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Alcohol worst drug overall 2010-Nov-15 at 19:09 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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From Alcohol ‘more harmful than heroin’ says Prof David Nutt, 1-Nov-2010:

Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered, according to a study in the Lancet.

The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former government chief drugs adviser who was sacked in 2009.

It ranked 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society.

Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall.

The study by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs also said tobacco and cocaine were judged to be equally harmful, while ecstasy and LSD were among the least damaging.

This is an attempt to take a multi-perspectival approach to Britain’s overall drug policy and enforcement.  Among the things that such an approach would have to look at would be both the individual toll and the toll on society around the use of each drug.

When this group used exactly that approach, they found that alcohol clearly was the worst drug in terms of its overall effects, ranking near the top in individual harm, and ranking well above all others in terms of its negative effects on society.

By the way, Ecstasy, LSD, and Mushrooms were three of the four least damaging drugs in the study.

If we’re going to develop an Integral perspective on drug policy, this is the kind of study that we need to sanction and support here in the United States and around the world.  And we’d do well to listen to the… sorry, got distracted by some woman in a tight shirt selling beer… results.

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Legalize it? Integral will. 2010-Oct-01 at 08:29 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Bill Piper is the Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

From Sooner or later, marijuana will be legal, by Bill Piper, 28-Sep-2010:

Even though police made more than 850,000 marijuana arrests last year, a recent government report shows youth marijuana use increased by about 9 percent.

Supporters of the failed war on drugs will no doubt argue this increase means policymakers should spend more taxpayer money next year arresting and incarcerating a greater number of Americans. In other words, their solution to failure is to do more of the same. Fortunately, the "reform nothing" club is getting mighty lonely these days — 76 percent of Americans recognize the drug war has failed; millions are demanding change.

In the almost 40 years since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, tens of millions of Americans have been arrested and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent. Yet drugs are just as available now as they were then.

The racial disparities are appalling. As Michelle Alexander so eloquently shows in her new book, "The New Jim Crow," a drug conviction automatically makes a person a second-class citizen who can be legally discriminated against in housing and employment, denied school loans, and barred for life from serving on juries, accessing public benefits and even voting. While African Americans make up only about 13 percent of the U.S. population and about 15 percent of drug users, they make up about 38 percent of those arrested for drug law violations and a mind-boggling 59 percent of those convicted for drug law violations.

Even if Proposition 19 loses, it will only be temporary. Support for marijuana legalization is growing, and not just in California. Legalization will happen. It’s just a question of how many lives and tax dollars will be wasted before it does. Some vested interests, of course, will fight change until the bitter end. Progress has never been accepted by everyone.

The Boomers failed to get this job done, but the Integral movement will.  The financial, social, and criminal costs involved, and the obvious failures in this "war", are too great a contradiction to be ignored for much longer.

An Integral perspective allows us to consider the difference between substances that are entheogens (like marijuana, MDMA, LSD, ayahuasca, and mushrooms)  and those that are not (like cocaine and alcohol) and to view the use of those substances with more discernment than previous generations have been able to summon.  We’ll bring research and an understanding of these substances, from all quadrants, into crafting new policies that welcome those who wish to explore different aspects of consciousness through these lenses, and yet still prevent behaviors that impact society negatively.

By the way, the word "entheogen" means "God inside us".  Is that clear enough?

You should be able to trip, but you shouldn’t be allowed to drive when you do.  After all, stop signs can have a funny way of remaining the same distance away no matter how close you get to them….