[Paleopsych] drugs and violence
Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D.
ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Tue Aug 24 03:59:04 UTC 2004
I am not as sure as Michael about this. Prohibition was a mixed success.
Overall, alcohol consumption had been dropping before prohibition,
bounced back some during prohibition, but was clearly lower than it had
been in the 19-teens. The benefit to society ironically came before
Alcohol & violence: it is a huge factor even to this day. While gangs no
longer battle each other, among the lower classes, alcohol precipitates
tremendous violence, possibly overall more violence than during
prohibition. All drugs to a greater or lesser extent impair human
capabilities, with a possible exception of caffeine in moderate doses.
So we pay a social price for the human need to alter consciousness.
The problem with legalizing drugs is that it is a social experiment, and
fraught with danger. Every society I am aware of that is successful at
handling mind-altering drugs incorporates them into religious and social
rituals. We have no such. Therefore it may be much safer to limit their
use as far as possible.
It is true that the most successful systems of alcohol control seem to
be in states where there is a state monopoly on sales of wine and
distilled spirits. So there may be something to be said for a state
monopoly (coming from me, a libertarian, that is an admission!).
Finally, the concept of some drugs being victimless contradicts my
experience. Ain't no such. I have seen much family damage done from
marijuana, and have treated patients with all kinds of drug abuse. They
are all - alcohol and tobacco included - very damaging and dangerous.
But weed, cocaine, and the like are particularly vicious in their
alienating of the user from friends and family.
Michael Christopher wrote:
>>>The world cocaine system is a clear and present
>danger to world security just as serious as Al Quieda.
>We cannot afford to wait for the millennium before
>--Simple solution to that. Stop violently punishing
>users and dealers, which would eliminate the violence
>surrounding the trade. People shot each other in the
>streets once when alcohol was banned, that's why they
>repealed the ban. They decided it was better that
>people harm themselves than force everyone to live
>with the danger created by an underground trade.
>As long as drugs are dealt with as a "war", it will
>create conditions which promote terrorism. If we dealt
>with alcohol and tobacco the way we deal with other
>deadly drugs, we'd realize IMMEDIATELY why such an
>approach doesn't work. Instead, we ignore medical
>research and deal with drugs as if they were an issue
>of good vs. evil. We create the violence we fear, just
>as we created a violent alcohol trade at one time.
>A cocaine addict is no more harmful to society than an
>alcohol addict, but when you ban the substance, it
>creates a culture of violence which IS harmful.
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