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Monday, November 27, 2006

 

A modest proposition

I was reading all the comments on Dave Copperfields blog a couple of days ago about Opiate addiction and felt moved to suggest the following;


Here's an idea. Purchase the entire Afghan poppy harvest (Give the farmers a better 'fairtrade' price than the warlords and use our existing military muscle to beef up the policy) thus cutting down the supply. Next; All convicted addicts should be given jobs as 'outreach social workers' in the Afghan poppy fields thus closing the gap between supplier and 'customer'.

Have no idea if it would work, but anything's better (And cheaper) than the mess we have now.

Regards

Bill

Upon reflection, I feel that the idea is under refined and requires adjustment in the light of historical record. The strategy would require several distinct phases.
  1. Purchase at ‘Fairtrade’ prices the entire opium harvest of Afghanistan.
  2. Send convicted dealers in class A substances to act as supervised ‘Outreach workers’ in the Opium growing areas. No flak jackets for protection just W H Smith bog standard clipboards.
  3. Use part of the surplus to supply existing addicts free of charge until they finally OD and free up Police time and resources that way.
  4. Use another part of the crop to produce pharmaceuticals for legitimate uses such as pain relief for UK Terminal Cancer patients.
  5. Become a major supplier of Pharmaceutical opiates to the rest of the world by controlling a large share of the global supply.
  6. Use the profits from said trade to make good some of the current budget shortfall

Point one: Buying out the entire Afghan opium harvest would certainly be cheaper than the current dead end of a prolonged military conflict. The warlords and sponsors of Terrorism would have to find another way of paying for their
ammunition.
Point two: Exporting the dealers out to a highly restricted substance
rich environment would either a) turn them into addicts b) get them killed by
the locals or even c) Get them on the road to sorting their lives out. Any of
these would do.
Point three: Providing registered addicts (Like in the 1960’s and
70’s) with prescription Heroin on demand would reduce the burden of petty crime, and furthermore make a large hole in the funding of organised crime (They’d soon find something else, but I never said the idea was perfect).
Point four: Home produced pharmaceuticals for pain relief would reduce some of the problems with current high NHS drug prices.
Point five: Why shouldn’t we profit from what is after all, a purely business arrangement.
Point six: Providing the whole operation was run on a modest budget and kept mostly out of the EU (Thus sidestepping the ‘elf & safety’ aspects and needless bureaucracy of anything the European Commissioners touch) it might (Gasp!) turn a modest profit whilst removing a sizeable chunk of the funding for Terrorism and organised crime.

I’m sure the moralists out there will get on their high horses and scream that ‘Don't do drugs, drugs are bad’ and should be totally eradicated, my point is that Opium forms the basis for many useful means of pain relief, and a a proof I offer the following; a few years ago I had a little run in with a form of Cancer, and boy was I glad of a little post operative Diamorphine then!

In the words of William Shakespeare “Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so.” There are notable exceptions to this axiom, but pain relief for sick people isn’t one of them. As for giving addicts free gear to shoot up controlled doses in a safe environment, why not? If they want to OD, in the words of Brian Clarks play; Whose life is it anyway? Do others have the right to intervene in anothers addiction(s)? I’d call it a Win-win scenario myself. As for the addicts grieving families, sorry folks, but addicts by their very nature (Generally speaking, I’m sure there are some exceptions) aren’t that good at being the ‘family type’.

Having run into a few class A addicts in my time, I recognise that they are basically weak people who have trouble controlling and channelling their own drives and urges. My experience tells me that no matter what; you can’t live people’s lives for them, so why even try?

For example; Prohibition in 1920’s America was a failure. Taxation and quality control over the years have proved far better controls of Alcohol. Why should the same controls not be applied to Class A drugs?

My argument is that all you can do is keep the lid on the worst excesses of humanity (As with my job) and let the winners win, and the losers edit themselves out of existence. Perfection is not a state many humans can ever reach or even agree on. We are, as a species, fallible and not every one of us is worth saving. I'm probably not, and would bitterly resent your interfering if you tried to 'save' my miserable neck from the consequences of my own actions.

I’m sure people like the Guardianistas will recoil in horror at such a suggestion; but humans (at least in my observation) are driven not by high morals, intellect, or whatever, but by base visceral urges. One only has to look at some ‘top shelf’
magazines to see the lengths some people will go to get their rocks off. Better
still; visit the red light district in any major European city. My point is this; you can’t buck human nature.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The colonisation of North America over the past 300 years seems to have been a success in some respects and the arrival of Britain's rejects in Australia by deportation produced a new civilised nation. So I would suggest we learn from history and export all our law breakers with one way tickets to Afghanistan or Iraq. Their sheer numbers would protect them as a community from which they could spread out and civilise the stone age morons who presently occupy these countries.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 12:03:00 am  
Anonymous James said...

That's probably the most sensible suggestion for dealing with the Afghan opium problem I've ever heard, though I'm worried by the idea of sending drug pushers into bandit country unsupervised; the ones who are bright enough not to get themselves beheaded will be in their element, and Afghanistan will become the new Sicily.

And we'll just quietly draw a veil (no pun intended) over the previous comment, shall we? No? Oh, all right then, if you insist... If you think we ought to be out there bringing the benefits of civilisation to the fuzzy-wuzzies then I suggest you go out there yourself and see what they tell you to do with yourself, you patronising little twerp!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:40:00 am  
Blogger Bill Sticker said...

James,

What will happen will probably be more along these lines, or perhaps like this. However, it has interesting parallels with how the last British Empire was built. The British went out to secure trade routes and smash the slave trade, then ended up owning half the world in Victorian times.

Funny old thing, life.

Regards

Bill

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:53:00 am  

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