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Up in Smoke: Drug Legalization and Dealing

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7 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Isn’t the issue with alcoholism in the UK related to football and the pub culture that surrounds it? I figured that would have declined over the last few decades once there was a crackdown on all that nonsense.

Sure, but my understanding has always been youth alcoholism is higher in the U.S. than in many Western European countries, and that the taboo here plays a role in that. I’ve never seen anything that really discredits that narrative.  

I wish I had time to look into the data from different jurisdictions but I just don't.  I do believe I have read articles specifically about Finland and Denmark suggesting that the rates of alcoholism were relatively high.  I also have read recently that the issues in the UK were very similar to the US and far from "solved."  I think it would be interesting to dig into the data for France, Italy, Spain and Portugal in particular (and regionally within Italy).  I am guessing that we might find some interesting things.  Also, how much do these studies have reporting bias?  That is how do they control for cultural resistance to reporting the existence of alcoholism?   How good are news articles at actually reporting on what is going on in different studies?  I would wonder whether certain countries under report or have different definitions (so that jurisdictional comparisons are not apples to apples)?  My knowledge is basically from news articles, and sadly I'm well aware how poor journalists can be about "details" like this. 

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Sure, but my understanding has always been youth alcoholism is higher in the U.S. than in many Western European countries, and that the taboo here plays a role in that. I’ve never seen anything that really discredits that narrative.  

Hmmm, not what I would have guessed...

I found this article that seems to have figures showing the US is comparable to European countries, but definitely not higher:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763342/

There's this one that should be even better but is behind a paywall:
http://www.espad.org/content/espad-report-2003-alcohool-and-other-drug-use-among-students-35-european-countries

In my own very personal experience I found Americans to be rather tame when it came to drinking... ;)

2 hours ago, Jo498 said:

If anything this seems to show that alcoholism is not clearly correlated with any particular prohibitive policies. France and the mediterranean countries seem quite liberal and let young teenager drink alcohol,

France is less liberal than it used to be as far as public policies are concerned. There were a few legislative changes after a series of deaths due to alcohol a few years back. But public policy can't do much about the culture. For instance:

5 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I know. When I was 16 I had a chance to spend the summer in France, but declined due to sports commitments. My friends that went to France and Germany said their host families let them have a glass of wine or beer at dinner time. Europe has a much healthier relationship with alcohol than the U.S.

It would have been considered borderline rude for the host families not to do so. Not sure that's healthy though, not sure at all...

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Isn’t the issue with alcoholism in the UK related to football and the pub culture that surrounds it? I figured that would have declined over the last few decades once there was a crackdown on all that nonsense.

 

Not especially to be honest no, I'm sure it was worse then but the UK has a very strong culture of under age and young people in their late teens and 20s binge drinking, throwing up in the street and generally getting very carried away, we have some of the highest teen drinking rates in Europe IIRC.

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I wish I had time to look into the data from different jurisdictions but I just don't.  I do believe I have read articles specifically about Finland and Denmark suggesting that the rates of alcoholism were relatively high.  I also have read recently that the issues in the UK were very similar to the US and far from "solved."  I think it would be interesting to dig into the data for France, Italy, Spain and Portugal in particular (and regionally within Italy).  I am guessing that we might find some interesting things.  Also, how much do these studies have reporting bias?  That is how do they control for cultural resistance to reporting the existence of alcoholism?   How good are news articles at actually reporting on what is going on in different studies?  I would wonder whether certain countries under report or have different definitions (so that jurisdictional comparisons are not apples to apples)?  My knowledge is basically from news articles, and sadly I'm well aware how poor journalists can be about "details" like this. 

I did some research and it seems like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is the primary source most articles cited that I saw, so I read their study. They heavily stress that the data is imperfect because it relies on self-reporting. U.S. teens ages 15 and 16 self-report at lower rates than most Europeans, but they all stress this could be due to it being illegal and less culturally acceptable in the U.S. U.S. teens consume more alcohol than their European counterparts, but it’s more concentrated so there are fewer users drinking more. Additionally, alcohol abuse is higher in North American, Europe and Japan across all ages than the rest of the world. However, alcohol abuse is declining in all these regions accept in Finland and Denmark, where it’s actually increasing. Alcohol abuse is also increasing across Asia. Interestingly, regions that produce and/or consume larger amounts of wine abuse alcohol less. There were some other interesting things in the study, but it seems like it’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion, at least from what I read.

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33 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I did some research and it seems like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is the primary source most articles cited that I saw, so I read their study. They heavily stress that the data is imperfect because it relies on self-reporting. U.S. teens ages 15 and 16 self-report at lower rates than most Europeans, but they all stress this could be due to it being illegal and less culturally acceptable in the U.S. U.S. teens consume more alcohol than their European counterparts, but it’s more concentrated so there are fewer users drinking more. Additionally, alcohol abuse is higher in North American, Europe and Japan across all ages than the rest of the world. However, alcohol abuse is declining in all these regions accept in Finland and Denmark, where it’s actually increasing. Alcohol abuse is also increasing across Asia. Interestingly, regions that produce and/or consume larger amounts of wine abuse alcohol less. There were some other interesting things in the study, but it seems like it’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion, at least from what I read.

Thanks!  This is fascinating.  For something so culturally pervasive, it seems pretty poorly understood, but certainly worth digging into more.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I did some research and it seems like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is the primary source most articles cited that I saw, so I read their study. They heavily stress that the data is imperfect because it relies on self-reporting. U.S. teens ages 15 and 16 self-report at lower rates than most Europeans, but they all stress this could be due to it being illegal and less culturally acceptable in the U.S. U.S. teens consume more alcohol than their European counterparts, but it’s more concentrated so there are fewer users drinking more.

Does this take into account how strong the booze may be? I have his intuition that European (and even Asian) youth will easily go for the strongest possible liquor they can get their hands on (i.e. vodka, rhum, whisky... etc) because they've been drinking beer and/or wine quite early.
I could be completely wrong though, biased by my own experiences.

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Thanks!  This is fascinating.  For something so culturally pervasive, it seems pretty poorly understood, but certainly worth digging into more.

You'll also be happy to hear that drug abuse is falling in the U.S. for teenagers, given that you have two younger children. 

21 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Does this take into account how strong the booze may be? I have his intuition that European (and even Asian) youth will easily go for the strongest possible liquor they can get their hands on (i.e. vodka, rhum, whisky... etc) because they've been drinking beer and/or wine quite early.
I could be completely wrong though, biased by my own experiences.

I don't believe so, but aren't most European beers stronger than the typical ones sold here? There's this German beer hall not to far from my place, and everything they sell is much stronger than your average 5% beer. 

Also, this is one of the studies I saw:

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh284/258-268.htm

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18 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I don't believe so, but aren't most European beers stronger than the typical ones sold here?

They are, which is why I wondered whether this is taken into account. It's not clear whether the study you linked does so. It just says "alcohol" so I dunno if that means "alcoholic beverages" or "quantities of alcohol" which would be two different things. For instance, even wine is significantly stronger than beer.

Also, it's funny, Le Monde just posted this on its main page (sorry, in French) about legalizing weed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=131&v=iScA9MHUqU4

The only interesting bit in there -to me- is that 56% of the societal cost of cannabis in France (about 1B€) is the cost of repression, i.e. law enforcement.

 

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The orthogonal relationship between alcohol use and alcohol prevention laws is why I'll never feel too bad about selling weed in high school.  In terms of the western world at least, alcohol is pretty much the old drug like prostitution is the oldest profession.  It's ubiquitous, and the key is treatment.  Weed is objectively less harmful, and while not nearly as ubiquitous, has been reaching that level at least since the Great Depression from my understanding.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

The orthogonal relationship between alcohol use and alcohol prevention laws is why I'll never feel too bad about selling weed in high school.  In terms of the western world at least, alcohol is pretty much the old drug like prostitution is the oldest profession.  It's ubiquitous, and the key is treatment.  Weed is objectively less harmful, and while not nearly as ubiquitous, has been reaching that level at least since the Great Depression from my understanding.

It would be interesting see studies about alcohol use where weed is also legally available overtime.  Same with opiate use.  Anecdotal but I drink way less when I'm high.

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1 minute ago, larrytheimp said:

Anecdotal but I drink way less when I'm high.

I think that's true of most.  And it's an important difference.  Coke, most pills, hallucinogenics, ecstasy, they all encourage alcohol use.  In fact I can't think of any instance doing most of any of those without drinking.  Weed is distinct in that regard.

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27 minutes ago, DMC said:

I think that's true of most.  And it's an important difference.  Coke, most pills, hallucinogenics, ecstasy, they all encourage alcohol use.  In fact I can't think of any instance doing most of any of those without drinking.  Weed is distinct in that regard.

I've taken MDMA after drinking, but if I took the MDMA first, then I never felt like drinking.  Hallucinogens, sometimes, really depends on a lot of things.  Agree that cocaine encourages alcohol use, to put it mildly.

Edited by larrytheimp

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Yeah, to each their own.  Whenever I tripped I couldn't stop consuming booze or anything else.  It was like a blackout blocker.  Probably more a statement on my tendencies.  In terms of MDMA though, I think it's fairly strongly linked to alcohol for the general public.  At least more so than weed.

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4 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

It would be interesting see studies about alcohol use where weed is also legally available overtime.  Same with opiate use.  Anecdotal but I drink way less when I'm high.

I can't find it now, but my understanding is that since wash st. Legalized weed, both weed use and alcohol use in teens has decreased. 

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19 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Oh I found this a novel concept:https://www.google.com/amp/s/qz.com/849774/in-australia-sodexo-owned-private-prison-company-melaleuca-will-get-cash-for-every-freed-inmate-who-does-not-come-back/amp/ Do you see the this as a step in the right direction? Something more of the country should try? I definitely would like to see a similar thing tried broadly in the US barring the option to simply doing away with private prisons all together.

 

I think a profit motive is fundamentally incompatible with a good criminal justice system. Some things just shouldn't be done in the private sector, and if the government wants to reduce the cost of prisons it should seek to reduce the number of people in them. That ends up in a whole different conversation though and I don't want to hijack the thread - I'm against punitive prison in a lot of cases that just winds up making everything worse, it should be serving society not harming it.

On the alcohol front I think that while statistics of alcohol abuse might be similar between the US and other nations, the relationship with alcohol is different in the US. Not sure how to articulate it, but basically it seems like the problem cases are worse but most people drink less so it winds up at a similar average but college drinking for example seems to go significantly further than would be considered socially acceptable most of the time in Aus. At the other end of the spectrum low quantity but regular use also seems to be labelled alcoholism more easily than it does in other countries I'm familiar with. As I said - a different relationship.

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3 hours ago, karaddin said:

I think a profit motive is fundamentally incompatible with a good criminal justice system. Some things just shouldn't be done in the private sector, and if the government wants to reduce the cost of prisons it should seek to reduce the number of people in them. That ends up in a whole different conversation though and I don't want to hijack the thread - I'm against punitive prison in a lot of cases that just winds up making everything worse, it should be serving society not harming it.

On the alcohol front I think that while statistics of alcohol abuse might be similar between the US and other nations, the relationship with alcohol is different in the US. Not sure how to articulate it, but basically it seems like the problem cases are worse but most people drink less so it winds up at a similar average but college drinking for example seems to go significantly further than would be considered socially acceptable most of the time in Aus. At the other end of the spectrum low quantity but regular use also seems to be labelled alcoholism more easily than it does in other countries I'm familiar with. As I said - a different relationship.

Fair enough. I’ll then make another thread regarding this topic later.

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21 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

I've taken MDMA after drinking, but if I took the MDMA first, then I never felt like drinking.  Hallucinogens, sometimes, really depends on a lot of things.  Agree that cocaine encourages alcohol use, to put it mildly.

I never really wanted to drink with MDMA at all, completely agree with your statement regarding coke encouraging drinking though.

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On 2/12/2019 at 4:44 PM, Tywin et al. said:

 

I don't believe so, but aren't most European beers stronger than the typical ones sold here? There's this German beer hall not to far from my place, and everything they sell is much stronger than your average 5% beer. 

I don’t know if this is really true anymore, though traditionally it probably is true.  

Pretty much the only time I have an American beer 5% or less is if I’m doing the ‘shot and beer’ thing where I’m really drinking rye, bourbon, or scotch but have a light beer sipper on stand-by.  This is one of only a couple circumstances where I drink something like Bud, Coors, PBR, Lone Star, etc which are all probably right around 5%.

A lot of my favorite Euro beer styles (ie German Helles or Pilsner / English pale ale or ESB) usually come in at right around 5% too.  I think it’s really the Belgians that would have traditionally skewed Euro beer as being stronger as they seem to start at around 7% and go up from there.  With that said, these days I think the popularity and wide availability of craft American IPA probably balances this out as they are usually in the 6% - 9% range.  

IPA is honestly one of my least favorite styles, but I often get them in circumstances where I only want to have 1-2 beers because I’m more likely to catch a small buzz form 1-2 strong IPAs, where 1-2 5% beers will probably just make me have to pee.  For grilling marathons I’ll drink the cheap American or Mexican lagers, or fairly low abv German stuff if I can find it conveniently.

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I don't know about this German beer hall but in Germany the standard/popular German beers are all around 5-6%. Stronger ones exist but they are not very common, I think.

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6 hours ago, S John said:

I don’t know if this is really true anymore, though traditionally it probably is true.  

Pretty much the only time I have an American beer 5% or less is if I’m doing the ‘shot and beer’ thing where I’m really drinking rye, bourbon, or scotch but have a light beer sipper on stand-by.  This is one of only a couple circumstances where I drink something like Bud, Coors, PBR, Lone Star, etc which are all probably right around 5%.

A lot of my favorite Euro beer styles (ie German Helles or Pilsner / English pale ale or ESB) usually come in at right around 5% too.  I think it’s really the Belgians that would have traditionally skewed Euro beer as being stronger as they seem to start at around 7% and go up from there.  With that said, these days I think the popularity and wide availability of craft American IPA probably balances this out as they are usually in the 6% - 9% range.  

IPA is honestly one of my least favorite styles, but I often get them in circumstances where I only want to have 1-2 beers because I’m more likely to catch a small buzz form 1-2 strong IPAs, where 1-2 5% beers will probably just make me have to pee.  For grilling marathons I’ll drink the cheap American or Mexican lagers, or fairly low abv German stuff if I can find it conveniently.

I agree with much of this (except the bit about IPAs, I love the right ones), but for the love of god and all that is holy, put the Bud down!!!

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