Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Keep Khat out of the bag.

Khat or Qat
It appears that Home Secretary Teresa May has decided to ban Khat, a mild stimulate from the Horn of Africa, that has been growing in popularity in the UK, while banned in other countries. This is the latest in a series of government changes that are in direct opposition the recommendations of it own advisory body the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The substance will become a Class C, that carries the lowest degree of penalty. Class C is what cannabis was downgraded on the advice of the ACMD, then upgraded from on the advice of the bigotry of Gordon Brown. In the various studies done to assess the personal and social harm of drugs, Khat (Qat) is usually rated bellow legal drugs like GHB, and far far below Alcohol and Nicotine.
Some have suggested that by making a drug popular with certain immigrant communities illegal, then the number of convictions of people in those communities will increase and allow for an increased number of deportations from those communities.
It would be interesting to compare recreational drugs with other recreational activities, in terms of damage done. Whether it Rugby, Football, Motor racing, mountain climbing, dancing, high heels, parachuting etc. All of these things or activities are considered by some "proper fun" but all of them create some damage to the user and have the potential to have effects beyond the individual with through them being obsessive or been injured falling off the high heels or mountains. Deaths are not unheard of in these kind of activities, the danger is part of what attracts people to these things. The stimulate part of the brain, they have little or no other purpose, often they do not even add to your fitness or life expectancy.
The way this proper fun works is by causing chemical changes in the brain, these changes can produce many different effects and while the moderate stimulation of them is good providing feedback to allowing people to continue dangerous but needed task, to construct unneeded task simply to produces these biochemical changes is no more or less natural than taking any drug to produce similar changes, properly controlled taking the right drug produces the right effect without the danger of mutilation and injury.
The ban on drug sales has produced a black market which is unregulated the true dangers come from not being able to take what you desire because there is no monitoring of the market. Parachuting and mountaineering would become a lot less popular and a lot less safe if the equipment was produced in the black market and had to be smuggled around and kept hidden and if dealing such equipment would put you in prison.
Societies reason for the differentiating between "real fun" and "drug fun" goes back to religion which has us as something other than a complicated chemistry set, on legs, while there are substances and activities which are so dangerous to the individual and society we should control them, there are many that we should not. The decision as to which is which should be left to independent bodies not to political entities look for votes or to please their own pseudo religious views.

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