It is always nice to visit your home country. I had my reasons to leave the Netherlands and moved to Norway but some things I miss. Walking in Amsterdam with my colleagues from Norway and seeing their reactions to red lights and funny smells reminded me how used I am to the Dutch way of dealing with drugs and prostitution. I think that my colleagues are seen as progressives in Norway, but their reaction genuinely surprised me. They were opposed to it and telling stories how bad drugs is and how prostitutes are all forced in doing their work. We discussed it and how I think that their view is influenced by the propaganda the Norwegian government is spewing, something the Dutch government does to off course, but then the other way. I learned that Drugs and prostitution can be found in any society and that it’s stupid to bury the problem like they do, for instance, in Norway. For us it’s legal to buy soft drugs to prevent kids from coming in contact with hard drugs and some prostitutes might still do their work against there wishes but most of them don’t and can leave their job mush easier and work safer. I know it’s a culture clash, but more and more countries are going this rational way, so I think it is the right way. But Norway is in many ways a paternalistic country, or as they say in America: they have a nanny state. Alcohol is also strongly regulated here, you can’t buy a beer after a certain time and all the other kinds of alcohol are only for sale in stores controlled by the government. Thankfully I am detached enough from Norwegian society that it doesn’t border me that much, but if I think about it, it can annoy me that they don’t give me the freedom to do what I want with my own body, these colleagues literally say that they don’t mind taking away my freedom to buy beer at 20:05 or smoke a harmless joint. On of there arguments is that they have to pay for the damage I do to society when I get sick or addicted. But what about the people that do dangerous sports, don’t sport, eat fat, work to hard or do whatever life choice they make that is dangerous and unhealthy, do you forbid those activities? I see no reason why someone could withhold you from doing potentially stupid things to yourself, as long as you don’t endanger others it’s fine for me.
Related to this story and how hypocritical people are is this story from today in the Guardian: Link It’s about the legal and synthetic version of heroin: OxyContin. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from these legal drugs that are as addictive as the illegal versions.
“But few know their wealth comes from Purdue Pharma, a private Connecticut company the family developed and wholly owns. In 1995, the company revolutionized the prescription painkiller market with the invention of OxyContin, a drug that is a legal, concentrated, chemical version of morphine or heroin. It was designed to be safe; when it first came to market, its slow-release formula was unique. After winning government approval it was hailed as a medical breakthrough, which Goldin now refers to as “magical thinking”.
It was aggressively marketed to doctors – many of whom were taken on lavish junkets, given misleading information and paid to give talks on the drug – while patients were wrongly told the pills were a reliable long-term solution to chronic pain, and in some cases offered coupons for a month’s free sample.”
I always like to look at today’s society from the future, let’s say 300 years from now. I think that they would describe a drugs problem around the end of the 20th century but the biggest criminals are not the small fry like Joaquin Guz or Pablo Escobar but the large pharmaceutical companies followed closely by their supportive governments.