Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts

By Peter Laurie | Go to book overview

11
Control of Drugs

The control of illicitly used drugs poses a multitude of intractable problems. We do not know precisely their effect or their mode of action in the body; we cannot do more than guess about the strength, nature, purpose of the motives that cause some people to become dependent on drugs; we have even less idea of the probable effect of widespread drug use on our society. Here, as menacingly as anywhere in the field of public policy, the penalties for wrong decisions loom. Should one be liberal or penal? If neither, where in between? One can make out a case for the possibility of total social degeneracy and breakdown consequent on movement in either direction.

In particular, we fear to make the experiment of liberality; but whether we like it or not, the experiment is being made for us. Drugs are becoming part of the lives of people in every part of society: housewives in the Welsh valleys, school-children in Sheffield, artists in Cornwall, West Indians at High Wycombe, racing cyclists at Brentford, psychiatrists and their patients at Hendon; to all of these, drugs that were unknown to ordinary people in Britain a generation ago are becoming accepted accessories of life. Technological advance reaches inwards, and it is impossible to keep it in the hands of the Establishment. Regulations and attitudes towards drugs, formed when their illicit use was confined to a small, tractable minority, are now being strained The purpose of this chapter, and indeed of this book, is not to advocate immediate, drastic changes to these social adaptations, but more to suggest new facts and attitudes for discussion: to help to make it possible to reorientate ourselves to considerable and increasing drug use.

The first problem is: Why do we want to control drugs? This is a hard question. Now that freer sexual behaviour is becoming assimilated into our moral system, it seems that drug-taking

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Drugs: Medical, Psychological and Social Facts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Pelican Books Drugs 1
  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • 1 - The Meaning of Drug 9
  • 2 - Archetypal Heroin 15
  • 3 - The Psychology of the Addict 37
  • 4 - Attitudes to Opiates 48
  • 5 - Sleepers 64
  • 6 - Speed 73
  • 7 - The Weed 85
  • 8 - Hallucinogens 102
  • 9 - Lsd Applied 116
  • 10 - Identification, Cure and the End of Addiction 134
  • 11 - Control of Drugs 152
  • References 179
  • Index 187
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