By James Moylan
The 3.6 million dollar study testing the sewage in our capital cities for illegal drugs is simply more disinformation and bullshit. Let’s revisit the results from this study and consider them rationally.
The study indicates that in Australia the use of alcohol is equivalent to 1.2 drinks PER PERSON per day. Yet since this level of use is ‘at the lower Mediterranean end of consumption in Europe’ it is proposed that the levels of alcohol use in our society are not only entirely acceptable, but to be applauded. Yet the use of meth by 0.4% of the population is invariably described as being of significant concern.
What are the relative harms inflicted upon individuals and our society by the use of these two drugs?
Today the abuse of alcohol will cause 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations. Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.
In 2010 (the last year there is collated information regarding these matters) there were 5,554 deaths and 157,132 hospitalisations which were directly attributable to alcohol abuse. We can assume that the statistics for death and disease have not changed much in the seven years since.
In 2011 there were 101 methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia. In other words; one death from the abuse of methamphetamine for every 55 deaths from the use of alcohol.
When you add to the death rate caused by alcohol abuse, those deaths that are caused by the abuse of tobacco products, then it can be demonstrated that the death rate from legal drugs in our society is at least 53 times more than the deaths caused by illegal drugs. How often do you see this fact being reported as part of a banner headline in our press?
The cost of alcohol-related harm in Australia, including harms caused by someone else’s drinking, is estimated to be $36 billion a year. One in five Australians aged 14 years and above drink at a level that puts them at risk of harm. Yet alcohol companies in Australia will nonetheless be allowed to spend an estimated $125 million this year on advertising.
So; today 15 people will die from abusing alcohol. Today the alcohol industry will spend $350,000.00 on advertising. Yet today the public will also pick up a bill for alcohol treatment, abuse, and harm, that will cost us all $9.8 million dollars. Just today. Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.
It is apparent that the drug war has failed the public. But, nonetheless, it has been, and continues to be, a runaway success for the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies, the media corporations, and organised crime.
By continuing to focus on the tiny percentage of deaths caused by illegal drugs our government enables the legal drug pushers in our society to remain respectable. By continuing to demonise illegal drugs the government enables the legal drug pushers to push the massive ongoing costs of dealing with the death and disease caused by their products onto the public purse. By continuing to demonise illegal drugs the mainstream media outlets can continue to pocket vast amounts of blood money without ever having to account for their actions. The public continues to pay the costs and the corporations and the media continue to pocket the profits.
Today nobody will die from abusing cannabis. However our courts will see more than sixty individuals charged with using, growing, or selling weed. This will destroy many otherwise law abiding lives.
Today there will be 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations caused by the use of alcohol and at least 40 people will die from the use of tobacco products. However our courts will penalise nobody for these shattered lives, deaths, the resultant social destruction and the huge sums of public money that it will cost to sweep up all this wreckage.
Today there will be 55 deaths from alcohol and tobacco in our society and at least 3 deaths from the abuse of prescription drugs. However our media will continue to focus on reporting on a survey concentrating on the content of our sewage.
Illicit drugs kill almost 400 Aussies per year. Yes this is a tragedy for those involved. However legal drugs kill at least 406 Aussies per week.
In other words; there is one illicit drug death for every 53 deaths caused by the legal use of legal drugs.
None of these facts are difficult to uncover. This accurate and authorised information is available to every journalist and politician in the country simply by plugging some information into the Google machine.
So why do we continue to see headlines that decry the massive impact of illicit drug use on our society? Why do our press outlets continue to peddle misinformation? Why do our politicians continue talk rot and fund ridiculous studies to examine and identify the cause of one in 53 of the deaths caused by drugs in our society? Even though the cause of the vast majority of drug deaths is apparent and obvious to anyone with eyes to see and a brain in their heads?
The simple answer is that our politicians and our media outlets are the recipients of vast amounts of blood money that is paid to enable the legal drug pushers to continue to trade in misery and despair and depend on the public purse to mop up the carnage caused by their products.
I don’t drink. It is a dangerous drug. It kills thousands of people every year. Yet I am not allowed to smoke weed? Yet weed has never been shown to have killed a single person in the entire history of our civilisation. What is wrong with this story?
Until we move to policing drug use in our society in a manner that is based on an assessment of the actual danger and harm associated with each individual drug then we will continue to see a spiralling death rate from drugs in our society and we will continue to see the vast majority of those deaths being completely ignored by our politicians and media. Apparently, as far as our politicians and mainstream media are concerned, 406 deaths from legal drugs every week is entirely unremarkable, yet 400 deaths from illicit drugs in a year requires constant, ongoing, coverage.
‘Hypocrisy’ is not a strong enough word. ‘Hypocrisy’ implies just an intellectual deceit. Whereas, the reality is that the wanton disregard for the truth being engaged in by our politicians and media is actively contributing to costing our society at least $9.8 million dollars a day as well as leading to the continued deaths of at least 58 citizens every day; today, tomorrow, and the next day (ad infinitum).
Not only that – this evil and deliberately fostered ignorance is being masked by the continued scapegoating and demonization of anyone who might want to use an illegal drug which – when the facts are considered in the clear light of reason and reality – are undoubtedly far less dangerous and cause far fewer deaths and social dislocation and cost than do the drugs that are being manufactured by legal pushers, advertised by the media, and are being pushed across the counters of legal establishments all across our society. Drugs that are being advertised to adults and children in an almost unregulated fashion.
So ‘hypocrisy’ is not a strong enough word. In its place we might instead substitute the sentence; ‘deliberate propaganda on behalf of vested interests who have absolutely no regard for public health, social well-being, truth, or the many deaths being caused by these toxic yet legal substances.’
More people will die this year from the abuse of paracetamol and aspirin than will die from the abuse of methamphetamine – but don’t hold your breath waiting for either our press or our politicians to inform you of this fact.