Heroin is one of the safest substances on the planet, so long as you don’t take too much at once. Some experts in the field say it is arguably safer than refined sugar and paracetamol. It’s incredibly cheap to produce (just ask any Afghani), has medical uses and needn’t get in the way of an organised lifestyle. The problems associated with it stems from illegality, which means it gets cut and mixed up with all sorts of shit (including, madly, from time to time, anthrax spores). Of course, it is better not to get addicted to anything (because of the inconvenience if you can’t get it) but there’s not a jot of evidence that making heroin illegal has done anything to control its supply. On the contrary, we’ve just handed over its supply to organised crime, with the result that they collect massive revenues at the expense of our economy. These ill-gotten gains do not entirely fund the lavish lifestyles of gangsters as portrayed in the media. Much of it funnels back into other anti-social activity, such as pimping, people smuggling and aggressive criminal behaviour.
Heroin is but one example of an illegal drug which is as old as the hills. Cannabis is arguably more dangerous since it is generally leads to an addiction to tobacco, which is the most addictive drug on the planet and extremely hazardous to health. The list of traditional recreational drugs is fairly long but now those seeking neurological pleasure increasingly turn to the internet to order drugs made abroad which are not yet illegal. Every time the authorities discover a problem, they seek to ban it, with the result that the badly named fun pharmacists tweak their recipes to produce chemicals which are slightly different from those which have been banned. The upshot of this is that increasing numbers of people are taking drugs without any clue whatsoever about the ingredients, let alone the effects.
Last year, a number of disturbing cases emerged in the USA of a so-called Zombie Drug, which made people oblivious to pain and cannibalistic. The high they obtained from the so-called Bath Salts raised their body temperature so much that they stripped off all their clothes before going on murderous rampages. In the following video there is gruesome footage from the aftermath of one such incident, where the drug user chewed someone’s face off and swallowed the pieces. Other reports state that users were apparently unaffected by tasers and were also able to take more than the usual number of bullets before they died.
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that when Western Powers declare war on… [insert abstract term], we all end up losing? Whilst an American would be stimulant or psychedelic user might make do with the new concoction which led to the horror show in the film above, heroin addicts in Russia are increasingly turning to the equally scary Krocodil.
The reason Russian heroin addicts are taking krocodil is connected to the haphazard efforts of Russian law enforcement. Thanks to their rare successes in enforcing their southern border (which is further than the distance from London to New York) there are occasional shortages of heroin in Russia. You can make krocodil at home from codeine tablets, which can be bought over the counter. Users also add a particular type of eye drops to the mixture, to increase the effects.
Here’s some really disturbing footage about krocodil. It’s so utterly repulsive that not only do you have sign into YouTube to watch it, it even comes with a recommendation from me that you do not watch it. It’s down there with the worst stuff I ever saw during my pupillage for the criminal bar. My legal training hardened me to all sorts of nasty imagery but having watched the next clip myself, I don’t think I want to sleep tonight. I’m including it here because it utterly rams home the point that our societal attitude to drugs has visited this nightmare on those at the very bottom of our community. The only reason anyone takes this drug is because they cannot get heroin. If you think the “war on drugs” is a good idea, please watch this video to see what the consequences of your chosen policy is. You know that you cannot win your war, you know that you cannot cut off the heroin supply to the streets permanently. This video shows a krocodil addict receiving treatment for her injuries. These injuries are always caused by krocodil, due to its ingredients. You can see her rotted flesh. The flesh on her arm has disappeared completely, leaving two bare bones. If the state of her body doesn’t touch you, her screaming certainly will. You have been warned.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler to legalise all those drugs which people have been using for centuries? We could have them dispensed by medical services, which would allow us to keep track of the health of the users. At a stroke, we could wipe out the main source of funding for organised crime, not to mention domestic burglary, as Dr Anne Read proved in Plymouth.
How many more decades do we have to pretend that everybody has the intellectual and social fortitude to ‘just say no’? Once someone’s got onto the slippery slope of addiction, expecting them to choose how to run their lifestyle in much the same way that some people ‘choose’ whether to buy either the Daily Mail or the Daily Telegraph is about as mad as telling people it is now possible to breathe underwater. It just isn’t going to work.
Why do we keep wasting money on turning these victims into criminals? Who benefits from this? Well, obviously organised crime benefits. However, there is another obvious benefactor. I call them the thieving Tory bastards. They trade on fear and loathing. The more fear we have, the more they can get away with in the name of soothing our fear. This political con-trick works in much the same way the cosmetics industry and almost everything else that advertises its products works. We are tempted into buying their product because they have whipped up our insecurities. Similarly, with drugs, we feel helpless. We know we cannot defeat this constant menace, we know we cannot keep our children safe, we know that our homes will be burgled and the simple solution presents itself: keep voting for those who promise the toughest line against drugs. We like simple things. We don’t like turning to experts and following their advice on complex subjects because this makes us feel even more bewildered. Having a tabloid media (owned by the friends of the Tories), which constantly simplifies everything to point of ridiculousness doesn’t help.
To those who say that this isn’t political, look again at the facts. We didn’t have a serious drug problem as a society until politicians decided to prohibit drugs. The Tories have led the ‘war’ in this country. Experts in the field have been calling for drugs to be legalised for ages. The last, Labour, government conspicuously called for evidence based policy but point blank refused to follow the advice of Professor Nutt on this subject. Although Labour are not the Tories, they also completely failed to lead the public on this issue. They aped the Tories so successfully at being touch on law and order that they are virtually indistinguishable from them. Arguably, they are worse.
The problem is partly caused by demographics. The majority of our population is over the age of 55. In the heady seventies not that many people actually joined in with every aspect of the lifestyles associated with counter-culture. Therefore, the majority of the population has no real experience of people smoking a few spliffs and then getting on with exciting, productive lives. They simply do not understand how our proclivities have changed. Consequently, they are frightened of everything they have read in the press. We will probably continue to suffer from the complete failure of our drugs policy until these people become the minority. That sentences the rest of us to continue to suffer the ill effects of society washing its hands of the problem.