Thursday, 7 August 2008

More trainspotting in Scotland.

My view of Scotland never recovered from watching Ewan McGregoer jacking up in "Trainspotting". Previously, I thought it was a beautiful little corner of Britain, filled with rolling hills and glens. After Trainspotting, Scotland, and in particular Edinburgh, seemed altogether more sinister.

Since New Labour were elected in 1997, drug deaths in Scotland have doubled. Is this something we can hang on them? Personally, I have always found the government's drug policies totally confusing. It seemed like a sneaky quasi-legalisation followed by an unprincipled retreat when the realized that rampant drug taking might not actually be a good thing.

Just for the record, heroin deaths are up almost 300 percent, alcohol deaths are up 124 percent (yes, the data includes those who drink themselves to death), while ecstasy and diazepam related deaths are down.

Legalize, tolerate or punish? What should it be?


Anonymous said...

And what has drug deaths in scotland to do with the housing bubble?

Anonymous said...

More good news Alice:

August 5, 2008
Repossessions rise 40% as mortgage arrears worsen

ENJOY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


aSteve said...

I assume you've not lived in Edinburgh, Alice?

I spent 3 years during the late 90s. It is a very odd city... most of it is 'middle classed' but there are some absolute dives that house those who've, to all intent and purpose, failed. It is a on one hand, it is schizophrenic environment with extremes of both affluence and poverty... but - on the whole it is somewhat bohemian and multicultural. I didn't like that it seemed perpetually dark - and there was always an undercurrent that anyone from England was unwelcome... which, while never a practical problem, did become tedious over time.

Sighthill and Niddrie were the roughest spots, as I remember them - and, in any case, compared to the rougher areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh was a tranquil and refined haven.

Alice Cook said...


Was there just once. I associate Edinburgh with body-snatching, Adam Smith, and Rebus.



"Legalize, tolerate or punish? What should it be?"

Anthing rather than the status quo, which is all three simultaneously.

aSteve said...

;) I associate it with an amazing art house cinema "The film house"; exquisite restaurants at "The Shore" in Lieth; The ultra-modern festival theatre and world-class ballet; a humming (but very-non-English) pub scene; wonderful cosmopolitan cafes; a stunning Italian delicatessen - and the most internationally populated place I've ever imagined.

Edinburgh the city is quite separate from the surrounding countryside... though that remains a short drive away.

While I was there I didn't see any drug related problems first hand. I met people who smoked cannabis at parties... but nothing stronger. I did have problems with regular break-ins to my car until I replaced it with a more modern alarmed one... thereafter having no problems. I understand that most drugs were easily available if you wanted to find them... and that the supply route was via ships docking at Aberdeen. If anyone invited you to a party in Aberdeen, back then at least, it was appropriate to make an excuse.

Alice Cook said...

asteve, but what about drug taking; legalize, tolerate or punish?

aSteve said...

I take a pragmatic approach... I recognise that the policy of criminalising drugs has failed; I view toleration as generating a lucrative trade for criminals - and that legalisation is the only sensible option.

Frankly, if you want to take a drug today, you can... legislation won't stop you. If half the effort that goes into failing to police drug use was spent on education, a far more positive outcome would be found. We need to avoid politicising drugs and recognise that if someone, in full possession of the best information, decides to inject themselves with opiates - say - then it is no-one's business but their own. Rather than try to eradicate drugs, the state should under-cut the dealers... making any drug available at a minimum price. If drug use leads to premature death, maybe this is the ethical solution to population growth?

I'd also like to see legalisation of non-recreational drugs. For example, I find it ridiculous that I need to involve the NHS should I wish to buy 'spare' asthma inhalers or should I run out of prescription strength antihistamine. The bureaucracy of prescriptions is pathetic - a needless burden on health professionals and - by implication - on every tax payer.

Among all the reasons there are for avoiding recreational drug use, a technical prohibition is among the least credible. Bang all drugs on the poison's register - QED.

powerman said...

Depends on the drug I think. Don't want to see Alcohol banned, and I think cannabis can be used with less risk by most people. Heroin and Crack, different story.

A said...

Legalize, regulate and tax.

Banning drugs doesn't work. As soon as something is banned a thriving black market is created. I would argue banning something leads to more people involved in crime, much more than those directly involved as a whole industry is created.

When something is illegal its not regulated. So in the case of drugs you can get tainted drugs which create a greater health risk to users, than a regulated version of the drug.

On a slight tangent, I think that drug abuse (including alcohol) is a very good indicator of the general mental health of a country and that is the real issue which needs to be addressed.

The UK is becoming (has become?) a horrid place to live. We are snooped on at every move, we encourage people to 'snitch' on their neighbors, we cant afford a modest home, we have been sold the false dream of credit, we have a government that is no longer a servant to the people, but a ruler of the people, we are constantly controlled by and manipulated by fear, we aspire to be the next celebrity and have fame and money even though its unattainable to 99.999% of the population creating false hope, we have an education system that cannot educate, we have a health service that cannot heal, we have a pension system that is a joke, the economy is about to collapse........

So why is anyone surprised that we want to get 'off our heads'.

electro-kevin said...

Drug deaths doubled in Scotland.

Have you got a problem with this then, Alice ?

wildgoose said...

Legalise and regulate. After all, Prohibition in America worked so well didn't it? Illegal goods = higher prices and no taxes to pay, a win-win situation.

Besides which, they can't even keep drugs out of prisons - so even if they succeed in turning the country into a full-on Police State they still won't be able to eliminate illegal drugs anyway.

Legalise, regulate - and tax, using the resulting monies to offset any harm caused by drug misuse. Let the addicts pay for their own future treatment.

Anonymous said...

A good start would be to stop treating the junkie Bastards as victims. We all make our own choices in life. The more drug deaths the better, less scum to infect our society.