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Lower crime and legalise drugs!

Drugs have been around for centuries and have been abused for just as long. Back in the mid 1900's the music scene and drugs commenced a symbiotic relationship that has lasted ever since and shows no sign of abating. Since then the logic behind taking drugs hasn't changed, just everything else has. The 50's and 60's was all about getting high on Mushrooms and Weed, LSD and pure Cocaine. In todays drug cash and carrys, these drugs are viewed as natural, somewhat organic to the drug user if you will. Todays drug dealers prefer to peddle chemical combinations and mixes such as Crystal Meth, Ecstacy, Crack, Ketamine and Speed to name but a few. So while weed is looked upon as a mild drug and cocaine is taken by everyone from your local td to the average nightclub punter on a Saturday night, the huge health problems and short term danger remains predominantly within the new cheaper, stronger and possibly more addictive chemical combos.

When one looks at the drugs scene and the problem it creates, it is of utmost importance to remain honest and objective. I am only in my late twenties and remember the scene from my teenage years like it was yesterday. It is because of this that I am shocked when I hear stories of children as young as twelve injecting heroin in local villages and towns around Cork. When I was twelve I wouldn't have even known what heroin was, I wouldn't even have known what weed was, and I would never have been of an innocent, naive persuasion. It scares me to see how bad the problem has got even in the ten years since I was a teenager. It is time to act. It is time to address the problem in a proactive way, a sensible way and a way that will ensure to deliver results. And what is that you ask? It's time to legalise all drugs!

I can already hear the conservative voices condem such a notion. Pardon me for saying it however, but a conservative should not comment on something they have absolutely no experience in, something they do not understand. We often hear voices of discontent with the political system being condemned for not understanding how life as a legislator truly works. The same can be said for most aspects of life, experience is key to decision making, sadly just like the abortion argument, those on the conservative / lets stick our heads in the sand side, will have never experienced a solitary minute either as an addict or a treatment professional.

Why legalise? I think the majority of sensible people can see we have a huge problem on our hands. The majority of deaths that now arise from drug ingestion are caused by impure products. Take MDMA for example. MDMA is the ingredient that gives the high in Ecstacy. In its purest form, MDMA is actually relatively safe. Some people are surprised to hear that MDMA was actually legal in the US up to recently enough. Is it MDMA that is killing people who overdose on Ecstacy? No it is not. What kills people who take Ecstacy is whats mixed with the MDMA to make the tablet cheap. You can have anything from rat poison to glass, bleach to bricks. If MDMA was to be legalised and regulated, would we have an epidemic of people taking it on our hands? No. People fail to see that we have an epidemic on our hands at the moment, an epidemic that legislators think they'll solve with a few extra Guards in Drug Task Forces.

Legalising has multiple benefits. Firstly you take the money off the dealers who in certain communities cause havoc on a daily basis. The loss of cash to these drug dealers seeds power with it. This in turn means the junior dealers in their teenage years lose the cash and ease of access to drugs along with it. Secondly, we need to get past the moral hazard argument and legalise drugs in order that we can tax them. Imagine a tax where the money could be used to educate and treat users and addicts. Not alone would drug use prevention education and treatment services no longer be taken out of our much maligned health service budget, but the tax on drugs would drastically improve the size of the pot, therefore improving the service and education. Thirdly, through public intervention and control, deaths and overall use can be drastically reduced. Speak to any treatment professional, doctor, nurse or addict. Deaths from drugs that don't include long term abuse are predominantly from impure drugs or an overdose derived from the toxicity of mixing agents. Through regulation and control we can ensure rat poison is not mixed with MDMA amongst the thousands of other toxic mixing agents we force those less fortunate or those of the inquisitive / adventurous disposition to take due to public negligence and fear of the unknown.

I am sure this piece may get met with much condemnation. I understand peoples reluctance to even engage in a debate where one of the main proposals is to make heroin legal to use, I genuinely do. I must assure those people however, that legalising is not done with the intention of creating some sort of mecca for the party goer. It is done to face up to a problem that is blatantly being ignored. There are children shooting up in communities across our nation as you read this piece. That needs to stop. There must also come a point where at a certain age personal choice and responsibility must be encouraged and not simply put forward as an illusion by a nanny state. Legalise drugs to any Irish citizen with a permit over the age of 21, offer free education and treatment when or if required and ensure regular medical check ups. While the thought may be daunting, I assure you such a move would make a massive difference in the fight against drugs. As they say the best form of defence is attack. 

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