Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    03 Sep '10 09:28
    Earlier this year the 'legal high' mephedrone was banned by the UK government after it was implicated in the deaths of 18 people in England. The deaths of two teenagers who had reportedly taken the drug was the tipping point and the government banned the substance. Although once toxicology tests had been performed it turned out they hadn't even taken the drug. In fact most cases where the media alleged mephedrone was the cause of death turned out not to be the case.

    Here's a link to the North West Public Health Observatories report on the BBC website which reveals 16,000 people died from alcohol related harm last year.

    Where's the media outcry?

    Where's the Daily Mail (right wing newspaper) campaign to get the drug scheduled like they did with cannabis?

    Shocking double standards.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11138535
  2. 03 Sep '10 09:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    Shocking double standards.
    The same applies to cigarettes.
    It is very difficult to ban something that a significant number of people partake in. It can be achieved gradually as with cigarettes, but an all out ban is almost impossible.
    I believe some Muslim countries have managed to ban alcohol though.

    As for you actual figures, what percentage of alcohol drinkers died, and what percentage of mephedrone users died? Without those figures, your figures have little meaning.
  3. 03 Sep '10 10:26
    Drugs bring out the most hypocrisy in people.
  4. 03 Sep '10 10:31
    I must also ask over what period the two substances being compared have been used. Did those who died due to alcohol use it once, or over many years? What about the mephedrone users?
  5. 03 Sep '10 10:35
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I must also ask over what period the two substances being compared have been used. Did those who died due to alcohol use it once, or over many years? What about the mephedrone users?
    I don't think Proper Knob is trying to argue that mephedrone is safe to use, but rather that is has been banned before it could be established whether or not it was a genuine threat to public health, while alcohol is known to be dangerous and is freely available.
  6. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    03 Sep '10 10:49
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I don't think Proper Knob is trying to argue that mephedrone is safe to use, but rather that is has been banned before it could be established whether or not it was a genuine threat to public health, while alcohol is known to be dangerous and is freely available.
    That's exactly my point, i only picked mephedrone as an example as it was just recently banned.

    There just seems to be a complete lack of rational debate when it somes to drugs legal or illegal. Mephedrone, as an example, was banned after inconclusive proof as to the 'dangers' associated with it. After the substance was banned it was found that people who were alleged to have died as a result from taking the drug didn't or hadn't even taken the drug at all.

    This report into alcohol related deaths indicates that people are dying in their thousands as a result of alcohol and people don't batter an eyelid. And that's not even taking into account the 120,000 people a year who die as a result of smoking in the UK.

    There needs to be a rational debate about socities use of drugs (and i include alcohol and tobacco in that trem) based on evidence and rational thought as opposed to fear and lies as is the case at the moment.
  7. 03 Sep '10 11:30
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    There just seems to be a complete lack of rational debate when it somes to drugs legal or illegal. Mephedrone, as an example, was banned after inconclusive proof as to the 'dangers' associated with it.
    It makes total sense to ban a drug that has evidence that it is dangerous and it is not yet known how dangerous. Why not?

    After the substance was banned it was found that people who were alleged to have died as a result from taking the drug didn't or hadn't even taken the drug at all.
    All 18 people hadn't taken it? Or just 2? What does later information have to do with whether their decision without that information was correct?

    This report into alcohol related deaths indicates that people are dying in their thousands as a result of alcohol and people don't batter an eyelid.
    You are making two errors here.
    1. You are making the assumption that thousands of deaths is worse than 18, simply because it is a bigger number. Thats bad statistics.
    There is a nice short movie at our local aquarium that points out that more people are killed by defective toasters every year than are killed by sharks. Its quite a significant difference. Over a hundred are killed by toasters and less than 10 by sharks. The stats for chairs look even worse.
    Would you rather go in a kitchen with a toaster, or go swimming in the shark tank?

    2. You say people don't bat an eyelid? What gives you that idea? The dangers of alcohol are fairly well known and people talk about it all the time. There are even laws against drinking and driving etc.

    And that's not even taking into account the 120,000 people a year who die as a result of smoking in the UK.
    That too. Ever heard of the 'surgeons general warning'? Ever heard of the massive lawsuits against tobacco companies and campaigns to create smoke free zones etc? Whats this about no batting an eyelid?

    There needs to be a rational debate about socities use of drugs (and i include alcohol and tobacco in that trem) based on evidence and rational thought as opposed to fear and lies as is the case at the moment.
    Well be rational then. What 'fear and lies' are you talking about? As far as I can tell those are your tactics.

    Be rational now. What is effect on your life expectancy if you drink alcohol in moderation? What about if you drink it in excess?
    What are the same figures for mephedrone?
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Sep '10 13:18 / 1 edit
    twhitehead basically made all the points I was going to make. But I will just add in general, that number of deaths as a raw number is meaningless. You need to look at deaths caused by an activity:

    1) As a percentage of total uses of the product
    2) measured against its benefits

    Otherwise, it would be trivial to argue that cars are far more dangerous than nuclear weapons, at least in the last 60 years.
  9. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Sep '10 13:19
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I don't think Proper Knob is trying to argue that mephedrone is safe to use, but rather that is has been banned before it could be established whether or not it was a genuine threat to public health, while alcohol is known to be dangerous and is freely available.
    Alcohol is known to be dangerous, but relative to the frequency of its use, its dangers are minimal.
  10. 03 Sep '10 14:13
    Originally posted by sh76
    Alcohol is known to be dangerous, but relative to the frequency of its use, its dangers are minimal.
    The dangers of e.g. cannabis and many varieties of magic mushrooms are much smaller, yet these drugs are banned in most places.
  11. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Sep '10 14:15
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    The dangers of e.g. cannabis and many varieties of magic mushrooms are much smaller, yet these drugs are banned in most places.
    You have any data to back up that assertion?
  12. 03 Sep '10 14:24
    Originally posted by sh76
    You have any data to back up that assertion?
    THC has an extremely low toxicity and the amount that can enter the body through the consumption of cannabis plants poses no threat of death. In lab animal tests, scientists have had much difficulty administering a dosage of THC that is high enough to be lethal. It also appears that humans cannot die from ingesting too much THC, unless it were introduced into the body intravenously (See also: Intravenous Marijuana Syndrome).[citation needed] Indeed, a 1988 ruling from the United States Department of Justice concluded that "In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity."[13]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_cannabis

    Psilocybin mushrooms are non-addictive and rarely abused. They do create short-term increases in tolerance of users, thus making it difficult to abuse them since the more often they're taken, less effects take place.[11] Poisonous (sometimes lethal) wild picked mushrooms can be easily mistaken for psilocybin mushrooms, but true psilocybin mushrooms are non-toxic, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a branch of the Center for Disease Control, rated psilocybin less toxic than aspirin.[12][11] When psilocybin is ingested, it is broken down to produce psilocin, which is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects.[11]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybin_mushroom
  13. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    03 Sep '10 14:30
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It makes total sense to ban a drug that has evidence that it is dangerous and it is not yet known how dangerous. Why not?

    [b]After the substance was banned it was found that people who were alleged to have died as a result from taking the drug didn't or hadn't even taken the drug at all.

    All 18 people hadn't taken it? Or just 2? What does later in ...[text shortened]... tion? What about if you drink it in excess?
    What are the same figures for mephedrone?[/b]
    Good points, i would expect nothing less, and i'll get through them all in time.

    First off, an example of fear and lies. Here in the UK we have, or had, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drug (ACMD). Which is an independent group of scientists who look at all the data and research, and report back their findings to the government. In 2004 the UK government downgraded cannabis to Class C, and in May 2008 reclassified back to B.

    The government and the right wing media (particularly the Daily Mail) told us the reasons for reclassification were thus -

    1) Cannabis was a so called 'gateway' drug to 'hard' drugs. The ACMD said there was no such evidence to substantiate this.

    2) Cannabis, in the form of skunk, is up to 10 times stronger than 'normal' cannabis. The ACMD said this was not the case, it is at best twice as strong.

    3) The link between high strength skunk and mental health is incorrect. Keele University did a big study on cannabis use and instances of schizophrenia, this was going to be the governments 'smoking gun' on why cannabis should be reclassified. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way.

    Between 1996 and 2005 the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining.

    and

    In conclusion, this study did not find any evidence of increasing schizophrenia or psychoses in the general population from 1996 to 2005

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19560900
  14. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    03 Sep '10 15:26 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It makes total sense to ban a drug that has evidence that it is dangerous and it is not yet known how dangerous. Why not?

    [b]After the substance was banned it was found that people who were alleged to have died as a result from taking the drug didn't or hadn't even taken the drug at all.

    All 18 people hadn't taken it? Or just 2? What does later in tion? What about if you drink it in excess?
    What are the same figures for mephedrone?[/b]
    Here's some stats. I'll use ecstasy as as example as it's been around for longer and there is good data on it. Not so on mephedrone as it's a new drug.

    Deaths from ecstasy in the UK are estimated to be between 10-17 by the ACMD. From 1994-2003 ecstasy was the sole drug mentioned on 165 deaths. I makes that 18, i'll round it up to 20 for convenience.

    Forget thet here's some better stats from -

    http://www.drugscope.org.uk/resources/drugsearch/drugsearchpages/ecstasy

    Best estimate of the number of people who have used ecstasy in the last year and the recorded number of death where ecstasy was the only substance implicated. (England & Wales)

    2003/04 2.0% 614,000 8 % of users killed - 0.0000013
    2004/05 1.8% 556,000 14 - 0.0000025
    2005/06 1.6% 502,000 19 - 0.0000038
    2006/07 1.8% 567,000 18 - 0.0000032
    2007/08 1,5% 470,000 10 - 0.0000021




    Now for alcohol.
    It's estimated 90% of England and Wales adult population drink. The combined population is 54 million (give or take) so i make that 48.6 million drinkers and 16,000 deaths. My shoddy maths makes that.

    0.000033% of drinkers die. Which is more than ecstasy related deaths.
  15. 03 Sep '10 15:33
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    Here's some stats. I'll use ecstasy as as example as it's been around for longer and there is good data on it. Not so on mephedrone as it's a new drug.

    Deaths from ecstasy in the UK are estimated to be between 10-17 by the ACMD. From 1994-2003 ecstasy was the sole drug mentioned on 165 deaths. I makes that 18, i'll round it up to 20 for convenience.
    ...[text shortened]... aths makes that.

    0.000033% of drinkers die. Which is more than ecstasy related deaths.
    It should be noted that if ecstacy were to be legalized, the government could regulate the content of the pills, reducing the chance of harmful contaminants and further reducing the death toll, probably to zero.