Libertarianism And Drug Liberalization

G’day everyone,

Just arrived back home safe and sound. Sorry there hasn’t been a new post in several days, but just at the moment my family needs me more than the Bar and Grill does.

Dr. Dave has graciously stepped into the breach, with some observations on Libertarianism and the legalization of marijuana and other drugs. A thousand thanks, Dave. I’ll be back on deck presently.



When I was in my early 20s my Dad told me about Milton Friedman.  Friedman was perhaps the most brilliant economist of the 20th century.  He had a lot of ideas that give bleeding ulcers to today’s ruling class elites.  Given his “druthers” Friedman would eliminate more than half of the federal bureaucracies.  One of Friedman’s ideas concerned America’s drug policies.  This one stuck in my head because I was just about to go away to college.  This was over 30 years ago.  As I look at the situation today I realize that Friedman had it right.  The government has no right to tell you what you can take into your own body.

One might believe that recreational drug use is immoral.  Perhaps it is.  Lots of things are “immoral” from certain perspectives.  Consider prostitution, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, abortion, pornography, welfare, personal injury law, politics, etc.  In each case the “morality” is subject to definition by the affected party.  Personally, I don’t care if you want to bet the farm at the Blackjack table or drink yourself into a stupor.  I don’t care if you smoke yourself into an early grave.  I don’t care if you watch dirty movies.  I don’t care if you buy sex or even if your daughter becomes a whore.  I don’t even care if you choose to abort your unborn child.  These things don’t directly affect me.  I may not agree with them but in the end they are YOUR choices, not mine.

This is where traditional conservatives and libertarians part company.  Conservatives want to cling to and impose their own beliefs and values on others.  They want their moral judgment to be the law of the land.  In many respects this is not unlike Sharia law.  It is what is “morally” right as determined by dogma.  This isn’t a matter of relativism.  If gambling is morally “wrong” then it’s just as “wrong” in a Las Vegas casino as it is playing poker with your buddies on a Saturday night.  Pornography is just as morally reprehensible on your computer screen as it is in a seedy adult book store or a strip club.  Legal prostitution in a licensed Nevada brothel is just as morally wrong as picking up a hooker on a New York street corner.  Getting shitfaced drunk in your own home is just as bad as having too many drinks at a bar.  Our elected officials openly “sell” their votes to bring back pork to their own districts and the electorate smiles and nods.  The bottom line is – you can’t legislate morality.

The best that government can do, and all it should do, is prevent citizens from harming each other.  If you carefully peruse the Constitution you will find nothing that gives the federal government the right to prohibit an individual from ingesting anything.  Back during Wilson’s presidency the country still recognized this archaic notion of the Constitution.  That’s why in 1920 it required an amendment to the US Constitution to enact Prohibition.  Oddly, this was the only drug prohibition that was enacted legally.  All other restrictions on drugs enacted during the 20th century were unconstitutional (this includes all prescription drugs).  The government falls back on the specious claim of “public safety” to justify everything it has done since.  This is bunk!

As a nation we should have learned a lot of lessons from Prohibition.  Apparently we did not.  Prohibition grew out of the temperance movement of the late 19th century.  By the early 20th century enough of the nation’s population was convinced that the consumption of alcohol was morally wrong.  The idea was that if alcohol was banned entirely a veritable utopia would result.  As we all know, this is NOT what happened.  The reality was that the population still wanted to drink alcohol and they did.

Prohibition did not address demand, only supply.  As a result bootlegging, smuggling and moonshining flourished.  Organized crime flourished.  There were bloody battles in the streets over the illicit trade in alcohol.  Organized crime became very wealthy and powerful.  Despite the 18th amendment and alcohol being illegal, folks still wanted to drink.  And they did drink.  Alcohol consumption actually increased during the 13 years of Prohibition.  The term “jitterbug” actually refers to symptoms of delirium  tremens…acute alcohol withdrawal.  Producing, distributing, possessing or consuming alcohol was a crime.  Yet for 13 years people continued to consume alcohol.  They wanted to.

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 alcohol consumption increased for a year or two, then decreased to pre-prohibition levels.  Prohibition didn’t result in any town losing their town drunk nor did it in any way affect the incidence of alcoholism.  Prohibition was an abject failure.  It was a movement motivated by an ideology rooted in “morality”.  It might have been a great idea – but you can’t legislate morality.  Where is the line?  Wine with dinner or shitfaced drunk on whiskey?

So what about all the other horrible drugs?  This is an interesting story.  Until the 20th century nobody cared what you chose to put into your body.  In the late 19th and early 20th century there was some concern over heroin use.  At this time one could buy heroin, hypodermic syringes and needles through the Sears catalog.  There was some drug abuse but it wasn’t a widespread societal problem.  The USA had a bunch of opiate addicts following the Civil war but these poor souls really didn’t present much of a problem.  After all, you could readily buy opium, laudanum and eventually heroin in any corner drugstore without a prescription.  Opium (and heroin) became “illegal” as a result of racism.  They really wanted to rid the west coast of the “filthy Chinese” back in the early 1900s so they made opium (and other opiates) “illegal”.  They didn’t really make them “illegal” they simply “licensed” the sale and distribution of opium and other opiates and levied a tax.  The cute trick was that the government controlled who was licensed to sell opium.  Cocaine followed soon after because it was believed blacks in the south were getting coked up and raping white women.  In both cases it was all bullshit and “public safety” had absolutely nothing to do with the policies.  But nobody really cared.  After all, it was just a bunch of “niggers and chinks”.

By comparison it took a long time for marijuana to become “illegal”.  Marijuana was made “illegal” in 1937 (during the Depression).  This prohibition was in response to the influx of Mexicans in the southwest seeking work.  This created direct competition for employment during the Depression.  Consumption of marijuana was deemed “illegal” and the Mexicans were run off.  Again, there was never any real concern for public safety.

The country plodded on through WWII and the Korean war with a relatively uneventful change in national drug policy.  During this time the big pharmaceutical concerns became involved.  These companies had patents they were keen to protect.  Prescription only drug laws were enacted.  It’s actually amusing to look at from today’s perspective.  From 1935 to 1960 we really didn’t have all that many profound discoveries in the area of pharmacology.  We had a few antibiotics; penicillin, tetracycline, streptomycin, sulfa and chloramphenicol.  We had barbituates.  We had amphetamines.  We had opiates and cocaine.  We had all the OLD drugs discovered and described during the last 100 years (e.g. atropine, epinephrine, insulin, quinine).  We had developed a few other drugs but nothing like the tidal wave that would start in the 1960s.  But the prescription only paradigm defined their use and availability.  This protected the financial interests of the drug manufacturers, physicians and pharmacies.  To a lesser extent, it served the purposes of “public safety”.

The 60s were an interesting time.  There was a virtual explosion in drug development.  LSD was one of these drugs.  Despite over a half century of research, LSD remains a poorly understood drug.  Ask your physician or pharmacist to explain LSD’s mechanism of action to you and I’ll bet they can’t tell you.  LSD is arguably the most potent psychoactive drug ever produced by man.  As little as 200 mcg (i.e. 1/5 of a milligram) will produce profound effects in humans.  LSD has variably been described as a hallucinogenic, a psychedelic and a psychotomimetic (i.e. a substance that produces a mental state that mimics psychosis).  From what I’ve read, none of these descriptions are entirely accurate.

There are a lot of hallucinogenic or “psychedelic” drugs.  Most fall into one of two pharmacologic classes; substituted amphetamines and indolamines.  The indolamines are tryptamine derivatives and include such drugs as psilocybin and a bunch of botanical drugs from South America.  The amphetamine class includes such drugs as mescaline, ecstasy, and a slew of other “designer” drugs.  But LSD is an ergot derivative and appears to be unique.  Contrary to what you might read in the media, most users of LSD find the experience pleasant and enjoyable rather than frightening.  Very few have bad experiences with the drug.  Pharmacologically the drug produces a profound adrenergic effect manifested as decreased appetite, increased blood pressure, increased wakefullness, dilated pupils, etc.  Subjectively it is reported to produce visual hallucinations which manifest as “patterns and trails” and general euphoria.  There are some unique characteristics to LSD.  It is not addicting.  Most users do not report wanting to take the drug again the following day.  Although it is extremely potent, LSD actually appears to have little abuse potential compared to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol or nicotine.  Believe it or not, they had this all figured out in the 60s.

Nixon was a paranoid SOB.  He was certain that the reason kids didn’t want to be drafted to go die in the jungles of Vietnam was related to drug use.  These damn kids were smoking pot and dropping acid.  Nixon gave us the DEA and the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.  This is the point where you should really start paying attention.  In 1970 the federal government codified the stripping of personal liberties.  Somehow in 1970 the federal government decided it could tell you what you could legally ingest.  All “morality” justifications aside, this was a pivotal time in our history.  Nixon effectively declared our “war on drugs”.

In 1969 the country had a minor drug problem.  By 1979 we had a major drug problem.  Most of this was due to our national drug policies.

Marijuana consumption began increasing in the 1950s.  Cocaine had a limited and somewhat defined market in 1970.  Its use was anything but widespread.  The same is true for heroin.  Heroin had its own niche market before 1970 and its use had only increased incrementally since the 1950s.  Methamphetamine use was primarily limited to truck drivers until the 1980s.  Marijuana and LSD use became very popular in the 60s and early 70s.  But the policies enacted in 1970 had an effect similar to that of Prohibition in 1920.  Drug use became “naughty” and “hip”.  The speakeasies of the 1920s attracted a lot of folks who might otherwise have had no interest in alcohol.  It was “hip” so they drank.  Beer became unpopular because it was bulky and difficult to smuggle so distilled spirits became popular.  Beer drinkers became whiskey and gin drinkers.  Prohibition actually created a new criminal class.

What happened after Prohibition was repealed?  Well…the government regulated and taxed the alcohol producing industries.  Organized crime lost their stranglehold on alcohol.  The behavior of literally millions was instantly decriminalized.  There were no more bloody “booze” wars.  And the people…they just kept drinking…a little, a lot or not at all.  Prohibition did not really change the proportion of the population who consumed alcohol nor did it really affect alcohol consumption in general.  We still had drunks and alcoholics just as we did before Prohibition.  Nothing really changed except that organized crime became very wealthy and very powerful as a result.  In the end Prohibition created far more problems than it was supposed to have solved.

And it appears we learned nothing from this experiment.  For the moment let’s limit the discussion to marijuana legalization.  I’ve only heard two good arguments against marijuana legalization.  The first (and best) is that there is no reason we should willingly allow another intoxicant into our society.  This argument has merit, I believe.  No substance or activity that alters one’s perception of reality is good for you.  This goes for everything; alcohol, tobacco, drugs, dangerous activities like skiing, skydiving, auto racing, etc.  The other is that cops don’t have a ready method to determine if you’re stoned or just stupid.  This is obviously the weaker argument.

There is a definite difference between alcohol and marijuana.  One can consume alcohol without necessarily becoming impaired.  Impairment is the whole point with marijuana consumption.  Many people know the difference between two beers and six beers.  After two beers you can still do your taxes, after six beers you shouldn’t drive to the store to buy more beer.  Marijuana is more dichotomous.  You’re either stoned or you’re not.  I’m sure there are varying degrees of “stoned” from a mild buzz to wasted, but in the end the whole point of consuming marijuana is to get high.  But here is another difference.  The marijuana user is acutely aware that he is impaired.  The person consuming alcohol may be oblivious to the extent of his impairment.  This happens all the time.  People have a few drinks and don’t realize how drunk they are until the cop that stopped them explains it to them while slapping on the handcuffs.  The guy stoned on pot is more likely not to drive because he realizes he is stoned.  He orders a pizza instead.

Either way impairment is not a good thing.  But for the free individual it is a free choice.  In reality there is little difference between drinking four beers and smoking a joint in the privacy of your own home.  How is one “moral” and the other “immoral” other than by declaring one legal and the other illegal?  I drink beer but I don’t smoke pot.  Does this make me a hypocrite?  I don’t think so.  Many decades ago I smoked pot.  In fact, I used to like it…when I was a kid.  One day it dawned on me that I really didn’t enjoy being high on pot.  I swear, the stuff makes you stupid and lazy.  So I stopped smoking it.  Over the years all of my friends who also smoked pot quit.  This was not some sort of “morality awakening”, we just all outgrew it.  In reality it’s not much different than being a little drunk except that you’re hungrier and lazier.  Marijuana does not produce some sort of “magical” buzz but it is perhaps a less belligerent buzz.  You don’t see a lot of fist fights among pot smokers.

Believe me, I’m not holding the Netherlands up as a shining example of how things should be, but they legalized marijuana many years ago.  They haven’t had any trouble because of it.  In fact, a study conducted revealed that fewer under age youths smoked pot after they legalized it.  One Dutch official said they had managed to make marijuana “boring”.  I have no idea if this is true or not but I do know that even when the drinking age was 18 in Michigan it was easier for a 17 year old kid to score pot than a six pack of beer.  There are no legal age limits for illegal drugs.

The number of Americans who have tried marijuana or used to smoke marijuana is astronomical!  The number who currently smoke marijuana is much, much smaller.  The number who regularly smoke marijuana is even smaller.  The number who smoke it daily is smaller still.  But in the end we still have a whole bunch of pot smokers in this country.  They smoke pot even though it is (mostly) illegal.  Personally, I think the notion of “medical marijuana” is a load of crap.  It does have some distinct pharmacologic activity.  It has been demonstrated to produce an antiemetic effect, but it is not nearly as effective as modern antiemetics such as ondansetron.  It does stimulate appetite.  It has anxiolytic (i.e. anti-anxiety) properties but nothing anywhere near as potent as the benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium).  It does, indeed, lower intraoccular pressure but only at high serum concentrations.  In order to be effective for the treatment of glaucoma one would literally have to constantly smoke pot and remain stoned around the clock.  Its analgesic activity is about the same as Tylenol.  In short, I ain’t buyin’ any of the “medical” excuses for marijuana.  Mostly the stuff just gets you stoned.

Now…before I embark on my argument to legalize marijuana, let me just say that I’m firmly ambivalent.  I really don’t give a shit if pot is legalized or not because it does not directly affect me.  It does, however, indirectly affect me via my tax dollars.  Marijuana is (mostly) illegal.  You’re committing a crime if you grow it, possess it, sell it, distribute it or use it.  Rather any of this makes sense or not is utterly immaterial.  Currently it is illegal.  But even still a whole bunch of folks consume it.  Marijuana is also the #1 most used illegal drug in the country.  Marijuana trade is #1 in dollar volume in the illicit drug trade.

Marijuana consumption is not good for you nor is it harmless.  Chronic use can be detrimental to one’s health.  This is true for virtually every psychoactive drug from alcohol and nicotine to heroin and cocaine.  I think it is appropriate, however, to compare it to alcohol.  In general the effects of marijuana  will diminish faster that those of alcohol in typical doses.  Marijuana does not produce a condition of physical addiction.  There is almost no potential to overdose on marijuana.  Marijuana use is associated with far less violence than alcohol use.  In typical doses marijuana produces a state of impairment approximately equal to the ingestion of about 100 mL of ethanol.  In many respects the two drugs produce very similar effects.  Some are quick to point out that marijuana is a “gateway drug”.  It probably is, but no more so than the more likely culprits of alcohol and tobacco.  In the defense of alcohol, one can have a couple of beers after work and not forget what you were talking about.

The arguments for the legalization of pot have little to do with its activity as an intoxicant.  Perhaps the best argument is the purely Libertarian one.  The federal government has no right to tell you what you may or may not ingest.  This is a matter of Liberty.  A free citizen should should have the freedom to make the choice to eat trans fats, put salt on food, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, sniff lacquer thinner…or smoke marijuana.  Another good reason is simply grounded in reality.  Millions of Americans consume marijuana even though it is illegal.  Its legal status apparently serves as little impediment to its use.  We learned this lesson with alcohol during Prohibition.  For decades we have been fighting a losing war against the inevitable.  This “war” is also incredibly expensive.  We spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year in law enforcement time, our justice system and incarceration on just marijuana alone.  Where are the benefits?

At present there is absolutely no evidence that the incidence of marijuana use would significantly increase if it were legalized.  I’m sure there would be a transient spike as more of the curious tried it, but much like alcohol when Prohibition was repealed, it is likely that the number of marijuana users would settle back to where it is today.  It is also possible that the alcohol industry might suffer somewhat as some recreational users switched from alcohol to marijuana.  The potential as a source of tax revenue cannot be overlooked.  Taxes on alcohol generate a huge amount of revenue.  Another important advantage is that it would literally destroy a huge segment of the illegal drug trade that results in billions of dollars leaving this country every year.  The same thing happened with alcohol in 1933.

Although I doubt it will, I am hoping Proposition 19 in California passes.  We really need a test case and California would be a good one.  It would finally provide an opportunity to objectively evaluate what impact legalization would have in the real world.  We could honestly assess the financial, legal and societal implications and then make decisions based on empiric data rather than conjecture.

In the end, neither the Democrats or the Republicans want legalization.  Being opposed to it gives each side the claim to the “high moral ground” despite all the rest of their hypocrisy.  In addition there are literally billions and billions of dollars invested in keeping marijuana illegal.  More people are threatened by this than is immediately obvious.  These include a vast array of law enforcement personnel and their associated bureaucracies, thousands of lawyers and judges, jails, prisons and the entire corrections industry, etc.  Oh…and let’s not forget the marijuana smugglers and trafficers.  In the end it would be a good experiment to try.  If it fails it can be corrected, if it succeeds we will have learned an important lesson.  Either way, at least we know the truth.

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170 Responses to Libertarianism And Drug Liberalization

  1. Dr. Dave says:

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have sent you this file in PDF format. There are a lot of spaces between words missing. Oh well, I imagine a reader will get the crux of the message. By the way..H/T to memory vault (I did just like you suggested).


    Sorted… and thanks again – Oz 😉

  2. Farmerbraun says:

    Walt: Substance abuse is adaptive behaviour through which people cope with the intolerable.

    Farmer Braun: Walt, if you ever have the misfortune to have a root canal done without any analgesic, you will understand, and you will NEVER forget, why I am not having a bar of the above statement. Am I reading you wrong? Using any substance to adapt to the intolerable cannot be abuse. Maybe by substance abuse you mean illegal drug usage.

  3. msher says:

    As I mentioned on the last thread, what to make of the fact that George Soros has funded the effort in California to make marijuana legal. He does not wish this country well. I used to be for legalization for a litany of reasons which I will list in another post later – but to be on the same side of anything with Soros gives me great pause.

  4. Dr. Dave says:


    I wouldn’t be too weirded out by Soros or the Democrats. They have no interest in the legalization of marijuana. They are interested in having initiatives for legalization on the ballot. They don’t care if they pass or not. What they want is the youth vote. They figure if legalization is on the ballot the youth vote will turn out and the youth vote (lately) is pretty predictably Democrat. They’re just looking for an edge in tight elections. To them it is a gimmick.

    If the Democrats were seriously in favor of legalization they could have overturned federal laws many times over. Democrats don’t want legalization any more than Republicans. There are billions of dollars at stake as long as it remains a criminal enterprise. It all doesn’t matter to me personally. I don’t smoke pot nor do I want to. What bothers me is the billions in tax dollars we waste on this futile effort.

  5. Farmerbraun says:

    I don’t see anything to disagree with Dave and I don’t see that the same rationale does not apply equally to any other controlled substance. But legalisation places a huge burden on those responsible for youth, who have somehow to be educated, and given a sense of responsibility for themselves. Our current state welfare provisions are running a campaign for irresponsibility, which will have to be countered, if we want to give people power over their own lives. Our last Labour government made as many as possible of the population into welfare beneficiaries with the hoary old promise ” Don’t worry Jack, we’ll look after you”. ( just give us your vote). We have families with multiple generations of state dependency. It’s a big ask to turn around and then say ” Mate it’s your life”.
    So OK, there’s a transition period which may not be pretty. I still think it’s worth a go, because it’s not just about substances; it’s about taking responsibility for a whole lot of areas in your life; it’s about telling Nanny State to shove it.
    But let’s face it our education systems are a (bad) joke; we can’t rely on schools to provide the facts and reasoning ability needed to allow informed decisions to be made by kids who will try anything once. So parents will need a big helping hand to get through the transition. That may be the Achilles heel – parenting skills.

  6. If I remember correctly another reason to ban marijuana was that the artificial rope industry needed a helping hand and a way to ban hemp as a competitor.
    As for legalizing drug use it would be better if the government could control it’s strength and tax it directly a major source of revenue, prostitution likewise at least you would get rid of the pimps and could make them take regular tests for STD’s/veneral disease to control the spread of them it could also be taxed.
    No I do not use prostitutes or do drugs I just stick to beer but who am I to say whom should. It would at a the stroke of a pen kill the illegal drugs trade and make Mexico a lot safer as some nasty drug wars are waged down there. Afghanistan would lose a major source of revenue to the Taliban and they would not be able to buy weapons to kill our troops.
    Saying that some drugs are really bad for a person as the effects of say Meth use are really bad and does induce paranoia and some really psychotic behaviour.

  7. Ozboy says:

    Actually, the moves to criminalize marijuana stem largely from DuPont’s predatory marketing. DuPont chemist Wallace Carothers invented nylon in 1935 and his employers had ample motive to eliminate hemp, the main competitor. It just so happened that the U.S. Treasury Secretary at the time Andrew Mellon, was also head of Mellon Bank, which financed DuPont. Mellon appointed his niece’s husband Harry J. Anslinger as head of the newly-created Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (later the Federal Bureau of Narcotics). You can read about it all here.

    And nary a whisper was raised in protest at this travesty! God bless America.

  8. Farmerbraun says:

    How DID True Hemp ( Cannabis sativa,
    sub-species sativa ) disappear from American

    Starting in the late 1920’s, forest-products,
    cotton, oil,
    petrochemical, steel, and perhaps even aluminum
    industries feared
    COMPETITION from a very innovative new technology;
    the HEMP

    HEMP DECORTICATORS were just becoming
    commercially-available on True
    Hemp farms. This key technology would have allowed
    family farmers to
    create a carbohydrate economy to replace what is now
    a system dominated
    by hydrocarbons (oil, coal, and natural-gas).

    In fact, in the February, 1938 edition of Popular
    Mechanics, hemp was
    heralded as a ‘New Billion Dollar Crop’.

    Exactly what caused the demise of True Hemp
    commodity farming? Well, in
    1917 George W. Schlicten pulled off a sort of
    stunt, only way better….he patented the HEMP
    farm-machine that mechanically seperates the fiber
    the True Hemp stalk. This labor-saving device was
    just barely beginning to kick some
    in the
    late 1920’s.

    Coincidentally, this is exactly when a deliberate
    smear campaign was
    launched (by print, newsreel, and radio) to
    discredit what was THEN a
    very new and mysterious word: marijuana. A negative
    image was assigned
    to that now-dreaded M-word.

  9. Dr. Dave says:


    Are you in New Zealand? Geez…you sound like an American conservative. To me drugs are a peripheral issue. What really scares me is our entitlement state. My girlfriend’s kid is 22 years old. He’s a good kid even though I wanted to drown him when he was 15 (one should not say “whatever” to me). This kid grew up with his ultra-religious father under very strict rules. But, Jesus, he grew up in the Florida Keys. He was hip to pot and cocaine before he even got laid. What are we trying to prevent? What is within the realm of reality?

    This kid learned values in the home. Today he is in college and hopes to get into pharmacy school. He has a full time job and goes to school. He knows he’s “entitled” to nothing. Whatever he wants he’ll have to work for. He learned this from his parents (actually his Dad is an old friend of mine). Drugs in general and marijuana in particular are expensive, stupid peripheral issues.

    I care a lot more about this kid having a job and doing well in organic chemistry than I do about him catching a buzz. What’s weird is that this kid has virtually no interest in drugs or alcohol. He is, however, a puss hound. And that’s every bit as dangerous.

  10. Farmerbraun says:

    crownarmourer says:
    October 31, 2010 at 5:52 pm
    Anyone who paid attention to Mr Natural in Robert Crumb cartoons in the 70s knew that SPEED KILLS. But it still has medical uses. Same deal- there is use and there is abuse. Important to learn the difference.

  11. Farmerbraun says:

    Right with you there Dave. We kept our kids out of primary school so that they could have a chance to run their own programmes. They had all the Cheech and Chong records plus the Marx Brothers and Frank Zappa, not to mention Rodney Rude and Kevin Bloody Wilson. The important thing is there were no parental taboos; how else to produce self-reliance. Is that conservative? Some people think I’m an anarchist- maybe there’s not too much between the two positions.
    Yeh- substances are not the only things that can be abused.

  12. Farmerbraun says:

    There’s a major problem brewing with the entitlement state and generation Y. Everyone knows that the entitlements are not sustainable with an ageing population. So what will the Ys do about that? They know there will be nothing for them when they retire. If you want to give yourself the shits, I can recommend Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing. Chilling.

  13. De Torquville nailed down how the USA would fair by pointing out the entitlement mentality in the 19th century. Mainly in the south.
    Very prescient of him to foresee the inherent contradictions in American culture. Gen Y is really messed up they experienced the divorce wave of the baby boomers their parents and were the first to be medicated by their parents so they could cope with children as unruly as themselves, thanks big pharma. ADD ADHD and many other non diseases your child is hyperactive and you don’t allow them to play outside because of the sexual perverts well lets just drug their asses because mammy can’t cope because she is a spoilt b*tch.

  14. orkneylad says:

    Dr Dave, an excellent article.

    Prohibiting plants that grow naturally upon the Earth is INSANE.
    In my garden one can find Hemlock, Foxgloves & Deadly Nightshade………last month I even found an Avenging Angel [type of mushroom].
    Hemp can serve so many uses it’s no wonder it was banned, DuPont have a lot to answer for.


  15. Locusts says:

    Fascinating article Dave, though still not sure if you are in favour of drugs and alcohol or not.

    Interesting point about the difference between libertarianism and conservatism, and I’d like to thank you. If this is the definitive definition of libertarianism:

    I don’t care if you buy sex or even if your daughter becomes a whore. I don’t even care if you choose to abort your unborn child. These things don’t directly affect me. I may not agree with them but in the end they are YOUR choices, not mine.

    then I am a conservative, through and through. I’d care if any of my friends or friend’s daughters became whores; and I’d hope that that caring might help someone, and help build a better, kinder society somehow.

    The decisions of your neighbours directly affect you. They affect the quality of your neighbourhood, the kind of person your child grows up to become, the laws of the land, and the taxes you pay.

    There is a certain kind of person who is considered to be a reponsible member of society. These people are the glue that holds everybody else together, and the more responsible our society is, the more caring it will be, even if that means that less people get off their heads on smack and write mind-blowing tunes.

  16. meltemian says:

    Looking at Farmerbraun’s source I also found this:- Rudolph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, designed the diesel to
    operate on Hemp oil. The Hemp tree produces four times more oxygen than a
    tree, thereby solving the greenhouse effect, produces no toxic exhaust, only
    Co-2 and water. The plants use carbon dioxide, Co-2 to make oxygen. IT is
    estimated that less than 20 million acres of farmland would supply Americas
    fuel requirements annually. It costs just pennies to refine Hemp oil into
    Hemp fuel. Smog devices would no longer be needed on engines. To pump and
    go, all that is necessary is a simple computer mapping change on fuel
    injected cars and trucks, and a small carburetor jet change for older models
    and we would be set to operate an efficient, nontoxic and inexpensive
    alternate energy source. Do your own research and you will find this message
    to be quite factual as well.
    ……..By-product of motor-fuel eh!
    However I don’t think hemp actually does produce marijuana does it – isn’t the cannibis plant something different?

  17. Walt O'Bruin says:

    crownarmourer says:
    October 31, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Yeah. That was the point I was trying to make with the parallel paradigm/model of the workings of the coal power plant industry compared to the dope industry in the States. None of why things don’t work has anything to do with power plant alternatives, dope, or big pharma. It has to be with Americans buying into social equations that are deliberately set up to fail so non-workers can shake cash loose from the system with busting a sweat while laughing at those who play by the rules.

    The pre-US Civil War slave system is preserved intact but on a larger scale and percentage of the population, and just like with antebellum slavery, it is not about race and relative ethnic entitlements. It is about finding strong human horses to harness and whip to pull lardass plows without providing adequate compensation. Dope is just the bit.

    Dave doesn’t know which side of the fence he is on either. It is a deliberately confusing issue, totally that way by design. The point is that there is no fence, as it is yet another BS anti-decision matrix to squeeze you for money on demand against your will. None of it has anything to do with dope or getting high. It’s Chauncey and Biff and Muffy and Chelsea in Grosse Pointe Woods and Belgravia using people as their personal ATM machine.

  18. Walt O'Bruin says:

    Farmerbraun, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had to use medicinal opium derivatives and coca leaf derivatives. You know very well what I meant. You need to get to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting to network with nice sweet respectable people who know what dope is as they have had their lives ruined by their own initial “neutral” attitude toward it, and are trying to get off it, which most of them don’t. While you are at it, ask them what Seraquil and clonopin are. Jeez.

    I have been prescribed Fiorinal and morphine for the pain from the aftermath of major re-attachments of body parts (right hand) before, and I will not take the stuff again. I don’t care if I have a tomahawk stuck in the forehead. The local anesthetic for the hand operation wore off halfway through the six hour ordeal, and I had five orderlies on top of me and a towel in my mouth for completing the stitchup. Most importantly, though, neither of the above mentioned were that effective as pain relievers. The local anesthetics weren’t based on these products either. I know the pain and I will take the pain next time out. The withdrawal routine was the worst week of my life. The nightmares were worse than the pain the drugs were meant to relieve, by light-years.

    There is right south of the border from New Mexico and Texas a shooting war which has resulted in 23,000 dead in three years, all over access to the US market by and for marijuana dealers. You need to make your pro-legalization argument to the widows of the casualties at their kitchen tables over coffee in Mexico, not to me.

    Everyone falls back on the tired business paradigm shift in attitude toward the stuff if they only legalized it, but this is a niche product with a specific clientele that is both an addictive substance and an economic cornerstone for evangelizing a leftist secular theology which also is a friendly fellow traveler to conventional religion. All these court-ordered and corrections system-mandated 12-step programmes for popped drug and alcohol offenders are faith-based. This product is already “legal” in the minds of suburbia as the transactions paradigm stands now: social workers and churches don’t want people off the stuff. They make billions off screwed up lives. They want the trade to remain dominated by criminal types, not that one could ever separate the niche market from the management philosophy here: all the countries which have legalized the drug dealing and related trades are terminal messes now (Germany and the Netherlands are doing the old pre-WW II tailspin into fascism and criminal anarchy again).

    And amongst the biggest investors in the (to my mind) drug-induced fantasy world phenomenon of AGW are –Surprise!–church pension funds. Farm out. Right arm. Off the man, as long as he is white and heterosexual and non-communist.

  19. Walt O'Bruin says:

    I don’t think there is a single opium or cocaine based operating room anesthetic used in the West today. It is all pharma stuff now. They can only use a certain amount of a local anesthetic so long during an operation or it blows out your kidneys. I may be wrong, but I think the use of those for the operating table went out 40-50 years ago.

    I’ll do an Izen’t and Gargle the topic later today.

  20. Dr. Dave says:


    I should have written “it’s none of my business” rather than “I don’t care”. Of course I would care, but you’re free to make your own choices and it’s none of my business or that of government. I’m not “in favor” of marijuana consumption per se, but I am very much in favor of an individual’s right to choose. I’m definitely not in favor of cigarette smoking but I defend the rights of the individual to make that choice for himself.

  21. Erik says:

    G’day fellas, thank you for the free word, the beautiful update to our gene pool (sweet Princess Mary) – and pardon my engrish
    @meltemian says:
    October 31, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    However I don’t think hemp actually does produce marijuana does it – isn’t the cannibis plant something different?
    There are different strains, hemp, marijuana and cannabis are just different names for the same sort of plant, some produce drugs, some don’t, a few farmers in Denmark have permits to farm these plants as a test

    But basically, if the female plant get germinated by the male plant it will (mostly) concentrate on producing seeds

    If the female plant do not get fertilized it will concentrate on producing the “drug”, actually this stuff sits on the surface of the plant and is meant to protect it against insects and from drying out

    It is a wonderful and very useful plant imho, and yes I have grown it and do smoke the stuff with great pleasure from time to time

    I’m born and raised at a small farm in -50, always took care om myself and my family, run my own business, vote conservative (just so you don’t think I am a no-good hippie ;-))

    G’day Erik, welcome to LibertyGibbert; hope to see more of you – Oz

  22. Amanda says:

    you compare alcohol with marijuana use.

    My thoughts:
    1) Alcohol, unless we are talking about ‘alcopops’, is a gourmet item, meant to be savoured for its own sake. Wine is more than an agricultural product: it’s an art form (and similar could be said of ‘serious’ beer and whiskey/whisky). The flavours and texture of the drink are important; in wine, too high an alcohol content can actually interfere with one’s enjoyment of it.
    2) Given the foregoing, only drunks or party-animals drink to get drunk. I never drink to get drunk. Marijuana users always smoke to get high.
    3) Beer and wine have therapeutic benefits and in sensible doses are good for one’s health.
    4) Beer and wine enhance the enjoyment of good dishes, and they do so without interfering with anyone else’s enjoyment of same (unlike, e.g. cigarette smoke, which seems to me antithetical to the savouring of good food).

  23. From my cursory examination of the subject, it doesn’t appear there is any reason at all for the continued support of the Afghan poppy fields nor for the cultivation of coca. There have been synthetic and non-addictive cocaine substitutes for decades for local anesthetics and for major post-operative pain relief there is a massive range of non-addictive alternatives as well, though it has only been fairly recently that products competitive with morphine have been synthesized.

    It was good also that the postman lost my replacement components for the electronic ciggies, as NI was right again about the patches and other nicotine based smoking cessation aids. It is clearly stated at several medical sites on the Net that using nicotine patches puts one at risk for serious heart disease if not outright heart failure, yet another case of the cure being worse than the disorder it is meant to cure.

  24. Leadership, such as it is, must sort out a landing zone for where we want to be in a post-dope universe as a civilization. It is ridiculous to think that any regime would tolerate for long the migration of a full-fledged war on our southern border expanding and migrating north of Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona. This issue coupled with the various other left/right concerns and an indecisive economy are what led to such community sports activities as the Spanish Civil War and the Spartacist uprising in post WW I Germany.

    The alternative “solution” is Chairman Mousey Dung’s. In 1948 there were 16 million mainland Chinese heroin addicts. With the Communist takeover, by the end of 1949 there were none. None alive, in any event.

  25. Dr. Dave says:


    I don’t disagree with anything you have written. Keep in mind, however, that even modest alcohol intake produces a pharmacologic effect. We just don’t refer to that effect as being “drunk”. We have arbitrary definitions for “drunk”.

    I don’t condone recreational drug use in general nor do I necessarily advocate marijuana use in particular. I advocate liberty and free choice. We tend to look at issues and hold up the examples of the worst outcomes as typical. For instance, have you ever gambled? LOTS of people have gambled at casinos, race tracks, bingo halls and around card tables with friends. How many actually develop a gambling addiction? How many people drink alcohol? What percentage actually become alcoholics?

    A great book is DRUGS: America’s Holy War by Arthur Benavie. This book is exhaustively well referenced. I was astounded by some of the statistics. The number of people who have tried or used to use methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine is astonishing. The number who actually developed an addiction is incredibly small. This amazed me because all you ever hear about are the addicts…all the other cases are non-stories.

    This begs the question, is it within purview of government to keep all potentially “dangerous” substances away from all citizens to prevent the infrequent negative outcome in a tiny minority of individuals?

    The fact that marijuana is an intoxicant is almost irrelevant to the central question, should the government have the right to tell you that you can’t ingest it if you so choose?

  26. Dr. Dave says:


    Time for a little boring pharmacology lesson. Opium is actually a natural mixture of morphine, codeine, papaverine and other thebaine derivatives. We isolate the morphine and codeine for medical use. Morphine is the prototypical opiate. It is chemically modified to produce heroin, codeine, hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. These are the mainstays of the opiate analgesics. Opiates produce what is known as supraspinal analgesia. They work in the brain by binding to the mu receptor. There are some entirely synthetic opiates. These include meperidine (Demerol), fentanyl, sufentanil and alfentanil as well as drugs such as propoxyphene (Darvon). But they all do the same thing – they bind to the mu receptor in the brain.

    We don’t use a lot of morphine during surgery but we continue to use a ton of it post-op. During surgery a lot of fentanyl is used because it is a more pure agonist at the mu receptor and does not cause histamine release like morphine does. Every drug I have listed so far has the potential for abuse and addiction. In many respects it’s hard to improve on morphine. Oxycodone has almost the same activity but is often better tolerated when administered orally. But all these drugs are similar pharmacologically. They all can depress respiration (which is how they can kill you), they all cause pupillary constriction, they all suppress cough and they all slow gut motility. There simply are no new, marvelous non-addicting analgesics that are as effective as morphine and the opiates.

    Cocaine is another story. It has very little medical use anymore. It has some interesting pharmacology. It is a potent topical anesthetic and used to be used extensively for this purpose. Its use has been supplanted by lots of newer, safer and better anesthetics (e.g. lidocaine, bupivicaine, carbocaine). It is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is still used once in a while to treat nose bleeds. This also explains why most cocaine related deaths are due to smoking or injecting the drug. It’s vasoconstricting properties self-limit its absorption from nasal mucous membranes. And, of course, it produces norepinephrine and dopamine release in the brain which produce the central nervous system stimulation. With regard to this latter activity there really are no synthetic substitutes for cocaine, but this is not a medically desirable effect so the case is moot.

  27. Amanda says:

    Dr Dave: For my part, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said in response to my post (for the rest, I shall simply have to accept your knowledge where I am ignorant). And I wasn’t making an anti-libertarian case; really I was speaking up for alcohol because I consider it an asset to an enjoyable life. Yes, it does have effects — and honestly, I do enjoy them, as long as they’re not pronounced.* However, the wonderful thing about alcohol is that it can be enjoyed responsibly in a dignified social setting and is for most people an aid to being sociable, not something that necessarily has anti-social aspects. In other words, drinking at wedding or drinking at a reception before a concert is part of ‘the high life’, but getting stoned is not compatible with civilized public activities — and I don’t think that’s just a matter of law. There is something inherently more natural and sociable about restrained alcoholic drinking. I know that’s tangential to the question you’re addressing, but I don’t think it’s altogether irrelevant: in my view it’s one of the chief reasons why America’s Prohibition was a stupid idea to begin with an one that was doomed to fail. Alcohol is just too much a part of civilization. Other drugs aren’t.

    * One time when my husband and I were beseiged in our apartment hallway, which involved the intervention of security personnel and a quickish move to another apartment, we were so upset by events that we retreated behind our ‘wall of books’ with a couple of bottles of wine and drank them as we sat there cuddled together on the sofa. I think we had a few snacks but couldn’t face making a dinner. Our nerves soothed, we eventually went off to sleep and the next day we were fine. But, I’m happy to say, that is not the normal way in which I appreciate wine.

  28. msher says:

    An update on voter fraud in the U.S. elections, which I wrote about on the previous thread:.

    Mail-in and absentee ballots are coming in. All of the commentators say these tend to go Democratic in all elections. Well, does it make any sense to anyone that Dems vote a few days earlier than Republicans? There would be no reason for that. I got my Independent, voting for Republicans, ballot in week ago. So did my Republican friends.

    Does it make more sense that the Republican marked ballots which are sometimes handled by the public employees who are member of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), somehow manage to lose Republican-marked ballots? I am amazed that even the Fox commentators are just taking it for granted that “Dems tend to vote earlier.”

    To show the absurdity in my view, they all give the example of Ohio. Obama won it in the mail-in and absentee ballots, but McCain won it on election day in the in person votes. The mail-in and absentee ballots were enough to give the State to Obama.

    Fraud, anyone?

  29. msher says:

    One more post on vote fraud”

    I went to my first tea party meeting this week. They were having an expert talk on global warming and I wanted to hear what he said. (He was fine. A proper skeptic, gave a good talk.) They were actual human beings, looked mostly working class, in their 50’s, 60’s and a few in their 70’s. Knew their constitution. First thing on the agenda was a call for volunteers to monitor polling places for fraud.

    It was just announced that Obama has sent Justice Department observers to the State of Arizona to make sure they don’t enforce their law that you have to be a citizen to be a registered voter. (The whacky, liberal 9th Circuit court ruled last week that Arizona couldn’t have such a law. OBama has decided to use his observers to make sure they don’t enforce it. So with all the possible vote fraud, the Justice Department is going to be watching state officals who are trying to stop vote fraud

  30. Dr. Dave says:


    I think we’re going to see widespread vote fraud this time around. There are 43 seats in the House, 7 in the Senate and 10 Governors races that are a statistical dead heat right now. This doesn’t even count the “leans” races. I also suspect the Democrats overplayed their trickery hand in 2008 by stealing the election for Al Franken. Everyone is hypersensitive to vote fraud right now. Every claim will be dissected under a microscope following the election. The GOP is watching closely this time. I think it is less likely that there will be sacks of uncounted Democrat votes discovered in the trunks of cars. Democrats in the House are doomed. The way RCP scores it they would have to run the table and win all 43 toss-up races PLUS 5 “leans GOP” races and not lose a single “leans Dem” seat to retain control of the House. This is nearly impossible. But vote fraud is a time honored tradition among the Democrat party.

  31. scud1 says:

    Hi Doc’. Entertaining article. Thank you very much.

    Good article here…

    Explaining how it actually is and one for Msher… about concerns over Lib’ fraud…

    “Most of all, though, we have to remember that leftists are, well, leftists. They are simply much more corrupt than those on the right. I know this sounds like blind partisanship, so I’ll explain.”

  32. Ozboy says:

    A little OT (more American politics, but what the heck)

    The passing of an era today with the death of Ted Sorensen, JFK’s speechwriter, aged 82. The author of such memorable “Kennedy” quotes as ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, Sorensen ghosted Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Profiles in Courage, and (claim JFK’s critics) was in fact the real author.

    I always suspected Sorensen was a Libertarian at heart, but somehow got swallowed up by the Kennedy machine, and subsequently the system generally. Always had a bit of a soft spot for him; regardless of his politics, his literary skills were unquestionable. If the 23-year old Sorensen had been hired by Richard Nixon instead of JFK, would the history of the 20th century have been different?

    Maybe. Just maybe.

  33. scud1 says:

    Oh yes. Next year will be very interesting indeed…(as long as Msher’s fraud stuff doesn’t get in the way)

    …don’t laugh, it’s not funny. No really it isn’t.

  34. Dr. Dave says:


    You’re wrong! That was hilarious.

  35. Msher what worries me the most is what would happen if the Dems quite obviously steal the election in a blatant fashion. With no democratic outlet left to pursue what do people do next?
    If the democrats feel like they are in power forever they will start to pass more and more draconian laws designed to control everyones lives down to the littlest detail.

  36. scud1 says:

    He he Doc. Yes, I’m liking that very much but for shear, side splitting, beer spluttering eco-insanity / lefty outrage…total bollocksosnoss. Check this out….

    Which is funny…very very wucking funny!

  37. Dr. Dave says:

    It is the most dreaded day of the year here – Halloween. My house is on a 2 mile long loop in a nice neighborhood. My street is one of the oldest sections of this suburb of about 2,700 homes and it’s paved. Several decades ago this street became “the” place for trick or treating. People drive their kids here from downtown and even from surrounding towns. The sun hasn’t yet set and already they’re at it.

    I used to play along and hand out candy. But I quickly discovered that you can go through 10 lbs of Halloween candy in under an hour and they keep coming even after you’ve turn your light out. The vandalism is what put me over the edge. Cars will be lined up bumper to bumper on both sides of the street in a couple hours. We assume “bunker posture”. We turn off all the lights and hide in the bedroom until they’re gone. I wouldn’t mind if these were neighborhood kids but most don’t live anywhere near me. I hate having to hide in my own home!

  38. Dr Dave have you considered setting bear traps.

  39. Dr. Dave says:


    You know, it turns out that the local liberals are vehemently opposed to traps, trip wires and land mines. Santa Fe is excruciatingly liberal. It’s the second largest art market in the country after NYC. The place is rife with aging hippies, crystal gazers and various forms of “non-breeders”. It is beautiful, however, and has a wonderful climate. Today it was in the mid 70s with wall to wall sunshine. But we’re at 7,000 feet in elevation. In two weeks we could have over night lows in the single digits.

  40. scud1 says:

    Next years Halloween…

    ‘Trick or treat?”

    The Doc shoves a .50 Desert Eagle with a jelly baby over the foresight through the letter box.

    ‘Whatcha reckon…punks?”

  41. Dr. Dave says:


    In the last 15+ years I’ve had to replace 5 mailboxes. Four due to Halloween and one from an old neighbor who shouldn’t have been driving.

    Interesting you should mention the Desert Eagle. I wouldn’t mind owning one. I have a reasonably impressive collection of handguns and I like to shoot the big caliber ones just for fun (.41 Magnum, .44 Magnum). My pride and joy is a S&W .460 Magnum. The cartridges are over 2″ in length and will propel a 240 gr. hollow point projectile with a muzzle velocity of over 2,000 ft/sec. When I bought it some smartass in line behind me asked what I needed such a big gun for. I told him I was having problems with Cape Buffalo. You can see one here:

  42. Dr Dave I have actually been to the magic crystal mine in Arkansas were they dip the quartz crystals in acid to remove the iron stains thereby they become magical.
    I was on a road trip with a geology buddy and we were laughing with the owners of the mine at the gullibility of Hippy’s.

  43. Blackswan says:

    At the risk of being accused of “highjacking” the thread from the US elections back to the topic……..

    This blog is most confusing – I’m going to need some help in trying to work it all out.

    Dave’s leeengthy discourse on the issue of drug use/abuse stemmed from the fact that when it came to the ills of a broader society – “I don’t care” – and the ONLY thing Dave does care about, is how his tax dollars are spent. This was later modified to “it’s none of my business…….but I am very much in favor of an individual’s right to choose”.

    Dave told us about his high school years and how it was easier for underage adolescents to get dope than a beer and the 15 year old drug dealer, who was always good for a spare gram of hash, (the better to broaden his clientele) ” is today a full bird colonel working in the field of biologic terror threats.” Was he, or his ilk, a promoter of Saddam’s non-existent bio-WMD?

    Walt suggested “Substance abuse is adaptive behaviour through which people cope with the intolerable.”
    What if they have zero that’s “intolerable” to complain about, but simply “choose” to “get wasted” because “it’s fun.”?

    Farmer Brown responds; “Walt, if you ever have the misfortune to have a root canal done without any analgesic, you will understand, …. Using any substance to adapt to the intolerable cannot be abuse.”
    That’s true – but I’ve had a root canal done without any drugs, by hypnosis. Sounds weird doesn’t it? But true.

    Farmer Brown goes on… “the La Guardia study into marijuana usage…. showed no long-term ill effects and it was considered to be a coping mechanism for those whose situation could only be described as bleak and hopeless. It enabled them to keep functioning; so in no way was it abuse. In my book that was legitimate use; whatever gets you through the night.”
    What if they have zero that’s “bleak and hopeless” to complain about, but simply “choose” to “get wasted” because “it’s fun.”?
    Is “whatever gets you through the night” the catch-cry that legitimizes ANYthing?

    In the many hundreds of words on this subject in these threads, only ONE person (Farmer Brown) has said; “So what about juveniles?”

    This was whispered down a well, and only ONE person heard him and responded.

    Locusts @ 10.30pm said: “The decisions of your neighbours directly affect you. They affect the quality of your neighbourhood, the kind of person your child grows up to become, the laws of the land, and the taxes you pay.

    There is a certain kind of person who is considered to be a reponsible member of society. These people are the glue that holds everybody else together, and the more responsible our society is, the more caring it will be, even if that means that less people get off their heads on smack and write mind-blowing tunes.”

    Locusts, the man who claimed to have suffered the amputation of an emotional limb to dissociate himself from the plight of those around him. Sorry Locusts, it’s grown back again. I share your perspective that “society” isn’t a conglomeration of individuals. I believe in “the glue that holds everybody else together”.

    Farmer Brown suggested that in the brave new world of “anything goes” it will all come down to “parenting skills”.

    Dave offered the observation that his girl?friend’s “kid” was raised by a strict religious father (Dave’s “old friend”) who, at 22, had little interest in dope and booze. “This kid learned values in the home.”

    But Farmer Brown’s “parenting skills” (sometimes described as anarchist) boiled down to bringing up free-range children who got to make their own choices and decisions with absolutely no “parental taboos”.

    For all Doctor Dave’s in-depth analysis of the pharmacological effects of natural and synthetic drugs, we heard nothing of the implications of neurological development in young people. What of the fact that a young man’s brain doesn’t develop the capacity for gauging a threat to life & limb until their mid-20s (a little earlier for women).

    In evolutionary terms, why else would young men go chasing after a woolly mammoth with spears, or in modern terms volunteer to be cannon fodder?

    So how does that fit Dave? How can young people (in Farmer Brown’s case with no parental taboos, children) be expected to make choices and decisions in their own best-interests without the neurological development or life-experience to guide them?

    With different States and Jurisdictions declaring different ages of Majority, either 18 or 21, and capacity for sexual consent constantly being lowered into childhood, just what age is appropriate for free-for-all drug use?

    “Responsible” has three different definitions;
    1) Liable to be called to account – Who is to blame, who can I sue?
    2) Capable of rational conduct, of decisions
    3) Onus of safety and welfare of others, ie Family, Community…

    So come on Dave, Farmer Brown, Ozboy – help this confused Swan out a little.

    At what point does any one of us evolve from being an individual to becoming part of a “Responsible Society”.

  44. Amanda says:

    That’s true – but I’ve had a root canal done without any drugs, by hypnosis.

    That explains everything.

  45. Amanda says:

    help this confused Swan out a little.

    Cough. I don’t think the combined resources of Rice University and the Royal Society would be enough.

  46. Amanda says:

    At what point does any one of us evolve from being an individual to becoming part of a “Responsible Society”.

    …When they hand you your beaver hat with two tails in the back and show you the special secret handshake.

  47. Amanda says:

    In evolutionary terms, why else would young men go chasing after a woolly mammoth with spears

    So they can eat?

  48. Amanda says:

    we heard nothing of the implications of neurological development in young people. What of the fact that a young man’s brain doesn’t develop the capacity for gauging a threat to life & limb until their mid-20s

    Um, a man of 20 is a fully formed adult. All his dendrites are intact, even if other parts aren’t, through no fault of his own.

    The clue you seek is called ‘maturity’ and a growing awareness of mortality.

  49. Amanda says:

    I believe in “the glue that holds everybody else together”.

    God I hope not.

  50. Amanda says:

    Was he, or his ilk, a promoter of Saddam’s non-existent bio-WMD?

    What’s that got to do with anything? Anyway, how do you know the WMDs weren’t carted off to Syria, as is perfectly plausible? And you ought to know that WMDs were not the main reason for attacking Saddam’s sick torture-chamber thug-run country in the first place: terrorists and their terrorist networks were. The WMD ‘red herring’ is itself a red herring dangled by anti-war types who don’t realize what we’re up against… some of whom would like to see America get another bloody nose. I’m not among them. Are you?

  51. Blackswan says:


    Aren’t you in fine form today? As usual contributing very little to any discussion that doesn’t involve you. But wait, we got a nice justification of why YOU drink wine. I don’t recall anyone being remotely interested what, where or why you drink.

  52. Amanda says:

    Oh, but you’re tremendously interested in me, Blackswan. You cannot leave me alone.

    Try it. Go on, Big Bird. Try to ignore me just this once!

  53. scud1 says:

    Splendid Doc’.
    Yes, I’ve read all LG posts and was most interested by your invitation to come over and fire some large hand cannons. (apologies for not posting for a while…but as explained to Oz over in Rastech’s chat…I usually find that I have nothing else to add…it’s already been covered!)
    Here in the UK we can go down two routes towards firearms ownership.
    1 is an SG licence (shotgun)…pretty easy, police interview, medical records, criminal record….no history of alcohol abuse (tee hee)…then you can own any ‘shotgun’ (described as smoothbore and a magazine capacity of not more than 2.)
    2 ‘Firearms license’…and this I can’t describe to you since it is so steeped in bullshit no one knows what the effin’n ‘ell the authorities are going on about. But, should you be so privileged to obtain one you’ll be the proud owner of a certificate that says that you can buy ‘a rifle’ with ‘nominated’ number of rounds and / or a shotgun with a magazine capacity of more than 2!…unless you’re a criminal who can buy a MAC 10 for 250 quid…
    It’s all arse about face…everyone knows it and it’s bloody boring.
    He he…saw a vid the other day of a .60 S&W…Now THAT’S a cannon!!

  54. Pointman says:

    Swanny, look at your email.


  55. Blackswan may I reverse your argument it has only been in the last 150 years has the law developed whereby the age of consent was codified in law. The age of being able to smoke or drink was also added.
    So in the past it was okay for children to drink, smoke and be able to marry with lesser restrictions than today. I will not add drugs as until the last 80 years they were relatively uncommon. So my point is you are imposing your modern morality on society that in times past has been a lot more lenient.
    However personally I am not saying children should be allowed to drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex until they are legally adults which varies by jurisdiction which hovers around the age of 18. Although I was drinking by age 15 and in the pubs at 16 it was illegal for me to do so but local custom allowed it as long as we did not cause trouble so the police turned a blind eye.

  56. Dr. Dave says:

    Great post, Blackswan!

    In the interest of full disclosure the piece that Ozboy posted was never intended to be a blog article. It was waaay too long. I had written it as an email for about 5 friends of mine who like to discuss and debate such issues. I just happened to have it handy and sent it to Ozboy.

    You make several good points. It’s also refreshing to veer back on topic. I would imagine that American politics would be as dull as sawdust for almost anyone not voting this coming Tuesday. So…. What about the children? OK…what about them? What do we do now to protect them from alcohol and tobacco? What do we do to protect them from any adult “vice”? In my view, it is the responsibility of parents to raise their children and inculcate the appropriate values…not the job of government. In my examination of the legalization of marijuana I remained focused on the rights of adults, not children. The age of majority is another entirely different argument (but I’ve written a lot about this, too). One can argue that legalization would make pot more available to youth. I reject this hypothesis. Right now, as an illegal drug, there are no age limits placed on its illegal distribution. Technically, if marijuana were legalized it would be no more available to children than alcohol is right now. Does this guarantee kids won’t get their hands on it? Of course not! I was a kid once. We managed to get our hands on cigarettes and alcohol. As we got a little older getting our hands on illegal marijuana was even easier.

    My focus was all about the right of the government to deny a legal adult citizen the right to ingest anything they want…even if they want to drink paint thinner. I’m not arguing the “morality” of getting high. I already stated that anything that alters one’s perception of reality is NOT good for you. I’m not advocating drug use. I’m arguing against state control over an individual’s freedom to chose.

  57. Blackswan says:

    “you’re tremendously interested in me, Blackswan. You cannot leave me alone. Try to ignore me just this once!”

    Leave YOU alone? Who are you kidding?

    My reference was to the drug-dealing sprat who fledged into an “expert” on biological warfare. Is that the ethos and background of people involved?

    But hey Mandy, if I wanted to ask about your leopard skin bra with the crossover straps or what colour “thong” you’re wearing today, it’d be Hey Big Boy not Big Bird.

    Larger questions of morality, civility or responsibility for the most vulnerable members of society are way beyond your capacity.

    As for hypnosis – as usual an oblique insinuating question from you is about all we can expect. Self-hypnosis is a matter of self control, a hyper-sense of focus that renders pain irrelevant.

    Self-control is a novel concept for you – for Mandy, self is all.
    Expand your horizons girlie and grow up.

  58. Pointman says:

    Swanny, leave them to it.


  59. Amanda Check your email I want to hatch dastardly plots with you, oops let the cat out of the bag darn it…..

    Ghengis Khan.

  60. Pointman says:

    I long ago learnt that if a person’s opinion on any subject runs into thousands of words (at a guess, approximately 3500 in this case) and contains phrases like “I don’t care … if your daughter becomes a whore” it’s rarely worth finishing. I didn’t and therefore have no comment to make on the worth, if any, of the piece.

    With regard to drug liberalisation, I’ve seen what drug addiction does to people, families and communities in a very short time. I think Walt, in summarising his basic position on the issue, has probably covered mine too.

    There seems to be a new and fundamentally nasty edge to the LG blog in the last week. I’m walking away from it and staying away from it. You’ll find me at times in Rastech’s chatroom. I find the Dave’s drugs post to be typical of the “me” generation and the comments, with three notable exceptions, to be deeply disappointing on a blog that I thought had some moral ethos.


  61. Amanda says:

    Ghengis, I want to rendezvous with you behind the big yew near the cassock-trunk by the 21st tombstone where the cat meows under the half moon when the clock on the tower strikes 12. Got that? Lovely. Yours, Ali Baba

  62. Amanda says:

    Oh, Pointman, don’t be such a sour-puss. Don’t go. I’ll miss you.

  63. Amanda says:

    Swan: No, definitely not Big Boy. Definitely Big Bird.

  64. Amanda says:

    new and fundamentally nasty edge to the LG blog in the last week.

    I beg to differ. There’s been nastiness well before that. I’ve been on the receiving end, and all. But there have been pleasantness and fun and good insights, too. Shall we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

  65. Pointman morality is relative on time and place your morality is not mine and vice versa.
    Every generation decides where it wants morality to go good or bad and if you are a baby boomer don’t even bother preaching morality at us just don’t because it would be laughable. I respect the generation before that as they did have morality and a work ethic.
    I also notice some posters lack the humour gene that keeps the mind fresh and receptive to new ideas, laughter is a good healer and can turn a really crappy day into a good one unless you have stitches then maybe not.

  66. Amanda ferret down the trousers at half past thirty beware the oingy boingy bow and thrice widdershins me hearty’s

    Chairman Mao.

  67. Dr. Dave says:


    I honestly don’t know much about the drug dealing sprat turned expert. This is just a kid who grew up very fast. He had a vision of what he wanted to do with his life and it wasn’t selling illegal drugs. I last saw him about 25 years ago when he was just completing his residency. We talked shop for a while. He was drooling over my wife while a knockout babe from high school was leaving snail trails around him. In retrospect it would have cool if we could have “traded”. Anyway, he was going to give the Air Force the 3 years he owed them and then go into private practice. I was surprised to learn he stayed in after he completed his internal medicine residency and gave them their 3 years. The last I heard he was full Colonel and was assigned to some task force that dealt with biological warfare threats.

    Interestingly, your fellow countryman, Julian Assange has released a LOT of classified US military documents. In them, is the inconvenient revelation that Saddam did indeed, have chemical weapons of mass destruction. This Aussie ex-pat’s exploits will probably get a few people killed…ah…but that’s “journalism”, eh?

  68. Amanda says:

    Chairman Mao, don’t forget to shake a leg I like a good tickle-blower up the whatsit worth but always remember the accordion decoration and mistletoe good for a whoops-a-daisy under the John Lennon lookalike vinyl bob’s-yer-uncle. I hope that’s perfectly clear and await your further instructions. Chiang Kai-Shek.

  69. Amanda says:

    Dr Dave: You lost him at ‘kid’. He doesn’t like ‘kid’. It’s morally unserious quasi-American twaddle and anyway a kid is a baby goat. Come to think of it, I rather agree.

  70. Farmerbraun says:

    Hell Swan, where to start?
    Maybe with why we didn’t send them to school; because we didn’t want them to be “encultured” if you like, before they had a chance to become individuals. Free-range is not a description I would have used: they were with us all the time;integrated as far as possible into the farm life.
    We knew that all drugs were freely available at secondary school, but there were other dangers too; the ‘sexualisation’ that is forced on young girls was something we were very concerned about. Rodney Rude and Kevin Bloody Wilson would not be every parent’s choice for kids listening , ( of course they had all the others too like Grimm, Andersen, Danny Kaye etc.) but a taboo around sex is very damaging; you don’t want them thinking that it is dirty and must be hidden. So Rodney Rude and Danny Kaye was all the same to them.
    We believed and still do believe that no substance is inherently good or bad; it’s all about what you do with it: use or abuse. The idea that drug-taking is not a social activity that is deeply imbedded in society (but alcohol is) could only have currency for someone who has never encountered the drug culture. There was even an arrogance to it; a sense of superiority; piss-heads were despised.
    In regard to the maturity thing, we were telling our kids that you’re adult around the age of twenty eight [ yeah I know – a Rudolf Steiner thing- 7(teeth) ; 14 (puberty); 21 (physical maturity) : 28 (emotional maturity) ] ; so don’t expect that it will suddenly be clear just because you are 21.
    So Swan, I think you are getting my point; if life is not bleak and hopeless, and you are not in pain, and you don’t have terminal liver cancer, and getting too high and getting too low are equally as wasteful of the brief instant of life that is our lot, then what do you need drugs for? Or religion- the great opiate?
    If you’re on your third bout with cancer and the chemotherapy is nauseating you’re welcome to your toke if it helps. If you’re in the last hour of your life and would like to be sociable, then go for the Brompton cocktail on the rocks.

  71. Amanda says:

    laughter is a good healer and can turn a really crappy day into a good one unless you have stitches then maybe not.

    Typical good advice from Crowarmourer. Stitches these days dissolve a lot, which is just as well, especially if they are in the gum which is where my hubby currently has ’em. And he would certainly laugh if he had anything to laugh about. (I said ‘about’, not ‘anyone to laugh with’ — that would be me).

  72. Amanda says:

    Farmerbraun: I suspect that Swan has swanned off. As they do.

  73. Amanda yes kid is not a good term it should be “bairn” with a soft r, likewise the term woman is wrong and should be “wifey” but that’s aulde english for you which is wot I sez.

  74. Amanda says:

    Crown, I adore you.

    Right then, gang, so that’s Pointman and Blackswan gone.

    Don’t all breathe a sigh of relief at once: you’ll blow the windows out.

  75. Farmerbraun says:

    Not for everyone!


  76. Farmerbraun says:

    Whoops I did it again. At least there’ll be no surprise if you open it. That’s better.

  77. Chiang Kai-Shek shake a leg wrangle some bananas and beware the spotted stoat for verily he hath sprongles. The leopard has been outside Harrods and is now well dressed.

    Ho Chi Minh.

  78. Farmerbraun Kevin Bloody Wilson is a favourite of mine as his humour is exactly what the folks back home like as well, it can be crude but funny.

  79. Farmerbraun says:

    Oops that wasn’t on the record. I should have watched it first. Sorry if that was off limits.

  80. Farmerbraun says:

    oz boy. you’ll know what to do about that slip-up.

    Well I disappeared the embedded YouTube frame, as a naughty word was displayed. As for the rest folks, watch at your own peril – Oz

  81. Blackswan says:

    crownarmourer says:
    November 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “my point is you are imposing your modern morality on society”

    Don’t let jumping to conclusions be the only exercise you get.

    Just WHERE did I impose anything on anyone? I just asked questions to better clarify what the issues in question are. End story.

  82. Blackswan says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    November 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for getting back to me – your comments make things a whole lot clearer.

  83. Farmerbraun says:

    Maybe the faux-pas illustrates the point I was trying to make in relation to parenting. Early in the Third Millennium, everything is freely available, even to your kids. You can’t police it , even if you want to. Prohibition is meaningless and will most likely incite fascination. Development of the will is the only armament you can give them, and then set them free.

  84. Blackswan says:

    Farmerbraun says:
    November 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks for your point of view – this whole question leads into the issue of euthanasia, who takes what and who decides – and when.

  85. Blackswan says:

    PS Farmerbraun,

    “The idea that drug-taking is not a social activity that is deeply imbedded in society (but alcohol is) could only have currency for someone who has never encountered the drug culture.”
    Trust me, I’ve had “close encounters” with the drug culture – they remain on-going.
    I appreciate your perspective.

  86. Pointman says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    November 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    “He was drooling over my wife while a knockout babe from high school was leaving snail trails around him. In retrospect it would have cool if we could have “traded”.”

    To think I have contributed to a blog that would give a poster with this mentality a platform …



  87. Farmerbraun says:

    Just on the question of will, and giving the children a foundation to stand on, this book was helpful, because it was supportive of what I was doing. You can imagine how the practise of keeping your kids from school was viewed , especially within the family, and especially in view of the fact that we were breaking the law- no exemptions etc. but I was claiming the right to give my kids the best education that I could, and i wasn’t about to let “schooling” get in the way.
    Ege, Karl (1979) An Evident Need of our Times. New York: Adonis Press

  88. Blackswan I was generalizing and it was not aimed at you personally, not everyone in an entire generation is the same. You have made it clear in earlier posts where you stand on certain moral issues and your work ethic. I do read your posts.
    I agree with you on a lot of issues and on other issues I disagree for reasons of my own which I have thought a lot about. However I believe adults should be free to do what they want with their own bodies and it is not for the government to dictate what is acceptable on the other hand the caveat do no harm to others or you will be sent to jail.
    Yes certain drugs are bad very bad such as meth even certain types of marijuana are bad as occasionally these super strong strains can trigger schizophrenia. Children should be shielded from anything really harmful. Saying that I drank shandy as a child
    very weak shandy but it did contain beer were my grandparents wrong to give it to me. Or did it teach me to drink responsibly by introducing it to me at a young age.
    Drugs have never been my thing I just stick to beer and avoid even hard spirits or wine.

  89. Blackswan says:

    Pointman says:
    November 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    As my reply to Dave said “your comments make things a whole lot clearer.”

    Sure helps to fill in those blanks and complete the big picture.

  90. Dr. Dave says:

    Oh for the love of… Crying out loud Pointyhead, yank your thumb out of your rectum. I’ve been (happily) divorced for 16 years. My ex-wife and I remain friends but even she is the first to admit she was a snarlin’ bitch. We’re much happier apart. My friend was smitten with my (then) wife. I had always been attracted to the comely lass who was hanging all over my friend…and he wasn’t interested. It was a glib comment…”it would have been cool if we could have traded”. Get over your feigned righteous indignation you flaming hypocrite. I’m very sorry if my wordy missive was too lengthy for your tastes or attention span. I’m also sorry I wasn’t there to help you with the big words, you dolt.

    What I sent to Ozboy was never intended to be a blog article. It was an email I sent to five good friends of mine who love to debate everything from public policy to pharmacology (which I’m quite sure you wouldn’t understand). I had it handy and Ozboy was in need of a new comment thread. When I wrote “I don’t care if…” I was writing to a group of committed Libertarians who knew exactly what I meant. The whole idea (albeit simple) is that governments have no right to intrude into the personal lives of their citizenry. Why you insist on turning this into a personal attack is beyond me. Are you really that slow witted?

  91. Pointman whether I or you agree or disagree with Dr Dave’s statement is immaterial this is a libertarian blog and he is free to say what is on his mind as are you and I.
    Sometimes I agree with the posters on this blog you included or disagree it is not for us to stop them, just argue or agree with the point made.
    None of us and I mean none of us are perfect and lead our lives according to our own standards and we all say or do things we regret. Not one of us is in a position to judge what happens in a persons life. Unless it involves murder, abuse, rape, children or farmyard animals or any other serious crime.
    So not knowing Dr Dave’s personal circumstances I can not judge him for it or whether it was just a joke. We all lead complicated lives.

    However we are all falling into a trap of squabbling and yes it should stop it adds nothing to the topic or conversation.

  92. Ozboy off topic but interesting stats on the USA economy….

  93. Ozboy says:

    Have any of you read Thomas de Quincey’s 1821 classic Confessions of an English Opium-Eater? de Quincey was a contemporary and friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose own poem Kubla Khan was famously induced in an opium dream. A worthwhile and frighteningly honest literary background to the current thread.

  94. farmerbraun says:

    I’ll try to address the apparent contradictions in what I’ve said and which have arisen in the discussion. I think that is what Black Swan was getting at; it seems to be all over the place.
    The first one arose when I was talking to Walt, and he came back with this:
    Walt: You need to get to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting to network with nice sweet respectable people who know what dope is as they have had their lives ruined by their own initial “neutral” attitude toward it, and are trying to get off it, which most of them don’t. …… Jeez.
    Farmer Braun: I’m sure that I’ve seen it all, very close at hand. One day I drove three of my junkie friends ( heroin was their thing) to an out -of-town doctor who was an easy score (1970 s right?). He fronted some palfium for them. They came out and got a coke bottle out of the gutter, dissolved the tablets in some water from a roadside tap, and shot it up right there in the back of the car. ( I used to tell my kids this story so they would know the reality). All I’m saying here is that I know the reality; I don’t think I’m coming at this from a position of ignorance. And it was my wish to avoid the risk of my kids ending up like my friends. Clearly, making this sort of thing illegal does nothing to prevent it happening.
    Just as an aside, the fate of those three individuals is informative. One was dead not long after. IMHO, he was always suicidal and toyed with it all the time; he was always going over the edge, and finally got it right.
    A second gave up the illegality, and will, barring a miracle, be on methadone for the rest of his life. Methadone is not pretty; I think it’s criminal that this is all the state will do for him, but it’s cheap compared to really doing something for him, and he would need a lot, but he’s not incurable.
    The third person walked away from the whole thing after decades of heroin usage with no need for anything more than some aspirin during withdrawal, but with massive family support, and is a happy and healthy person.
    So the suicidal will do it somehow, the dependent personality will usually have multiple dependencies, and the strong free-willed person will walk away if they will it so.
    So that’s why I thought that for my kids, development of the will was the key.
    The other apparent contradiction was the apparent “laissez faire” child rearing. In fact it was nothing like that. Their days were structured by the reality of a year-round dairy farm, the inter-play of the seasons , the weather, the reproductive cycle of the cows, the diurnal rhythm, the lunar rhythm etc. Within those constraints it is possible to exercise the will.
    I will say there was no ‘you must do this’ or that; there was little in the way of external discipline. It was all about developing self-discipline. So with children it does take a lot of patience and respect for where they are coming from (which is never adulthood).
    So Black Swan, I hope that clarifies it a bit.

  95. msher says:

    Dr. Dave

    It’s hard to see anything controversial in your article, except perhaps you don’t explore juveniles and pot.

    I have a list of reasons why I think the war on drug is futile, and I’ll put it here. However, I’m not sure how much relates to marijauna as opposed to cocaine and herion. This may be geared more to the latter two.

    (Incidentally, I am not a pot user and have no personal stake in what happens with it.)

    1. The war on drugs has had vastely detrimental consequences to Columbia and Mexico. With respect to Columbia, we have turned our consumption problem into a war against their peasants. The illegality has given drug cartels in both countries immense wealth and immense power.

    2) The vaste sums of illegal and untaxed money corrupt our own, as well as Columbia and Mexico’s, public officials and police.

    3) Prosecution of drug crimes consumes an inordinate amount of police and prosecutorial manhours and puts an inordinate number of people in our prisons. I’m not sure whether that is true anymore of marijuana.

    4) Making the drug trade illegal has turned inner cities into crime zones, and made drug dealers into the only people with money, and heroes to little kids.

    5) We’ve been at it for decades, and it doesn’t seem to have worked.

    What I would like is some clear statistics from what has happened in other places which has legalized drugs. For example, I understand Switzerland gives out needles to heroin addicts. If this is true, what has its experience been? We all guess at what would happen, especially to juveniles, but are there other places around to look at?

    The constitution does not give government the power to regulate what people do to themselves. It does give it the power to stop people who have ingested substances that impair them from hurting others, e.g., driving. The California “driving under the influence” laws include drugs as well as alcohol. If you are impaired, the law doesn’t distinguish as to why. That seems right. But if you are sitting in your own living room, why is it anyone’s business, except your family’s that you are impaired? It’s hard to see why you can legally get drunk, but legally not get high.

    I haven’t been around much drug use and don’t know how legalizing anything will affect kids. They seem to get their hands on alcohol and prescription pills easily enough, although both are illegal for them to have. The law should protect kids, although I’m not sure what this means. I don’t consider an 18 year old a kid. If he’s old enough to go to war, he’s old enough to decide what to put in his body. However as an empirical fact, 18-21 year olds have terrible judgment in this regard, as seen from the car fatility statistics – young males are in the most alcholol related car crashes. It’s also seen from the number of college students that get involved in binge drinking. But personally, at 18 I knew better, and I have a hard time having sympathy for 18 year olds who don’t.

  96. msher Switzerland had a problem because the junkies congregated in parks and took their favourite drug and created a no go zone for it’s citizens they changed their policy slightly after that banning the junkies from openly meeting.
    Amsterdam was fairly liberal but new legislation bans pot cafes from being X amount from schools etc to discourage kids from being influenced. This is a city that quoting my brother who worked there is a place you buy anything and he meant anything illegal no matter how bad.

  97. farmerbraun says:

    msher:. If he’s old enough to go to war, he’s old enough to decide what to put in his body.
    Farmer braun: Surely not. The reason you send 18 year olds to war is precisely because they are not old enough to know any better. They are also unlikely to have many dependents.

  98. msher the USA suffers from a lack of acculturation to alcohol with the age of being legally able to drink being 21, young adults are not introduced to it so hence the binge drinking as they do not know where the boundaries lie. Although saying that Northern European cultures encourage alcohol consumption dating back thousands of years thanks to an overlying warrior culture.

  99. farmerbraun says:

    crownarmourer says:
    November 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm
    msher the USA suffers from a lack of acculturation to alcohol with the age of being legally able to drink being 21, young adults are not introduced to it so hence the binge drinking.
    Farmerbraun says: same in N.Z. . Christchurch, we have 15 yr. old kids dying at the school ball, having drunk a litre of vodka. I think wine drinking with meals in the home from an early age , say 14 yrs, is a great way to learn the ropes. Having a beer after putting away 1000 bales of hay is a good way to gain an appreciation.

  100. farmerbraun well it starts younger than that lets say 8 years old with weak watered down beer or wine after all before clean water supplies people used to have to drink beer to get their daily water ration. By the way if you far east asian not a good idea as they lack the gene to process alcohol.
    The problem is really the strength of beer and the availability of spirits that has changed.

  101. meltemian says:

    Now look here – I take a morning off to sort out the olive nets and when I come back and catch up with all the overnight posts what do I find? You’ve all been squabbling like stroppy adolescents!! Surely we all come here to exchange and discuss topics in an adult way, and everyone’s point of view is valid even if you disagree with it. We shouldn’t get personal or throw our toys out of the pram if we hold a different point of view however much we disagree.
    I think it was Voltaire who said ” I disagree with your view but I defend to the death your right to say it” (or something along those lines) so lets all get over it!

  102. Erik says:

    And here’s a direct download link to the paper
    David Nutt – Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs.pdf

    Click to access Nutt%20Rational%20Scale%20Drug%20Harms%20Lancet%202007.pdf

  103. Dr. Dave says:

    msher and Farmerbraun bring up a very good point. As with alcohol, some people will burn themselves up with drugs rather they are legal or illegal. Theoretically the same argument for the legalization of marijuana can be applied to all illegal drugs and prescription drugs as well. The arguments against legalization improve in this case. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine represent over 95% of all illegal drug use in the USA. In reality there are literally hundreds of illegal drugs. Of the big 4, marijuana is by leaps and bounds #1. Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine all have well described physical addiction syndromes associated with their chronic use.

    A couple of years ago I attended a conference about pain management and addiction. What I learned surprised me. Cocaine is not very addictive. The greatest aspect of cocaine’s addictive profile is its psychological effects. It’s very short acting and it hits the “feel good” button in the brain (via dopamine release). There is an urge to take more cocaine as soon as the effects start to wear off. But the withdrawal and management of chronic abuse cases is not really very challenging.

    Heroin is a different matter. It is a truly physically addicting drug. There are well defined physical withdrawal symptoms. These are overblown in the public’s mind. In truth opiate withdrawal is physically no worse than a case of the flu. We actually see this relatively frequently with chronic pain patients. They may stop taking their meds if their pain isn’t too bad and then show up at their physician’s office because they think they’re “sick”. Actually they’re going through physical withdrawal. The difference is that pain patients take opiates to manage pain, not to get high. Heroin junkies take heroin to high and a psychological dependence develops (again, mediated through dopamine receptors in the brain). This is the difficult aspect of heroin addiction to manage. Still, with a motivated patient, detox and treatment is not too difficult. The psychological craving for the drug is far worse than the actual physical withdrawal. Another common misconception is just how addictive heroin or any other opiate actually is. Addiction requires a rather extended period of chronic, regular use in doses high enough to produce euphoria. Physical addiction requires only chronic use.

    Methamphetamine is easily the worst of the lot. Meth is a totally synthetic drug. Chemically it is a remarkably simple compound. It is a very old drug. We used to give it pilots during WWII. In small, “therapeutic” doses it suppresses appetite and induces wakefulness. It was used for decades with very little abuse. In higher does the drug becomes extremely dangerous. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. Meth causes a direct release of dopamine in a certain portion of the brain that is associated with pleasure. Lots of things cause this to varying degrees and by differing mechanisms. These include food, sex, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Meth is the the MOST potent of the lot. Chronic use causes a depletion of dopamine and higher and higher doses are required to “just stay normal”. Meth addiction is VERY difficult to treat. Treatment requires up to two years of abstinence before drug craving finally subsides. I was astounded by what I learned about methamphetamine. I was quite familiar with the usual pharmacology of the drug. It’s an extremely potent drug. A dose of just 10 mg would wire up the average human for the better part of a day. Addicts actually consume up to 500 mg a day! You don’t see that degree of dosage escalation even with heroin.

    From a purely Libertarian view all of these drugs should be available and the individual should be free to choose to decide to take them or not and live with the consequences of their decision. But I have to admit…this is where my Libertarianism begins to fail. It’s one thing to argue for or against allowing yet another “approved” intoxicant into our society, it’s quite another to consider allowing another powerfully addictive intoxicant into our society. But I could easily be wrong. I don’t really know nor does anybody else because we’ve never tried it in living memory.

    I know LOTS of people who have tried cocaine. It was the party drug of the 80s. Not one of them uses cocaine today. Mostly they all outgrew drug use in general. Cocaine is a poor choice for a drug of chronic abuse. It’s very expensive from a per dose perspective and it’s very short acting.

    I’ve only known two heroin addicts. One was a pharmacist who died from an overdose of prescription drugs the other was an addict in his early 20s who decided to clean up and change his life. Today he’s an engineer and a church going family man. There were two kids I vaguely remember from high school who died from heroin overdoses and I’ve met a number of people throughout the years who claim to have tried heroin in years past. Heroin seems to become popular in specific communities. North of where I live heroin use is rampant. The local hospital probably sees one or two OD deaths every month. Up in the northwest corner of the state they have very little heroin abuse but methamphetamine abuse is rampant.

    As a society we really don’t know what would happen if drugs were made legal. I think marijuana would be an excellent test case and the state of California a perfect experiment. Marijuana is quite unlike heroin, cocaine and meth. A huge quantity of marijuana is smuggled across the California/Mexico border. If it were legalized we could actually objectively measure the economic, legal and societal impact. We could find out if it negatively affects children and families any more than it does now as an illegal substance. We could find out if usage would skyrocket or remain essentially the same. We could measure the impact on the illicit drug trade. We could find out if it would affect alcohol consumption. We could easily measure the tax revenue. We could see, in a real life setting, how it would affect law enforcement and our courts.

    If we don’t try we’ll never know. Until it is tried every point on either side is purely conjecture. Personally, my guess is that marijuana use would not significantly increase over where it already is. This is based on our experience with Prohibition. I suspect it would be the death knell for a huge criminal enterprise and the state would very quickly become “addicted” to the resulting tax revenue.

  104. farmerbraun says:

    It might also be a great deal easier to educate our kids about something that is freely available to them in almost every school, even some elementary schools. We know that alcohol education in the home is more effective than the uncontrolled experimentation that occurs among juveniles who are currently legally barred from purchasing alcohol i.e. for them it is an illegal drug- ” like wow , lets get some” “cool”!

  105. Dr. Dave says:

    Erik and meltemian,

    Great links! Thanks!

  106. farmerbraun says:

    I suppose that the counter-argument to what I have written above is that it is perfectly possible to educate your kids about drugs now without seeming to condone illegal behaviour. I think I have demonstrated that in the case of my own kids- none of them are users- who remain disinterested. But that requires a climate of total openness on every subject. There cannot be taboo subjects. Is everyone going to be comfortable with that? I know the kid’s mother used to find it hard to listen to blow by blow accounts of the nocturnal activities of our boys with members of the opposite sex; but they brought it up; are you going to close down the discussion?

  107. rastech says:

    Dr Dave: ” It does, indeed, lower intraoccular pressure but only at high serum concentrations. In order to be effective for the treatment of glaucoma one would literally have to constantly smoke pot and remain stoned around the clock. ”

    My experience with this is as someone with acute glaucoma (hence me ending up with having the laser eye operation that went so badly wrong), and having had a specialist that when asked “There’s a lot of talk on the internet about marijuana and gluacoma, is it worth using?” he said “Yes, use it, but don’t quote me” (laughs).

    So I looked into it – a lot.

    Discovering dosage is a problem. Discovering the ‘type to use’ is a problem too.

    A friend that has Multiple Sclerosis, is a member of a MS ‘self help group’ with other MS sufferers. They organise supplies for themselves (it is a huge help to MS sufferers, Ed is still able to live a reasonable life this almost 20 years now, largely thanks to cannabis resin), and the local Police are a help rather than a hindrance. Through my friend, I got hold of some resin to use, and didn’t find it did much good at all. A slight relief that was noticeable, and probably a small reduction in pressure.

    With this I was able to work out the effective period of the dosage. I found a small amount every 4 hours provided cover ‘both ends’ of the roughly 4.5 hour ‘window’ where it worked, which as it turned out was about the dosage period that Ed has worked out to use with his MS.

    As you can imagine, I was talking to other friends about all this along the way, and after I had pretty much given up on using it (the eye drops replacing ones that caused me a lot of problems, were keeping pressures under control, and things were improving a little due to not being on beta blockers any more), one of them turned up with some fresh marijuana leaf that a ‘friend of a friend’ had grown and harvested specially for me, and he’d harvested it at a point where it was weak enough to use medically, without getting ‘out of my skull’ when trying to use it for medical purposes only. He also turned up with a very small pipe that another friend had made for me, with a tiny bowl size ‘guestimated’ to be suitable for dosage (it was very close, I didn’t have to fill even the tiny bowl).

    Believe me, with 4 hour dosage intervals, you do not want ‘leisure drug’ orientation of the product, at all. Which given the illegality of the drug, is a major problem, as the marketing criteria really is ‘this stuff must be as strong as possible’ and it is totally counterproductive.

    Much to my surprise, this stuff really turned out to be ‘the dogs danglers’. Within about 10 minutes of the first dose, there was a ‘crackling’ sensation inside my eyes, and an immediate cooling effect – pressures fell like a brick. Almost as if a long siezed up tap had been opened.

    This has given me a dilemma. Basically, to get that benefit without risking the blackmarket surrounding marijuana, and the potential legal difficulties, I would really need to grow my own – and I can’t guarantee what reaction I would get from either the Police or the Courts.

    So even though I know the additional benefits using it would give me, whiel my eye drops are successful at reducing eye pressure, I’m giving the stuff a miss.

    In addition, my late uncle that was the chemist, one of the places he worked before he went on his own in the 1960’s, still had all the cannabis items in the lab at the back of the shop.

    Cannabis based medicines pre-criminalisation, were the vast majority of medicines sold. For the pharmaceuticals to get maximum profit and market penetration, cannabis in particular, had to be banned.

    From what he told me, in many ways, the cannabis based medications were far better, and far less dangerous, than those that replaced them (for ordinary everyday type ailments).

  108. rastech says:

    For clarity then, what I found was, high strength cannabis ‘resin’, which is great for people with Multiple Sclerosis, has limited usefulness for glaucoma.

    But low strength marijuana ‘leaf’, is very useful for glaucoma indeed.

  109. Dr. Dave says:


    You might be the only glaucoma patient I’ve ever heard from who reported positive effects with marijuana. Did you ever have your IOP checked after smoking pot? Has your physician tried you out on latanoprost? These prostaglandin analogues are pretty effective. Glaucoma is tricky to manage because patients vary widely in response to various treatments. Quite a few patients have problems with beta-blocker eye drops. Pharmacologically there are several approaches to the management of glaucoma. Some patients require treatment with multiple drugs to maintain a normal IOP.

  110. Dr. Dave says:


    I just made a call to friend of mine who is an ophthalmologist. I want to ask him about this because I actually know very little about it except from what I’ve read. Marijuana contains several cannabinoids but THC is generally associated with its psychoactive and pharmacologic activity. One might assume that the stuff that gets you high is the same stuff that lowers IOP. I really don’t know…but I’m looking in to it.

    What is critical to know is if you had an actual lowering in measured IOP. Otherwise it’s all just subjective.

  111. Erik says:

    A short movie (in Public Domain) about the practical use of hemp you may find of interest is “Hemp for Victory (1942)”

    “US government propaganda film made during WWII touting the virtues of hemp. The film was aimed at farmers at a time when the military was facing a shortage of hemp, it shows how hemp is grown and processed into rope and other products.”

    (another practical use today could be oil from the seeds)

    About 14 minutes playtime, play it directly in your browser or download:

    Lots of other interesting old stuff on btw..
    ..and thank you Dr. Dave and all for the great info and your thoughts

    G’day again Erik. Yes, I’ve seen that one. Funny how the same government who only four years previously promoted “Reefer Madness” could change tack so fast. It was even the same administration (F.D. Roosevelt) both times. But I guess a government being two-faced is now merely “pragmatic”; watch how many governments turn climate sceptic when they sense the political winds changing. Like maybe, later today – Oz

  112. farmerbraun says:

    Back at the beginning of this topic Walt said this:
    Walt O’Bruin says:
    October 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm
    Hi, Farmer Braun. Well….dealing with the problem is how you deal with the problem. For instance, someone set up a line of coke at an important corporate celebration by one of my labour pimp’s clients I was invited to back when I was rented out by the big temp agencies, so I pulled out my cell phone and called the cops right then and there.
    Farmer braun: here’s how I defined the problem:
    1. Everything is available most everywhere at all times ( sex, drugs, hit men, whatever; I learned this during my years working as a musician in the night life).
    2. The so called education system is not worth a tin of shit. ( Few teachers who can spell the word know what it means -L.- e-ducare.)
    3. Parents are on their own with this.
    So as Walt said , the way you deal with it is YOU deal with it. But he and I had very different ideas about the nature of the problem; I had kids on the ground.

  113. orkneylad says:

    OT…but…….Good luck tomorrow Tea People! 🙂

    Senator: There are those who say you cannot hear properly, you cannot speak properly, and that you’ve got no experience of government.

    Claudius: And that I am besides half-witted. Senators, it is true that I am hard of hearing, but you will find it is not for want of listening. As for speaking, again, it’s true I have an impediment. But isn’t what a man says more important than how long he takes to say it? It’s true again I have little experience of government. But then, have you more? I at least have lived with the imperial family who has ruled this empire ever since you so spinelessly handed it over to us. I’ve observed it working more closely than any of you. Is your experience better than that? As for being half-witted, well, what can I say – except that I have survived to middle age with *half* my wits, while thousands have died with *all* of theirs intact. Evidently, quality of wits is more important than quantity. Senators, I shall do nothing unconstitutional; I shall appear at the next session of the senate where you may confirm me in my position or not as you wish. But if it pleases you not to, explain your reasons to them
    [points at the Praetorians] & not to me.
    Now you may all leave my house.

  114. rastech says:

    Hi Dave, sorry for the delayed response, I was stomping round over at the Guardian. *grins*

    I’ve come across a few fellow glaucoma sufferers that have benefitted. I must admit I do wonder if it’s complementary to the eye drops. Also wasn’t there a very long record of successful treatment of glaucoma with marijuana prior to criminalisation?

    I do wonder about this THC bit myself, as I think that’s perhaps what’s really important with MS sufferers (and hence their getting the benefit from resin, which I didn’t find enough benefit to write home about).

    If I remember right, most (if not all) of the stuff in the old lab at the shop my uncle was working at, was leaf and flower/pollen type stuff, apart from bottles of that tincture of cannabis (however that was formulated).

    Lowest pressures I have had when tested were when I used it along with the eye drops (due to the 4 hour nature of using it, I used the eye drops before bed). Both eyes down around 10/11 (presently 15/16, which is about par since I stopped using the stuff).

    Betoptic nearly did me in. Had a terrible time with it for over 18 months (might have been over 2 years, as I really lost the plot and didn’t know where I was all that time, just about). Just couldn’t get anyone to listen to me until it was panic stations, sad to say.

    Then went onto Xalatan which was great, and asked to be ‘rested’ from it for a bit, so I didn’t get over used to it, but that didn’t happen. Once Xalatan got buggered up, I went onto Travatan (which I am still on).

  115. rastech says:

    Erik:”(another practical use today could be oil from the seeds)

    Hemp oil was the very best lamp oil you could get. I bet it would be great biodiesel.

    There’s so many compounds in hemp, it would probably be a great chemical feedstock as well?

    Budgies seem to thrive on the seeds too! *grins*

  116. farmerbraun says:

    With the number of different alkaloids etc. in cannabis ( Dave might have a number), it stands to reason that stage of growth and growing climate will determine the pharmacology. There’s a big difference between growing for fibre and growing for oil seed. And in between there’s all the variants, leaf, male flower/pollen, female flower. So no surprise that there are a variety of possible uses.

  117. msher says:

    Cr. Dave

    Re prescription pills and misuse. I’m someone who has mulitple serious spinal operations (fusions) and periods where I had more than my share of pain. It makes me furious to see all the sympathy for the misusers of presciption pain killers – because the backlash is to make legitimate doctors skittish about prescribing them and put ridiculous logistical limits on legitimate patients. In post-op periods where I needed painkillers to sit-up or walk, I didn’t give a shit who out there was selling them on the street or stealing them from their parents’ medicine cabinet. I had a legitimate need, was not a junkie, had doctors’ backing and I wanted relief from pain. Luckily, I was always able to get what I needed when I needed it – but sometimes, as I say, with logistical hurdles imposed by state bureaucrats to protect the mis-users. I care more about the legitimate patients than I do the mis-users. If 100 mis-users overdose, I don’t care, if 100 legitimate people get relief from real conditions.

    Callous of me?

  118. Dr. Dave says:


    I just heard back from my eye doctor pal. He didn’t know much more about marijuana use for glaucoma than I did. He said that in some of the clinical trials they used pure THC is various doses. THC was effective in reducing IOP but there were two big drawbacks. One, as you already mentioned, was that frequent dosing was necessary. The other was that patients were stoned all the time and many of them found it difficult to function. He’s a big fan of the prostaglandin analogues (like Xalatan and Travatan).

    Now I’m actually curious about this. I’ll dig into it and see what I can find. A lot of substances can have a favorable pharmacologic effect but are not necessarily useful in therapeutic terms. A good example is Valium. Valium has a whole host of useful effects (hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, etc.). It will also decrease stomach acid secretion but has never been shown to be effective in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. Other drugs are far more effective with far fewer side effects.

    I haven’t spent much time researching marijuana as a medicinal agent. It has a few well known and accepted properties. It is one of only a very few drugs that actually increase appetite and in truth may be the best of all of them. It is an effective antiemetic (anti-nausea) agent but it’s not as effective as the newer agents that have been developed. Dronabinol is a synthetic form of THC which is on the US market. They even changed from a C-II controlled substance to a C-III because of its very low apparent abuse potential. There was a lot of interest in marijuana for glaucoma about 20 years ago because we had so few effective agents. Once some of the newer agents were developed interest in marijuana for the management of glaucoma colled off. I’ll have to look into it. I’ll let you know what I find.

    Most of the other claims for medical marijuana are largely bunk. It is being “prescribed” for a whole range of conditions like mysterious headache and backaches.

  119. Dr. Dave says:


    My girlfriend has had multiple spinal surgeries (including one fusion). She has an implanted pump that delivers narcotic directly into the intrathecal space. I have lived with someone with a chronic pain condition for 14 years. I know exactly where you’re coming from. The pump was a godsend. She hates taking pills because they make her feel doped up. She now spends her summers working in the yard and gardening and maintains a fulltime position as a paralegal.

    Pain management is perhaps one of the most difficult fields in medicine because pain is purely subjective and can’t be objectively measured. One of the experts at the conference I attended said it’s better to be hoodwinked by 10 drug seekers than to let even 1 true pain patient go without treatment. Unfortunately the DEA and medical boards don’t always agree. But things are improving in that area, too.

    Sorry to disappoint…but you won’t get an argument from me.

  120. Ozboy says:

    A little history. The first international drug prohibition treaty was the International Opium Convention, signed in 1912 by Germany, the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam. It was subsequently incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles and became an official treaty of the League of Nations. You can read the full text here. To enforce it, the League in 1925 gave birth to its organ the Permanent Central Opium Board.

    The modern antecedent is the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, administered by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), of which there is much criticism from nations seeking to enact drug liberalization and/or decriminalization. Essentially, the treaty supersedes and invalidates local liberalizing laws of all signatory nations, meaning (for example) marijuana is still technically illegal in the Netherlands, despite its widespread overt availability.

    Anyone who doesn’t spot a pattern here, is possibly a bit on the wacky tobaccy themselves.

  121. Ozboy says:

    Actually, 50% of the world’s legal supply of opium straw is produced in my own home state of Tasmania. It’s rather bizarre, as many poppy fields are next to highways (with loads of menacing signs warning the curious to keep out), a sight you’re unlikely to see anywhere else outside of Afghanistan (where I understand the signs are replaced by locals carrying Kalashnikovs). About 40% of the United States’ legal supply is sourced here, so if you’ve used any opiate-based medication, even codeine, chances are it started out in my back yard.

  122. Dr. Dave says:


    Very interesting stuff! The opium poppy will grow almost anywhere. That’s why so much of the world’s illegal opium comes from Afghanistan. I’m not sure you could grow turnips in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is basically lawless and therefore a perfect place for the crop. The coca plant, on the other hand, is very fussy about where it will thrive. The same is true for psychedelic mushrooms and the peyote cactus. Even the best coffee demands the absolute best climate. Two of the world’s best coffees are produced in Jamaica and Hawaii (accordingly they’re ridiculously expensive). Apparently marijuana ain’t fussy about where its grown. For a long time it was believed potent marijuana (i.e. high THC content) could only be grown in hot climates. We now know this is not true. Potency has more to do with genetics and cultivation than climate.

    The synthetic opioid meperidine (pethidine in UK and OZ) was developed in Germany in the 1930s. During WWII Germany ramped up production because they had a shortage of opium and could not produce enough morphine for the war effort. Meperidine is a “stupid drug” whenever morphine is available as an alternative. It’s analgesic activity is no better than that of morphine but it is fraught with nasty side effects and potentially fatal drug interactions. It is slowly dying and should probably be banned (in fact, I think Australia has already put severe restrictions on its use). But for many years, and not all that long ago, it was perhaps the most used narcotic analgesic for migraine headaches that presented to emergency rooms.

  123. rastech says:

    DrDave: “Now I’m actually curious about this. I’ll dig into it and see what I can find. ”

    Thanks Dave, I’m curious too (but happy with the level of pressure the eye drops provide at the moment, though always good to grab a Plan ‘B’ if there’s one available). Especially the surprising difference in effect I got between resin (that was pretty darned strong and I didn’t like it – though there was a bit of eyeball cooling and the ‘grit in the eye’ type sensation you get with glaucoma went so that was some relief). and the deliberately harvested weak ‘leaf’ that I didn’t get ‘high’ on, but had a very pronounced eyeball cooling effect and excellent eye comfort.

    Strangely I got a similar level of eye cooling with a special pair of glasses I had made a couple of years ago – made by the Wimbledon ccompany. Despite supposedly having the exact same specification, with newer pairs (after they got stolen) I had never had such eye comfort since.

    Then this year, dad bought a pair of Wimbledons on prescription with permanent tints, so I tried them on, and instantly got that eye cooling effect again.

    Guess which glasses I’m getting next year? lol

    Expensive, but worth every penny (the bad news is ideally I need 3 pairs, day {green tint}, night {66% amber}, and reading {25% brown}, so I’ve started saving already).

    Msher sorry to hear you have had extreme pain with your back. It really sucks doesn’t it? With too much light, I get arc eye – off flourescents like in the doctors surgery, and I even got it off the Moon when using a Moon filter, which gobsmacked me. The worst arc eye I had, put me in bed for over a week in the dark.

    It took a long time to find out what was happening, and be able to go out on anything other than a heavily overcast day, and even then I had to watch I didn’t overdo it. Tried all sorts, even a pirate patch to shut off all light to the right eye, but was still getting arc eye through the left eye. Got through a huge amount of high strength ibuprofen and when really bad, supplemented with codiene.

    Pleased to say I haven’t had to have a codiene for a few years now, due to learning how many liberties I can’t actually take, as well as learning which tints and lens coatings work for me.

  124. rastech says:

    Thinking about it Dave, the other thing that is supposed to be really good for glaucoma, is opium? I read that somewhere a few years back, but wasn’t interested in pursuing a supply of it, to say the least. lol!

  125. msher says:

    Dr. Dave

    What always put a limit on how much painkillers I was willing to take was the fear of dependence – that my body would acclimate and I would need more and more to get the same relief. That, of course, is especially true of any of the opiates. I’ve always wondered about the morphine or narcotic pain pumps. How do the users escape this dependence problem?

  126. Dr. Dave says:


    The simple answer is that chronic pain patients using opiates become addicted. It’s really not that big a deal. Tolerance is a different issue. In most cases they can titrate up to the least effective dose for pain management. Effective pain management can require small incremental dosage adjustments but these are usually not substantial. On the other hand, folks who use opiates for the buzz experience significant tolerance and require larger and larger doses to get “high”. This is not the case for pain management.

    About a month ago my girlfriend’s pump failed. We knew it was going to fail because it was probably at least 5 years old. She went through withdrawal. She was crabby and bitchy for about a week, stayed in bed, complained about feeling exhausted and just “not well”, it screwed up her sleep, she had fits of repetitive sneezing and diarrhea. They gave her oral opiates to take until they could schedule surgery to implant a new pump. Now they have to titrate her back up to an acceptable level of comfort and in the mean time she’s taking oral meds (and complaining bitterly about it). Pain management is an art form. Every patient responds to pain and medications differently.

    In truth, physical addiction to the opiates is the least of your worries. Withdrawal isn’t life threatening and is easily managed. The big difference is that pain patients take these drugs to manage pain, not to get “high”, so a psychological dependence does not develop. Some patients have a fear of the stigma of “addiction”. Other patients have a problem getting over that “doped up” feeling but eventually it is possible to titrate to an effective response. Opiate tolerance can actually be beneficial as the tolerance to the euphoric effect develops rapidly whereas the tolerance to the analgesic response does not. This is almost counter-intuitive seeing as both euphoria and supraspinal analgesia are mediated through the mu receptor in the brain. Apparently it takes a lot more drug to produce euphoria than it does to produce effective analgesia after just a short while.

    Personally, I don’t handle opiates well. I’m an ibuprofen guy. Several years ago I messed up my back. Not by unloading moss rock or flagstones…but by pulling weeds! I’m 6’2″ and stayed bent over at the waist pulling weeds for a couple of hours. A couple days later I was in agony and the ibuprofen wasn’t touching it. A colleague wrote a prescription for Percocet for me. This stuff worked great! Trouble is I had to be laying down and doing nothing or it made me dizzy, sleepy and nauseous. But to the credit of the opiate, it certainly worked on the pain. This incident was instructive for me. Fortunately my discomfort only persisted for about a week. I had a new found appreciation for what some patients have to deal with on a daily basis. I will add this one thing. The goal of pain management in cases of chronic pain is NOT to render the patient “pain free”. This is an unreasonable and unrealistic expectation. The goal is to make the level of pain manageable and to restore function and lifestyle.

    I apologize to all readers for this soapbox lecture but this is a topic I’m very close to.

  127. msher says:

    Dr. Dave

    I stayed away from long term use – even though it might have made life more comfortable because of the tolerance issue. I have always assumed you have to keep upping the dose and over time – say a year or so, you are at an astronomical and unsustenable dose. I had no experience with the pump. I am only talking about orally taken pain meds.

  128. msher says:

    Dr. Dave

    P.S. Are you a pain management guy?

  129. Ozboy says:

    G’day everyone,

    New thread here – an open forum on the U.S. elections.



  130. Luton Ian says:

    Dr Dave,
    I scan read your piece, but need more time than I have today to do it justice. Will you be checking comments on this thread for a few days?


  131. Luton Ian says:

    it is interesting to see how different European cultures handle the availability of drink.

    Together with the UK and Scandinavia, I’m living in one of the most restrictive jurisdictions with regards to drink. It is also one of the least responsible nations with respect to public displays of intoxication.

    By contrast, my relatives in southern Europe have virtually no state level prohibition on sale or consumption of drink by minors, my nephews and nieces grew up with wine at the dining table. Friends who’ve worked in Germany tell of the apprentices being sent from the factories to buy bottles of beer on hot afternoons. There was no mystique about drink being “for grown ups” and there is severe scorn for anyone who is childish enough to become intoxicated.

    There is some movement in that in the past couple of years with the fashion for binge drinking catching on among students in southern Europe, but the displays of mass intoxication (and associated fatalities) following the senior hurling finals here would still be as alien as a four armed Martian sitting at a cafe.

    Interestingly, Ireland is the one place on the planet where I’ve come across reports of judges accepting intoxication as a mitigating factor in a trial for a serious criminal offence, and the only place where, after over 80 years of self governance, media commentators still blame another nation for having forced the habit of drink on them.

    Sure, the financial collapse was their fault too (of course it was, now drink up, it’s your round…)


  132. This post is awesome! And I agree with every word.
    I have spoken.

  133. rastech says:

    Hi Dave,

    Like you, I am ultra cautious about painkillers. I was very glad of the codeine to supplement the high strength ibuprofen during the period I was having to learn how much light exposure I could tolerate, and also what type of artificial light to avoid (bright flourescents can do me in in a few minutes, for example).

    Back in the 60’s, one of my teachers was on heroin for pain control. Had been since the end of WW2, and his release from a Japanese prison of war camp. He was a very good maths teacher.

    Amazingly, he was also a great rugby coach, and would get involved not just on the sidelines, he could still really move on the pitch as well. ‘Diddy’ was a really impressive guy all round, tbh.

    Which I suppose maybe illustrates an important point about the whole subject. The people that can live and be pain free due to legal drug purity, and the people that can and do die (in large numbers) due to illegal drug impurity.

  134. rastech says:

    PS I meant to add, I was also very glad when I had learned enough not to have to use codeine again (about 5 years now). I don’t push my luck any more, and painkiller use has plummeted (including the ibuprofen).

  135. Tucci says:

    The best that government can do, and all it should do, is prevent citizens from harming each other.

    Prevention is not possible, and this is recognized in the multitude of “hold harmless” statutes which effectively foreclose the option to sue the police (for example) for having failed to keep your life, liberty, or property safe from criminal aggression.

    Now deterrence is another matter altogether.

    The police power is accorded the officers of civil government as the delegation of the exercise of the private citizen’s unalienable right to employ lethal violence in retaliation against criminal aggressors. The private citizen always retains that right of retaliation (remember that word “unalienable”?), but he can explicitly and implicitly put the taxpayer-employed government goon to the task of breaking things and killing people as his authorized agent.

    Think “night watchman state.” Or “rent-a-cop.” That’s the only legitimate purpose for civil government, and indeed the only way in which the creatures of government affect anything in the society they purportedly serve is by way of their authorization to function in lieu of the sovereign individual in the infliction of retaliatory violence.

    If the officers of government perform their functions in accord with the duties imposed upon them, they efficiently and effectively deter both violent domestic criminals and foreign aggressors by posing a realistic and frequently demonstrated likelihood that attacking a citizen of our Republic will result in “rough men” coming to do violence upon them.

    This tends to have a moderating influence – both before and after the fact – upon criminal behavior.

    Or as Keith Laumer once put it:

    “I is a great believer in peaceful settlements….. Ain’t nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker.”

    G’day Tucci, a warm welcome to LibertyGibbert – Oz

  136. Pingback: Liberty « Koktai's Blog

  137. farmerbraun says:

    In N.Z. ( and I suspect Australia) there is no right of retaliation. The first defence to aggression is retreat; if that is not possible, then reasonable force to neutralise the threat will be unlikely to result in a conviction. If the force used to neutralise the threat results in death of the aggressor, then there will be a trial, and it will be necessary to show that there was no other option, if the charge of manslaughter is to be successfully defended. There is a presumption that the death of the aggressor is not automatically justified.
    Unless, as you say, it is the police who move in and do the killing. They are far less likely to be convicted of unjustified killing, and given that they regularly put their lives on the line, that may be a reasonable outcome.

  138. farmerbraun says:

    I should add that in N.Z. at least, police are not routinely armed. If it looks like a shoot-out is likely , we call in the Armed Defenders- a very professional bunch who are very well trained.

  139. NoIdea says:

    A man walks into a bar…ouch it is an iron bar.

    That was a joke by the way.

    I thought I would point out the bleeding obvious to the slower clientele that
    seem to be lazing around. I would not want any one getting their redneck thong
    in a twist.

    I may turn my back and find a blade in it.

    If rare scribbling is too good for Pointy’s epic “Line of Descent” then I
    guess it is too good for my rhetorical ramblings.

    You had best remove all my offensive bollocks, not that any of the autistic
    (Sic) wannabes are capable of reading words with three syllables.

    I apologize to any gentle readers not part of the foul and despicable attacks
    carried out by a bunch of (censored) about my heated language, as you may tell
    I am beyond angry, I am incandescent.

    We have been gaping in awe, watching the bar and grill turn almost overnight into an hate filled junky drop in centre. Those who tried to put a stop to
    this were ridiculed (badly) and ostracized. It seems the nature of this place
    has changed.

    Yes, we have been watching you and your pathetic games; yes we talk and laugh
    about you a lot, there is a lot to laugh about. (Lady-boy self-pleasuring sites! Luton Ian ROFL)

    Lutonian had been driven into hiding after his last hate-filled rant about
    building bombs in the kitchen. He has snuck back in now the coast is clear, so
    not even a verse for him.

    PE…rSoNalIty DisoRder, or

    The Love Song Of J. Alfred Johan de Leon

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,

    If you see what you want just grab some more,

    You are part of this planet, your existence is free,

    So, go on, be what you want to be.

    If you flick my daughter and call her a whore,

    I will rip of your testicles and nail them to a door,

    You think you are big man with your silly little gun.

    I will take it from you and stuff it up your bum.

    Dr. Death is speeding, spreading out the pills.

    Really doesn’t give a flick about any other ills.

    As long as he gets what he thinks is his,

    Snorting lots of Charlie, jacking lots of whizz.

    Perverted pedophile hypocrisy quacks,

    Love those Big Pharma, that scratch their backs,

    Old boys sucking others in the golf clubs,

    It is all about who you know and which way it rubs.

    Gun running Nazi Neo-con pricks.

    Think they are clever, with silly little tricks,

    Just the same as the left wing cocks,

    Stuffing evil lies into the ballot box.

    Blatantly transparent, for all to see:

    Standard Common Purpose hypocrisy.

    Divide and conquer, deride and rule,

    A perfect example of a useful flicking tool.

    Leeches and maggots try to do what’s best,

    Always suckling at their master’s breast.

    When Lucifer tells them it is time to jump

    It is easy to see the verbiage that they dump.

    No room for talent or taste or class,

    They just love, to take it up the arse,

    Pathetic Tarot parlor trick witch,

    Giving it large, shows she is a bitch.

    Exposed and deployed, out in view,

    Everyone can see the bile that they spew,

    Hate and sleaze ooze out of their pores,

    It is people like them who love all wars.

    No need to name names, you know who you are,

    Intellectual stinkfists stinking up the bar,

    No need for punctuation, or real words.

    It really does not matter when you vomit turds.

    Nothing new to say, no insight gained

    Pig shit thick, truly mainly brain maimed,

    Think they are so clever, working altogether,

    Insane clown posse, gimped up in leather.

    Keep on popping piles of putrid pills

    Into your patients, it pays the bills.

    You don’t give a shot, this shines out,

    Every single time you flap your snout.

    Big guitars, bigger guns and biggest cars,

    Overcompensation for bigoted family scars,

    The red hatred runs deep in your veins,

    The green of your penis envy gives you pains.

    Not Very Nice People, give them some rope,

    They all leap up for a sex thrills, choke and dope,

    Show them selves in public, doing unnatural acts,

    Showing off in charade fashion a loose grasp of facts.

    SS mafia, khaki shorts and man boobs,

    Rhymes with squirrels, gets stuck in tubes.

    Now the sick clique has its own way,

    Another flab four, stinking of decay.

    When you have a tongue as rough as a mat,

    And your breathe stinks like the rear of a cat,

    We need no reminding, you are a lawyer leech,

    You have nothing to learn, and nothing to teach.

    We will never be defeated by evil like you

    Because we know exactly what you will do.

    What ever is vile, or sick or wrong,

    Your tune will float like a turd from your song.

    A bunch of virtual sexual doggers

    Try to pretend that they are bloggers,

    They all wear chains and collars,

    They never seem to earn their dollars.

    A bunch of freaky perverts down the abyss,

    They cannot even tell when I take the piss,

    Perverts at a distance connected by the net

    Stroking each others ego, try to be the pet.

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,

    But when you sold out, you became a whore,

    Without humanity you cannot be free,

    All you show is a lack of empathy.

    It’s no mistake that politics and dope

    Become subjects as off to Canned Clint you lope.

    You destroyed LG’s blogspace to scare away seekers

    Of truth in favour of “true believers.”

    Growclint and Mad Traitor Chuckman of China:

    We all love your cadre’s mantra of I am a lefty whiner

    Please remember when you next spew doper palaver:

    IHC Barrow Texas sold your parts for cadavers.

    Is it really a coincidence that JD at the DT and LG are doing whatever is necessary to avoid any discussion of Cancun?


    Umm, the length of your post, plus some of the words contained, tripped WordPress’s spam filter. That’s all. You’re welcome to post anytime.

    Pointman said he wanted nothing more to do with LibertyGibbert, and left. So I assume he no longer wanted his works published here either. That’s why I took it down.

    And I dedicated an entire thread to Cancún only a month ago.

    What’s going on? – Oz

  140. NoIdea says:

    I had an ode..
    Who did it goad?


  141. Crow says:

    Wow! Dude!

    This blog is awesome! Just found it from that Derlingpole guys site! Me and the guys used to love hitting back with a big blunt and putting out the tunes! Who gives a damm what anyone else says! We’ve only got one time on this earth, so get your nose out of my business bro!!

    Drugs are good, you just got to find a dealer you trust, don’t want any bad cuts!! Who was that guy who said that religion is the opium of the masses? Should be opium is the opium of the masses!! Sure helps the days blend together and takes the edge of life. Face it man, life is jus bullcrap, so just live for now, as now’s all we ever got!

    I’m gonna keep checking back, deep arguments, like it.



  142. Luton Ian says:

    @ Farmerbraun
    “I should add that in N.Z. at least, police are not routinely armed. If it looks like a shoot-out is likely , we call in the Armed Defenders- a very professional bunch who are very well trained.”

    They sound like the opposite of the clowns who were hunting that hyped up idiot in Rothbury a month or two back. Pictures on the BBC website showed one clown, finger on trigger of what looked like a selective fire rifle, looking through scope at a late middle aged lady in the driving seat of a car three metres away- he had no situational awareness and with a finger on the trigger he was asking for a negligent discharge.

    New Zealand seems to have been by far more sensible than the UK since your reform government in the eighties.

    Ireland has fortunately re stated a “Castle doctrine” you can defend your self here.

  143. farmerbraun says:

    Well, Ozboy, I’m just scratching my head, wondering how is it that I missed all this or that or whatever it is; I still don’t know. And I’ve read every post, and taken part in the discussion. The thing that tickles my sense of humour is that regardless of which side of the drug liberalisation debate one was located, the posts revealed that few participants would have a 100% clean blood test for painkillers/narcotics;legal or illegal. From what I read, only Walt and I weren’t taking anything for anything, but we appeared to be on opposite sides of the debate. But if I did get a nasty headache I would take the ibuprofen but I understand Walt would not.
    The fact that I didn’t notice the aggro bothers me a little bit. ??

  144. Dr. Dave says:


    I would actually have a blood/urine analysis as clean as the driven snow. I don’t take any illegal or prescription drugs. I take a few OTC meds from time to time but anyone can buy these at any US grocery store. In fact I believe that, in America at least, our society is over medicated. Too many physicians will quickly prescribe antidepressants for indications no one would have considered valid 20 years ago. I am quite alarmed with the frequency with which ADHD is diagnosed and quickly treated with drugs Most physicians can tell you the most determined drug seekers they see are not the “druggies” looking for narcotics but mothers with a kid with a viral ear ache for which they demand an antibiotic (which won’t help). But this is a completely separate issue.

    The whole thrust of my missive was to argue that it is not the right of the government to legislate morality and control personal behavior that harms no one other that the individual. Physicians are horrible nags about lifestyle choices – don’t drink, don’t smoke, lose weight, exercise more, etc. This is OK because the patient is perfectly free to heed their advice or ignore it and do whatever they want. It’s quite another matter when the government is dictating these decisions for you.

  145. Amanda says:

    Farmerbraun: How you can claim that only you and Walt are ‘not taking anything for anything’ is beyond me. Were you smoking something at the time of reading? Speaking for myself, I said I drink wine (mainly), which is self-dosing only in one narrow view of what wine-consumption means. I did not say that I take drugs, for heaven’s sake. In fact, I prefer to suffer through my occasional bouts of hayfever without antihistamines because I don’t like the dopey feeling that they give me.

  146. Dr. Dave says:


    I have dreadful seasonal allergies and I’m very sensitive to the “classic” antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). It works great but it knocks me on my ass. Try one of the newer “non-sedating” antihistamines. I buy a 90 count bottle of generic loratadine 10mg tabs for about $10 once a year. You only need to take once a day through allergy season. Trust me, it will make your life better.


  147. Amanda says:

    Dave, I appreciate your suggestion — believe it or not I know about Loratidine because I’ve had to give it at times to my allergic dog — it doesn’t do much for her except on near-emergency occasions — better than a steroid jab if that can be avoided. But I find that any antihistamines, even the non-sedative ones, give me a slightly uncomfortable ‘drugged’ feeling. I might take half-doses because I’m small and find that half is enough. But unless I am really in a mess (sneezing like mad and can’t see for all the tearing-up), I avoid them. I guess it’s just funny old sensitive me!

  148. Amanda says:

    By the way, Dave, sorry to hear about your allergies: you have a lot of sympathy from THIS household!

  149. Amanda says:

    Typo: Loratadine with a second A.

  150. farmerbraun says:

    Amanda, Apologies. I did not intend to infer as you suggest- I was careful to say ” based on what I read”; and I do not recall you saying anything about your practices, so I only referred to what I knew . If you had said, as Walt did, that you wouldn’t take pain medication under any circumstances, not even a Panadol, then I would have included you. But what is going on? Why the question about me smoking when I don’t? I drink a glass of wine most days but not all days.
    I don’t get it; here’s what I wrote;” From what I read, only Walt and I weren’t taking anything for anything,”. So again, apologies if that is offensive. But I am mystified, not just by your response; who was the junky that dropped in? I didn’t notice it.
    Is this really such a touchy subject? I’m new here. I can take some good advice. I think I can trust you to give it to me.

  151. farmerbraun says:

    I suppose I could have put in a different way that which I wanted to say; viz. that most people over a certain age are using some medication, whether it be OTC, prescribed, whatever, for some purpose. I thought it was exceptional to be using nothing. I don’t mind if anyone thinks I’m wrong.
    Ozboy you better fill me in on the rules here.

    Not many really FB – feel free to speak your mind, agree or disagree with others, just try to be civilized about it. And blow yourself out in the music room whenever you feel inclined.

    That’s about it – Oz

  152. Tucci78 says:

    At 12:30 PM on 5 November, Amanda had written:

    …I know about Loratidine because I’ve had to give it at times to my allergic dog — it doesn’t do much for her except on near-emergency occasions — better than a steroid jab if that can be avoided. But I find that any antihistamines, even the non-sedative ones, give me a slightly uncomfortable ‘drugged’ feeling. I might take half-doses because I’m small and find that half is enough. But unless I am really in a mess (sneezing like mad and can’t see for all the tearing-up), I avoid them. I guess it’s just funny old sensitive me!

    Well, if loratadine doesn’t do much to alleviate your symptoms (I remember when Claritin first hit the market in these United States and was disappointed at what a weak sister it proved despite Schering-Plough’s promotional efforts), a later entry to the therapeutic area came – by way of Pfizer, who did a truly lousy job of promoting it – licensing the product from UCB (Union chimique belge), the developer.

    The drug is called cetirizine (marketed by Pfizer as Zyrtec), and its a derivative of UCB’s old (1956) standby antihistamine, hydroxyzine, which was marketed as both Vistaril and Atarax in these United States.

    It’s a more potent antihistamine than loratadine, can be taken once daily (like loratadine), and is effectively no more sedating. It’s not as potent as either diphenhydramine or hydroxyzine, but I’ve found it clinically effective in the management of patients who don’t get satisfactory allergy symptom control with Claritin.

    The key to using antihistamines is consistent preventive dosing, and the once-a-day non-sedating options are best for this purpose. The 2002 AAAAI statement on the role of the H1 antihistamines in asthma puts a pretty solid underline on the utility of these medications as adjunct therapy in the management of chronic bronchial asthma, and if these things are safe enough (and effective enough) to be incorporated in a regimen to manage that disorder – which, like your allergic condition, is a chronic affliction with episodic flare-ups – I think you can add a one-tablet-a-day prophylactic measure to your routine during those seasons in which you have problems.

    The best way to make use of loratadine or ceterizine (in both my experience and in the reported literature) is not to take ’em acutely and episodically to address symptoms but to understand that when your allergy triggers start hitting you, they’re going to be in your environment for a while, and it’s best to put a solid persistent chemotherapeutic block against all that histamine action until those triggers are no longer in contact with your mucous membranes.

    Thus even a “weak sister” like loratadine can be pretty effective in blunting the symptomaticity of your allergies – but you’ve gotta take it every damned day to get the best value for your effort. Excretion is about seventy-plus percent renal, and most people can actually take small episodic doses of diphenhydramine or hydroxyzine (depending on whether or not you have a potential problem with sedation) on top of a loratadine or cetirizine “base load” regimen to address symptom flare-ups.

    Does this make sense? If it doesn’t, drop in a comment, and I’ll try to respond.

  153. Amanda says:

    Farmerbraun: No worries, I wasn’t offended as you think — I’m not that touchy, honestly — I just wanted to set the record straight. I hadn’t said anything about taking drugs myself, so wondered what you were basing your statement on. What I said about ‘what were you smoking?’ was just a quip, not a serious question.

    You may be right about most people over a certain age being on some drug or other; but I’m only 42 — not that geriatric yet, I hope!

    Oz is right: speak your mind. Sometimes I have to read a post twice or more to get a surer sense of what someone’s mood and meaning are. Many posts can be interpreted with a friendlier or less friendly meaning, and of course when you get to know people — and one does, after a while — one can cut them some slack and feel more certain of ‘where they’re coming from’. But misunderstandings do happen, partly because we don’t have any non-verbal cues to help us understand the attitude behind the statement. If we were just talking about the weather, attitudes and approaches wouldn’t matter: words would be enough and speak for themselves. But then no one would bother blogging! So the risk we all take with actually discussing substantive and sometimes touchy subjects, is that we get our wires crossed or come up against differing expectations etc. I think that we all do best when we presume good intentions on the part of others, unless we see real evidence otherwise. And then I think it’s fair to question openly or even confront the other person about what he/she thinks. I’ve done this once or twice, and others have done it with me, not always successfully! But on the other hand, it has helped to clear the air and let normal dialogue resume. So in short, being ‘civil’ doesn’t mean you have to be a mouse! Cheers, A.

  154. Amanda says:

    Tucci78: Well you certainly know your stuff! I feel I should save what you’ve written or print it for my medical file just in case. When you say ‘does this make sense?’, I don’t think it does for me, since I am very rarely allergic. I get hit out of a blue sky on one or two days of the year with knock-out allergic reaction (I call it hayfever because it happens in the spring/summer and because I can’t pinpoint any non-seasonal cause). So it’s not a feature of my life. But anyone that DID suffer for a longer period would no doubt do well to take your advice.

    I used to give Loratadine daily to my dog because she IS a chronic and sometimes acute sufferer: but being a dog, antihistamines don’t work so well in relieving her symptoms of itchy skin. So after a while, I reserved the antihistamine for those moments when she really needs help — any help — and otherwise I just try to soothe her skin topically.

    Dogs do benefit however from a lot of human (i.e. non-veterinary) drugs and ointments, so their immune systems can’t be all that different from ours. People (including vets) are increasingly questioning, for instance, the need for constant (i.e. yearly or even once-in-three-years) vaccinations and boosters for dogs. We don’t need such frenetic boostering; why should dogs?

  155. Amanda says:

    Farmerbraun: In my earlier post to you, I should probably have re-read it before posting to make sure that it didn’t come across as too sharp. I’m a real softie but I’m also very direct. Mostly I keep the two things in balance but not always.

  156. Dr. Dave says:


    You’re absolutely correct. Cetirizine is a more potent antihistamine. The only problem is (the last time I checked) it wasn’t available as a dirt cheap OTC. It’s now OTC, but not yet as cheap as loratadine. Cetirizine has more pronounced activity on wheal and flare reactions as well. The other point you make is critical. Antihistamines work best if taken BEFORE exposure to an allergen. That’s my problem. I’m lousy about taking pills and forget about it until I’m symptomatic.

  157. Tucci78 says:

    AT 2:37 AM on 6 November, Dr. Dave had written:

    Cetirizine is a more potent antihistamine. The only problem is (the last time I checked) it wasn’t available as a dirt cheap OTC. It’s now OTC, but not yet as cheap as loratadine. Cetirizine has more pronounced activity on wheal and flare reactions as well. The other point you make is critical. Antihistamines work best if taken BEFORE exposure to an allergen. That’s my problem. I’m lousy about taking pills and forget about it until I’m symptomatic.

    I am myself not as compliant – the politically correct term nowadays is “adherent” – to chronic medications as I really ought to be. Morning meds go down automatically as part of the get-up-and-go-into-the-bathroom routine, but the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor is scheduled for hs dosing, and I seem to forget it about half the time. Still seems to keep the LDL and total serum cholesterol levels hammered down, though.

    I believe that the reason why OTC cetirizine is not as cheap, milligram for milligram (and therefore dose for dose), as loratadine is that the world’s supply of cetirizine still comes from one supplier – UCB, headquartered in Brussels. Dunno how many factories they’ve got manufacturing the stuff, or where those facilities are located, but if there’s only one chemicals outfit bothering with the capital investment to produce the principal, and there’s not enough profit potential in the generic drug to justify even cheapjack copycat concerns like India’s Dr. Reddy jumping in to make the molecule, then UCB can still to some extent dictate a higher price for this raw material when the finished-product manufacturers contract for stock thereof.

    I understand something similar but decidedly not the same happens with diltiazem (one of the once-very-commonly-prescribed calcium channel blockers), the world’s entire supply of which has been coming for decades out of one production outfit in Japan which had cornered the market Alcoa-style – i.e., by so controlling the costs of production that every time somebody anyplace else on the planet even thought about entering the marketplace against them, they could drop their price enough to make the required competitor up-tooling unprofitable.

    Imagine diltiazem (averaging, what, 240 mg a day in dosing for hypertension or SVT management?) shipping out of that one factory in 55-gallon drums or the equivalent as pure bulk product. Gawd.

    I was doing some medical writing work for Schering-Plough (the original exclusive U.S. patent-holder for loratadine) back in the early ’90s, and they were terrified of cetirizine, which as a prescription product was cost-competitive with S-P’s “blockbuster” meal ticket Claritin.

    But of course Pfizer put together what I consider to be one of the worst promotional campaigns I have ever seen for the introduction of a prescription drug, and followed it for the next three years (and more) with even more worthless advertising and marketing, both to prescribers and consumers. I think Pfizer’s sales of Zyrtec didn’t really start taking off until, what, 2004? 2006? Incredible stupidity on the part of these supposedly “smartest guys in the room.”

  158. Tucci78 says:

    At 2:17 AM on 6 November, Amanda had written:

    I get hit out of a blue sky on one or two days of the year with knock-out allergic reaction (I call it hayfever because it happens in the spring/summer and because I can’t pinpoint any non-seasonal cause). So it’s not a feature of my life.

    If you have an idea of what your allergy triggers might be – especially with seasonal allergies due most likely to the vernal or autumnal releases of specific weed and tree species’ pollens – you can enter consistent daily dosing of a light-weight antihistamine like loratadine or cetirizine the instant you sense your symptoms coming on, and continue that “prevent defense” treatment through a couple of weeks (which permits most people to get through the worst of a pollen bloom).

    One of the reasons why I liked to run allergy testing on particularly troubled patients. If I could diagnose their triggers, I could counsel them on when they were likely to suffer allergen exposure, helping them either avoid the plants themselves or set up in preparedness for the vegetable orgies every spring and fall.

    As for what happens pharmacologically with dogs versus humans…. Well, I’m not a veterinarian, and the last time I worked on critters other than H. sapiens to any extent was sometime during the Ford administration.

    And they were study subjects, not patients. I do some minimal stuff with the family pets nowadays, but not much.

    My son-in-law has an American bulldog – very much a pit bull breed – and while he hasn’t yet come to me in a bid for anabolic steroids to amp up the animal (who is one of the most appealing and endearing creatures for all his natural ebullience, highly protective of the grandkids), I’ve been waiting for it

    Country-western music fan, he is. He hates our Marxist Mulatto from Mombasa almost as much as I do, but for all the wrong reasons.

  159. Dr. Dave says:


    I have a suspicion you’re a pharmacist. How many physicians outside of public health clinics would ever have heard of “Dr. Reddy’s”? What you wrote makes perfect sense. Remember the worldwide shortage of lorazepam about 10 years ago? Mylan (a generic manufacturer) had a stranglehold on a key raw ingredient and drove the market price for brand and generic lorazepam through the roof. The ship hit the sand (so to speak) when shortages of the parenteral form hit hospitals. One would think this wouldn’t be such a big deal because lorazepam is just another benzodiazepine and there were other there alternatives…until you consider the impact it had on “approved treatment protocols”.

    This is a ridiculously big deal. Right now in the US there are death penalties on hold because of the lack of sodium thiopental. Death by lethal injection must follow strict protocols. Sodium thiopental is given as the first drug to render the convicted unconscious. Hell, you can accomplish this with at least a half dozen other drugs…but the protocols are approved by the state and can only be altered by the state.

    An old friend of mine used to work for the Texas prison system in Huntsville. He told they once had to postpone an execution of a convicted murderer because their vials of KCl were past their expiration date! Like it would matter in terms of the murderer’s expiration date.

    I’m curious. Where I live “Tucci” generally refers to a town in Eastern New Mexcio.

  160. Tucci says:

    On 6 November at 10:35 AM, Dr. Dave had jumped to the wrong conclusion altogether when writing:

    I have a suspicion you’re a pharmacist. How many physicians outside of public health clinics would ever have heard of “Dr. Reddy’s”?

    Nope. Undergraduate degree in biology, then right into med school. Primary care grunt with board certification in General Practice (and I refuse to call myself a “family practitioner” ’cause the word “family” has a distinctly different connotation in my ethnic group). Had a few medical school classmates who had come in with Pharm.D. degrees, but not many.

    I’ve simply done some considerable work in and around the pharmaceuticals industry over the past several decades. Never as a “thought leader” or other paid shill (my colleagues hold me in no respect whatsoever because I do not play politics and do not disguise the merry contempt in which I hold almost all of them) but rather as a “subject matter expert” – a term used by business types to express their contempt for us wonks – contracted to create the materials used to train the paid shills and for them to present at their conferences so as to give the impression that these “thought leaders” know what the hell they’re being paid to present.

    What? You don’t think that those $2,000-an-appearance “dinner speaker” types actually have the time (or the interest, ability, or fund of knowledge) to put those slide kits and supporting materials together, do you? They tend reliably to leave such work to those of their less presentable colleagues who have been throughout their careers managing their patients for them, writing their papers for them, and handling the administrative details and policy decisions of their department staff chairmanships for them.

    I’ve been reading, reasoning, and writing all my life. They’ve been putting the greatest part of their effort into looking good and screwing people. Think of it as “division of labor.”

    Never wonder why the overwhelming majority of American physicians hate our Mombasa Messiah so fulminantly. We’ve all known colleagues in medicine who are precisely the same kind of “professionals” as is that arrogant, incompetent, affirmative action fraudulence who’s got his feet criminally propped up on the Resolute Desk in the White House.

    Yeah, I recall the reduced availability of lorazepam a decade (or so) ago. Oral and injectable lorazepam see moderately heavy use in the management of geriatric patients in both the inpatient and ECF settings. I just worked around it. I remember when Ativan (lorazepam) hit the market in these United States, and how it looked and proved to be just another “me too” benzodiazepine.

    Anything that had to be done with lorazepam could be done with prazepam (Centrax) or with chlorazepate (Tranxene) or even plain old chlordiazepoxide (Librium). Different PK/PD profiles, but no big deal. Guys just got used to the drug interaction profile and other pharmacokinetic characteristics of lorazepam and got too damned lazy to think about the rest of the tools in that part of the pharmacopoeia.

    I’m old enough that when I first got into practice, I inherited patients who were quite habituated on stable meprobamate (Miltown) therapy for chronic anxiety. So much of the stuff we’re using today as a matter of routine simply wasn’t available forty years ago, and I’ve had to learn it in media res, running like hell just to keep up. I’ve never quite gotten used to the fact that most of my colleagues – particularly in primary care – haven’t used a copy of Goodman & Gilman’s for anything other than a doorstop since they passed their boards. How the hell do they manage?

    Well, mostly they don’t.

    Insofar as I recall, whether it was incompetence or cupidity at Mylan which accounted for the shortage of lorazepam (or the increase in its acquisition cost) was not a matter I really took into consideration at the time. Stuff like that has happened before, and it’ll happen again. Only the bureaucratically sclerotic are too incompetent to work around it. Those of us not frozen helplessly by “approved treatment protocols” really don’t give a damn.

    As for my nickname… The suffix “-uccio” is fairly common in Italian family names, one of the many carrying the connotation of “small.” In conveying the plural, it’s “-ucci.” Anyone growing up in a largely Italian-speaking part of America with a last name containing that suffix has a more than reasonable prospect that it will work into one’s nickname.

    To the best of my knowledge, the suffix “-ucci” doesn’t appear in Spanish, and it may be that the town in New Mexico of which you speak was named for an Italian. There are plenty of Italians (and Italian-Americans) with no other last name than “Tucci,” one example being actor and producer Stanley Tucci, Jr. (who is no relation of mine; I doubt that his paternal line descends from anywhere in Italy remotely near where mine had originated.)

    And all this has to do with libertarianism and drug decriminalization precisely … how?

    It’s all a vast tapestry, Tucci – in any case, great to have you aboard the good ship LibertyGibbert – Oz

  161. Dr. Dave says:


    Wow! That was quite a response. You’ve been at your craft a lot longer than I have. I vaguely remember meprobamate but I do remember such golden oldies as methaqualone and glutethimide…even methyprylon and ethchlorvynol. It’s amazing the number of drugs which were commonly used less than 30 years ago that aren’t even on the market anymore.

    And you’re right…this discussion has nothing to do with libertarianism. In fact, I was just thinking about Part II to this missive, the “flip side” if you will. That is, any individual should have the right to ingest anything they want but at the same time an employer can deny employment to anyone they want if they choose a “drug free” policy. The sword of liberty cuts both ways.

  162. Tucci says:

    Dr. Dave, seniority hallows nobody. I remember a long time ago being told that old commonplace to the effect that “For any genuinely new advance in medicine to be embraced, a whole generation of physicians must die.”

    Ever since then, I’ve occupied myself in medical staff meetings picking out the guys who’d best benefit the profession by becoming precipitously posthumous.

    I’m surely on a bunch of my more “go along to get along” colleagues’ “better off dead” lists, so what the hell.

    On matters of employment, I fully concur with you about a contracting participant’s right to stipulate whatever conditions suit his purposes, particularly in the current litigious circumstances where the employer is held very strictly (and to some considerable extent unrealistically) responsible for the actions of the employee. The fact that such an employee might give qualitative evidence of psychoactive chemical consumption is deadly even though quantitative assessment might reveal objectively insufficient levels of such substances to invoke impairment. Just a trace indication of any drug consumption at any time on the part of an employee is commonly sold to juries as sufficient evidence of tortfeasant irresponsibility on the part of the employer in cases at law.

    With the conduct of the Plaintiff’s Bar in this country (and the failure of the courts to hold them under any sort of real procedural restraint), “zero tolerance” of employee recreational drug and alcohol consumption is the only policy that the employer can possibly implement.

  163. farmerbraun says:

    Employer responsibility for employees’ habits has made it difficult for whole groups of society ( youth in particular) to gain employment. These groups have no chance of even establishing a of track record of reliability. In this country all employees must be given a contract by the employer. The contract that I use includes the following clause: the hours of work shall be such as are agreed from time to time between the employer and the employee.
    In other words, at the end of each work session, I have no employees. They are effectively all part time casuals with a new contract for each employment session. If I call them for work they can say no, and I don’t have to give a reason if I don’t call them. It might look harsh, but it is necessary for self-protection.

  164. farmerbraun says:

    Amanda says:
    November 6, 2010 at 2:04 am
    Farmerbraun: No worries, I wasn’t offended as you think — I’m not that touchy, honestly — I just wanted to set the record straight. I hadn’t said anything about taking drugs myself, so wondered what you were basing your statement on. What I said about ‘what were you smoking?’ was just a quip, not a serious question.
    Farmer Braun says: No problemo. I was just a bit over- sensitive ; it’s not that I mind being called a junkie ( I presumed that one was directed at me). I never have been one and never will be. And rushes to judgement, ” informed ” by prejudice are to be expected. But withdrawal of the right to clarify what is clearly misunderstanding is always slightly perturbing. In fact even that doesn’t matter. Just acknowledgement that misunderstanding has occurred is probably all that is required to keep things rolling along.

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