

  my condition is very serious due to its advanced state if they took me for a MRI when I first complained of my problems it could have been operated on years ago not now, anyway I'm 40 and I don't know how long I have to live I'm actually writing to you from my room at Prince of Wales hospitals acute spinal unit, I was supposed to go Tommorrow to Ryde for rehab Tommorrow but it's be cancelled again for the fourth time so I'm going home Tommorrow in frustration, sorry for all this I just needed to tell someone just some of the hell they put me threw , it's ironic they put you in Gail for breaking the law then they break every human rights law written do so, if I had my day in court I would make sure everyone know what they did and how they lied to the ombudesmans office the healthcare complaints commission and everyone organisation who are supposed to ensure your human rights , I was abandoned by every organisation because at the end of the day they are all part of the same government system that continue to rubber stamp everything the government and their departments do and they never go to gaol if they do terrible things to us

Paul Baker

Paul Baker said...

The only people how stuck by me was my incredible family my supermum and the people from SCIA , otherwise known as Spinal Cord Injuries Australia at first I think they believed the people from the gaol but eventuatly they saw straight threw their lies.
Only now that I've been released I found out so much information about what they should have done to protect my health and didn't , but I must say The other inmates are in the same situation as me it takes weeks to see a doctor if your luck I complained one day to the nurse and she told me I was lucky as some inmates had be waiting over one year to see a doctor.
And everyone thinks

Paul Baker said...

schapelle corby has got it bad , she gets to go out to lunch with her sister and see her doctors. Everyone crystal for the illegal boat people but know one gives a dam about Australian prisoners as they watch the rubbish on tv and think everything is fine. I was filmed while I was in gaol by the same film crew that was part of Ray Hadley and then commissioner woodems tv program inside, I guess I'll be seen on Thursday night trying to turn the page of my book with the mouth stick I now need to use, I went to gaol because the lady from the disability unit said they could care for me even though they said it had never been done before, my life was their experiment I was and am the lesser for it, I entered gaol with the ability to use my arm to feed myself and drive my wheelchair and turn the pages of a book and type and use a computer, today, I need a mouth stick to type, use a pc and turn the pages of a book, I can barely drive my wheelchair and may if rehab fails need a chin control to drive my wheelchair. I entered gaol with hemroids and I left with a colostomy bag because they would do nothing to help me, if no one believes me so be it, ask my carers under oath in some form of court, they won't lie for me and I know they won't lie for them.ill take a polygraph any day and I'll challenge anyone from there to take one to refute my testimony, that's if get their if a tube draining this fluid blocks I may get one or two more operations after that the surgeon said that it"...fin ,it's wrong that's all it's wrong

Paul Baker said...

Sorry for the typos I've just seen, my iPad has made me look crazy as its changed some of my words like crystal instead of cries. I maybe upset but I'm not crazy

The Editor said...

Hi Paul, glad to hear from you. I haven't been looking at comments because there has been so much comment spam. Your story makes my problems look like nothing. If you like, I can think of several ways to publicise your story. I think it has to be told in a prohibition context. Michael