high

Posted: April 26, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

High

Still can’t quite believe my eyes and ears.  Russell Brand was given a platform to discuss his thoughts on illegal drug use by a Home Affairs Committee earlier this week.  We surely have reached a nadir of celebrity culture in the UK when the likes of Brand can be considered a public policy expert on matters such as this.  Brand, let me remind you, was one of the two “comedians” that took part in the shameful (and highly unfunny) “Sachsgate” phone prank a few years ago.  He has now, seemingly, re-invented himself as the voice of youth and reason.  The (absolutely unwinnable) War on Drugs continues to eat up scarce resources as the police and Government maintain their zero tolerance regime.  My mind returns to the late eighties and early nineties when crime rates and A&E admissions fell as the beer-boys discovered rave music and its associated loved-up drug culture.  Sales of premium strength lagers went into freefall as the stella-generation adopted ecstasy as the perfect accompaniment to their weekend nights out.  Admittedly the media made much of ecstasy-related deaths but, if we strip away the legal and moral arguments, the change from alcohol to “illegal” drugs among young people had many positive effects on society; not least the falling crime rate.  Shaven headed beer monsters were suddenly hugging one another and dancing to techno as they consumed water by the gallon.  Problem is, of course, one mind altering substance is legal and socially acceptable, the other is not.  The rise of illegal drug use has many many dreadful effects like turf-wars and addiction but some would argue the (over) consumption of alcohol has more negative side effects.  If they didn’t exist and we invented alcohol and ecstasy today; which do you think we would make illegal?  Weigh up the costs and benefits to society and the answer to that question becomes very difficult. Perhaps the delightful Mr Brand has some valid points after all?

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Comments
  1. SallyM says:

    The damage alcohol does everyday is horrific. Legalising other substances to add to these problems from what I see everyday really is not going to help. Misusers are still going to be less or unable to work, be financially stricken, have shortened life expectancy and long term health problems. This is without calculating the damage to personal relationships and wellbeing. The unlovely Mr Brand obviously has his own issues with addiction which I really hope he can overcome, but for the life long addict without the support, education and opportunities he has had, it is a very grim daily struggle and a shameful waste of human talent and potential. Services are thinly provided out there to tackle this and related mental health issues. These are where the effort needs to be placed along with early prevention work with kids and teenagers.

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