Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Not seeing the problem here (Score 1) 336

The "massive fine" that Pfizer was charged amounted to 3 months' worth of profit (FTFA.) As others who replied pointed out, this lighter "punishment" wasn't levied to fit the crime - it was because Pfizer is "too big to fail."

As others have suggested, there are many other ways to actually punish Pfizer: the government takes over a percentage of ownership of the company; the government forces some of Pfizer's patents to become public domain or to be sold off to another company; etc... A relatively tiny fine, in the context of how much profit pharmaceutical companies make, is not a punishment; it's a cost of doing business. Hell, why not take a percentage of Pfizer's profit for x amount of years? To put it in context, Pfizer made $13 billion in profit from the sale of Bextra alone - twice as much as they would have made had they promoted and sold the drug only for FDA-approved purposes. Factoring in the fine, Pfizer made a net $4.5 billion additional profit by ignoring FDA regulations and then simply dealing with the "punishment" when they were caught. Where, exactly, is the disincentive for this sort of disgusting behavior?

Furthermore, regardless of the punishment the company receives, the actual INDIVIDUAL PERSONS responsible for this travesty should also be prosecuted and punished separately. Discourage the company from hiring these conniving salespeople by punishing it, and discourage conniving salespeople from being conniving pieces of shit by punishing them.

Comment Re:drugs are bad, mmkay? (Score 1) 147

I honestly believe that the main reason people still continue to oppose drug policy reform is ignorance. Many people have false notions about drugs and their effects on individual users and society, largely thanks to decades of propaganda and societal notions that get drilled into people's heads generation after generation. While sure, some people are never going to change their minds no matter how much you try to educate them, the vast majority of people would be willing to stop and reconsider their opinion if you show them the unbiased evidence that indicates that our current drug policy is not ideal - not for the individual user, not for the economy, and not for global society.

I think it's also very common to underestimate the importance of drug policy reform - the article summary here is a great example of that. The thing is that drug policy reform isn't just about the rights and freedoms of individual users; it's not even about the potential tax revenue we could generate. The fact is that we are never going to eliminate the demand for drugs, and as long as drugs remain illegal, criminals are going to reap those bountiful profits - which are then used to recruit young, impressionable thugs, buy weapons and ammunition, bribe government/military/police officials, and generally cause violence and chaos. Mexican drug cartels and the Taliban are both a direct threat to our national security, and both derive a great part of their funding from the drug trade. We stand to increase our own national security by legitimizing the drug trade, alongside all the other almost uniformly positive benefits that arise. Those billions of dollars will now be flowing through the legitimate economy, where they will generate taxes, create jobs and businesses, and more. Not only that, we will save tax money on law enforcement and prisons. Crime across America would be reduced - not just the obvious, but also because otherwise non-criminal drug users would no longer be forced to consort with real criminals in prison, and also because there would be no more crimes incidental to drug use or trade, such as addicts stealing to get their next fix (when was the last time you saw a tobacco smoker stealing cars to buy a pack?) Addicts would be able to seek real treatment for their problems without being stigmatized as a criminal, and the rate of injury and death related to drug use would drop significantly since drugs would be regulated for dose and purity.

Well, I'm yammering, and I'm sure you agree with what I'm saying - but the point is that the rest of the world needs to be told all of this. We could gain so much even just from decriminalization (just see all the positive results in Portugal!), but full legalization is truly the way to go. Unfortunately, I don't believe I'm going to see full legalization in America in my lifetime - maybe of cannabis, but not of any other drug. It's unfortuante, because as a result of our drug policy, our country is causing great harm to both itself and to the rest of the world. But I can only do my part in trying to educate people, to bring us just a bit closer to the day when we'll finally have the sense to say that our drug policy just doesn't work.

Comment Re:drugs are bad, mmkay? (Score 3, Informative) 147

Continued anti-drug propaganda? Have you never looked up any kind of statistic relating to programs like DARE or anti-drug PSAs? They have absolutely no effect on whether or not kids use drugs. Period. Teenagers such as myself don't take these programs and PSAs seriously because we know we're being lied to. Even the dumbest pot-smoking teenager knows it.

Your assertion that pot smoking can "totally ruin your life when you are about 15" is false; "amotivational syndrome" is a load of shit. Most people who smoke pot in their adolescence try it just a few times; even regular smokers only smoke for perhaps a few years before they lose interest and get on with their lives. Even lifelong smokers are capable of leading successful lives; Carl Sagan was a well-known cannabis user and advocate of its use, and has even said that cannabis has helped inspire his ideas, writings and experiences. As for the link between cannabis and psychosis, it's just that: a link. Not a causal relationship. There's no evidence at all to suggest that cannabis use causes psychotic disorders barring any other confounding factors - such as a genetic predisposition towards psychotic disorders. In most people, psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, don't show up until around the age of 19-22. It is very possible that cannabis can trigger psychotic symptoms in people who already have a predisposition, or that people with underlying psychotic disorders are drawn to drug use, or both. Either way, the statistics suggest that you'd have to stop 2,800 heavy male cannabis smokers, or 5,000 heavy female cannabis smokers, to prevent one case of schizophrenia.

In short... cannabis, used knowledgeably and responsibly, isn't dangerous. Anti-drug propaganda is a gigantic waste of tax dollars, and saying that "drugs will continue to be villified" and use viewed as a "contemptible habit" is nothing more than a continuation of that sort of misinformation, and an unfair, baseless discrimination against drug users. Drug use is not inherently irresponsible. Your example with alcoholism is exactly the crux of the issue here. You're blaming the drug (alcohol) for the problem it creates in society, even though you just said that alcohol, when used in reasonable quantities (i.e. when used responsibly) has no significant negative long-term effects. If that's the case, then how can alcohol be causing problems in society? The answer is that it doesn't. Irresponsible people cause problems in society, and drinking alcohol is merely one of many ways in which they act out irresponsibly. Irresponsible people also drive cars and kill people (even without any substances to help); shall we villify the use of cars because they cause such a problem in our society?

The vastly more important thing is to educate people on how to behave responsibly. Yes, it is possible to use cannabis responsibly, just as it is possible to use alcohol responsibly, and the important thing is to show people that it's possible to enjoy these substances - and all the other conveniences of life, like cars - as long as they are careful and responsible about it. That is the kind of drug education we need, not continued villification, which doesn't do anyone any good (after all, we saw how well abstinence-only sex education worked.) I hope this post has opened your eyes to a new perspective on the issue and that you will find at least some validity in what I am saying.

Comment Re:crimes without victims (Score 1) 630

Except that this isn't anything even slightly resembling how government drug policy actually works. Marijuana was made illegal primarily because of a mass hysteria campaign and widespread racism towards Mexicans, who were associated with the drug. Marijuana is comparatively harmless, and yet the government continues to spend billions of dollars trying to quash it.

Even today, the government's reaction to new drugs is nothing more than knee-jerk mob mentality. Just look at Spice and K2, smoking blends of synthetic cannabinoids that were recently banned in Kansas in a matter of weeks after a major vendor of entheogens, Bouncing Bears Botanicals, was raided for selling these blends (they carried a lot of other items of questionable legality, but it was the sale of these formerly-perfectly-legal smoking blends in Kansas which initiated the investigation.) Was there any research at all to justify banning these synthetic cannabinoids? Were they proven to be dangerous, toxic, maybe even lethal? Of course not - the second the newspaper headlines start ranting and raving about "kids using a new, dangerous, legal drug to get high!!1" all rationality flies out the window and the "think of the children" brigrade marches in to legislate it out of existence. Nevermind the fact that headshops card their customers while pot dealers don't - we have a duty to keep our children safe!

Comment Re:of course drugs are different (Score 2, Informative) 630

More unnecessary and ignorant hyperbole. Believe it or not, it's actually possible to be a functional, productive member of society while addicted to heroin. My boyfriend was a heroin addict for nine years - it took him two years to even realize that he was addicted, simply because he'd had continuous access to heroin up until that point. Heroin, on its own, is cheap - its illegality is what drives up the price and reduces accessibility. Make heroin legal, and addicts will be able to resume their normal lives, just like how tobacco smokers mysteriously manage to lead perfectly normal lives while being addicted to nicotine.

Comment Re:drug use for a physical or psychological proble (Score 1) 630

you are not self-medicating when you are an addict

You haven't got the slightest clue what you're talking about. Drug addiction is very much about self-medication. Drug addicts almost invariably have mental problems or insecurities of one form or another - many have histories of childhood abuse. It is not at all a rarity to find a drug addict who was sexually abused as a child. These are considerable psychological burdens, and from the point of view of someone who finds himself struggling with deep-rooted insecurity and traumatic memories on a daily basis, the allure of opiates - capable of taking away not only physical pain but mental pain as well - is powerful. Throw in some other circumstances, such as being impoverished or uneducated (or both), and drug abuse is practically inevitable. No, it is not the ideal form of self-medication - far from it. But to say that it's not a form of self-medication at all is blatantly wrong and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the nature of drug abuse.

Comment Re:while we're railing against freedom destruction (Score 2, Interesting) 630

Your post is so chock-full of unnecessary hyperbole and alarmism that it's hard to know where to start picking it apart. First of all, you don't need to look to illegal drugs to find something that's insidiously addictive and "freedom destroying"; nicotine, an already-legal and freely available drug, is as addictive as heroin (and I should point out that it's the tobacco corporations, not the government, who are profiting the most from the millions of cigarette addicts.)

Second, you're making the false assumption that everyone who supports legalization of addictive drugs also supports the recreational use of these drugs. This is not the case at all. The philosophy behind addictive drug legalization has two main facets; one is that - yes - we should not legislate what others may or may not do with their bodies. If someone wants to turn themselves into a slave to opioids, they can be my guest. Even though I don't approve, I'm not going to stop them; it's their choice, and even if they might find themselves without a choice to stop down the road, that doesn't change the essential fact that they had the freedom to inflict their addiction upon themselves in the first place. Secondly, and more importantly, it's about harm-reduction. People are going to use drugs no matter what; legalizing them would simultaneously dramatically reduce the health risks (by allowing addicts access to pure, regulated, measured doses) and positively impact society (by cutting out a gigantic source of profit for criminal organizations across the world.)

In fact, on that note, I'll show you the flip side of the situation: By allowing drugs such as coke and heroin to remain illegal, we are handing billions of dollars to Mexican drug cartels, the Taliban, and other major criminal organizations, who then terrorize local populations, bribe and corrupt government/military officials, and generally speaking threaten the very foundation of civilized life in the countries that they operate in. Are you telling me that the bloodbath currently happening in Mexico - which is costing thousands of people their ultimate freedom, life - is less important than some heroin junkie's self-inflicted "freedom destruction"?

Comment You people are ridiculous (Score 1) 521

I guess it's typical with the Slashdot crowd to immediately favour the poor, defenseless little guy over the big scary corporation and rich author with their team of lawyers, no matter what the facts are. For those of you who couldn't be bothered reading four pages into the document before sharing your malformed opinions on Slashdot:

Rowling has stated on a number of occasions since 1998 that, in addition to the two companion books, she plans to publish a "Harry Potter encyclopedia" after the completion of the series and again donate the proceeds to charity.

Oh, shit! Could this be a case where the intentions of the "big guy" were actually better than the intentions of the "little guy"? It can't be!

United States

Submission + - Running trail mistaken for bioterrorism threat (msn.com)

feuerfalke writes: A flour-and-chalk trail marked out by Daniel Salchow and his sister Dorothee for their running club, the Hash House Harriers, sparked fears and evacuations Thursday night, and now the siblings are finding themselves in deep trouble with New Haven police. Police were called after they were spotted sprinkling "powder" in the parking lot of an IKEA furniture store, which was later evacuated. The "powder" was, in fact, flour, which the siblings have used plenty of times before, all across the country, to mark trails for their club. The Salchow siblings are now facing felony charges, and New Haven police seek "restitution" for the resources wasted in their mistake. This sounds familiar...

Slashdot Top Deals

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark

Working...