The products Mr. Llewellyn sells aren’t banned substances. Because he and others market their wares as “not for human consumption,” his business is technically legal. Still, authorities don’t like what he’s doing. Drug-enforcement officials are scrambling to spot and ban harmful new drugs faster. Many have banned substances like mephedrone and naphyrone in recent months, giving them the “class B” status assigned to amphetamines and other drugs.
Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.
Michael Lee Bedford, 23, of Fir Tree Close, in Forest Town,
Mansfield, died after taking the caffeine, which was the equivalent of
70 cans of energy drink and can be bought on the internet for just
Michael’s friends, who had been at the party with him, on
April 9 also spoke at the inquest. One 15-year-old said he saw him take
“spoonfuls of white powder”, which he washed down with a can of energy
drink. Michael became ill about 15 minutes later.
“He was puking
up blood and he was sweating really bad,” said another friend, aged 17.
The Coroner’s Court also heard he became incoherent and his speech was
Legalism doesn’t work, insofar as it doesn’t do what its proponents advertise. It doesn’t purify society, it doesn’t stop crime, it doesn’t reform individuals, it doesn’t punish the guilty, it doesn’t protect the naïve, and it doesn’t bring salvation to anyone. All it does is make the self-righteous feel better.
For myself, I’ve always been self-righteous about smoking cigarettes. I’ve always hated cigarettes and I’ve always despised the company of smokers. The change in the legal status of tobacco in the 1990s was a cause for celebration, as far as I was concerned. All my life I had suffered the condescending indifference of smokers as my eyes watered and my throat gagged from tobacco smoke, and it hasn’t pained me to see them shoved outside to the edges of the sidewalks, like a bunch of desperate hookers.
Yet, I recognize how stupid it would be to outlaw tobacco or the manufacture of recreational tobacco products. It’s enough for me that we can now admit that tobacco is dangerous and disgusting, and let people who like it continue to wallow in it. When people are depressed and anxious, they will always find some nasty habit that annoys others; because of this kind of inventiveness, it is pointless and hypocritical to specify particular recreational drugs as illegal.
Likewise, it is pointless and hypocritical to rely on laws to make society or individuals righteous. Laws should serve specific purposes, such as resolving disputes and protecting people from each other. They shouldn’t be political or religious statements, or moneymaking schemes.