Thailand life..,
January 12, 2008 4:19 PM   Subscribe

A Thailand teen who has had an online presence for ten years... is now doing three yearsin a Thai prison...and with the help of his former teacher is able to tell us about it.
posted by konolia (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

A tragedy. He should be set free. I'm also rooting for Sixth Seal. His blog wasn't around for as long, but he made the most of it.
posted by mullingitover at 4:30 PM on January 12, 2008

That sucks.

Keep in mind that Thailand has about 3.85 prisoners per 1000 citizens, the U.S. has about 7.33. Even though drug sentences are much stiffer there, it seems like fewer people get them. Drug sentences are also pretty harsh in the U.S.
posted by delmoi at 5:31 PM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

He's not exactly a teen...Gor was born with the name of Nattawud Daoruang on 3rd July 1985. - he's 22. Thanks for the link though.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on January 12, 2008

On the face of it he sounds like a particularly good candidate for having his sentence commuted to community service in the form of drug education and lecturing. I wonder how often Thai courts do that sort of thing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:45 PM on January 12, 2008

Well that's one drop more against the very idea of criminalizing possession of drug for personal use. Maybe it is time society as whole starts realizing that drug users are _victims_ of themselves , not always necessarily these hedonistic daemons ,out of control gluttons "deserving" their misery because they "chosen" to be drugged.

Could it be that many want to blame the victims for being abusers, because blaming them is a convenient way to forget the context of their life , or what led them to become addicted in the first place ?
posted by elpapacito at 6:01 PM on January 12, 2008

Maybe it is time society as whole starts realizing that drug users are _victims_ of themselves

Most drug users aren't victims. Maybe you meant "drug addicts"?
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wonderful, interesting post. I got so much out of your links. Thanks konolia. Gor sounds like such a likable, honorable young man, intensely creative in a constructive way, able to be honest about his addictions, his feelings, the whole shebang. I really respect him.

Didn't know that there is a Thai tradition to become a monk for your mother.

It seems like whatever happens in his life he finds a way to be there fully, emotionally available, as a teen, a young dad, even in the break-up with his girlfriend, about his inability to conquer his addiction to pot and speed and now that he's in prison it seems he's finding a way to be there for others in being true to himself.

Interesting things to read, like what's available at the Thai prison shop.

The Thai Prison Museum is a darkly fascinating surf. Like the human takraw ball. yikes.

On this page he shows how foreigners can help Thai prisoners by sending books or games for example. Helping him survive.
posted by nickyskye at 6:18 PM on January 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Maybe it is time society as whole starts realizing that drug users are _victims_ of themselves , not always necessarily these hedonistic daemons ,out of control gluttons "deserving" their misery because they "chosen" to be drugged.

Not a victim.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on January 12, 2008

This is a great post. It illuminates the travesty of drug laws and the attendant consequences in many third world countries. This moral hypocrisy is most stark when one examines how these same regimes then turn a blind eye to other "immoral" activities. Yes, we're looking at you Thailand, with your tourism sex trade.

One jarring note though. There is no such thing as an addiction to pot. Not meaning to cavil, but the generic use of the term "drugs" and "addiction" throughout the site strikes me as a bit simplistic and disingenuous. The notorious double-standard in the enforcement of Thailand's draconian policies is also worth examining, but passes without comment here.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:00 PM on January 12, 2008

Well, there's another site dedicated to him too... There's an awful lot of sordid history behind Thai drug addiction.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:44 PM on January 12, 2008

Wasn't he busted for meth, not pot? Meth is pretty addictive.
posted by ryanrs at 10:52 PM on January 12, 2008

Thank you for posting this. Very informative!

those torture and execution tools look absolutely ghastly
posted by hadjiboy at 10:54 PM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by caddis at 11:04 PM on January 12, 2008

no such thing as an addiction to pot

Disagree with that. It may not have the significant withdrawal symptoms of other addictive substances but I've met too many long term pot heads who really couldn't stop and it profoundly impacted their lives in negative ways, often costing them everything they could afford, sapping their life force and their ability to think clearly. When I hear a grown guy has never moved out of his mom's house, from experience I assume he's a pothead. Maybe psychological dependence is technically a more exact term but the bottom line means drug user stuck with a habit. One I've known for over 30 years, smoking pot is her entire life.

For the record I am in favor of medical use of marijuana, although it's not my cup of tea, nyuck nyuck.

As for the old adage about pot leading to other substance abuse, I don't know potheads who don't also regularly mess with other substances that aren't especially healthy, many becoming then addicted to drugs that initially were a sort of dalliance, off the course of their pot use, which is what happened with Gor.
posted by nickyskye at 11:11 PM on January 12, 2008

We were taken to a cell that already looked full but I later found out was only half full.

If a cell is full, and you've got new prisoners coming, change the definition of 'full'.
posted by Anything at 11:37 PM on January 12, 2008

nickyskye: Of course, that just leads to the inevitable question of whether it's really the pot or the person. In my experience, a lot of people who just don't know what to do with themselves sit around smoking dope and eating junk food, but neither the weed nor the junk food are really at the root of the problem.

Anyway, this is a sad story all around; regardless of what drug the guy got caught with, it's ridiculous that possession (with no external victimization or violence) should ever put you in prison.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:22 AM on January 13, 2008

It may not have the significant withdrawal symptoms of other addictive substances but I've met too many long term pot heads who really couldn't stop and it profoundly impacted their lives in negative ways

Agree with Nicky Skye here, though it's taken me nearly 40 years to acknowledge it. Doing so runs contrary to everything I've always believed about the drug, and to my own experiences and those of all my friends.

I'm not sure whether the pot is the problem itself, or the symptom of another, deeper problem, but I've met too many people who've sought treatment for their compulsive pot use to say that nobody ever has a problem with dependence. Sure, it isn't the classical dependence syndrome, as you don't have tolerance or physical withdrawal, but you don't get those things with cocaine either, and few people seriously make the claim that crackheads aren't dependent.

Whether the problem lies in the pharmacology of the substance, or the psychology of the user, the outcome is pretty much the same. There are some people who believe that their lives are made miserable by their inability to stop using the drug, despite a sincere desire to stop doing so. Now, you may not want to call that addiction because of the lack of some of the features that we typically associated with that model. I don't have strong feelings about what we call it. And it's not a big problem. The number of people who experience such problems in comparison with the number of people who smoke is infintesimal. But to deny that some people experience these problems just isn't true.

As for the old adage about pot leading to other substance abuse

Strongly disagree with this bit though. There's no evidence in support of the gateway theory. It's a confusion of correlation and causality. Far more heroin addicts start on milk than they do on pot, but we don't assume that milk leads people to use other drugs. However, the fact that the people who sell one illegal drug also tend to sell others is one of the best arguments for legalization that I'm aware of.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:22 AM on January 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

Must also agree with nickyskye. I knew a number of serious potheads in school, and they certainly had an addiction. Not a physical addiction, perhaps, but a strong addiction nonetheless. This has made me rather circumspect about pot. I won't say I've never inhaled, or enjoyed it, but I've kept my distance.

I also find that the attempts of legalisation advocates to deny this are rather counterproductive, as pot is widespread enough for most people to have directly witnessed enough addiction to know such denials for the BS they are. Instead they should accept that pot is addictive, though perhaps not as much as tobacco or alcohol, and that, because of this it should be tightly regulated, rather than left to the (flourishing) black market.

As for the "gateway theory", it much depends on the circumstances. The most serious pothead among my schoolmates went on to heroin, which makes me think there is something in it. However, I believe it does not have anything to do with pot itself, but rather with the fact that pot and more damaging drugs are marketed through the same illicit channels. Pot users are more likely to be offered physically addictive drugs as a "little extra" by their dealers, and they are less likely to be deterred by their illegality. Which makes this "gateway theory" version of mine in fact a very strong, if not the strongest, argument in favour of cannabis legalisation.
posted by Skeptic at 3:24 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

However, the fact that the people who sell one illegal drug also tend to sell others is one of the best arguments for legalization that I'm aware of.

Not to cavil, but that is an anecdote-- and anecdotally, I've known a lot of pot smokers who sell a little and none of them ever sold anything harder.

There are probably as many models of drug dealing as cities in the US, though, so it probably depends, as so many things do.

(Note, I do not smoke pot at all but have friends who do.)
posted by miss tea at 6:02 AM on January 13, 2008

Afroman illustrates nickyskye's point. (sound NSFW)
posted by caddis at 6:13 AM on January 13, 2008

People, he wasn't busted for pot. He was busted for amphetamines--or yaa baa--the drug of choice in the land of smiles. It's exceptionally popular with prostitutes.

From the article: He told them that when he was 15 he became addicted to drugs. This drug is known locally as "yaa baa" or "crazy drug".

By the way, 3 years is a heck of a lot better than life, which is what we farangs get if caught.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:28 AM on January 13, 2008

Skeptic writes "The most serious pothead among my schoolmates went on to heroin, which makes me think there is something in it. "

Or is the person the problem to being with ? For instance, Joe tries X and likes the effects of X, for instance because it gives him a dopamine high , or in nontechnical terms it "makes him physically feel better". As I used nicotine in cigarettes, I know exactly how it feels, expecially if you remember the FIRST cigarette, which is the single most enjoyable one.

Now nicotine, thc , younameit, they all belong to "mind altering substances".

Joe decides he wants to try Y , because somebody told him Y feels so much better then X and that's completely true. As Joe experienced that X indeed was good, he now know that mind altering substances exist , but X could as well be one glass of wine, not necessarily crack. So your "serious pothead" friends probably just found out that heroin is so much better then nicotine,THC, younameit.

The "gateway drug" theory is often distorted because it relies on the wrong categorization that has "alcohol" out of "drugs" category, so alcohol/cigarettes are not described as drugs, but pot is. I advance this distortion isn't casual, because private companies and states have a lot of interest in sales of drugs and alcohol.

But the pothead friends of yours, why were they pothead to begin with ? Possibily they were often and fairly warned about the dangers, so they either didn't believe the warnings because they didn't experience negative effects, or because the warning comes from transparent hypocrites (bible thumpers run to mind), or because they have some self-destructive tendencies.

Take, for instance, glue sniffing childrens. It happens in many extremely exploited countries, why do they sniff drugs ? I guess they want to ease their pain or their hunger and glue is a legal and unexpensive mean to happyness.
posted by elpapacito at 7:49 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Our experiences with potheads in high school is about as relevant as our experience with teenaged binge drinkers in high school.

Which is to say teenagers are pretty much the antithesis of a demonstration of anything to do with real life.

I know a number of adults who use smoke pot. Just as I know a number of adults who drink wine and beer.

All of us hold well-paying, professional jobs. We're in our thirties and forties. We live in nice houses, some of us have nice kids, all of us are at the top of our games. Our lives are not spiralling out of control.

Pot is a problem for (some) teenagers because they're friggin' teenagers. They're stupid that way.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:33 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Take, for instance, glue sniffing children. It happens in many extremely exploited countries...

Huffing is a problem in North America too, especially in First Nations reservations and northern Inuit communities.

I'm not disagreeing with your overall point. Just pointing out that it's not only in, for example, Eastern Europe.
posted by CKmtl at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2008

(OTOH, my first joint was smoked at age 30-odd. I'm an exception, I suppose. Still, if you're in your thirties, I suggest you give it a try. The sex is spectacular.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2008

CKmtl writes "Just pointing out that it's not only in, for example, Eastern Europe."

Yep indeed poverty isn't a strictly necessary condition, nor is it limited to the countries traditionally perceived as poor by western societies.
posted by elpapacito at 9:48 AM on January 13, 2008

huh, wonders never cease, a civil discussion about pot addiction on the blue. Am happily amazed. wow.

it's taken me nearly 40 years to acknowledge it

PeterMcDermott, am dazzled by your honesty and really appreciate your bravery in talking about it. Congratulations on your recovery journey. I'm rooting for your well being.

it's ridiculous that possession (with no external victimization or violence)

Kadin2048, agreeing with you wholeheartedly. I think the illegal aspect needs to be taken out of the drug picture so the core issues underlying the tendencies for being addicted in the first place can be addressed. I do think self-medicating for depression is one of the main reasons people seek getting high, to ease their pain. Compulsivity is another issue in this picture.

private companies and states have a lot of interest in sales of drugs and alcohol

elpapacito (lovely to see you on the blue, I always enjoy your comments, Happy New Year), those tax dollars made from the legal, addictive and dangerous to the health drugs, like cigarettes and booze, are used to make prisons, pay for police, drug enforcement agencies who bust the illegal drug dealers and users. What a strange circle of money, all related to people suffering and seeking to ease their pain. Frankly, I think there needs to be a mind-altering drug tax also on junk foods, sugar, ice cream, caffeine, popular soda drinks. Cupcakes probably should cost $20 each. :) Only half kidding there.

Back to the original post. I think it's the honesty, articulation and dedicated blog writing of somebody like Gor who can cause a global change in feeling differently about drug users, drug use, the prison system. I'm kind of hoping he becomes a politician or journalist and creates even more and healthier changes in the world. The planet needs good people like him.
posted by nickyskye at 10:11 AM on January 13, 2008

Unless I just want to fall asleep, pot doesn't really do much for me. But I agree that people can have an addictive connection to it. Habitual pot smoking (and the inability to quit) definitely altered the futures of some people I knew in college. "Partaking" became a higher priority than anything else and in turn their goals fell into hibernation until they forgot what they were. 'Cuz dude... wait... what was I saying?
posted by miss lynnster at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2008

I think there's too much psycho-babble about addiction, depression and trying to find out why people use drugs. Maybe people like smoking weed because the White Album sounds better high? Sort of like how some people wait outside for video game launches or spend $180 a month of cable bills for entertainment.

I think the idea of using drugs to say that is why one person or another has failed in relationships, life or their jobs. I think it provides a bit of comfort in thinking that we're somehow morally superior in our sobriety and through cosmic forces are not being punished. At least, that's how I believe the majority of people think about drug use.

I've seen too many people who had great, promising careers get sidetracked by relationships to believe that perhaps we should outlaw dating as the prime sin against productivity. They almost sound like drug stories too, "I had one friend, who just started dating a girl and talking about how great it was. Next thing I knew I saw him less and less, and now when I do see him, the dark cloud of the girlfriend is hovering above him, so he has to turn down the television and pretend he's not playing video games when she calls."
posted by geoff. at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2008

Fast foods are a tool. They can be used purposefully. They can be used recreationally. They can be used responsibly. And some people will abuse them.

The same can be said for most and possibly all drugs.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:18 AM on January 13, 2008

Which is to say teenagers are pretty much the antithesis of a demonstration of anything to do with real life.

Uhmm, in "real life" we are all teenagers for some time in our lives (and some people never really grow out of it, but that's another matter). A lot of people completely derail their lives at that early stage, with little or no chance of repair afterwards. One of the most common reasons for that is drug addiction. So, to dismiss my observation because it "merely" related to teenagers is both callous and disingeneous. I'm aware that my experience is purely anecdotal evidence, but it nevertheless raised some points which I believe worth discussing.
posted by Skeptic at 11:18 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe it is time society as whole starts realizing that drug users are _victims_ of themselves , not always necessarily these hedonistic daemons ,out of control gluttons "deserving" their misery because they "chosen" to be drugged.

Until such a time comes (hah!) remember that Thailand is in Asia, and Asian governments have very little tolerance for hopheads.

A friend of mine knows a guy is spending time in a Japanese detention centre just for associating with pot dealers (he was using and probably selling, too). No one has visited this guy in jail; my friend did, and before his visit the police suggested he bring 'warm clothes' for the prisoner - it's cold in Hokuriku, and I don't think they heat the jail cells.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:22 PM on January 13, 2008

through cosmic forces

Talk about babble.

But the video games and relationship addiction issues are good points. Maybe bad relationships should be heavily taxed too, LOL

The nuceus accumbens part of the brain's pleasure centers makes human beings susceptible to addiction: Although the nucleus accumbens has traditionally been studied for its role in addiction, it plays an equal role in processing many rewards such as food, sex, and video games. A recent study found that it is involved in the regulation of emotions induced by music, perhaps consequent to its role in mediating dopamine release. It also has roles in timing, and has long been considered to be the limbic-motor interface.

Addiction is a complex topic. When a substance or item that is known to be addictive is sold and profits are made from that, it adds another element to the puzzle of dealing with addiction because the seller is benefited by those who become addicted, which creates suffering for the addict, usually severe financial strain as well, impacting not only the addict but, if they are a parent, the entire family and, if the addict steals for the money to get the substance, it can effect a community, rippling out in the suffering created.

Corporations benefit by those who become addicted to their products and it wouldn't surprise me if there is a science of addiction in food flavorings, smells etc. The Flavor and Fragrance biz is a multi-billion dollar industry. McDonalds hamburgers and french fries don't taste like home cooking and they're aiming to cut in on a billion bucks in coffee. Starbucks, $8 billion in 2006.

In the end I think it comes down to each of us not judging each other harshly for being addicted to whatever but talking about healthier solutions and choices in our lives, which, bringing it back to the original post, is what Gor wanted to do but was put in prison first.
posted by nickyskye at 12:25 PM on January 13, 2008

In the end I think it comes down to each of us not judging each other harshly for being addicted to whatever but talking about healthier solutions and choices in our lives

This makes the assumption that (a) these things are addictive in a meaningful sense; (b) that these things are not healthy or are, at the least, unhealthy.

I don't think having a glass of wine with supper is meaningfully addictive nor unhealthy. I don't think having a joint before sex is meaningfully addictive nor unhealthy. I'm not even sure shooting horse before jamming it with your musician buddies is necessarily an addictive or unhealthy thing.

There are people who do not eat responsibly, and you can see their fat asses all day every day. There are people who do not use alcohol responsibly and they're doing immense harm to society. And of course there are people who don't use drugs responsibly.

There isn't much meaningful to be said about any of these things, except that we'd all be a lot better off if our society focused on helping people change the things that are dysfunctional in their lives, and quite bloody worrying about what productive, healthy, functional people are doing to themselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:25 PM on January 13, 2008

There isn't much meaningful to be said about any of these things


see their fat asses all day every day

And judgmental ass-hats too. At least the former can lose weight, the latter is stuck in their negative mindset. Refuse to communicate with an insult slinger.
posted by nickyskye at 2:47 PM on January 13, 2008

My first experience was free. At first I didn't see what the big deal was. But after trying it a few times, the thrill grew stronger. Soon though, I wasn't getting the same kick. The urge to move on, experiment more, and try even harder stuff beckoned. Before long, I was doing it every chance I got. I couldn't wait for the week to end so that I could do it more and more. I thought about it all the time, talked about it, canceled appointments, arranged my schedule around it and began to ignore old friends to do it. Son said I was oobsessed with but I just ignored them. Before long, a lot my my income was going toward it. I missed work a few times because of it. One weekend I spent $3000. Yep, that mountain biking addiction sure changed my life.

Seriously though, the claim that marijuana is addictive indicates a lack of understanding of what that term actually means from a medical perspective. The myth of marijuana addiction propagated by the alcohol lobby and moralists has been so thoroughly debunked in competent medical literature for so long that I am genuinely surprised to see it raised and defended here.

Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans less than one percent, smoke marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis. An even smaller minority develops dependence on marijuana. Marijuana is not physically addictive.By definition, a subjective preference or a liking for something, even when the liking is strong, is not dependence, nor is it addiction. Dependence and addiction are words which define and describe the morbid [sick] states inevitably induced in humans by their use of particular substances. A person's repeated indulgence in chemically non-addictive substances, such as cornflakes and milk, can be called a habit, but categorically, for Prohibition purposes, this is not a condition definable as addiction or dependence of any type. The word 'dependence' indicates reliance; only if one cannot lead a life without some substance, does one depend upon it.

However, for any drug to be identified as highly addictive, there should be evidence that substantial numbers of users repeatedly fail in their attempts to discontinue use and develop use-patterns that interfere with other life activities. National epidemiological surveys show that the large majority of people who have had experience with marijuana do not become regular users. In 1993, among Americans age 12 and over, about 34% had used marijuana sometime in their life, but only 9% had used it in the past year, 4.3% in the past month, and 2.8% in the past week. A longitudinal study of young adults who had first been surveyed in high school also found a high "discontinuation rate" for marijuana. While 77% had used the drug, 74% of those had NOT used in the past year and 84% had NOT used in the past month. Compare this to a truly addictive drug, such as the nicotine in smoked tobacco with a 90% addiction rate.

anatomic changes in the brain of chronic cannabis users, measured by tomography, were not confirmed by the accurate modern neuro-imaging techniques. Moreover, morphological impairment of the hippocampus [which plays a part in memory and navigation] of rat after administration of very high doses of THC (Langfield et al., 1988) was not shown (Slikker et al., 1992)." Health Secretary Bernard Kouchner concluded that : "Scientific facts show that, for cannabis, no neurotoxicity is demonstrated, to the contrary of alcohol and cocaine.

The deceptive canard of marijuana as a '"gateway drug" has been willfully promulgated by moral alarmists. There is no scientific evidence for the theory that marijuana is a "gateway" drug. The cannabis-using cultures in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America show no propensity for other drugs. The gateway theory took hold in the sixties, when marijuana became the leading new recreational drug. It was refuted by events in the eighties, when cocaine abuse exploded at the same time marijuana use declined.

The one way in which marijuana does lead to other drugs is through its illegality: persons who deal in marijuana are likely to deal in other illicit drugs as well. Further, an association with hysterical and hypocritical morals prohibitions and general illegal drug use is thereby created in many naive user's minds. The discovery that the dangers of cannabis use have been grossly exaggerated by the moral alarmists along with those who are genuinely well-intentioned but badly misinformed creates a false impression that the dangers of other drugs must also have been similarly over-stated. The well-debunked fallacy that marijuana serves as gateway drag as been so thoroughly disabused that it's hard to believe that anyone still repeats that old myth:

Study say marijuana no gateway drug

The Myth of Marijuana's Gateway Effect

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:42 PM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

through cosmic forces

Talk about babble.

Well yeah, I was trying to demonstrate how the War on Drugs lobby (what would be the correct term for it) consistently tries to put Being a Bad Person with Drug Use. Not with statistics mind you, because statistics if anything will show a weak correlation to all but the most harmful drug use, which in my opinion takes place anyway, and crime and poverty. Since they can't tie smoking a joint with friends to something objectively bad, they scar us with the idea that "karma" or "cosmic forces" will somehow cause something bad to happen to us. You smoke, you drive, you hit a kid on a bike. You don't do well in school, well it is because you smoke pot. Even taking something like cocaine, which was abused at least as much in the white community, if not more, than the black community, was until very recently strongly shown as to what causes the urban poor to be urban poor and if we want to help These People we must make the laws harsh for Them. And if you are a current drug user, well guess what, your use will be eventually punished (then something random and bad does happen, and a narrative is constructed to describe it as drug use).

So yes, the campaign against drugs uses all sorts of things that appeal to people's idea that justice always works itself out in the galaxy in a rational way. It is the same line of reasoning that convinces people to do anything out of proportion, like torture, because they make assumptions (that these are terrorists) and assume that torture cannot be bad because these people have done bad things before and this is just more or less, a form of justice.
posted by geoff. at 3:55 PM on January 13, 2008

And judgmental ass-hats too.

Yes, well, I believe you are the one who has repeatedly stated or implied that marijuana is addictive, that its users go on to far worse things, and that it is a "problem" that needs to be solved.

Open your eyes to the overwhelming obesity you see around you and the disgusting eating habits of many people. Tell me again that marijuana is an addictive problem, and that I'm the asshat when I lump the majority of obese people in with the drunks and junkies.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on January 13, 2008

Cripes. Now that's the weirdest thing. I kept getting these time out messages, when I went to upload hat post, some four hours ago. I gave up, and went for a ride, and when I came back, the post had been made; but the formatting and some of the attributions were garbled/ lost.

The Myth of Marijuana's Gateway Effect

Study say marijuana no gateway drug
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:29 PM on January 13, 2008

Ok ... I give up.

*Breaks bong, mixs martini*
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:30 PM on January 13, 2008
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:33 PM on January 13, 2008

Gotta cut down on my riding. Must cut down on my riding.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:35 PM on January 13, 2008

wtf fff?

Her position and yours are not that drastically different, if you look at them impartially. Paraphrasing:

Her: "Some people can become (colloquially) addicted* to pot."
You: "Some people don't use drugs responsibly."
*Clarified earlier as "psychological dependence" / not being able to quit on their own.

Her: "Criminalizing simple possession is stupid. Addiction should be addressed instead."
You: "People should worry about dysfunctional use, not use by productive functional people."

Her: "Society should focus on helping people make healthier* choices."
You: "Society should focus on helping people change dysfunctional aspects in their lives."
*"Healthier" seeming to be in the general, "non-dysfunctional", sense.

What you call dysfunctional/irresponsible use, she's calling addiction. In much the same way that obsessive and dysfunctional gambling is called an 'addiction'. Or porn use and porn addiction. It's not 100% correct terminology, but you two are talking about the same thing.

Your only real point of disagreement seems to be about the "gateway" aspect. You say you know tokers who haven't done harder stuff. She says she knows some who have. These two notions can cohabit the same universe without it imploding and all of us dying a horrible, fiery death. As others have said, it could be about the social situation around the pot-smoking, rather than the pot itself, that leads to the introduction of harder stuff in their cases. Or some attribute of the individual pot smokers themselves.

The retaliatory LOLFatties seems to come out of the blue.
posted by CKmtl at 5:46 PM on January 13, 2008

I don't know any tokers who do do harder stuff (with the exception of alcohol and nicotine).

When discussing drugs, addiction has a particular meaning. It is important to not confuse it with "habit." In other contexts the distinction may not be so important; here, it is.

[rant on]

The problems of teenagers are irrelevent to the discussion. There are many things teenagers should not be allowed to do, out of regard for their safety; there are many things teenagers do that responsible adults do not do. The legality of drug use for teenagers is an entirely different discussion than the legality of drug use for adults.

The problem of bad drug laws, fuzzy definitions, social scaremongering, and media hysteria make drug use out to be a much, much worse problem than it actually is. Drugs are not the problem: our laws and social support systems are the problem.

Few people desire addiction. Most people who have an addiction that harms their life desire to reduce their addiction. By far the greatest challenge for these addicts is not in breaking their addiction, but in finding the means to do so.

In Vancouver there has been a safe injection site operating these past several years. It is staffed by public nurses. Clean needles are provided. It is a safe environment. It is, in fact, almost everything that the politicians and media depict as being the worst possible idea.

In the reality-based world, it is a marvelous thing. Beside the obvious results, like lower disease transmission rates among the using community, quitting rates are up. Merely having nurses staffing the place, becoming familiar faces of opportunity for help and advice, makes a world of difference. Reality is, the drugs are not the primary problem, the opportunity to seek help is the problem.

Legalisation makes it easier to seek help. A public health care infrastructure makes it easier to seek help. Safe usage venues make it easier to seek help. Truthful public information makes it easier to make an informed decision. Public advertising makes it easier to promote reduction in use. Government standards and distribution channels make it easier for individuals to play safely. Crime rates plummet for a number of reasons. And an consortium of criminal enterprises that use violence, extortion, bribery, murder, slavery, and addictions to exploit people for financial gain will be more or less eliminated.

[rant off]

I fear I repeat myself. It just frustrates me, that people can't seem to understand that we're better off with fewer government restrictions in our personal, doesn't-affect-others lives. That's the territory of self and god, not the government.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wasn't this supposed to be about Thailand?

Good link, I've been reading for a few hours now.
posted by saysthis at 7:41 PM on January 13, 2008

Yeah, I'm sorry if I derailed this a bit, it's a shame that this great post seems to have become bogged down in the argument about the the relative effects of cannabis vs genuine narcotics. But the point was made because Gor, as the author of that site, seemed to make no distinction between marijuana and amphetamine use; constantly using the term 'drugs" to refer to both.

Thai policy and the Thai legal system promulgates a similar conflation. It occurs to me that this misconception might be no accident, and that the relative leniency of Gor's sentence might have been contingent upon his broadcasting of this propaganda. It was quite surprising to see this fallacy then also being disseminated here, where the readers have long had substantial exposure to overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The draconian drug policies of Third World countries, totalitarian regimes, and others more more benevolent, begins to make more sense when viewed in the light of the beliefs held by more "sophisticated" westerners, who really ought to know better.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:14 PM on January 13, 2008

I don't think it's morally incoherent to be opposed to some things (like drugs) but not other things (like prostitution). We in the west are not as opposed to Adultery, pornography or homosexuality as people are in the middle east, does that make us hypocrites for banning drugs or cruelty to animals? I would say no.

Different cultures have different norms. Thailand allows prostitution, but not pornography. It's unusual, but not incoherent.
posted by delmoi at 12:04 PM on January 14, 2008

As far as the "looser living with their parents smoking weed" stereotype, here's a story.

A friend of mine graduated from College with a humanities degree, and promptly went to go live with his parents and smoke pot. For like a year or two. He smoked all through college. Every once in a while he would talk about going to law school, but I was kind of skeptical. He really fit that stereotype I think he tried to quit or at least drastically cut down.

Then, all of a sudden he got accepted into a top-20 law school and is doing well. And he smokes even more pot then before! He's always going on about how much better the pot is there, etc.
posted by delmoi at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2008

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