I get the updates for Dear Coke Talk in my reader. The newest one touches on the relationship between drug trade and violence and it seems a good time to set down some Drug Crazy ideas.
This is what went down on her website as a cut-and-paste. Go to the site if you want to read the comments.
What are your thoughts on ruthless violence of the drug cartels in Latin America? That shit is almost entirely funded by our greedy demand for and mindless consumption of cocaine. I just spent two weeks down there and got a much better sense of how grave the crisis really is. I’ve now decided to kick the habit and stick to good ol’ California-hippie-grown pot from now on and I think you should hop on board.
Two whole weeks? Wow, you’re like an honorary Latin American or something. I guess I should really listen to you. You’re like an expert. I bet you even know how to ask for bottled water in Spanish.
Listen, when you’re done patting yourself on the back for supporting your local pot farmer, maybe you could set aside your smug sense of self-appreciation for going on a field trip and take a hot minute to learn the basic principles of a black market economy.
When it comes to cocaine, it’s not our greedy demand nor our mindless consumption that’s causing the ruthless violence. It’s prohibition. The law is to blame. The illegality of cocaine is what vastly inflates its price above the cost of production creating an artificial price bubble worth hundreds of billions each year. That money is the ultimate cause of all the violence.
If the United States ended the war on drugs tomorrow and the DEA became strictly a regulatory agency, the market price of cocaine would collapse and the cartel violence would end almost immediately. Not only that, but the demand and consumption of cocaine wouldn’t really change all that much. It’s not like the drug war actually keeps people off drugs.
You’re an idiot if you think there’s any moral superiority in saying no to blow for political reasons, because as a citizen of a country waging this kind of war on drugs, you’ll always have blood on your hands.
And my 2 cents.
Why do people act like these drugs have been illegal forever? Where’s the sense of history?
Removing criminal laws specifying which drugs are the enemy du jour is the start. And then, changing the Schedule classification system is an absolutely fabulous idea. Control access on a medical, scientific basis, using actual risks at actual amounts rather than “zero taken is zero risk”. No one listens to that.
One of my biggest problems with drug prohibition is this: it implies that everything legal is safe. Similarly, the current scheduling of drugs implies that everything available over the counter is super-safe and you can just pop a thousand fen-fen. Oh wait – did that kill people? Oops.
We don’t need laws and regulations that encourage people to make assumptions. We need laws and regulations that attach real information about dosages, risks, and rewards to each and every product that walks out of a Walgreen’s. And those products should include the chemicals that are currently treated as sure killers.
How do the cops know when the meth is better quality than usual? People die. Same with heroin. Regulation, anyone?
Here’s what the NIH says about the effects of cocaine: “Different methods of taking cocaine can produce different adverse effects. Regular intranasal use (snorting) of cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell; nosebleeds; problems with swallowing; hoarseness; and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases. Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia—a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis—in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.
Regardless of the route or frequency of use, cocaine abusers can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.”
So yeah – the danger of death? About the same as taking viagra. Or, um, lots of caffeine. My mom’s husband had a heart attack and took a header into a 12 foot hole his contracting company had dug. This was after several years of multiple quad mochas each day and one special day where he had four. Yeah – you can OD on caffeine.
And, to get back on topic, it is absolutely clear, again, from history, that prohibition creates criminals. That’s all it does. I am a criminal. Likelihood is that every reader of this blog is. Whether or not we got caught, we stepped over the line of law and did criminal acts. Add serious amounts of money into the situation, and you have criminals willing to do bad shit.
When the big money and the big criminals get so powerful that they can straight-up fight their government? Civil war without ideals. Civil war that’s all about control, power, and money.
Oh, and if one wants to feel better, one could also stop taking prescription drugs. Because lots of those are developed in desperate places where it’s easier to find subjects for clinical trials. Trials that would be illegal in the US. Pharma’s kill rate is not easy to find, remaining out of the media whereas the civil war created by the two-headed power structure in central and south america is far better documented.
A long post to say yeah – what she said.