James Brokenshire re-defines Success

This post was originally published to Freedom4All, the original can be found here in the archive.

Firstly, hat-tip to Peter Reynolds for covering this story. 

James Brokenshire (in typing that I originally used a ‘t’ instead of an ‘r’, freudian slip?) has claimed that the dangerous level of cocaine impurity seen in the UK is a ‘sign of success’. 

This is quite possibly one of the most dangerous and uninformed statements that I have heard since I began scratching at the thin veneer of the war on drugs. 

Brokenshire, on Friday, claimed that 

The quality of cocaine on the streets is, in some cases, as low as 10% in purity at the moment. That shows some of the very effective work that is taking place. 

With apparently no understanding that this means people are instead putting unknown chemicals up their nose. Regardless of where you sit on this debate, at least you know how harmful (or otherwise) cocaine is. Can you say the same for the following; 

  • Caffeine 
  • Boric Acid 
  • Benzocaine 
  • Creatine 
  • Dilitiazem 
  • Dimethylterephthalate 
  • Hydroxyzine 
  • Lignocaine 
  • Mannitol
  • Paracetamol
  • Phenacetin
  • Procaine Sugars
  • Tetramisole hydrochloride 

So, Mr Brokenshire, what are the harms of these when you inhale them? What about if you burn them? What about the many different combinations of these that could be present (87178291200 by my calculation) before we even consider different levels of dosage! 

Perhaps Mr Brokenshire would like to enlighten us as to the relative dangers of each of these permutations? After all, he seems reasonably sure that their very existence is a sign of the success being made. 

That is, at least, assuming that the prohibitionists are actually interested in reducing harm to users? Could it be that they have another motivation, and that the ‘war on drugs’ has never been about preventing harm? 

If presented with two bags of cocaine; 

  • 1 at 1980′s level of Purity 
  • 1 at 2010 level of Purity 

Which would Mr Brokenshire consider safer to take? The one with certainty (well, almost) as to what’s in it, or today’s dose which could contain almost anything? 

Does anyone else actually see this ridiculous situation as a sign of success? Personally, I view it as a sign of abject failure in the Governments claimed aim of ‘protecting’ users.