"So, a Vicar, ex Member of Parliament and the father of a Pop Star all walk into a bar"...
This week Channel 4's "Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial" promises to be the biggest joke television has seen this year. Trying to keep a straight face, the programme-makers are claiming the series will strive to 'tell the truth' about recreational drugs.
I can tell you now... It won't.
Don't get me wrong, I am not 'panning' the show. In fact, the only problem I have with it from an 'Entertainment' and 'TV Ratings' perspective, is that I didn't come up with the idea first!
Now I am not a medical professional with a doctorate or professorship in front of my name but, being in my twenties and working in the media, you can argue I am quite an expert when it comes to dealing with recreational drug use.
Drug use has become just as common as 'having a pint' and I would doubt there is a family anywhere the world over who hasn't already been touched or affected by its curse. Sadly, what programmes like this one do is cash in on, and trivialise the toughest question plaguing Governments the world over... What to do about illicit drugs?
Only a fool would say that we are winning the war on drugs... We are copping a hiding! Now I am no military tactician, but when you are fighting an unwinnable war, the most sensible thing is to do is surrender while you still hold some ground, so you can seek favourable peace terms.
I for one, cannot honestly remember the last time I went out and didn't see drugs. At parties, I now find just as many people on drugs as drinking. When I enter any nightclub toilets, every cubicle has multiple sets of shoes under the doors, accompanied by a lot of sniffing sounds. Now unless everyone's bringing mates in to hold them so 'they don't fall in' and we're in the middle of a flu pandemic- I think it is safe to assume everyone is in there doing 'rails'.
Just so you know, I'm not an advocate for drug use, in fact I am far from being one... However I am an advocate for commonsense and commonsense tells us that we should try something else, because banning these recreational drugs, it isn't working.
As long as drugs remain illegal, we will continue to have serious and violent crime; all because we've been tackling the problem the wrong way. Ten, twenty, even thirty years in gaol is well worth the risk when we have an illegal drug trade which in this day and age isn't just making Millionaires, but Billionaires. Besides, it's never the Drug Lords that get caught, but only their underlings and mules.
So, instead of continuing to fail when it comes to prosecuting drug dealers, we should maybe try to simply make them redundant.
Professor David Nutt, your former Chief Adviser on Drugs, was sacked when he said "alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than LSD, Ecstasy and cannabis". He has also suggested that "horse-riding is more dangerous than taking Ecstasy".
This is the man heading up the Channel 4 programme. Why has he had to forsake his credibility to conduct a cheap television stunt?
They answer, it's because your Government sacked him for giving advice they didn't want to hear.
I know many people who take drugs. Not all drug users are addicts, just like not all drinkers are alcoholics. The people I know are all honest citizens, they all work hard, they all pay taxes, and for most of them, the only thing they have ever done illegal in their entire lives is buy and use the recreational drugs in question.
So, if we legalised drugs, I am sure society wouldn't break down. I predict society would be EXACTLY as it is now. All that would change, is there would be less crime, and better roads.
I don't hate drugs personally, but I do hate the crime associated with them. What we need to do is turn the drug industry over our Governments. Monopolise it, capitalise it and regulate it. Within a few years it will generate more money than our bureaucrats will know how to spend.
It will assist to fund public works, we can lower taxes, and help the lower classes and those living in poverty. It will also reduce the crime rate as well as slash the operational costs for the police, courts, and prison system. In 2011, only 14% of the UK prison population was incarcerated for drug offences, but when asked, more than half, 55% of prisoners said their crimes were directly related to their drug use. I put it down to the fact that once they are breaking that law, it becomes easier to break more, and if the Government was in charge of drugs, they wouldn't accept stolen I-Pads for their product!
Don't think I am some 'Pinko Flowerchild' keen to get high at a moment's notice. I want to reduce the prevalence of drugs in society, which ironically, will be best done by making them legal.
And no, I'm not taking drugs when I suggest this; there is a concrete precedent in tobacco.
In Australia, a packet of cigarettes cost roughly £12.00. However of that £12.00, only £3.50 is the cost of manufacturing cigarettes and their profit. The Lion's share, a staggering £8.50 of each packet of cigarettes is pure Government Tax.
Now smoking is bad right? Well, it sure does kill more people than drugs do... So it must be. However, rather than trying to throw all smokers in prisons or outlaw it completely... My Government collects the hundreds of millions from smoking taxes and spends that money treating addicts, subsidizing medication and treatments to get them to stop smoking, and as for the rest of the money; it goes back into the public purse.
It has been a remarkable success. In 1945, 75% of adult men and 25% of adult women smoked in Australia. Today only 14% of both males and females smoke; and guess what? This figure is less than the 20% of Australians who regularly use illicit drugs!
In the UK, you can purchase one gram of Cocaine for anywhere between £40-£50, and in Australia, where it is more expensive still, it costs between £190-£260 per gram. Add all of that money up, that's a lot of classrooms and hospital beds!
Because if anybody is still willing to spend £260 for one gram of powder to put it up their nose after it has been up some blokes arsehole, than I would say there is a sure fire profit to be made!
Despite the cost of drugs like Cocaine in Australia, 1 in 5 Australians is still getting high. So obviously, cost is not a factor. Because in Australia, the only thing cost has done is turn Cocaine into a luxury item, used exclusively by celebrities and white collar professionals.
So I say legalise drugs, tax them through the roof, because if some solicitor, doctor, or 'wanker banker' is willing to blow 200 quid every Saturday night shoving shit up his nose, than I say let him!
Just make sure the Government gets the profits, not some Drug Lord. Because a Drug Lord will always want more users, but if Governments are in charge of drugs they will endeavour to reduce their use, and give as better public transport as well!
I am not going to rattle off the health statistics to validate my argument. We've all seen them, and we all know that recreational drugs are nowhere near as harmful as cigarettes or alcohol.
Drugs are not a health issue, it is a moral one. We will never win the drug war fighting drug dealers... So let us stop giving Billions to 'Scarface' and let's pump those profits into schools instead.