UK drug policy

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Re: Brexit Consequences

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Little waster » Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:48 am

This is actually quite worrying because no matter what you personally may think about drug dealers you have to admire their usual entrepreneurial can-do attitude to dealing with logistical issues in their supply and distribution chains.

If even they are struggling ...
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Sun Sep 05, 2021 7:31 pm

Little waster wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:48 am
This is actually quite worrying because no matter what you personally may think about drug dealers you have to admire their usual entrepreneurial can-do attitude to dealing with logistical issues in their supply and distribution chains.

If even they are struggling ...
And if people are going to take drugs anyway, which they will, it sounds genuinely a bit risky. Obviously there is always a risk with illegal drugs but serious problems seem to be relatively isolated in the grand scheme of things (I'm talking about 'party' drugs like MDMA here, not the stuff that's e.g. killing half of Scotland).
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:38 pm

Sensible drug policy is one of the few ways the UK could probably establish itself as a world leader in the next decade.

It's already a leading producer of medical weed, and has a strong pharma sector generally. Plus most of the cabinet are cokeheads. What are they waiting for?
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:50 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:38 pm
Sensible drug policy is one of the few ways the UK could probably establish itself as a world leader in the next decade.

It's already a leading producer of medical weed, and has a strong pharma sector generally. Plus most of the cabinet are cokeheads. What are they waiting for?
I suppose Theresa May needed to be got out of the way, and then there has been other stuff to deal with...I say that as if that lot actually have much in the way of priorities but still. Maybe one day. Given the gradual death of the 'war on drugs' I'm finding it harder and harder to accept these days that alcohol, which looked at objectively is a pretty horrible, very toxic drug, is just so unbelievably readily available when other drugs which, if regulated properly, would probably be much better all round (err maybe not coke though), are still demonised, along with the people who take them. Wow that was a long and convoluted sentence sorry.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by dyqik » Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:58 pm

discovolante wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:50 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:38 pm
Sensible drug policy is one of the few ways the UK could probably establish itself as a world leader in the next decade.

It's already a leading producer of medical weed, and has a strong pharma sector generally. Plus most of the cabinet are cokeheads. What are they waiting for?
I suppose Theresa May needed to be got out of the way, and then there has been other stuff to deal with...I say that as if that lot actually have much in the way of priorities but still. Maybe one day. Given the gradual death of the 'war on drugs' I'm finding it harder and harder to accept these days that alcohol, which looked at objectively is a pretty horrible, very toxic drug, is just so unbelievably readily available when other drugs which, if regulated properly, would probably be much better all round (err maybe not coke though), are still demonised, along with the people who take them. Wow that was a long and convoluted sentence sorry.
I think it's more the Home Office that has to be got out of the way. Seems that every Home Secretary gets sucked into authoritarianism, whether it's Jack Straw or Theresa May. Of course, some are captured by the job more easily than others.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by IvanV » Sun Sep 05, 2021 10:40 pm

dyqik wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:58 pm
I think it's more the Home Office that has to be got out of the way. Seems that every Home Secretary gets sucked into authoritarianism, whether it's Jack Straw or Theresa May. Of course, some are captured by the job more easily than others.
I thought it was the Daily Mail that did that, not the Home Office of its own volition. Though I can possibly understand, given the recent (Michael Howard and onwards) incumbents there, and the fact that many people feel a need to be able to live with themselves when doing their job, there might have built up a community of civil servants there of a particular attitude, not so common among civil servants in general.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by monkey » Mon Sep 06, 2021 12:58 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:38 pm
Sensible drug policy is one of the few ways the UK could probably establish itself as a world leader in the next decade.

It's already a leading producer of medical weed, and has a strong pharma sector generally. Plus most of the cabinet are cokeheads. What are they waiting for?
The Daily Mail to change their stance.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Sep 06, 2021 1:02 am

discovolante wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:50 pm
Given the gradual death of the 'war on drugs' I'm finding it harder and harder to accept these days that alcohol, which looked at objectively is a pretty horrible, very toxic drug, is just so unbelievably readily available when other drugs which, if regulated properly, would probably be much better all round (err maybe not coke though), are still demonised, along with the people who take them.
Prohibition in America tells us why it is a terrible idea to try to stop alcohol being widely available. Unfortunately, too few people seem to realise that the same applies to other drugs.
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UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:15 am

I’ve started a new thread with the drug policy derail from the Brexit Consequences thread.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:45 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 1:02 am
discovolante wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:50 pm
Given the gradual death of the 'war on drugs' I'm finding it harder and harder to accept these days that alcohol, which looked at objectively is a pretty horrible, very toxic drug, is just so unbelievably readily available when other drugs which, if regulated properly, would probably be much better all round (err maybe not coke though), are still demonised, along with the people who take them.
Prohibition in America tells us why it is a terrible idea to try to stop alcohol being widely available. Unfortunately, too few people seem to realise that the same applies to other drugs.
The US does though offer a contrary example on the negative effects of liberalising the supply of opioids.

IMHO probably best to look at different policies for different drugs.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Mon Sep 06, 2021 7:39 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 1:02 am
discovolante wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:50 pm
Given the gradual death of the 'war on drugs' I'm finding it harder and harder to accept these days that alcohol, which looked at objectively is a pretty horrible, very toxic drug, is just so unbelievably readily available when other drugs which, if regulated properly, would probably be much better all round (err maybe not coke though), are still demonised, along with the people who take them.
Prohibition in America tells us why it is a terrible idea to try to stop alcohol being widely available. Unfortunately, too few people seem to realise that the same applies to other drugs.
Well that's funny, because I didn't mention prohibition.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by nezumi » Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:04 am

There's a clear difference between addictive drugs that do a lot of damage and non-addictive drugs that cause far less damage.

I am absolutely pro-legalisation for weed, mushrooms, MDMA and LSD - given, of course, careful legislation, strong quality control and well-thought-out minimum ages. However, opioids, cocaine and derivatives are actually dangerous and addictive so shouldn't be legalised at all. Other amphetamines (ie. not MDMA) are a weird one, probably a case-by-case basis would be best. Obviously whatever's legal for medical usage should stay so.

I know there are arguments to be made about substances' impact on mental health and whether they trigger things like schizophrenia. I have no idea where the research is on this but I would think having a minimum age that is actually enforced would go a long way to prevent mental health issues from cropping up.

I'd definitely also say that, while I agree with weed dispensaries, the stronger drugs should be handled by pharmacies - not so they can judge and deny somebody's desire for a cool trip, but so they can make sure that person doesn't have strong contraindications for the drug they wish to try and so they have all the information they need to make an informed choice.

I toyed with the idea of supervised trips for shrooms, MD and LSD but the sheer length of time the drugs are active in the system makes it a basic impossibility for a business to handle. The drugs themselves are cheap, but how much would an 8 hour room booking cost? Especially as it is a bad idea to eat or drink anything but water when you're on eg MDMA. Seriously, I used to love my molly when I was younger* and the sheer number of times high-me went "ooh I'm very high and very hungry *looks at a burger* VOMMMM". I could tell you a story but it's absolutely gross, so I won't.


* OK, fine, if I could still get hold of it, I'd still love it now. It is gooooorgeous stuff.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:41 am

nezumi wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:04 am
There's a clear difference between addictive drugs that do a lot of damage and non-addictive drugs that cause far less damage.

I am absolutely pro-legalisation for weed, mushrooms, MDMA and LSD - given, of course, careful legislation, strong quality control and well-thought-out minimum ages. However, opioids, cocaine and derivatives are actually dangerous and addictive so shouldn't be legalised at all. Other amphetamines (ie. not MDMA) are a weird one, probably a case-by-case basis would be best. Obviously whatever's legal for medical usage should stay so.

I know there are arguments to be made about substances' impact on mental health and whether they trigger things like schizophrenia. I have no idea where the research is on this but I would think having a minimum age that is actually enforced would go a long way to prevent mental health issues from cropping up.

I'd definitely also say that, while I agree with weed dispensaries, the stronger drugs should be handled by pharmacies - not so they can judge and deny somebody's desire for a cool trip, but so they can make sure that person doesn't have strong contraindications for the drug they wish to try and so they have all the information they need to make an informed choice.

I toyed with the idea of supervised trips for shrooms, MD and LSD but the sheer length of time the drugs are active in the system makes it a basic impossibility for a business to handle. The drugs themselves are cheap, but how much would an 8 hour room booking cost? Especially as it is a bad idea to eat or drink anything but water when you're on eg MDMA. Seriously, I used to love my molly when I was younger* and the sheer number of times high-me went "ooh I'm very high and very hungry *looks at a burger* VOMMMM". I could tell you a story but it's absolutely gross, so I won't.


* OK, fine, if I could still get hold of it, I'd still love it now. It is gooooorgeous stuff.
This is from 2009, so oldish, and has been posted on here previously I think (and not to mention the main author was one of the original admins on BS) so you might have seen it already in which case apologies, but Transform have a 'blueprint for regulation' here https://transformdrugs.org/publications ... regulation (long time since I read it though). While I was searching for it I also found this which could be interesting, not read it yet mind: https://transformdrugs.org/publications ... ng-the-war

I think when making decisions about prohibition and regulation it's just as important (if not more in a lot of cases) to consider the impact on the human exploitation aspects of production and not just end-user stuff (although appreciate I started off with that myself!). I'm not sure maintaining prohibition would do much to help that unless people decided there were enough legal/relatively safe alternatives that the market for other stuff shrunk as a result, not surely how likely that would be though...
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:31 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:15 am
I’ve started a new thread with the drug policy derail from the Brexit Consequences thread.
Thanks :) had crossed my mind but you beat me to it and did it while I was sleeping!
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:41 am

discovolante wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:31 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:15 am
I’ve started a new thread with the drug policy derail from the Brexit Consequences thread.
Thanks :) had crossed my mind but you beat me to it and did it while I was sleeping!
Yay insomnia!

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Mon Sep 06, 2021 12:07 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:41 am
discovolante wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:31 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 3:15 am
I’ve started a new thread with the drug policy derail from the Brexit Consequences thread.
Thanks :) had crossed my mind but you beat me to it and did it while I was sleeping!
Yay insomnia!
There might be some drugs that could help you with that ;)
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am

discovolante wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:41 am
nezumi wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:04 am
There's a clear difference between addictive drugs that do a lot of damage and non-addictive drugs that cause far less damage.

I am absolutely pro-legalisation for weed, mushrooms, MDMA and LSD - given, of course, careful legislation, strong quality control and well-thought-out minimum ages. However, opioids, cocaine and derivatives are actually dangerous and addictive so shouldn't be legalised at all. Other amphetamines (ie. not MDMA) are a weird one, probably a case-by-case basis would be best. Obviously whatever's legal for medical usage should stay so.

I know there are arguments to be made about substances' impact on mental health and whether they trigger things like schizophrenia. I have no idea where the research is on this but I would think having a minimum age that is actually enforced would go a long way to prevent mental health issues from cropping up.

I'd definitely also say that, while I agree with weed dispensaries, the stronger drugs should be handled by pharmacies - not so they can judge and deny somebody's desire for a cool trip, but so they can make sure that person doesn't have strong contraindications for the drug they wish to try and so they have all the information they need to make an informed choice.

I toyed with the idea of supervised trips for shrooms, MD and LSD but the sheer length of time the drugs are active in the system makes it a basic impossibility for a business to handle. The drugs themselves are cheap, but how much would an 8 hour room booking cost? Especially as it is a bad idea to eat or drink anything but water when you're on eg MDMA. Seriously, I used to love my molly when I was younger* and the sheer number of times high-me went "ooh I'm very high and very hungry *looks at a burger* VOMMMM". I could tell you a story but it's absolutely gross, so I won't.


* OK, fine, if I could still get hold of it, I'd still love it now. It is gooooorgeous stuff.
This is from 2009, so oldish, and has been posted on here previously I think (and not to mention the main author was one of the original admins on BS) so you might have seen it already in which case apologies, but Transform have a 'blueprint for regulation' here https://transformdrugs.org/publications ... regulation (long time since I read it though). While I was searching for it I also found this which could be interesting, not read it yet mind: https://transformdrugs.org/publications ... ng-the-war
I read the older one when it first came out, and I had a quick look at the newer one.

The problem is that a lot has happened since the first one, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the second. In the US there have, in effect, been two somewhat inadvertent experiments in liberalization, one for cannabis and the other for opioids. The former seems to have gone well, and its now possible in many states to buy cannabis lawfully from regulated suppliers. I'm not aware yet of serious negative effects over the past few years. There will be major widespread negative effects from smoking, but I as far as I know the number of smokers hasn't dramatically increased.

However, the liberalization of opioid supply was and still is a public health disaster. It became far easier to get a prescription from a doctor and get opioids from a pharmacist. The outcome was rise in consumption, addiction, overdoses and other effects on health, and increasing criminality as addicts bought illicitly supplied opioids.

IMHO the cost benefit calculation appears to be very different when looking at legalization of different drugs.

discovolante wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:41 am
I think when making decisions about prohibition and regulation it's just as important (if not more in a lot of cases) to consider the impact on the human exploitation aspects of production and not just end-user stuff (although appreciate I started off with that myself!). I'm not sure maintaining prohibition would do much to help that unless people decided there were enough legal/relatively safe alternatives that the market for other stuff shrunk as a result, not surely how likely that would be though...
I agree completely, and IMHO in some cases that's an argument for lawfully producing synthetic drugs in labs located near where the consumers live rather than people using global illicit supply chains.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by dyqik » Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:32 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am
The problem is that a lot has happened since the first one, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the second. In the US there have, in effect, been two somewhat inadvertent experiments in liberalization, one for cannabis and the other for opioids. The former seems to have gone well, and its now possible in many states to buy cannabis lawfully from regulated suppliers. I'm not aware yet of serious negative effects over the past few years. There will be major widespread negative effects from smoking, but I as far as I know the number of smokers hasn't dramatically increased.
Based on my experience in Massachusetts, I'd be very surprised if more people are smoking pot after legalization than before.

What legalization has done is make edibles (gummies, chocolate etc.) that needs equipment and processes a more viable business vs supplying "raw" weed/resin for smoking. I suspect that nearly all growth in consumption is in edibles, and wouldn't be surprised if it had displaced smoking.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Millennie Al » Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:54 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am
The problem is that a lot has happened since the first one, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the second. In the US there have, in effect, been two somewhat inadvertent experiments in liberalization, one for cannabis and the other for opioids. The former seems to have gone well, and its now possible in many states to buy cannabis lawfully from regulated suppliers. I'm not aware yet of serious negative effects over the past few years. There will be major widespread negative effects from smoking, but I as far as I know the number of smokers hasn't dramatically increased.

However, the liberalization of opioid supply was and still is a public health disaster. It became far easier to get a prescription from a doctor and get opioids from a pharmacist. The outcome was rise in consumption, addiction, overdoses and other effects on health, and increasing criminality as addicts bought illicitly supplied opioids.
The two are not really comparable - as is obvious by the mention of criminality for opioids. Try comparing them when opioids are legal to make, supply, and possess to the same extent as cannabis.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 08, 2021 6:30 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:54 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am
The problem is that a lot has happened since the first one, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the second. In the US there have, in effect, been two somewhat inadvertent experiments in liberalization, one for cannabis and the other for opioids. The former seems to have gone well, and its now possible in many states to buy cannabis lawfully from regulated suppliers. I'm not aware yet of serious negative effects over the past few years. There will be major widespread negative effects from smoking, but I as far as I know the number of smokers hasn't dramatically increased.

However, the liberalization of opioid supply was and still is a public health disaster. It became far easier to get a prescription from a doctor and get opioids from a pharmacist. The outcome was rise in consumption, addiction, overdoses and other effects on health, and increasing criminality as addicts bought illicitly supplied opioids.
The two are not really comparable - as is obvious by the mention of criminality for opioids. Try comparing them when opioids are legal to make, supply, and possess to the same extent as cannabis.
You can read a summary of the causes of the crisis here. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02686-2

The cause of the opioid crisis in the US was opioids which were lawfully produced and sold as pain medication. As stated in the above article, European states with much more restrictive controls were able to avoid a similar crisis. IMHO its a useful natural experiment in the effects of different forms of regulation on specific drugs.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 08, 2021 6:32 am

dyqik wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:32 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am
The problem is that a lot has happened since the first one, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the second. In the US there have, in effect, been two somewhat inadvertent experiments in liberalization, one for cannabis and the other for opioids. The former seems to have gone well, and its now possible in many states to buy cannabis lawfully from regulated suppliers. I'm not aware yet of serious negative effects over the past few years. There will be major widespread negative effects from smoking, but I as far as I know the number of smokers hasn't dramatically increased.
Based on my experience in Massachusetts, I'd be very surprised if more people are smoking pot after legalization than before.

What legalization has done is make edibles (gummies, chocolate etc.) that needs equipment and processes a more viable business vs supplying "raw" weed/resin for smoking. I suspect that nearly all growth in consumption is in edibles, and wouldn't be surprised if it had displaced smoking.
Good to hear that. If legalisation resulted in fewer people smoking that would be a powerful argument in its self.

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Re: UK drug policy

Post by discovolante » Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:58 am

Woodchopper, yes I have to say I was a bit surprised when I realised it had barely been updated at all. I have to admit I haven't looked through the newer publication in detail but it's a bit of a shame if it doesn't discuss the opioid crisis.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 08, 2021 9:44 am

It seems like the roots of the US's opioid epidemic were largely to do with its healthcare model. Deliberate promotion of excessive prescription by Purdue and others, doctors financially incentivised to prescribe them, general laissez-faire (lack of) oversight.

Even if recreational opioids were legalized, I don't think anyone would suggest that doctors should be encouraging patients to take them willy-nilly.

Those drugs are already available under similar conditions in much of the rest of the world without leading to an addiction crisis, which suggests that the problem is with how the US specifically handles prescriptions of pain medication, and wider societal issues.

I'm not sure it tells us that much about the impact of legalization for recreational purposes - nobody is suggesting a model where you go to the doctor to fix your hemorrhoids and they prescribe you a bag of coke.
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Re: UK drug policy

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:18 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Sep 08, 2021 9:44 am
It seems like the roots of the US's opioid epidemic were largely to do with its healthcare model. Deliberate promotion of excessive prescription by Purdue and others, doctors financially incentivised to prescribe them, general laissez-faire (lack of) oversight.

Even if recreational opioids were legalized, I don't think anyone would suggest that doctors should be encouraging patients to take them willy-nilly.

Those drugs are already available under similar conditions in much of the rest of the world without leading to an addiction crisis, which suggests that the problem is with how the US specifically handles prescriptions of pain medication, and wider societal issues.

I'm not sure it tells us that much about the impact of legalization for recreational purposes - nobody is suggesting a model where you go to the doctor to fix your hemorrhoids and they prescribe you a bag of coke.
I agree, but for opioids you seem to be arguing for the European status quo in terms of legislation.

As mentioned, the Transform report doesn't cover opioids other than heroin, but its general approach is that instead of prohibition, recreational drug sales should be regulated (eg that people can go to a licensed vendor and perhaps be able to consume drugs in a safe environment). The report mentions licensed users and age limits but not, as far as I can tell, other limits on consumption.

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