T_R wrote:I don't have strong opinions on this debate, Manbush. I don't use drugs and never have.
But despite GEM's predictable and cliched blarney about US presidents, the fact that most colours my thoughts on this are simple: The common thread running through the most down-and-out miserable dregs of humanity in our society is drug abuse. There is clearly something amiss there.
Is it propaganda to say that there is clearly a negative impact of drug use, if not to all then to many? I don't think so, and my kids will most definitely get that message. It's not lying to say that there is a clear negative relationship between a positive lifestyle and drug use.
Like TR, I don't really have a strong opinion on a campaign like this. Tbh I don't have a problem with it. I think everybody can agree that people taking less drugs is a good thing. Where I probably differ is how best to achieve that. The current Prohibitionist policies have generally failed to achieve those aims and vastly increase the risks of drug use due to poor/widely changing purity, dangerous additives etc etc etc. Fact is people will use drugs, you want to discourage that, but you also want to minimise the harm drugs can do if people do decide to use them.
Part of the issue I see with the current policies is that once drugs are illegal, a lot of the controls you may have are drastically reduced and you leave all that up to the black market, which is less than scrupulous. As controversial as this will be, I'd be pro decriminalising or heck even legalising most drugs as long as you had a sensible regulatory framework in place (ie age limits, buying limits etc- so the market I very tightly controlled with safeguards and ready access to help a lot of drug addicts need- mandatory drug counselling if you want to buy over a set amount for example, access to mental health services etc etc etc). The black market itself and the fact people who decide to take drugs have to interact with it, the money that it funnels to organised crime (bikie gangs etc etc), the fact people often delay getting OD patients help that could save their lives due to illegality and "fear" of being caught and all the other unsavoury stuff that comes along with such a large black market are unquestionable bad things, arguable as bad or worse than the drugs themselves in some cases. So I think it's high time we looked at other options to minimise not just drug use, but drug harms as well, because the current system hasn't worked all that well.
In terms of drug use among different socioeconomic groups, most studies show there are bugger all differences in terms of "use". There are huge differences in terms of outcomes- both from drugs and how those groups are treated within the policing/legal framework we have.