Monday, November 06, 2006

Fog Of War

I'm used to a bit of propoganda with my morning coffee, but this story is the most jaded reporting of a scientific study I've seen in a while.

Amsterdam - Occasional and moderate abuse of the drugs cannabis and ecstasy does not lead to long-term memory impairment or affect ability to concentrate, according to a study conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

The findings are contained in a doctoral thesis by Gerry Jager, who conducted her research in combination with the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam.

"Occasional use of ecstasy (an average of a total of two pills) or frequent cannabis use (several marijuana cigarettes a week over a period of an average of four years) does not lead to long-term abnormalities in memory or ability to concentrate, or related brain activity," Jager found

Abuse? No, that's a Bad Thing and shouldn't be allowed. Abuse, of course, is what happens when people do drugs - we use alcohol to relax, religion to belong, the media to influence how people think but that's not Abuse, theBad Thing.

Another story pops up under related news: Apparently, Europeans have a new favourite drug.

Hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms" are the latest trendy drug among young Europeans because of a growing interest in organic products and Internet marketing

All well, and by the sound of it, pretty good. Not for long: cue Doom, Gloom, Lies (Damned Lies) and Statistics.

According to the European Commission, more than 8 000 people - mainly young men in their 20s and 30s - die of drug overdoses each year. The total number of drug-related deaths - including accidents, violence and Aids - is estimated at over 20 000.

Alright, that's a fair number, and drug overdose deaths are tragic, and sometimes preventable. Whether they're preventable by enforcement is pretty debatable though. For deaths that are 100% preventable though, try these:

Some 70 000 women worldwide die from unsafe abortions each year while many more suffer serious injuries, especially in poor countries, health experts said on Monday.

The above-mentioned "Magic Mushrooms" article also exposed a hitherto-unknown illicit trade: Heroine Imports. Apparently

flows of cocaine and heroine into the continent are rising.

Crates of Wonderwomen? Joans of Arc? Seems a shame - everyone needs a heroine in their life :p