Speaking of cocaine…

June 16, 2009

Here’s the most badass thing I read on my blog vacation, from the Guardian:

“Health problems from the use of legal substances, particularly alcohol and tobacco, are greater than health problems from cocaine use,” they [the World Health Organization (WHO)] said [in March 1995]. “Cocaine-related problems are widely perceived to be more common and more severe for intensive, high-dosage users and very rare and much less severe for occasional, low-dosage users.”

The full report – which has never been published – was extremely critical of most US policies. It suggested that supply reduction and law enforcement strategies have failed, and that options such as decriminalisation might be explored, flagging up such programmes in Australia, Bolivia, Canada and Colombia.

And why would this report have never been published?

At the point where mild cocaine use was described in positive tones the Americans presumably blew some kind of outrage fuse. This report was never published because the US representative to the WHO threatened to withdraw US funding for all its research projects and interventions unless the organisation “dissociated itself from the study” and cancelled publication. According to the WHO this document does not exist, (although you can read a leaked copy at www.tdpf.org.uk/WHOleaked.pdf).

Related: Clipse – Keys open doors

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3 Responses to “Speaking of cocaine…”

  1. wendy, yer sis. Says:

    I think one could argue that “(insert alcohol or tobacco here)-related problems are widely perceived to be more common and more severe for intensive, high-dosage users and very rare and much less severe for occasional, low-dosage users.” Try the same statement for “Big Macs” just for kicks. Statistics are what are generally used to arrive at these types of “conclusions” which are generally less than conclusive.

  2. JR Minkel Says:

    Wendy, I’m not sure I follow. I assume you’re agreeing with the overall thrust that a person’s choice to do a few lines of blow now and then is probably no big threat to society. Now heroin might be a different matter.

  3. wendy, yer sis. Says:

    No I’m not agreeing, what I’m saying is that the author attempts to make the case that cocaine is less of a health problem because the problem exists only in a small percentage of heavy users. I’m saying that the alcohol and tobacco statistics might also be applied to heavy users primarily. So i disagree with the finding that cocaine use is less of a health risk. Other than that, I could care less if someone chooses to be a coke head, however I wouldn’t use that lack of feeling to condone making cocaine legal, or alcohol and tobacco illegal. Heavy users of Big Macs and Starbucks latte’s are at a health risk also. It just seems a non-sequiter to me to use that observation to make a case that various other substances should be legalized. Which is what I thought the thrust of the article might have been.


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