2.08.2009

just legalize it already.

finally, a sensible take on the michael phelps "scandal".

bottom line: everybody put in the position of hero ain't one.

furthermore, it is extraordinarily problematic to worship youth on the one hand, then be unforgiving when youth acts like itself.

legally speaking, yeah, he screwed up.

morally, though, what has he done besides show us he can swim?

he has not been entrusted with the lives of children, the financial future of hundreds, or the governance of a city, town or state.

so far, he's a kid who can swim. what are you broken hearted about?

7 comments:

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

This is really no big deal. Many athletes drink so whats so wrong with pot just because it is not legal?

mindful said...

I wouldn't push the label of kid on him at all, not at 23-24, but I fail to see the big deal about the whole situation. What's done is done, I'm like, let the man be.

ms. bliss honeycomb said...

i agree with both of you...even the crackdown from the local police on the other students at the party is a bit...over the top. we're not talking about catching them red handed, or even dealing (so far as i've heard). we're talking about PICTURES.

i'm a supporter of drug decriminalization in general. that might be another post. but even given its illegality, how many college professors, non profit directors, and politicians would fail a pot test right NOW?

if he were pictured shooting up, i'd be more concerned. some pot? not so much.

no_slappz said...

Decriminalization of pot and other recreational drugs is one thing.

Legalization is something else, and it is extreme.

If one recreational drug is legalized, others will soon get the same treatment.

But the bigger issue is the difference between drugs and alcohol. There is a natural limit to the strength of alcohol. And no one drinks straight alcohol. Drinkers almost always dilute beverages that are much less than 50% alcohol.

But there are no limits on the mind-altering powers of drugs. Today's pot is many times more powerful than the pot of the 1960s and 70s.

If pot were legalized, a lot of researchers would create new versions that are even more potent than today's product.

The same scientific expertise would create a huge range of recreational drug products if legalization were extended to all substances. A national nightmare would follow.

We can live with decriminalized drugs. We should treat people with drug problems as a public health issue. Not as a criminal problem.

But there are no politicians of any race or ethnicity who are willing to stick their necks out for drug users. There are no community leaders, no parent groups and no law enforcement people who believe in legalization.

Most resist decriminalization. And Obama is unlikely to seek change in this aspect of American life.

ms. bliss honeycomb said...

@ no_slappz: i may have used the wrong terminology, but i'll try to be more clear about what i mean when i say i support decriminalization and/or legalization:

we have MANY supposedly "safe" pharmaceuticals that are killing folk left and right.

several "hard" and/or currently illegal drugs are plants, herbs and other natural substances (or their derivatives) that have been used for centuries for various healing, spiritual, and recreational purposes. we should be paying those with the knowledge/understanding of these substances to make things that can benefit mankind as a whole & stop lining ambulance chaser pockets w/ class action suit money after the fact.

we already know that this culture/society is about making a buck. so i'm not all that concerned about how ppl might make a bad thing out of something good.

tobacco is a perfect example. it's a medicinal herb that has been used ceremoniously for eons, but certain folks got their hands on it and turned it into a poison. that's not tobacco's fault, and people still use it for its true(r) purposes. same thing with alcohol--why do you think it's called "spirits"?

addiction = mental health issue. period. so we agree on that.

ppl are going to find ways to "get high" (or, more to the point, alter their consciousness). the difference is the *intention* around this alteration (self-medication? escapism? spiritual connecction? reaction to trauma?).

EVERYTHING, schedule 1-2 on down, should be made legal for sale to adults. tax the hell out of it. use that money for schools, to build housing for EVERYONE, to construct decent mental health programs that actually WORK, regardless of socioeconomic status/access...things that would, in the not-so-long run help to create a more equitable society where ppl are happier and don't have this obsessive need to do drugs in the first place.

will kids still get their hands on them? of course. just like they get their hands on drinks, prescription drugs, etc. but, again, we need to ask WHY these kids are so desperate for the stuff, not continue to sacrifice hundreds of lives every year 'cause we wanna feel like we're winning some dubious war. that, to me, is the true extreme.

all we're doing right now is funding a bunch of gun runners and crooked cops/politicians; if you follow the money, you see the reasons why it's not ALREADY legal.

and, finally, if we have to fear some kind of "national nightmare", then i'd have to ask: why do ppl have to be zapped outta their gourds to live "happily" here?

legalize (decriminalize?) it ALL, i say.

no_slappz said...

If the US were to LEGALIZE recreational drugs, we would see companies like Pfizer, Bristol Meyers and others creating drugs more powerful and mind-altering than any that have appeared so far.

But in addition, huge marketing campaigns would begin. Just like advertising campaigns for liquor, cigarettes and other popular consumer items, recreational drugs would get a huge push into our everyday lives.

In addition to bars we would have sites for drug consumption.

The concept might have some merit if there were natural limits on the potency and effects of recreational drugs, like the limits Nature puts on alcohol.

But with recreational drugs, the only limitation on their power is found in the mind of the chemist creating them.

Legalization would create a nightmare.

Decriminalization would take most of the crime out of the existing drug market while doing little to expand it. Decriminalization would allow the current market to exist while rescuing people who develop unmanageable problems. Much of the profit would disappear, which would reduce the violence tied to the money circulating in the trade.

You wrote:

"we have MANY supposedly "safe" pharmaceuticals that are killing folk left and right."

Your statement is simply false.

There are 300 million people in the US and a tiny tiny number die from adverse reactions to prescribed drugs. Meanwhile, every drug company acknowledges that it's possible for people to experience side effects. Even aspirin is a threat to a few people.

On the other hand, there are over one thousand deaths each year due to overdoses from taking illegal drugs. And AIDS is spread among IV drug users who reuse needles.

Other social problems are also tied to drug use. Prostitution, for example. Drug legalization means more drug addiction, which means more desperate people selling sex, and that means an increase in AIDS.

ms. bliss honeycomb said...

If the US were to LEGALIZE recreational drugs, we would see companies like Pfizer, Bristol Meyers and others creating drugs more powerful and mind-altering than any that have appeared so far.

and the government isn't already into that sort of thing?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MKULTRA
http://www.michael-robinett.com/declass/c000.htm

...those companies will have plenty to go on. i won't even get into the cia/contra/cocaine connections. you might think that's bunk anyway. i'm not a conspiracy theorist, but i don't believe everything i see/read/hear, either.

re: the prescription stuff:

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/23/science/sci-drugs23

http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/article960684.ece

http://ezinearticles.com/?Suburban-Teen-Prescription-Drug-Addiction-and-Drug-Deaths-Rising&id=1902014

deaths may not be "high", but injuries are pretty substantial. and many of those injuries (e.g. a drug that weakens your heart) can prove fatal over time. stats don't mean shit when it's your fam/loved ones, and certain groups ARE disproportionately affected.

there are constant ads from lawyers trying to make $$ off ppl who've been "hurt" by fda-approved whatever. they wouldn't be spending money on the ads if this weren't a problem.

as i said in my last response, i'm talking about HOLISTIC, RESPONSIBLE decriminalization/legalization efforts that would involve the things you're talking about.

clean needle programs, for example, have been proven to prevent overdoses as well as the spread of disease. i worked in a drug treatment center for 2 years and met plenty of folks who did this kind of work. it's not pretty, but it can save lives.

affordable and readily available drug treatment that offers a variety of treatment styles (something like this: http://www.cancercenter.com/) would enable addicts to get clean with the true support they need.

and, since you mentioned it, i also promote the decriminalization of sex work/prostitution--for several reasons. first, it ain't goin anywhere. so the best way to keep it from turning into a public health issue is *education*. if it's regulated/contained, it's much easier to educate both parties about safer sex and even *demand* it.

if you're interested in learning more about ppl who do this kind of work from an advocacy perspective:

http://www.sexworkersproject.org/

http://www.iswface.org/

http://www.bayswan.org/

regardless of what happens, everybody isn't gonna run out & get high just like everybody doesn't drink just 'cause alcohol's legal.