Home > australian politics, vote no for nanny state > Henry Kwan Killed by Archaic Drug Law

Henry Kwan Killed by Archaic Drug Law

If drugs were legal Henry Kwan would still be alive. The teenager took drugs expecting it to heighten his focus to help study for exams. Instead he had a psychotic episode and leaped to his death.

This tragedy is not caused by any inherent property related to drugs. It’s a consequence of banning drugs. This is what happens when drugs are illegal. Rather than getting a measured dose of exactly what you asked for prepared in a professional commercial lab, you play roulette with something of unknown composition and quality manufactured in a backyard lab.

Pushing drugs underground makes them dangerous and the result is often death. This effect is not unique to drugs. Drugs are not special in this regard. Ban anything and you’d get the same result. Ban cars and they would no longer be manufactured under strict safety and quality standards. Airbags and ABS wouldn’t exist because that technology is beyond what’s capable when manufacturing a car in a backyard. Wheels would fall of because they haven’t been designed correctly. Training to safely operate the car would not exist without government endorsement. Education on risks and how to mitigate them would similarly not exist.

Banning drugs kills people. No doubt. It also gives power to the organized crime gangs that supply the drugs. So problems with bikies, mafia, etc manifest through the banning of drugs. This is not special to drugs. It is a consequence of having them banned. Organized crime would also supply cars if they were banned. They would become rich and powerful through the dealing of cars.

Not only does banning drugs kill people, but it’s inconsistent with other laws. People are treated differently depending on what their recreational drug of choice is. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are legal  but why are other drugs illegal? Because politicians and “family” associations enjoy the legal drugs but not the others? Is that a good way to decide law?

Actually drugs are no different to any other risk taking activity. Whether it be driving a car, eating unhealthy food or playing a physical contact sport. Safety is garnered through education, training,  risk assessment processes, safe systems of operation and safety in design. All these methods of staying safe are lost when an activity is made illegal. Drugs are not special. Risks associated with drugs can be controlled with the same techniques used to control any risk. It is the law that make drugs dangerous.

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  1. June 8, 2013 at 2:40 am | #1

    I agree. However, how do you formulate laws which differentiate between highly addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine, and less harmful drugs such as cannabis? Furthermore, how do you control the manufacture of designer drugs? Which drugs do you allow into society and which drugs remain illegal? If society had the chance to prohibit tobacco – it certainly would, and most likely alcohol as well, but as you point out, prohibition does not work and certainly leads to organized crime and corruption.
    The real question is; how do we deal with it? Would you encourage your children to take drugs?

    • June 8, 2013 at 4:47 am | #2

      Everything is addictive if addiction is defined the right way. You can exclude certain things depending on what pathway they take in your brain but really it’s irrelevant. Addiction is using something despite the adverse consequences. I’m addicted to Macadamia nuts. I eat too many, especially at night in bed watching TV. I am sure a huge dose of late night fat is contributing to health risks. The risks aren’t small. Obesity is one of the biggest killers in society. Macadamia nuts taste good though.

      Addiction needs to be addressed with education and support. Drugs that are more addictive need to be advertised that way. Perhaps they could be taxed more. Perhaps you should be forced to go to a rehab clinic to observe addiction sufferers before getting your heroin license. Whether or not I can make up some good ideas off the top of my head is irrelevant. I am sure with some effort there are ways to mitigate the risk of highly addictive drugs.

      With my children I’d approach drugs like any other fun but risky activity. It is no different to going to MacDonalds or bungee jumping. Except with drugs it’s difficult to control the risks because they are illegal which is an unfortunate consequence of society rather than a property inherent to drugs.

      Manufacture, sale and distribution of any drug should be controlled the same way as alcohol and tobacco are. Other drugs aren’t special. The government can make money off it and use the money for education, training, ensuring safe manufacturing standards, etc.

      So in summary everything should be legal and controlled. If anyone starts impeding on the rights of others, whether drug induced or not, then they should face the consequences of the law.

  2. June 8, 2013 at 2:49 am | #3

    Agree entirely. Here’s my take on the topic – http://elliotbwall.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/legalise-drugs/

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