One death from Mcat.

1 06 2010

It’s always sad when a young person dies, a young life is cut short in tragedy. It is perfectly reasonable for a cry to go out on how to prevent this accident from happening again.

Today we have news of one death that can be directly attributed to use of mephedrone with the emotional title “A mother speaks” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/mother-speaks-out-after-tests-show-mephedrone-killed-son-1.1031554

One feels for her loss of course but is this the single justification for the banning of substance, for it to fall into the hands of criminal gangs, for talk of the risks of its use to be drowned out with cries “won’t someone think of the children?!” This type of emotive reporting helps no-one, except the sale of newspapers.

Important questions like “how much mcat did the individual take?” are not raised. Did the boy cane it like a fool? Was it the result of prolonged use over a number of months? Did Jordon Kiltie have a medical history which would have made him more likely to suffer a deadly reaction? Sadly and in a typical example of the misunderstanding about the subtlety of science by the media these questions are never asked. Instead we get a plea from the mother for stronger laws to come into effect. Perhaps it’s best laws aren’t made by relatives of victims so soon after the event, lest we have the death penalty back for everything from murder to burglary.

So taking mephedrone then doesn’t come without consequence. Well, that’s not really surprising is it? When we sip our first sip of alcohol before a weekend long bender we know that there will be consequences if we over do it ( 8724 deaths in 2007 for example http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4359775/Deaths-from-alcohol-abuse-more-than-double-in-16-years-ONS-figures-show.html) When we take prosribed medicine the instructions, which health professionals urge we read before taking, say that side effects are possible and should they show themselves then stop taking the medicine.

The ignorance and fear the reporting of a tragic death spreads will only cause more tragedy if it prevents calm and reasoned discussion about a substance. Banning it and leaving it in the hands of criminals will not only guarantee that more deaths will result from tainted merchandise (not that unregulated sales over the internet are far better of course) but that young people wanting to experience all that the adult world has to offer will experiment with substances without adequate knowledge of the subject. We’ve had the “ban it, ban it all!” laws since the 1970s yet still people are trying illegal drugs and the causalities of the “War On Drugs” mount up year after year.

If Mrs Kiltie really wants to stop other mothers from suffering the same horror that she has then instead of driving such things under the carpet and pretending it will go away  it is time for a change in our nation’s drug policy and it’s attitude to substances from alcohol and tobacco (which kill far more Scots every year) to the currently illegal narcotics.

The reasoning behind those who want reform on drugs policy is not just about legalising it and ending the disastrous social war but also about regulating substances and educating on their use wisely and with caution. Regulating so impurities and poisons don’t kill and educating so people don’t destroy themselves with drug abuse and treat drugs of all kinds with the respect they deserve. That will stop more Jordan Kilties, not more badly thought out laws of prohibition.

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