(... and a little voice in my head tells me that we'd be better off if drugs were regulated rather than illegal.)
Let me explain what I mean. The "idea" may be reprehensible from a humanistic point of view and perhaps even from the drug pusher's point of view that it is bad business to kill your customers (too) quickly.
However, from a purely psychological viewpoint, the cocaine addicts are merely trying to escape their current reality, albeit temporarily, but at a well publicised cost to themselves, their families and their country. So, why not make that uber costly escape permanent?
The argument that drug addiction is neither the fault nor the responsibility of the drug addict is patently fatalistic and self-defeating. If you don't like the risk of dying of something then don't be involved in an activity that has a high propensity to lead to death by its very nature.
Of course the wisecracks will always argue that life is a disease with a bad prognosis because the outcome is always death... But I say, if all an addict seeks is escape from life by patently dangerous means, then let them have it, for good.
EDIT: Spelling & Grammar.
Your comment reads like you're regurgitating government propaganda swallowed wholesale.
Hey now. A crime fighting dog told me that cocaine is bad. What more evidence do we need?
Replacing cocaine with not only "caffeine", but also "theophylline" and "sildenafil citrate" also works. Only, neither of those has the propensity for "addiction" or "dependence" to the degree that "cocaine" does.
Or perhaps you have done some research that proves otherwise?
If addiction is a disease, then addicts need doctors, not executioners. Even if addiction is a moral weakness, I think you'd have a hard time suggesting that the weak-willed all deserve poison in their vice (lest ye cast the first stone.)
"Occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems ... a minority of people start using cocaine or related products, use casually for a short or long period, and suffer little or no negative consequences, even after years of use. ... Use of coca leaves appears to have no negative health effects and has positive, therapeutic, sacred and social functions for indigenous Andean populations."
Also, there is a wealth of research indicating that cocaine is vastly safer than caffeine, especially when it comes to the health and safety of unborn babies.
The current WHO statement is here: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/cocaine/en/index.ht...
Furthermore, the reference you cite is :
"WHO/UNICRI Cocaine Project, 5 March 1995 (unpublished Briefing Kit)."
An "unpublished Briefing Kit", oh come on !!! ??? !!!
And even alcohol: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/01/alcohol.harm/
No, I am not for deliberate poisoning of mass consumed "drugs". But certainly I don't care that people die of their addictions to dangerous substances.
I find your position hard to understand. It seems almost inhuman to me; that you would condemn people to death, because... liberty is immoral?
Do you really feel that "legalising" addictive and physical-dependence-causing "cocaine" will lead to a lesser burden on the collective society than the situation now? if so, then perhaps you need to go visit a rehab centre and see the devastating effect that any "abused" substance can cause -- irrespective of whether it is legal or not.
More importantly, there are enough humans suffering from natural diseases and disasters that could use help, than the few humans who are deliberately indulging in dangerous behaviour and be better dead than sucking precious resources away from those who are trying to merely survive, leave alone "lawyering" and "regulating" cocaine in their lives.
"Liberty" without "responsibility" is the definition "entitlement".
Typically seen in individuals and societies too affluent for their own good.
Don't forget the word pharmacist means someone who poisons people. It also means someone who cures people. Because the poison is always in the dose.
I do. We only have on case so far : Portugal. And it looks pretty good, which, of course, flies in the face of the our government's War On Drugs(tm) propaganda.
We also have the case of US Prohibition Era, where prohibiting the substance made it worse, as people still consumed it, but just kept dying because government agents poisoned the supply. It also let criminals gangs flourish as the whole industry moved underground.
Some may see it as enhancement. Besides, not everyone shares the same motives.
Sure, tiny amounts of cocaine act as a stimulant similar to caffeine. Coca tea is just fine and safe.
But a nose full of cocaine is way, way, way more drug than the tea contains, and makes you feel REALLY good for short while. Almost every single user ends up binging every last bit of cocaine they have on them, and staying up all night.
They do it because of the reward system it kicks off in your brain.
Will they end up chronically addicted to it? Not everyone, but the thing is, it has little to do with willpower, knowledge,or strength. Statistically some people can walk away... but you have know way of knowing if YOU are the person who can walk away. You might think you are, but that's meaningless. (And the thought that you can walk away leads to "Well hey, why not tomorrow night too? After all, I can obviously walk away!")
The same pattern repeats, more or less, for most habit-forming drugs - tobacco included. Alcohol actually ranks quite low on this scale, though it's far more damaging than many illegal drugs.
So back to the original question - why do people think it's an escape? Because it generally is - people do it to experience a different reality than their own, and personal risk. That's not necessarily bad, but it IS an escape... just like many other activities, like snowboarding or skydiving.... it just has a much higher risk factor.
Why even get into motives? Just because my motive is to fly by myself does not mean I won't die if I skydive without a parachute.
Then, while we are at it, let's add some mercury to cigarettes, and put maybe put arsenic in fast food hamburgers.
From the way I see it, the most dangerous aspect of that drug is the risk of catching law enforcement's attention.
Some people are going to use drugs no matter how dangerous they are perceived to be, and that is why prohibition does not reduce the overall harm drugs cause to society.
Yes it would be better if the externalities of drugs on society could be internalised into the price of the drug - but that doesn't justify government interventions which achieve nothing but stop drug users from protecting themselves against serious harm.
I'd encourage everyone to read this. About 1 in 3 Americans die from drug use or drug-related causes, so there is a real need for more people to become the 'drug geek' among their circle of friends.
The leading cause of death (Heart Disease) kills 1 in 3 or 4 depending on the source: http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/causes.html#data_usa
Illicit drug related deaths are relatively low, 17,000 deaths in 2000 http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30 - compared to nearly half a million deaths related to smoking.
That said, you are totally right - everyone should be aware of the risks - even if you don't take drugs others around you might need educating. And part 2 is a great read.
> While Kerlikowske worked in Seattle, he was moderately progressive on drug issues—but as the nation's drug czar, he is legally bound (by the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998) to "oppose any attempt to legalize." Even if the nation's drug czar believes that prohibition has been a failure—and it has—it's against the law for him to say so.
Wow. That is a crazy law we have there.
Plus another 50,000 deaths from second hand smoke. Plus another 85,000 deaths from alcohol and alcohol-related fatalities. Plus another 7.5-10K from NSAIDS. Plus another 20K or so from illicit drugs. Plus another 106K from prescription drugs. That's about 29.4% of the 2.4 million annual U.S. deaths right there.
Plus IIRC most of these categories are undercounts because they are looking mostly at the proximate causes. (Smoking- and alcohol-related deaths are the obvious exceptions.) So they aren't necessarily considering someone who takes accutane and dies of liver failure 20 years later, someone who gets AIDS or Hep C from drug use, someone who gets MRSA after getting sent to prison for drug use, etc.
And that's completely ignoring people who die because they weren't taking drugs they should have been taking, which is the other side of the same issue-- making poor decisions about drug use. Now I think we would need to be really conservative in any calculations we made here in order to for the fact that individuals can make decisions that we wouldn't personally make but that are still acceptable, but there are still a lot of blatantly obvious cases like people refusing antibiotics for staph infections and such. Plus all of the above is only counting mortality and completely ignoring morbidity, which is obviously much greater.
 Lazarou J, Pomeranz B, Corey P. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205.
Suh DC, Woodall BS, Shin SK, Hermes-De Santis ER. Clinical and economic impact of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. Ann Pharmacother. 2000 Dec;34(12):1373-9.
In that case then yes - I can believe that some form of drug use is related to 1/3 of deaths - but since this story was about illicit drugs, I'm sure you can see where the confusion stemmed.
I like how they talk about drug smuggling technology in terms of natural selection against an inhospitable environment. It reminds me of hacking.
Less people die from hacking.
First, I think it is too easy to write off the Columbians not cutting the cocaine themselves. It used to be that the drugs were imported in as pure a form as possible, to reduce the weight and volume that needs to be smuggled. But what has changed today is that the Columbians no longer control the entire supply chain. Mexicans pick up the coke from Columbia and transport it themselves across the border.
In the 70s through to the 90s, Escobar, Ochoa and Lehder controlled everything from production to distribution in the USA (usually with Americans they hired - such as George Jung and the guys featured in Cocaine Cowboys). Today the Mexican cartels control all the smuggling and distribution in the USA - so it actually makes sense that the Columbians are cutting their product in order to increase profits.
I read up on Levamisole to get more information about it (its melting point is 30% higher than coke - molecular mass of a third more) . I was looking into this speculating that the reason it is used as a cutting agent could be because it isn't picked up in purity tests that the cartels use. For some reason the CDC and DEA are finding it (perhaps because they explicitly test for it) while the Mexican cartels are not. It is also suitable to use as a cutting agent since it is metabolized into a compound that has similar effects to amphetamines (which have also been used to cut coke with previously). The article suggests this, as there is currently no easy test kit for Levamisole.
Second part I would speculate on is that Levamisole is somehow finding its way into the production process unintentionally. It could be that livestock in Columbia is treated with the drug (de-worming etc.) and that the labs are contaminated because of the fertilizer used, or because of some other part of the process.
Nowhere online does it mention the quantities of Levamisole found in the cocaine, which makes it difficult to speculate on the source. If it was one part per thousand, you could narrow it down to contamination or impurities passing through, if it was 1 part in 5, you could argue that it is a cutting agent.
Wait, did I read that right? From what I now most right-wing paramilitary death squads are on CIA's payroll.
And they are properly payed through Chiquita, since they own a pretty big favor to the CIA from back when they was called United Fruits company and they got the CIA to instigate a coup for them.
It's still a great read.
Note however, that in the print version, the graph that shows Percentage of cocaine samples found to be cut with cattle-deworming drug levamisole vs. Total number of cocaine samples seized by the DEA for 2005-2009 is not included.
Edit: What I find odd, is that while they (thestranger.com) have opted to remove the main image for the article, they include all comments - which, with 97 comments so far, means that those who print the article are going to end up with 4 pages containing the article and 13 pages of comments.
AFAIK there is a way to communicate through radio with an underwater sub but involves complex antennas very long radio waves and complex signal processing, etc. There is no way a sub would be able to get a GPS signal under water.
It is possible to have a sub that runs under water most of the time and only occasionally pops up to get its location via GPS, but that would require very complex autopilot software, which the narco trafficers do not have yet.
Plus, subs are inefficient - the regular drug busts around here (central america) , when they find them, are regularly into several metric tons, usually on boats that are inspected while refuelling. That's just what gets caught... which has to be a very small fraction of what passes.
Google Narcosubs for more
It's a 500 billion dollar a year business. More than oil. Think about it.
Then show it.
Once you're convinced of the estimated value...start using your own logic. The value of the market is absolutely tremendous. If you don't think that the ruling powers that run the governments around the world don't want a piece of that action, you'd better think again.
So. If you can show it, then show it. If you can't, then don't say you can. Instead say "I have no actual evidence to backup this claim, but my theory is..."
Also, to White_N_Nerdy, before you go 'look at how much it's worth, they MUST want that and are therefore involved'- consider that the USA GDP is 15 trillion dollars. There's no way our government could control the entire drug trade, which means a fraction of 500 billion is the best they could do, and what's a chunk of 500 billion to the US gov't? Besides, is a chunk of 500 billion actually worth the risk of the ENTIRE WORLD discovering our government is the most evil and corrupt organization ever to walk the earth? (not that they are, but they would be if they were orchestrating the entire drug trade)
America is the land of the free (for all). I consider the steady-state employment of government powers at the federal level nothing more than a score board on a death match server.
Do it yourself. I'm not here to hold your hand. I'm not making any arguments, I'm telling you what I know for a fact. I gave you some links, you can start there.