Detectives fear the teenagers were killed by a contaminated batch of mephedrone. (src)So in other words, they might have been killed by the contaminants, rather than the mephedrone. We'd better figure out which, before we jerk the knee and ban a harmless substance while leaving a harmful one available for sale, hadn't we?For if the chemical compound mephedrone is not responsible for these deaths, then banning it will do nothing to make it safer. In fact, if it's forced onto the black market, then users will be driven into the arms of pushers who really don't care about keeping the law, rather than being able to buy the drug from suppliers who are concerned to operate within the law and to maintain a reputation for safety. The way to keep mephedrone users safe is to regulate its open sale, and prosecute hard those who peddle dangerously-tampered versions.A final thought: is it just me, or does it seem like drugs policy is basically a tool of political influence for the middle-class and middle-aged to attack the interests of the young and the working class?The LPUK (link) and the IEA (link) both have very sane posts on the same topic.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Of the banning of many drugs there is no end
And much knee jerking wearies the body. Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling has an interesting post commenting on the wider social phenomenon of the 'Ban it now!' tendency (link).I'd like to focus very particularly on the specifics of the sad deaths which have grabbed the headlines. The Telegraph reports,