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Drugs, hypocrisy and baby milk

Most of the people I’ve known over the years who were keen to boycott products from NestlĂ© (evil baby milk) or South Africa (apartheid, at the time) or Nike (sweatshops) took drugs.

I don’t think it’s any better to give money to organised crime than to give it to Nike. Which is one reason I don’t take drugs.

2 replies on “Drugs, hypocrisy and baby milk”

Well, since illegal drugs are, um, illegal, any organization that exists to distribute them is by definition organized crime. That doesn’t exactly tell you whether such organizations in fact do other criminal or violent things. Of course, many such organizations do: Columbia would be a much more peaceful place were it not for the international demand for cocaine. But you could, in theory, I suppose, happily boycott Nike and Nestle for their various corporate sins while still smoking organically grown Peace Crack sourced from some nice family-run Columbia farm, all without hypocrisy.

I’ve never really understood the distinction people make between legal and illegal psychotropic drugs. If you use illegal drugs you potentially face legal problems, so that’s one valid distinction. And people who deal in illegal drugs are willing to break the law, so that suggests that other nastiness on their part is likely. And illegal drugs are usually addictive and sometimes harmful in other ways, too. But many legal drugs are addictive, potentially harmful, not entirely necessary, and distributed by people of questionnable ethics, too.

Working in a hospital, I’ve noticed that people usually take whatever they’re prescribed, with few questions. Often they want drugs when another cure would work just as well or better. (Antidepressants are the best example of this; they are neither the safest, the quickest-acting, nor the most effective treatment for depression, but they are always on the top-ten list of most frequently prescribed medications.) Often these people would never dream of doing illegal drugs, though.

As for me, I’ve never taken any illegal drug, although I wouldn’t rule it out in the future. But unless I have a disease that a drug will actually cure (a bacterial infection, for example), I’m equally conservative with legal ones.

I’ll certainly make an exception for Peace Crack, home-grown weed, and other ethically-produced drugs. I don’t have any moral objection to people taking drugs. But it is in fact generally the case that the drug trade is run by the same people who run things like people-trafficking, credit-card fraud, and prostitution. And the impact on producer countries is extremely negative even when the operations aren’t being used to fund terrorism or civil war. Which they often are.

Pretty much the same argument applies to buying counterfeit goods, pirate DVDs and so on.

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