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Why are drugs illegal? You asked Google – here’s the answer

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posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:00 AM
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Why are drugs illegal?


In the 19th century extracts of these three now-illegal drugs [cannabis, coc aine and opium] were legal in the UK, and were sold in pharmacies and even corner shops. Queen Victoria’s physician was a great proponent of the value of tincture of cannabis and the monarch is reputed to have used it to counteract the pain of menstrual periods and childbirth. Now it is denied to people with severe enduring spasticity and pain from neurological disorders and cancer. Why?


I found this great article about the history of drug prohibition and the media's involvement in it. First it goes over the very first drug ban. Prohibition. It also notes on notorious asshole Harry Anslinger who pioneered the anti-drug propaganda that has been in use up to and including today.


To combat this, the US government set up a special army of enforcers, under the command of Harry Anslinger, which became known as “the untouchables”. This army of enforcers was widely celebrated by the newspapers and the acclaim propelled Anslinger to national prominence. However, when public disquiet at the crime and social damage caused by alcohol prohibition led to its repeal, Anslinger saw his position as being in danger.

To enable him to keep his army of drug enforcers, he created a new drug threat: cannabis, which he called marijuana to make it sound more Mexican. Working with a newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, he created hysteria around the impact of cannabis on American youth and proclaimed an invasion of marijuana-smoking Mexican men assaulting white women. The ensuing public anxiety led to the drug being banned. The US then imposed its anti-cannabis stance on other western countries and this was finally imposed on the rest of the world through the first UN convention on narcotic drugs in 1961.


So we have a classic case of law enforcement officer gets too much power, public opinion shifts away from what his job is for, thus he creates fear through the media to keep his job relevant. This should sound familiar to people because it is a classic propaganda technique, but we are going to look at how this has been used over the last 80 years to demonize not just marijuana but ALL recreational drugs as well as why it is so damn effective.


This process of vilifying drugs by engendering a fear of the “other people” who use them became a recurring theme in drug policy. Black Americans were stigmatised on account of heroin use in the 1950s. In the 1960s hippies and psychedelics were targeted because they opposed the Vietnam war. In the 1970s it was again inner-city black Americans who used crack coc aine who received the brunt of opprobrium, so much so that the penalties for crack possession were 100 times higher than those for powder coc aine, despite almost equivalent pharmacology. Then came “crystal” (methamphetamine) and the targeting of “poor whites”.

The UK has followed US trends over cannabis, heroin and psychedelics, and led the world in the vilification of MDMA (ecstasy). In the UK a hate campaign against young people behaving differently was instigated by the rightwing press. As with past campaigns, they hid their prejudice under the smokescreen of false health concerns. It was very effective and resulted in both MDMA and raves being banned. This occurred despite the police being largely comfortable with MDMA users since they were friendly – a stark contrast to those at alcohol-fuelled events.


I bolded an interesting part about the MDMA scare. The police didn't MIND MDMA users since they are loving and nice, yet the media needed to drum up fear nonetheless and as a result MDMA was banned as well. Keep in mind that the politicians don't even care about safer highs. You are altering your state of consciousness with something other than alcohol or tobacco? Who cares that it is safer? ILLEGAL!


Since the demise of ecstasy we have seen the rise and fall of several alternative legal highs, most notably mephedrone. This was banned following a relentless media campaign, despite no evidence of deaths and with little attempt to properly estimate its harm. Subsequently we have discovered that it saved more lives than it took because so many people switched from coc aine and amphetamine to mephedrone that deaths from these more toxic stimulants decreased by up to 40%. Since mephedrone was banned in 2010, coc aine deaths have risen again and are now above their pre-mephedrone levels.


And now we come to the conspiracy. The next paragraph should make your head boil.


As young people seek to find legal ways to enjoy altered consciousness without exposing themselves to the addictiveness and toxicity of alcohol or the danger of getting a criminal record, so the newspapers seek to get these ways banned too. Politicians collude as they are subservient to those newspapers that hate youth and they know that the drug-using population is much less likely to vote than the drug-fearing elderly. We have moved to a surreal new world in which the government, through the new psychoactive substances bill, has decided to put an end to the sale of any drug with psychoactive properties, known or yet to be discovered.


I'm not even sure how such a bill would work. Why not just make a bill called the "Anti-Fun Bill"? What is so terrifying with humans enjoying altered states of mind? Why is it SOOO yucky to people, notably conservatives? Alcohol alters your mind, but that is engrained as an ok substance. Any other drug and the person is immediately labeled as an addict and viewed as less of a person. Heck, even in cases of REAL addiction we jail them. Since addiction is classified as a disease now, that means we might as well be jailing people for getting cancer.


This ban is predicated on more media hysteria about legal highs such as nitrous oxide and the “head shops” that sell them. Lies about the number of legal high deaths abound, with Mike Penning, minister for policing and justice, quoting 129 last year in the bill’s second reading. The true figure is about five, as the “head shops” generally now sell safe mild stimulants because they don’t want their regular customers to die.

The attack on nitrous oxide is even more peculiar as this gas has been used for pain control for women in childbirth and surgical pain treatments for more than 100 years with minimal evidence of harm. But when a couple of premiership footballers are filmed inhaling a nitrous oxide balloon, then it becomes a public health hazard. In typical fashion the press renamed it “hippy crack” to scare people – what could me more frightening to elderly readers than an invasion of hippies on crack? In truth, the effect of nitrous oxide is nothing like crack and no self-respecting hippy would ever use it. Still, it seems likely it will be banned along with every other mind-altering substance that is not exempted.


That's right NO2. The stuff the dentist gives you so that you don't whine about him poking sharp instruments around in your mouth for an hour or so. But because people want to use it for recreational purposes, suddenly politicians need to lie about how dangerous it is. Seriously drug use isn't a personal failing! Stop supporting such anti-freedom measures. ALL drugs should be legal, or at the least not be criminalized.
edit on 28-10-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



+35 more 
posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

-Ayn Rand


+17 more 
posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:13 AM
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a reply to: greencmp

I really feel like the war on drugs is holding our country back from being what it should be. It is just TOO connected to too many other problems within our country: immigration, urban violence, gun crime, police violence, etc. If we were to totally revamp our drug laws and lessen the penalties for drugs, I'd bet our country would turn around in no time.

This is why I so vehemently support pro-marijuana politicians (and eventually pro-drug politicians, but it's still too early politically for a politicians to safely come out in support of decriminalizing all drugs but eventually it should happen).



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:20 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I completely agree, I would recommend repealing many more counterproductive laws as well but, the drug laws exemplify everything that is negative about interventionism.
edit on 28-10-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)


+4 more 
posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:37 AM
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a reply to: greencmp

I feel like once the drug laws are done away with, many more solutions will just naturally fall into place. We no longer would have to work around the big elephant in the room trying to make whatever issue of the day work because no one wants to discuss the drug issue because "drugs are bad MMMM'kay".

It's the most backasswards discussion in the country. Data, research and statistics are completely thrown out the window in place of fear rhetoric. Then restrictions are placed ON the materials themselves to prevent new research from being conducted to possibly dispel said rhetoric. It's literally the most damaging conspiracy affecting our country right now, and it's real. Science and REAL intellectual research ACTUALLY backs this conspiracy up.

Yet even here on ATS we only very recently were allowed to even TALK about it, and we still can't discuss personal usage (which really isn't a problem for me because I don't like making arguments based around personal anecdotes anyways, but it is annoying). I remember the days when I'd get a nice juicy marijuana story, post it here, only to see the thread deleted an hour or so later.

I want to be clear, I don't want to just decriminalize/legalize marijuana. I think ALL illegal drugs should be decriminalized. The war on drugs needs to be ended completely. It is a huge waste of money and has contributed to us having the highest incarceration rate in the world.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:44 AM
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There's actually an awesome documentary series by the history channel on how illegal drugs became illegal. It clearly points out the fact that cannabis, coke and opiates were all made illegal purely for racial reasons. Likewise, MDMA and hallucinogens were also made illegal as a result of pure discrimination against a certain culture.

Surprisingly, none of the mainstream illegal drugs were actually made illegal because of any perceived danger associated with the use of said drug. Its always been about racism or discrimination that have caused drugs to become illegal.

Here's the History Channels 4 part documentary about it, for anyone who wants to educate themselves on the topic.




posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: Subaeruginosa

Well except for alcohol, but that ban was seen to be a mistake.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:48 AM
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Without the war on drugs, we likely wouldn't see our King, er, President have mercy on those poor souls locked away for purely political reasons (the war on drugs is an issue of politics)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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Only street drugs are illegal, their counterparts are readily available with a prescription (not required at liquor stores).



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Nice layout, great information, sourced with OPs
opinions interjected and a great topic..
Jolly good thread from the shot.
SnF



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t


The ban on MDMA has in the UK resulted in more deaths.

Before the ban you were looking at less than 20 deaths a year out of 20 million tablets used.

Now the legal highs that have taken there place cause 10 times the deaths and hospitalisatios.
edit on 28-10-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I think it went something like this.....





posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:56 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t


If we were to totally revamp our drug laws and lessen the penalties for drugs, I'd bet our country would turn around in no time.

That will never happen, prisons are a business. Most of their clients are in there for Marijuana related crimes.

The bottom line is more important. The more laws and stiffer penalties, the better.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

And now you are touching on ANOTHER issue stemming from this unjust war. The article mentions that users will try to migrate to substances that aren't illegal. Well the pharmaceutical industry is heavily invested with lobbying power in the government and makes tons of money off of opiates (which I actually don't have a problem with, I'd rather a legal company made money on drugs than an illegal organization like the mafia). This keeps the opiate pills quasi-legal and thus easier for users to obtain. As a result there was a HUGE spike in opiate addictions at the beginning of the decade. Then the government cracks down on them and we get thrown into another heroin epidemic.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: greencmp

I feel like once the drug laws are done away with, many more solutions will just naturally fall into place. We no longer would have to work around the big elephant in the room trying to make whatever issue of the day work because no one wants to discuss the drug issue because "drugs are bad MMMM'kay".

It's the most backasswards discussion in the country. Data, research and statistics are completely thrown out the window in place of fear rhetoric. Then restrictions are placed ON the materials themselves to prevent new research from being conducted to possibly dispel said rhetoric. It's literally the most damaging conspiracy affecting our country right now, and it's real. Science and REAL intellectual research ACTUALLY backs this conspiracy up.

Yet even here on ATS we only very recently were allowed to even TALK about it, and we still can't discuss personal usage (which really isn't a problem for me because I don't like making arguments based around personal anecdotes anyways, but it is annoying). I remember the days when I'd get a nice juicy marijuana story, post it here, only to see the thread deleted an hour or so later.

I want to be clear, I don't want to just decriminalize/legalize marijuana. I think ALL illegal drugs should be decriminalized. The war on drugs needs to be ended completely. It is a huge waste of money and has contributed to us having the highest incarceration rate in the world.


Yes, I agree.

Humans must not be forbidden by law with the threat of coercive violence from knowingly ingesting, imbibing or otherwise consuming or deploying any substance for whatsoever reason or purpose as they see fit.

Irresponsible outward harmful behavior can be addressed directly, its not a free for all as some prohibitionists might suggest.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

It's amazing how one individual can screw over the entire world for years and years to come, all in the name of self progression, regardless of the damage it can cause to everyone else.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:59 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Ever heard of Krokodil? that drug where



Wherever on the body a user injects the drug, blood vessels burst and surrounding tissue dies, sometimes falling off the bone in chunks. That side effect has earned krokodil its other nickname: the zombie drug. The typical life span of an addict is just two or three years.


Decomposition-the ultimate high!

I get it; Mary jane is the more than likely the safest stimulant on the planet-hell caffeine call kill in large doses. Perhaps education is the key as all stimulants or narcotics are bad if you over indulge.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 11:59 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok

I'm not surprised in the slightest. That's what happened with marijuana and spice. Marijuana remains illegal, so users flock to a drug that is legal and this happens: Big increase in deaths, poisonings from synthetic marijuana. By contrast, the number of deaths from marijuana poisoning (overdose) is 0. It has ALWAYS been 0.
edit on 28-10-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 12:00 PM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

Yea, I've heard of that horror substance. Just looking at what it does to people is disgusting... Yuck... And that started as an alternative to heroin.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

O we have that to.

That synth stuff is over here now.

Its basically a cocktail of other legal highs with no quality control.



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