Tag Archives: violence

10 questions about drugs

1. Which is the most common rape drug?

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?

3. Which drug kills most people?

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.

9. Which drugs are legal?

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

 

You’ll find the correct answers below the picture.

Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr.
Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr

 

There are obviously legal, country and time specific variations to these answers, but this is the general picture.

1. Which is the most common rape drug?
Alcohol is the most common rape drug. Many think that they need to be wary of people who want to spike their drinks with other drugs, but in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the alcoholic drink itself that is the rape drug. Victims and offenders are often drunk and even when there are other drugs in the mix, alcohol is almost always the main drug.

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?
Alcohol is involved in most cases of violence. 70 to 90 percent of all violence (wars excluded) is directly linked to alcohol. This is as true for domestic violence as it is for violent encounters between strangers. There are a few other drugs (mainly ego enhancing and consciousness decreasing drugs) that are also associated with violence, but even in cases when other drugs are present alcohol is usually the main drug.

This diagram gives you a hint at how many deaths are attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. It is however misleading since the tobacco part of the diagram only shows England, while the other circles include all of the UK. In other words, the tobacco circle should be far much bigger than it is in this picture.
This diagram shows you how many deaths were attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. The very large circle represent deaths due to tobacco and the next biggest one is alcohol. In third place we find opiates and opiate substitutes, which are mostly found in legal medications. In fourth place are legal anti-depressants and in fifth are legal benzodiazepines. In other words, all the big killer drugs except for heroin are legal.

3. Which drug kills most people?
Tobacco is by far the most lethal drug. Tobacco kills more people than all other legal and illegal drugs combined. Alcohol is the second most deadly drug and in third place we find prescription medications. Science is having a hard time putting these in relation to each other, but estimates are that tobacco takes somewhere between two and fifteen times as many lives as alcohol.

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?
Pharmaceutical drugs/prescription medicines are the most commonly overdosed with a deadly outcome. One reason is of course the availability but another very important reason is that medications often are highly toxic.

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.
LSD, cannabis and magic mushrooms are a few non-lethal drugs, but there are certainly more. The doses needed to die from them are simply so ridiculously high that it is physically impossible to consume such quantities of cannabis or mushrooms. In the case of LSD it is probably possible to take that much, but you would need to take thousands of doses and as far as I know that still hasn’t happened. It is of course possible to die in an accident or such while on these drugs, but even so these are not drugs that typically make users accident prone. Science rather suggests that people using these drugs are usually more careful and considerate.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr
Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr

Psychedelics generally have strong anti-addictive properties and are therefore fantastic for breaking addiction. Some such drugs are LSD, magic mushrooms (psilocybin), San Pedro/Peyote (mescaline), Ayahuasca, DMT, Iboga (ibogaine) and Salvia Divinorum. Another thing that several of the psychedelics have in common is that the user’s tolerance towards them increases rapidly, so even if a user would want to use it several days in a row it would quickly become meaningless to do so because the effects would vanish.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.
LSD, magic mushrooms and Iboga are all well known in the treatment of addicts, but psychedelics of all kinds can be helpful. Before being made illegal LSD was among other things used to cure alcoholism. AA co-founder Bill Wilson was an advocate of using it specifically to treat cynical alcoholics by giving them a spiritual experience. Ironically LSD had a higher success rate of curing alcoholics than AA or any other program has ever had.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.
Again, psychedelics are fantastic tools for curing depression, trauma and abuse, especially LSD, magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and San Pedro/Peyote. They make the user more aware of his/her situation and give insights and experiences that help the user deal with past trauma. Within a spiritual context the plants are especially helpful since they actually speak to the user in a way that an isolated substance cannot do.

Western chemical based medicine often uses medications such as anti-depressants but these medicines most often only put a lid on things and sedate the person. These medicines are also highly addictive and toxic, which makes them very dangerous in comparison.

9. Which drugs are legal?
Alcohol and tobacco are legal, although you need to be of a certain age to buy them. Prescription medications are legal as long as you have a prescription.

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

Contrary to what many think today's drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was mostly based on racism?
Contrary to what many think today’s drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was greatly based on racism?

Class A drugs are defined as drugs that are especially harmful, have a high abuse potential and that have no medical value. Among these you will find heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline. Which class a drug is placed in is however a political decision, not a scientific one. From a strictly scientific point of view this classification is utterly absurd. Heroin and crack would definitely fall within the definition of a class A drug, but so would the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco since they obviously are extremely addictive, harmful and lack all medical value. The psychedelics and cannabis on the other hand are proven to have huge medical value and do very little harm, so they would be stricken if the list was based on science. It appears however that drug policies are among the least scientifically based policies today.

Main photo: fififififiesta! by Adriano Agulló on Flickr

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My Declaration of Independence

Psychedelics literally saved my life. I could have died if LSD hadn’t found me. And if I wouldn’t have died it seems very likely that I would have been severely damaged by alcohol by now.

To me it was nothing short of a miracle when LSD saved me, so it was logical for me to continue working with psychedelics to heal and grow. I have now been working with psychedelic for nine years and I am incredibly happy that I made that choice. I have experienced so much healing and so much growth. What I have managed to do in nine years with the help of psychedelics would have taken several lifetimes to do without them.

Therefore it is extremely provocative to me that anyone imagines that they have the right to forbid me to work with them. It is provocative that some people think they have the right to punish me for how I choose to heal and grow.

No one has that right.

I could call upon my human rights at the global or European level, which guarantee me the right to my own spiritual path and to my own healing. I could call upon national legislation which ensures me the same. I could, like Jens Waldmann, claim self-defense.

But I don’t want to, simply because it does not matter to me what some ignorant person has written on a piece of paper. I’m Daniel. I am a reflection of the highest divine. I own the rights to my own body and my own life. I own the rights to my own healing and growing.

Those who think they can take away these rights are oppressors. It is an act of violence to try to deny me these rights and any law that tries to do so lacks legitimacy. Those who try to deny me my rights are my enemies and there is no reason for me to negotiate with them. I have the right to defend myself against their violence.

Here and now I declare this:

I own the right to my own life.

I own the right to my own body.

I own the right to my own path.

I own the right to my own healing and my own growth.

As long as I do not consciously hurt anyone else, my rights are above any rights that other people imagine that they have over me.

Photo: Freedom Libertad by Jesus Solana on Flickr

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Imagine this

Now imagine this.

As a teenager you suffer from recurrent anxiety and depression, which sometimes makes it difficult for you to attend school. You start working, but you are still so down that your boss finally sends you to the doctor for help. You get antidepressants and life brightens slightly.

But only slightly and just in the beginning.

Because after a while the anxiety comes back and you start to numb yourself with alcohol and drugs. Sometimes you lose control and become violent, but all you really want is to escape whatever it is that makes you feel bad. Dazed, you are in a free fall in life. You are falling apart and at the same time desperate to escape.

But then one day you manage to brace yourself with all your power long enough to enter rehab. Only a couple of days later your girlfriend tells you she is pregnant, which motivates you to change your life. You go into counseling and get medicine.

But the drugs are not helping you get rid of your anxiety, worry and depression. Instead they cover it up and sedate you. Behind it all your problems are still there. The drugs don’t work very well and you are given stronger medications and increased doses, which gives you serious side effects. You become sluggish, tired and out of it all. Some periods you sleep most of the day, but others you don’t sleep at all. You gain weight and sweat enormously.

Finally a puzzled physician gives you a choice: start take benzo (benzodiazepines), which is a strong sedative with a long list of side effects. It’s addictive, you have yourself abused it earlier on in life and it often leads to apathetic and emotionally blunted states. You know you absolutely do not want to take it.

At the same time several friends advise you to try medicating yourself with cannabis. You have certainly smoked cannabis before, but only when you were abusing something else at the same time. Never as medicine. Faced with the choice to try illicit cannabis or to take a medication that will sedate and blunt you, you choose to at least give cannabis a try before you agree to take benzo.

You can hardly believe that the effects cannabis gives you are true. The medical fog you have found yourself in over several years is dispelled. Suddenly you sleep regularly, you take an interest in life and you begin to set goals for yourself. You go back to school to become a tattoo artist and in time you open your own studio. Suddenly everything is happening very fast. But above all the anxiety is gone. Not gone as in sedated, but actually gone. Your worries are gone and so is your depression. Earlier on in life you had a tendency to destroy everything in order to escape yourself, but now suddenly you turn your energy to create, heal and take responsibility.

But buying cannabis from drug dealers isn’t a solution. The availability is uncertain and the quality is uneven, so you decide to grow your own cannabis. You carefully examine what medical strains are best for you and then order seeds from Holland. It is legal to buy seeds, but not to plant them. But you value your recovery and well-being above the law, so with love and care you grow your own medicine. Everything you grow is only for yourself and you do so for many years. In the mean time you feel great, your company develops, you get married and make an effort to be a good father.

Then one day there’s a knock on the door.

It’s the police who received a tip from customs a few months earlier that you had been sent a package of seeds. Now they want to see what you’ve done with them.

What is morally right?
Should you be punished?
Do you have any legal right to heal yourself, as you are supposedly guaranteed in the Declaration of Human Rights?
Should you go back to sedating yourself with strong medications that might deprive your children of their father and your wife of her husband, or should you continue with the illegal medication that actually helps you?
What would you do?

This is Jens Waldmann’s story. He was convicted in the District Court, but his case is going to the Court of Appeal in Jönköping, Sweden, January 15 2015, at 9 o’clock. The public is welcome to attend trials.

What do you think is right?

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Declaration of love to a dance culture

Early 2006 I stepped into my first raves and was utterly astounded. I had been to tons of rock festivals before, where binge drinking, fights, vomiting and bad behaviour was customary. Suddenly I found myself in a context where quite different standards were upheld. Five steps inside the door at that first rave a guy began talking to me.
– I haven’t seen you before, he said.
– No, this is my first rave party.
– Oh, how wonderful. Welcome! Let me introduce you to some of the people here.
He took me on a tour and I got to shake hands with a dozen people, including a couple of the DJs who would be playing that evening.

There is a world of difference between a rave party and an alcohol driven party. One of the most striking things is that fights almost never occur. I’m not saying that they actually never occur, but violence is extremely rare at raves. The only violence I have witnessed at a rave is the violence that police have used against ravers.

Another thing that I feel is characteristic of raves is that they aren’t as shabbily sexualized as other nightlife places. Again, I need to voice a disclaimer and say that there might of course be creeps going over people’s limits here too, but the problems are definitely much smaller than at a regular pub. Above all it is ok to talk to both guys and girls, without it being assumed that one’s intention is to get inside their underwear.

But this sounds wonderful. What’s the problem?

10687219_739723502730828_7189171724004085676_nWell, some people claim that the rave scene is very drug-intensive. I can confirm that it is. There are those who in their eagerness to get the establishment to accept them, claim that is not the case. But it is. Ravers smoke cannabis, drop ecstasy, snort amphetamines, eat magic mushrooms and drink alcohol. Yes, those who want to demonize rave culture can easily dismiss their parties as drug orgies and be partly correct.

But not quite correct, because there is much more to the truth. My experience is that there are a lot of drugs at all venues, but they are handled much more discreetly at a regular nightclub. At a rave there is a silent agreement to respect each other, no matter what your drug habits are, as long as they do not affect the respect we have for each other. Therefore, no one will react if they see someone light a joint or snort a line, as long as they do not behave badly afterwards. Which they almost never do, should be added.

The nastiest people at a rave tend to be those drinking alcohol. People are wary of them, since they have a tendency to fall into people, to be unpleasantly loud and not respect others’ personal space. People behaving badly at a rave are almost exclusively drunk; not high.

Another very interesting aspect of drug taking at raves is that there are a remarkably high proportion of people that don’t use any at all. They are far more numerous than at any other night club. It is common for people to be drawn into the culture because they want to do drugs, but when they are there they find new friends who help them feel better about themselves and ultimately inspire them to stop using drugs.

If you call raves drug orgies you’re missing the bigger picture. For many rave culture is in fact quite the opposite – a salvation from destructive drug use.

Photo: HV4V5019 by Patrick Savalle on Flickr

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Respect yourself more than the system

We had that never ending discussion about the hypocrisy of cannabis being illegal while alcohol is legal.
– I understand that alcohol is a drug too, but things don’t get better if we legalize more drugs, she said.
It was an answer well rehearsed. One could hear that she had said it a hundred times before and since then I have heard many others repeat it. The statement seems logical in a way that shuts down the discussion, since it seems fair to think that more drugs should equal more problems.

But the logic doesn’t hold up.

If people switch from more dangerous to less dangerous drugs there might be big health benefits for the population. Alcohol is related to many deaths, diseases and accidents. Alcohol is the number one rape drug and there is an unmistakable link to violence.

I’m not saying that all problems would disappear if people switched from alcohol to cannabis. There are health issues with cannabis too. People will continue having accidents. People will continue getting addicted. But the negative effects of cannabis are significantly lower than with alcohol.

So let’s say that cannabis was legalized. Every person that switched from alcohol to cannabis would be an improvement to the general health. There would be less drug related death, less disease, less accidents, less rape and less violence. I’m not saying that it would all disappear. I’m just saying that it would be much less. Much, much less.
– Well, you know, I answered. Legalizing more drugs might actually make things much better. Since alcohol is such an extremely dangerous drug, both for the user but also for people around the person using, pretty much anything apart from heroin would be an improvement. If we legalize everything that is less dangerous than alcohol we will see a great improvement as people switch to less dangerous alternatives.

● ● ●

At the moment there is a discussion in Sweden about the “internet drug” Spice. The police and the anti-drug lobby are all upset because young people are buying really dangerous but legal alternatives to cannabis on the internet. And what is their solution?

Well of course… More laws. Harsher punishment. More police. Harass young people. More propaganda. More scare tactics. Have you heard it before? Has it worked?

If cannabis was legal, nobody would have thought of making or using Spice. By criminalizing substances that are massively tested and quite safe, such as cannabis, the drug laws are steering people towards far more dangerous but legal alternatives, such as Spice or alcohol.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

These people that want harsher laws and more police might sound quite logical, but don’t be fooled. They are insane. The system that we have used so far is obviously not working. It is counterproductive, dangerous, hypocritical and discriminatory. It is killing people. More of the same faulty thinking won’t correct the problem. We cannot continue letting insane people dictate our actions.

If the law is wrong – break it. It is better that you work with safe illegal substances, than you risking your life with harmful but legal alternatives. Respect yourself more than you respect the system.

Photo: 50mm by mista stagga lee on Flickr

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In defence of the police

Yesterday the small neo-nazi party in Sweden gathered in Malmö and had their right to do so protected by hundreds of police. 1500 demonstrators were there protesting the gathering and it all went bananas when the police charged the demonstrators with horses and drove their cars straight in to the crowd. Ten people were injured and from what we can see in the news footage it seems that the police once again used excessive force.

For a long time I was very disappointed with the Swedish police. When I grew up I had a few very unpleasant encounters with them and so did many of my friends. Encounters where the police instigated violence and where they used excessive force without any apparent reason. I have had quite a few friends being beat up in the back of a police car with their hands cuffed behind their backs so that they had no possibility of defending themselves. And of course no policeman has ever been convicted, because the system keeps them safe behind that badge, no matter what they do.

So disappointed is quite the understatement.

Seeing that the police are the only ones sanctioned to use violence in our society, I had expected a professional attitude which included the ability to stay calm and being able to meet provocation. I had expected the police to be caring, confident and secure. I had expected them to be mentally stable, self controlled and truthful. But generally they aren’t.

So I was very disappointed until just recently, when I started thinking about all of that again and noticed that word EXPECTED jump out at me. I had expectations and that is why I was so very disappointed. But if my expectations are unreasonable, do I still have a real reason to be disappointed?

Because let’s face it. The police are far from the sharpest tools in the shed. I have had a look at their scholarly merits, and intellectually what is mid-range among the rest of us, is close to brilliant if you’re part of the police force. If you want to feel ultra smart – join the police. The education we give them fuels dogmatism, narrow thinking, lets homophobia/sexism/racism slide, doesn’t give sufficient tools for self control and mental stability, but on the contrary favours violent tendencies and machoism, while not dealing with bad behaviour in the police force.

That being the case it seems extremely unreasonable to expect them to be something that they are not. They are small boys and girls in very strong bodies, but with a lack of self control and with the intellectual and emotional capacity of a high school student. I feel truly sorry for them, because they can impossibly live up to my expectations of the police, because they will need to live many more lives before they achieve the emotional maturity that I have expected of that function.

That is not their fault. They are doing the best they can with the tools that they have, and for that we should be truly thankful.

Photo: Riot police blocking the way to the parliament building on Sunday night by Ivan Bandura on Flickr

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