# Why is alcohol legal ?

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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

And that's all legalization of drugs is meant to accomplish: make regulation possible; re-allocate the money from the futile attempt at prevention of the cause to mitigation of the effects.

These can be achieved by decriminalization alone, though. Civil penalties could (and should) include referrals to treatment programs. That does most make sense for drugs that are highly addictive and/or consumption is very dangerous (e.g. high risk of overdoses, severe health effects etc.).

Legalization further allows controlled production, sales and consumption. Here penalties can only be levied under specific circumstances (e.g. DUI) and treatments are can only be forced if something happens under these circumstances. This is the case with alcohol and in some areas cannabis.

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OK, I can see that. But I can also glimpse a problem with decriminalization: it puts whole classes of drugs and drug use in a sort of grey zone, where the users can still be discriminated-against according to various political and economic criteria, and the rules can become the kind of perennial campaign issue that some other civil liberty issues have become; regional inequality, selective enforcement, jurisdictional disputes; recourse allocation tussles....

And then, there is still the unresolved problem of identifying, assessing and classifying new drugs as they appear. And alcohol, still, the ubiquitous alcohol problem. This is not simple!

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6 hours ago, TheVat said:

On what planet are parents able to be so certain about this?  Do Australian youth not sneak off and do things they never share with their parents?  Crikey!

I said as sure "as any parent can be"

6 hours ago, TheVat said:

Associated?  I think researchers need to always bear in mind the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.  It may be that personalities that tend to self-medicate for psychological issues with MJ would also be more prone to self-medicate with opioids.  If so, this would call into question the notion of MJ as a causal "gateway."

Perhaps you need to address the author of the article.

5 hours ago, dimreepr said:

This discussion, seems to show why the elderly shouldn't be allowed to vote; it's not their future...

This discussion also seems to have shown that when one crosses a certain "political line" or have themselves shown weakness in dabbling in illegal drugs, that it will draw their wrath and a hoarde of neg votes. That's sad, and a poor refelction on some.

Thankfully the general moral standards of my society, will never see the ignorant banning of alcohol, nor the legitimising of any other drug already on the illegal list, for the reasons given.

Yet sadly again, the majority of five or so articles I posted remain unaddressed.

5 hours ago, dimreepr said:

This discussion, seems to show why the elderly shouldn't be allowed to vote; it's not their future...

I see you got a like rep for that discriminatory comment. Sort of supports what I have said previously about some members here and crossing a certain political line. While at the age of 77 I may be classed as elderly, at least thankfully I am there and thankfully health wise should be around for a while yet. You have yet to get there.

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18 minutes ago, beecee said:

Yet sadly again, the majority of five or so articles I posted remain unaddressed.

I can address those and in fact may have so already in an earlier thread. Fundamentally there are risks associated with cannabis use, but those are generally speaking not higher than alcohol.

Some of the associations are in fact correlated with other drug use. In fact, substance used disorders, including alcohol, are highly associated with each other. I.e. folks that drink are more likely to use cannabis, or other drugs (see for example https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-0277.1996.tb01953.x).  The thinking is that folks who are more likely to have substance use disorders have similar risk factors.

As similar theme can be seen when it comes to psychoses and schizophrenia. There are many studies out there that show that in shizophrenic patients or patients with psychotic episodes drug use, including alcohol, is very prevalent. A cause and effect relationship is very difficult to establish, though cannabis as well as alcohol are known to create worse outcomes for psychotic events, and in case of alcohol, they are also more likely to become violent (for cannabis it is still under discussion, but the association, if it exists, is apparently less robust).

One of these cohorts looked in Canada for increases in cannabis-induced psychoses post-legalization and basically found none. The same paper also referenced alcohol-induced psychoses. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F07067437211070650

The other combustion related injuries have been somewhat addressed in relation with tobacco smoking and the literature had a bit of a back and forth whether cannabis is equally bad as tobacco or not. Things are further muddled by the fact that many cannabis smokers also smoke tobacco.

At this point I think the jury is still a bit out, but I as precaution I would think that covering it under similar rules (also including e-cigarettes even if health effects might be milder) could be overall beneficial.

None of those described risks have demonstrated an overall higher risk (legal or not) compared to alcohol (or tobacco), as far as I can see.

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6 hours ago, Peterkin said:

And that's all legalization of drugs is meant to accomplish: make regulation possible; re-allocate the money from the futile attempt at prevention of the cause to mitigation of the effects.

The Government prohibits you from doing things all the time, to protect us from our own stupidity.
Try lighting a cigarette while you're pumping gas.
Or riding a motorcycle without a helmet.
Or owning a handgun with a less than 4" barrel length.
( I thought you'd understand these prohibitions since they are strictly Canadian )

6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

This discussion, seems to show why the elderly shouldn't be allowed to vote; it's not their future...

I'm going to assume you replied quickly without thinking 🙂 .
Because that is a dumb thing to say.

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4 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I can address those and in fact may have so already in an earlier thread. Fundamentally there are risks associated with cannabis use, but those are generally speaking not higher than alcohol.

I havn't said anything different. While some members (for there own reasons) have mentioned about repeating myself, I see the need to do it again.

(1) Alcohol is a social necessity. It is part and parcel of all areas of western society and we would have riots if any attempt was made to ban it. In fact, and I stress that point again, it will not be, nor should it be banned, in line with the topic heading.

(2) The dangers of alcohol while being well known, should be re-enforced with our children and teens probably even at school.

(3) It is the height of stupidity imo, to argue about adding even more dangerous drugs to the list of alcohol and tobacco, noting of course I have never ever smoked.

(4) At best perhaps the least harmful of the illegal drugs, like cannibis may be decriminalised.

(5) While DUI with alcohol, generally will see someone under the limit again, within 24 hours, the effects of drug driving with cannibis or any other crap, is 2 to 4 days.

For Idiots to claim sarcastically stupidly or otherwise, that the elderly should not vote, when the above points are formulated to protect the young as much as possible, again shows the mentality of some, that believe that because they themselves  had moments of weakness in the past to dabble with this illegal crap, we should give everyone else that same choice, is selfish at best and criminal at worst. Sort of bringing as many as possible down to their level.

The articles I supplied reflect a view that generally I hold to. Others of course reflect the views held by others here. Society in maintaning the status quo with regards to alcohol and illegal drugs, is democracy in action, and I fully support that stance.

I suppose I can expect another hoarde of neg reps from those members that have a guilty concience.

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

( I thought you'd understand these prohibitions since they are strictly Canadian )

I do. Cars, gasoline, cigarettes, motorcycles and handguns are all dangerous. They are subject to limitations and regulations. Each of the limitations and regulations was legislated after a long, hard fight over the issue. Each of the dangerous things is, in spite of regulations and limitations, still misused by people who make stupid decisions (not exclusively made by stupid people, BTW) and yet the dangerous things themselves are still not utterly banned.

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24 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

and yet the dangerous things themselves are still not utterly banned.

So try purchasing ( legally ) a gun with a barrel length less than 106 mm.
You will be told it is prohibited.

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22 minutes ago, MigL said:

You will be told it is prohibited.

All handguns are not banned. Some types of handgun are banned. People find ways to get around the law and buy the illegal ones anyway.

All drugs are not banned. Some types of drug are banned. People find ways to get around the law and buy those drugs anyway.

Is there something to be learned from this mulberry bush?

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Yeah !
Prohibition of guns doesn't work.
Lets make them legal; we'll have less people in jails.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Prohibition of guns doesn't work.

It seems to work pretty well in Japan. But there is not much point in Canada trying that, while the US situation is as it is: the border is impossible to patrol.

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11 hours ago, MigL said:

I'm going to assume you replied quickly without thinking 🙂 .
Because that is a dumb thing to say.

Just forgot the 😁

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Kids aren't stupid, any more than the rest of us and there's enough scare stories in the media, for them to not want to become an addict.

Perhaps that's why there's a trend in the youth to not drink?

Sure they have a sense of immortality, as do we all; that next drink is just like all the other's and then, all of a sudden, it isn't; like approaching a black hole we never see the event horizon.

It's got nothing to do with prohibition; like declaring war on terrorism, your just declaring war on your own imagination.

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22 hours ago, beecee said:

(1) Alcohol is a social necessity. It is part and parcel of all areas of western society and we would have riots if any attempt was made to ban it. In fact, and I stress that point again, it will not be, nor should it be banned, in line with the topic heading.

Peyote has been part of indigenous American traditions, so are coca leaves/tea in South America to give some other examples. Interestingly their interests seems to take a backseat, though.

22 hours ago, beecee said:

(2) The dangers of alcohol while being well known, should be re-enforced with our children and teens probably even at school.

That should be the case with all drugs. Even if it only mitigates issues (as we see with alcohol).

22 hours ago, beecee said:

(3) It is the height of stupidity imo, to argue about adding even more dangerous drugs to the list of alcohol and tobacco, noting of course I have never ever smoked.

The OP was aimed at harm reduction at which point alcohol clear makes the cut for harmful substances. You have mentioned how difficult it is to enforce a ban, though similar things can be extended to other drugs. Portugal was shown as an example where decriminalization actually reduced drug-related harms on many levels and may seem like a decent way forward from a risk/benefit perspective. Policies should be guided based on harm outcomes and not by narratives as has been done in the past (or as political tools). IMO it is a public health and not moral issue, but it has been conflated a lot of it in the past (drug use in high-income classes, for example).

22 hours ago, beecee said:

(4) At best perhaps the least harmful of the illegal drugs, like cannibis may be decriminalised.

It is in fact being legalized (or has already been). As indicated increased use has resulted in increased incidences but not by much and the detrimental effects are not even close to alcohol use. Other drugs like psilocybin  are even less habit forming and harmful, for example.

22 hours ago, beecee said:

(5) While DUI with alcohol, generally will see someone under the limit again, within 24 hours, the effects of drug driving with cannibis or any other crap, is 2 to 4 days.

That is incorrect. With cannabis THC can be detected in the body  for longer than a day (much longer in habitual users). However, acute impairment does not last that long. There are a series of studies involving car simulations or similar tasks and in most studies the time until individuals return roughly to their baseline is around 10 hours for edibles and closer to 5 for smoking. In other words, presence of THC in the body is not very predictive for level of impairment, especially compared to alcohol.

This becomes more of an enforcement issue. While there are THC tests, they are being challenged and law enforcement in Canada tend to focus on using field sobriety tests instead (and THC levels just as an additive).

I will re-iterate that comparative analyses of drug harm are tricky and obviously you can find harmful effects for virtually all compounds including things that we consume every day. As such looking at as many aspects as possible seems to me currently the only way to get at least a slightly more objective sense of harm caused by the drugs. Drugs referenced in pop culture might appear scarier than they likely are, for example. That being said, most international comparisons of that sort (UK, Australia, USA) put alcohol at the highest level of harm and some other drugs (e.g. mushrooms, LSD) fairly low. So as mentioned earlier the main argument against banning alcohol is that it does not work. But the question remains whether criminalization really has benefits. Some evidence from the war on drugs does not make a great case from a public health perspective.

Another aspect is that criminalizing them has put them mostly out of reach for medical and other research. There are advocates that certain psychoactive substances might have benefit over other commonly used medications, for example. But without proper studies it is difficult to figure out.

Edit: crossedited with becee's post.

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Peyote has been part of indigenous American traditions, so are coca leaves/tea in South America to give some other examples. Interestingly their interests seems to take a backseat, though.

It is not though part and parcel of nearly every aspect of our lives in any democratic westernised society.

59 minutes ago, CharonY said:

That should be the case with all drugs. Even if it only mitigates issues (as we see with alcohol).

Of course, and the legitimate reasons given as to why all are illegal unlike alcohol. And of course we do have a difference between decriminalisation and illegalities.

59 minutes ago, CharonY said:

It is in fact being legalized (or has already been). As indicated increased use has resulted in increased incidences but not by much and the detrimental effects are not even close to alcohol use. Other drugs like psilocybin  are even less habit forming and harmful, for example.

Not in the vast majority of Australia... The ACT is an exception to some extent. "On 25 September 2019, the Australia Capital Territory passed a bill allowing for possession and growth of small amounts of cannabis for personal use as of 31 January 2020, although the laws conflict with federal laws which prohibit recreational use of cannabis and the supply of cannabis and cannabis seeds are not allowed under the changes".

59 minutes ago, CharonY said:

That is incorrect. With cannabis THC can be detected in the body  for longer than a day (much longer in habitual users). However, acute impairment does not last that long. There are a series of studies involving car simulations or similar tasks and in most studies the time until individuals return roughly to their baseline is around 10 hours for edibles and closer to 5 for smoking. In other words, presence of THC in the body is not very predictive for level of impairment, especially compared to alcohol.

Irrespective of the length of acute impairment, on Australia if drugs are detected in a driver  he is automatically disqualified from driving, and heavily fined.

extract:

Drugs and driving – things to remember

• In Australia it’s illegal to drive if your blood alcohol level is over 0.05.12
• It’s also illegal to drive with any quantity of illicit drugs in your system.13 Roadside drug testing occurs in all states and territories.
• Alcohol and other drugs can affect you long after their immediate impact appears to have worn off.
• People with drugs in their system pose a higher road risk, even if they feel it’s safe to drive.14
• You may feel tired or hungover as drugs wear off, this can also impair driving ability.3
• All drivers, young and old, should avoid driving if they've recently drunk alcohol or taken other drugs.2
• Speak to a health professional and read packaging information or visit the NPS MedicineWise website before mixing medications with alcohol or other drugs.
• Tell your doctor about all the drugs that you use (including prescribed, over-the-counter and illegal drugs). They can help you to reduce the risk of unwanted interactions between drugs.
• :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
• This means you may feel capable of driving, but in reality—you might be intoxicated. In Australia it's illegal to drive if your blood alcohol level is over 0.05. It's also illegal to drive with any quantity of illicit drugs in your system.
Edited by beecee
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14 minutes ago, beecee said:

Irrespective of the length of acute impairment, on Australia if drugs are detected in a driver  he is automatically disqualified from driving, and heavily fined.

That may be the case and there are similar regulations in Canada (there are lower limits if alcohol is also detected). But it is a simply a regulatory rule which is not based on our best understanding how the drug works.

That being said, regulations are obviously always simplifications, but my comment was not meant as a challenge to regulation but rather to your previous assertion that folks stay impaired for days.

And it is also to highlight that one cannot easily draw a direct comparison between alcohol and THC- the latter stays in the body longer without exerting measurable effects, so a low level of alcohol in the blood is a much stronger indicator of impairment than a low level of THC.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Kids aren't stupid, any more than the rest of us and there's enough scare stories in the media, for them to not want to become an addict.

Some kids aren't stupid. Some kids are. Just as some adults are stupid.

1 hour ago, CharonY said:

So as mentioned earlier the main argument against banning alcohol is that it does not work.

For any number of reasons, as I believe I have stated.

29 minutes ago, CharonY said:

That may be the case and there are similar regulations in Canada (there are lower limits if alcohol is also detected). But it is a simply a regulatory rule which is not based on our best understanding how the drug works.

The driving lmit for alcohol in Australia is 0.05.  BAC is what police test for in roadside alcohol breath tests. A BAC of 0.05% means that there is 0.05g of alcohol in every 100ml of blood. This is the legal limit for driving in Australia. To avoid a driving under the influence conviction, your BAC must be under 0.05%.

Cannabis: random roadside saliva tests can detect THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) for around 12 hours after use in people who use cannabis infrequently or ‘recreationally’.4 For people who frequently use cannabis, THC can usually be detected for around 30 hours.4 It’s important for people who use cannabis frequently to know that THC can be found in urine samples for around a month after cannabis was last used. This is because the body stores THC in fat cells for a period of time.4, 5

Methamphetamine: may be detected in saliva for around two days after use.6 When withdrawing or ‘coming down’ from methamphetamine, people can experience fatigue, anxiety and irritability.

MDMA: may be detected in saliva tests for around two days after use.7

Medications: if you’re taking medication, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the combined impact on your ability to drive.

29 minutes ago, CharonY said:

That being said, regulations are obviously always simplifications, but my comment was not meant as a challenge to regulation but rather to your previous assertion that folks stay impaired for days.

Not sure if that is what I claimed? It, ( cannibis and other illegal drugs) can be detected within your system is what I thought I said...too bloody lazy to go back and check!

19 hours ago, Peterkin said:

All handguns are not banned. Some types of handgun are banned. People find ways to get around the law and buy the illegal ones anyway.

All drugs are not banned. Some types of drug are banned. People find ways to get around the law and buy those drugs anyway.

Is there something to be learned from this mulberry bush?

Sure! Perhaps increase drastically, the penalities for buying banned guns and/or substances.

Edited by beecee
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, beecee said:

Sure! Perhaps increase drastically, the penalities for buying banned guns and/or substances.

Why not ban handguns altogether. Even the long barrel ones can kills somebody. Even the legal hunting rifles can kills somebody. Even a shotgun can kill somebody. And all of them do - especially in the hands of people who mix guns and alcohol, which is not at all unusual.

But guns and alcohol are social necessities in North America, so they can't be banned. Only no-no'd along the fringes.

Edited by Peterkin
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14 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

But guns and alcohol are social necessities in North America, so they can't be banned. Only no-no'd along the fringes.

Hopefully when the elderly die off, the young will choose better, smarter, less lethal social necessities for their future.

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Why not ban handguns altogether. Even the long barrel ones can kills somebody. Even the legal hunting rifles can kills somebody. Even a shotgun can kill somebody. And all of them do - especially in the hands of people who mix guns and alcohol, which is not at all unusual.

Totally agree. By the way a gun license in Australia costs in excess of $300. 59 minutes ago, Peterkin said: But guns and alcohol are social necessities in North America, so they can't be banned. Only no-no'd along the fringes. Guns, a social necessity? That's rather a silly thing to say. You sound like some Trumpised hillbilly yokel and NRA supporter. And of course the USA is not the epitome or the total of democratic westernised societies throughout the world, where of course alcohol is part and parcel of nearly every human endeavour or event. Or were you just trying to be funny, in the face of the articles and facts I have presented? 36 minutes ago, Phi for All said: Hopefully when the elderly die off, the young will choose better, smarter, less lethal social necessities for their future. I'll be around for a while yet, and I suggest most all here also hope for just that. Most young ones that I know though, certainly have already, including my Son. They drink, as per the social necessities dictates, and none as far as I know are drug addicts. In fact I am as sure as any parent can be, that my Son has not lowered himself to experiment with such crap. More than Father and Son, we are good mates. And of course my suggestion still stands...Increasing penalties, and jail terms may wake a few of those smart arse criminals and weak kneed individuals that crave illegal drugs up. Edited by beecee ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Posted (edited) 49 minutes ago, beecee said: Totally agree. By the way a gun license in Australia costs in excess of$300.

Guns, a social necessity? That's rather a silly thing to say. You sound like some Trumpised hillbilly yokel and NRA supporter. And of course the USA is not the epitome or the total of democratic westernised societies throughout the world, where of course alcohol is part and parcel of nearly every human endeavour or event. Or were you just trying to be funny, in the face of the articles and facts I have presented?

I'll be around for a while yet, and I suggest most all here also hope for just that. Most young ones that I know though, certainly have already, including my Son. They drink, as per the social necessities dictates, and none as far as I know are drug addicts. In fact I am as sure as any parent can be, that my Son has not lowered himself to experiment with such crap. More than Father and Son, we are good mates.

And of course my suggestion still stands...Increasing penalties, and jail terms may wake a few of those smart arse criminals and weak kneed individuals that crave illegal drugs up.

Social necessity? As Phi hopes, modern Australian youth is getting smarter about alcohol:

This graph below shows the prevalence and recency of alcohol use for students aged 12-17 years, 1984 to 2017.

Note the number of 'never' drinkers rises at a higher rate not long after smoking was banned in pubs there - 2006. Smoking bans have been a killer for pubs in the UK as well.

Edited by StringJunky
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1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

This graph below shows the prevalence and recency of alcohol use for students aged 12-17 years, 1984 to 2017

It doesn't show what they're doing instead. There is always a social lubricant, even if it's only herb tea and incense.... unless they've entirely given up in-person socializing and connect only through their phones. Is that possible - a generation hooked on nothing but electronic media?

That's a semi-genuine question. I don't know any young people now and haven't for some time, but I don't really expect any adult to have the answer.

2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Hopefully when the elderly die off, the young will choose better, smarter, less lethal social necessities for their future.

We're doing our best to die off before the US Supreme Court rescinds every civil liberty we fought for.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

It doesn't show what they're doing instead. There is always a social lubricant, even if it's only herb tea and incense.... unless they've entirely given up in-person socializing and connect only through their phones. Is that possible - a generation hooked on nothing but electronic media?

That's a semi-genuine question. I don't know any young people now and haven't for some time, but I don't really expect any adult to have the answer.

We're doing our best to die off before the US Supreme Court rescinds every civil liberty we fought for.

Yes, the phone is the 'place' to socialize, even when they are sat with their friends in McDonald's etc. It's really sad. It includes adults as well, but is ubiquitous with kids. Many a time I've gone round to my friend's house and his 17 year old daughter and boyfriend are sat next to each other staring at their respective phones, just like those at McDonald's. Young people seem to live more virtual lives than in-person lives now.

Edited by StringJunky
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1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

Social necessity? As Phi hopes, modern Australian youth is getting smarter about alcohol:

This graph below shows the prevalence and recency of alcohol use for students aged 12-17 years, 1984 to 2017.

Interesting but then again 4 years ago the polls were showing that Labor would shit  the elections in. They didn't. They lost.

How are the data collected

"Every three years, school students in Western Australia are surveyed to find out about their drug use in the Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey.

They are asked about alcohol, tobacco, other illicit and licit drug use, how much they use, how they use and their attitudes to alcohol and other drug use."

While WA is our largest state, it is also the most sparsely populated. 2.7 million.

I also notice no results re illegal drugs. And finally, it is confined to school students.

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