I've had thoughts whirling around in my brain for years about drugs and stuff and the only way to get them out of my head is to get them on paper. Well not paper but pixels - you know what I mean. I was prompted to do it now because I read a BBC story about how the Australian government are forcing cigarettes to be packaged in non-branded packets to discourage smoking. I thought to myself 'Those idiots are wasting their fucking time. This is how it should be done.'
So here are my unstructured ramblings to solve the UK's tobacco, alcohol and drug problems - just like that.
For most people smoking or drinking or taking drugs is fun and enjoyable - and who cares what they get up to providing that they aren't anti-social or harming anyone else? It really doesn't matter what they do - after all it's their body and their choice. Good luck to them.
Unfortunately an increasing number of people 'enjoy' these activities to excess and are ruining the lives of themselves and others in the process. The UK government spends a lot of money trying to get them to stop and are failing miserably to do so.
Currently the emphasis of anti-'this and that' campaigns is focussed on the health risks associated with substance abuse. I think this is the wrong way to tackle the problem for the following reason:
Health warnings appeal to people's common sense but substance abusers obviously have no common sense otherwise they would not be abusers. Health warnings have been everywhere for years and years but we still have the same problems. People aren't listening - let's face it there are a lot of idiots out there.
So what is the answer?
I think the government should stop worrying about the health of its citizens.
Tell them 'We don't care what you do to yourself - just don't expect us to pick up the bill when you get ill.'
The government is trying to save money in the NHS so why don't they stop treating alcohol, tobacco and drug related illnesses?
There will be deaths of course and people and their families will suffer but the message is a simple one to get across: 'The NHS can't afford to treat people who are trying to kill themselves. If you want the NHS to survive there have to be sacrifices, better it be those who don't want to live than those that do.'
This is very bold and would have to be phased in over a number of years so that people currently being treated don't have the goal posts moved on them. But I think it could work.
The government are telling people exactly how it is. No wishy-washy nannying from the state. They are saying 'We respect you as individuals and we respect the choices you make. But don't expect us to come running when you do something stupid'. Who wouldn't want a government that honest?
As part of this new honesty the government also has to admit that the 'War on Drugs' has been well and truly lost and it needs to back that up by making all drug use legal. The fact is that we waste hundreds of millions of pounds per year fighting against illegal drugs - some of this money could go to the NHS to care for people who actually want to live rather than by trying to save those that don't really care.
Drugs should be available in the same way that alcohol and tobacco are - strictly regulated. Quality controls could be imposed and revenue raised on their sales. Prices would drop and a whole criminal network would be destroyed at a stroke. With the lower prices, crime rates would drop as users would not need to steal to finance their activities. It's a no-brainer, win-win situation.
Naturally there would need to be a huge educational campaign in schools telling of the dangers of drug use (and that includes alcohol and tobacco). Parents also need to be held accountable for setting good examples and educating their children. I think that most kids get into drugs because they hang around with or are bullied by the pond life that unfortunately infects even the best schools. Generalising terribly; I believe that stupid, uncaring parents begat stupid, uncaring children. Only intensive education over many, many years will help with that. Please keep monitoring this blog for the time when I inevitably have an incoherent rant about the state of the UK education system.
Laws also need tightening up and made consistent to discourage underage consumption. For example, it is illegal to buy alcohol if you are under 18 but you can drink alcohol in a pub if you are 16 or 17, accompanied by an adult and eating a table meal. And if you're under 18 it's not illegal to have alcohol at home or a friend's house. Also of course, you can get married or have kids if you're 16. A 17 year old Dad can give alcohol to his one year old daughter but he can't go to the pub by himself! This law is a mess.
For goodness sake, pick an age when to become an adult and stick with it. I say that if you are old enough to marry and have kids, then you are old enough to vote, drink and get high. I believe that age is 18. I think that the age of consent should be kept at 16 because sexual maturity is earlier that intellectual maturity.
It should be illegal to smoke, drink and take drugs before 18. Full stop. No exceptions.
Also to discourage underage drinking I think children under 16 shouldn't be allowed in pubs. I know this is a bit draconian but pubs are for adults. It's where they serve alcohol. Very young children are going into pubs and seeing all the colourful drinks on sale and they are naturally curious especially when they are surrounded by adults drinking them. It's no wonder they want to try them as soon as they can.
Having said all this we do still need to try and save some people from their own stupidity. The 'We don't care what you do' statements need backing up with a campaign to encourage people not to over indulge in their particular vice.
The campaign should not spare the feelings of people or the companies that sell recreational substances - bold honest statements are needed. How about these for anti-smoking:
'Keep on smoking - hurry up and die before we have to pay your pension.'
'Keep on smoking - we need the tax money.'
'Keep on smoking - your kids will soon forget you when you're dead.'
'Keep on smoking - we need to kill off the idiots.'
'Keep on smoking - big businesses are desperate for your money.'
Replace 'smoking' with your drug of choice for other campaigns. This makes the government look very callous but that is the point: 'We are not going to look after you unless you look after yourself.' Most people hate government advice so maybe by using 'reverse psychology' these statements might strike a chord. When challenged, the statements should be defended by the government - none of this 'Ah well, we are being controversial to get your attention' crap. Be clear, for example: 'It is cheaper for the country if people die from drug problems than it is to support them into their later years.'
We will never see anything like this happening in the UK though because it would need a really strong, confident and honest government to pull it off. We are ruled by self-serving idiots who only think of themselves or their powerful 'friends'. They are people who happily push the majority into poverty traps so they can bail out the rich when they fuck up. Every. Time.
In short, they are cunts.
I appear to have gone 'off topic'. Time to stop.
No nice internet links this time because I'm pissed off.