Saturday, July 25, 2009

Five Thousand of my Blogreaders Are Cokeheads

Yesterday I asked you to take part in a drugs survey. More than 1,200 of you did. Here are the rather shocking results.

57% of you have tried an illegal drug at some point
31% of you use marijuana occasionally or regularly
7% of you are regular potheads
17% of you have used Cocaine at least once in the last twelve months.
5% of you use cocaine regularly


If those of you who took part in the poll are in any way representative of my blogreaders, 23,800 of you are cocaine users and 7,000 of you are regular cokeheads.

I can't pretend I am not astonished and rather horrified. But then again, I did ask.

UPDATE: In response to this post and the previous one, Devil's Kitchen makes a powerful case for decriminalisation of all drugs and uses Portugal's experience as one to follow. As does Mark Reckons.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Says it all.

To enjoy your site, you need to be smacked out your head on Coke.

Disgraceful to read that your readership is so seedy

Anonymous said...

And now you know what to do... advertise Kit Kats.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. 95% of the readers at LabourList are dickheads!

Anonymous said...

God aloneknows what Guido's readership profile would show!

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Dan McCurry has just smeared David Cameron on Labourlist

"I’m never short of admiration for David Cameron as a campaigner. He has no policies, but he is a brilliant man for the way he has pulled his party around and made them so electable. But it just seems strange the way this rash of thefts and bugging has been happening since he’s been around."

Uncle Bob said...

Ah, Anonymous comments, the end is near.

I'm not surprised by these poll figures at all Iain. They seem a fairly accurate perception of the country, certainly where I live anyway. I thought there was quite a good debate on the other thread about this and who would have thunk it, lots of reasoned and coherent arguments from the pro legalisation point of view. Hopefully both sides can carry on this debate sensibly in this thread as well.

Obsidian said...

I think that was the sound of someones naivete bubble bursting...

Tachybaptus said...

So probably more of your readers regularly use illegal drugs than tobacco, which is legal.

And what proportion of them would be using these drugs if idiotic governments had not made them illegal, and therefore glamorous?

Is a connection finally beginning to form in your rigid mind, Iain?

Drug bans increase drug use. In all history, NO sumptuary law of any kind has ever worked.

Legalise all drugs, however nasty you may consider some of them. Tough out the resulting brief surge, in which a fair number of fools will perish, unmourned by most. Then watch usage fall, and fall, to single-figure percentages.

Anonymous said...

better to be on coke than have swine flu

And you wonder why the DEA gets nowhere said...

Any debate needs to have reliable medical information. All we get from the Government is spin on this matter.

Trust people paid by the government to tell the full truth?

Nah, "He who pays the piper calls the tune" applies.

Alex said...

Ridiculous and sensationalist conclusion there Iain!

A conclusion like that belongs in the Daily Star!

You can't just apply the answers given by just 1,200 people to your entire readership to inflate the numbers.

All your survey showed was a few hundred coke users.

Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

That's the ruling classes for you.
Being working class, no drug habits, teetotal and without debts, it pisses me off to listen to the sneering classes calling my working class family all the names under the sun, from Little Englander, to racist white trash.
We're the backbone of this country, but they've sold us out for expenses and membership of their Global Elites.
The government, of course, confuse the working classes with the idle classes. At least we know the difference!
[I refer mainly to the British ruling elite here, including the Mandelson/Toynbee sneering classes]

Martin Day said...

I think i read somewhere that a party Tony Blair attended had other people openly smoking marijuana in front of him whilst he was PM. The there was the Cool Britannia stuff with Noel haveing a supernova of his own in the No.10Toilets!

So it does not surprise me that folk Snort the white stuff, pop pills or smoke weed!

Indeed given some of the rubbish spun yesterday by 'some' LD and Labour bloggers you would think they had taken a bit too much after yesterdays By-Election result!

Dick the Prick said...

And £400 million gets wasted (err) through the National Treatment Agency which is completely useless - I should know - I was employed by them (didn't work for them - nobody works for them).

Chris Paul said...

So Iain, you think this survey shows anything? Totally unstructured, unscientific, unrepresentative, unworthy. Next you'll be setting up some grand blog ranking survey using similar flakey methods?

What's that? You already have?

Anonymous said...

What about us winos. Not even a mention.
We are the backbone,nay, spinal column of the readership of political blogs. Who has not written a pile of drivel whilst half cut?

Jamie Sport said...

Your poll was too restrictive. Where was the 'Do you wake up each morning in a phone box surrounded by syringes, razor blades and tin foil, spooning with anonymous homeless people?' button?

I couldn't find anything to accurately describe myself so I left the survey unfinished. I'd like some form of compensation.

Anonymous said...

Seems about right, although I've noticed usage drop amongst peers due to the questionable nature of quality over the last few years. Coke however is still very much a party drug, especially for young professionals.

Dick the Prick said...

When I worked in treatment bloody do gooding arses used to whinge when I told them to go get some pot and booze and bugger off home. Crack & Smack (and to some degree coke but not as easily) are the most destructive poisons available - absolutely horrible drugs and treatment has to be individually led - namely, they have to want to get off it but it hard wires into the neurons - terrible.

Anonymous said...

sorry my mistake i took part in the survey.just read the label its pepsi.

Hawkeye said...

Iain, 60 of your reader (5% of 1200) have confessed to being regular coke-heads. You cannot make any inferences about those who did not vote all.

Your misuse of statistics is verging on the Brownite - you should be thoroughly ashamed. I hereby award you "The Ed Balls award for statistical manipulation"

If you had emailed 1200 readers chosen at random from your readership and 5% of them were coke-heads then your inference would be safer ground.

PS - I am writing this from the Moral High Ground, never having tried any drugs except Scotland's finest malts.

Robin B'stard MP said...

Sometimes a couple of spliffs and a box of Ginger nuts helps when trying to understand the workings and policies of this traitorous Labour Government.

I'd say that they themselves have to be operating under the influence of something when you consider some of the daft shite they come out with, yet no one questions their sobriety at all.....I find that strange to say the least!

I'll be back with a more volumous and in depth analysis after another joint....if i can be arsed that is :o))

Julian said...

100% of drug addicts, murderers,
rapists, politicians etc. started on milk.
Milk is the gateway to evil and should be banned.

golden_balls said...

i see my previous post didn't make it!

i think its a well known fact but its your blog your choice whether to censor people.

Dr C O Caine said...

Tachybaptus said...

"Drug bans increase drug use. In all history, NO sumptuary law of any kind has ever worked."

Add in two other distinct advantages:

You can tax it!

The recipient gets a quality product that’s not been cooked up by some crackhead with an 'O' level in chemistry.

Robin B'stard MP said...

Sometimes a couple of spliffs and a box of Ginger nuts helps when trying to understand the workings and policies of this traitorous Labour Government.

I'd say that they themselves have to be operating under the influence of something when you consider some of the daft shite they come out with, yet no one questions their sobriety at all.....I find that strange to say the least!

I'll be back with a more in depth analysis after another joint....

Oliver Drew said...

Extrapolation is an ultimately dangerous sport Iain! However I must admit given the statistics you provided from the people that actually took the quiz it is quite amazing...wouldn't have thought it would be that high.

Mark Reckons said...

I'm surprised that you're surprised to be honest Iain. Lots of people take all sorts of stuff in this country. I think your readership is just reflective of this.

I am interested in whether the response from your poll and also some of the debate on this and the previous thread is going to have any effect on your view.

You made some very progressive comments regarding prostitution last year which showed you realise how much harm the current legal situation does in that area. Are you ready to countenance that something similar might apply with respect to drugs?

Russell said...

Aren't you supposed to be a liberal Conservative? Why are you shocked, astonished and horrified? This seems a slight over-reaction for a man-of-the-world in his late forties.

But anyway your poll is unsound statistically, as has been pointed out. It is also quite possible that some people have exaggerated a bit out of bravado - and perhaps because regular readers of this blog know you're easily shocked and were winding you up?

JMB said...

There are too many vested interests for them to be decriminalised. It is a bit like asking Speed Camera Partnerships and ACPO about getting rid of speed cameras.

Though I have always believed that the tobacco companies probably have contingency plans to move into selling cannabis if they got chance. I also would not be surprised if the legal drug companies had plans for commercial volume production of other drugs if they were decriminalised.

I wonder what would have happened if a campaign for decriminalisation had given a few million pounds to New Labour?

prj45 said...

Make it all legal.

Then spend the millions* we spend (futilely) trying to stop the trade on supporting those that get into trouble.

*That's before we even count the cost of the social impact of prohibition (guns, violence, burglary, muggings, bad drugs, imprisoning people for distribution and use).

Russell said...

Successful legislation tends to be that which embodies in statute the expectations of the great majority of people in regard to what is felt to be socially acceptable conduct. As opposed to, for example, Labour's peculiar self-defeating tendency to legislate in order to Send Out A Strong Message about How *We* Consider You Must Behave.

Repressive legislation which seeks to impose a point of view contrary to what most people think tends to get ignored or subverted. Prohibition in America in the Twenties was a case in point.

Me, I'm all for legalisation and proper control of drugs. Simply because it has more chance of working.

Alex said...

Maybe X% of your readers are just wind up merchants.

Anonymous said...

When you read of all the crimes committed by drug addicts, the impression given is that there would be a lot less crime if there were a less drug addicts - whereas the truth is probably that they are criminals who also take drugs, take away the drug and they would still be hard-wired to commit the crime.

Anonymous said...

Oh for goodness sake, get a grip people.

"OH IAIN YOUR ABUSE OF STATISTICS IS SO BROWNITE YOU EVIL MAN"

He didn't conduct some academic study and he didn't pretend to. He's just saying that if there's any degree of accuracy in his results, extrapolation reveals some concerning figures.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Man, I have some good shit this weekend. My brother just got back from Jamaica and this stuff is good I am telling you. You is welcome to come over anytime and help me smoke it.... ;-)

Laurence Hodge said...

Self-selected = of pretty doubtful value.

The advice you gave to MP's approached by the Telegraph worked for me...

thespecialone said...

prj45 - So if (and I hope they never are) drugs are legalised, do you seriously believe that all the dealers are suddenly going to go straight?

I have arrested 14-17 yr olds who are so out of their faces on drugs (regularly, not just teens having a sneaky bottle of WKD at weekends). One of the kids said he liked being in prison because it was the only stable life he had and believe it or not he couldnt get drugs and got treatment. The fact is is that if decriminalised, they will be seen as 'cool' and even more teenagers' lives will go down the pan.

As for the argument that alcohol is harmful. Well yes. But how many adults in the UK drink alcohol? How many of them are alcoholics? What % of druggies are habitual users?

So what do you say to the soldiers in Afghanistan with the remit of stopping heroin getting to the UK?

Iain, I hope you dont (you may have already) dismiss the government's claim (through the Chief Medical Officer) that there could be 65000 deaths through swine flu? Those figures are complete nonsense and so are yours.

beagleslovefags said...

Iain,

People always big themselves up in surveys (" I have sex 5 times a day")so I wouldn't believe a word of it. It's also spotted in older celebrites (Woss, Fry etc) making pathetic jokes about crystal meth as if they were always off their face on it.

Uncle Bob said...

Did that study on the Portugese have any figures on crime reduction or police spend at all?

Margaret said...

May be all the readers who don't take the stuff were too busy doing useful things to take part in the poll so far?

Don't know if it is still open as I am heading back to the gardening.

CryBaby said...

I reckon the 1 million figure is understated.

DespairingLiberal said...

This explains a lot!

Jamie said...

I must confess I'm slightly shocked by your use of such pejorative terms to describe those who take drugs. As Mark Thompson said: "the debate surrounding drugs in this country is often very reactionary".

Tell me about it, Mark...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should ask in your poll how many people are gay

Tune in, turn on, drop out said...

Nothing really surprising in this survey. As the Earl of Rochester, I think, said, "Everyone's doing cocaine nowadays."

Anonymous said...

Well I didn't fill in your survey but I'd have to tick most of the boxes and so would most people I know.

I'm shocked that you're shocked really. Being mainly right-wing nerdy squares, your readership is probably vastly understating the true extent of real drug use in the UK.

I'm gay too and it seems to me that criminalising my drug use is as absurd, unjust, invasive and morally wrong as criminalising my sexual orientation....... a biological matter, my personal business- and forcibly stopping me would do me, on balance, more harm than letting me get on with it. Hence the sensible blind eyes shown by the police to much of the gay scene.

We were actually slowly moving towards sense in law until Gordon's Moronic Moral Compass backtracked us decades.

Anonymous said...

Iain,
To be shocked by this means you have probably never been in any City Trading firm or Dealing room, no it's not called that for that coincidental reason.

Really the FSA and BoE shouldn't regulate financial service they should be regulated by the Olympic doping committee

John Wilmot said...

Sorry, correction, it wasn't the Earl of Rochester, it was Murray Lachlan Young who said everyone's doing coke nowadays.
Still Young probably learnt his trade from the Earl, so the confusion is, I hope, understandable

DespairingLiberal said...

It's actually quite sad, if true, that so many people are addicted to cocaine. They are doing dire harm to their health, running a much greater risk of heart attack in later life, plus very unpleasant toxic illnesses. This is assuming that the cocaine they think they are taking is actually cocaine - police labs routinely find substances such as rat poison, carcinogens such as Benzo(a)pyrenes - increases cancer risk eleven-fold and various bacteria and parastites from the third-world labs where the cocaine was cut.

It's sad to care so little about one's health and yet probably a lot of those same cocaine users buy organic and use anti-bacterial handwashes. A bizarre disconnect between the reality of what they are doing and how they conceive of it.

Regular cocaine users have been proven in study after study to be prone to taking risks; to lose contact with other people mentally so that they are unaware of the consequences of their actions on others; to become at once more paranoid and more extrovert.

I would never employ anyone I believed to be taking cocaine and I would urge other employers to think twice about it.

Finally, never be a passenger in a car with a driver you know to use cocaine. Cocaine users are 56% more likely than the average driver to have a crash.

happyuk07 said...

I am quite surprised and disappointed at this poll. My experience of people on coke has always been negative. Once consumed it's users often turn into total assholes.

Actually I shouldn't be so surprised it use is so widespread, particularly those who are no longer teenagers but want to have a good time, by going out and getting high.

What really really bothers me about coke use is if it's user is a medic, or working with lethal voltages or substances, or anything that may affect someone's life while under the influence of drugs.

Drugs are all over the place. It’s not just snotty kids using this stuff, its people who are involved in life and death decisions for large numbers of people in this country.

It's getting to the stage where I would be considered abnormal simply because I don't use drugs.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

PS I have to tell you that as someone who knows Portugal reasonably well, I would not rely on their country for an accurate representation of whether a certain policy works - although I am in favour of decriminalisation of drugs. I'll just put my flak jacket on BUT they have the worst accident death rate on the roads in the whole of Europe, a terrible crime problem, economically weak, high unemployment etc. etc. Their experience is interesting but we should proceed cautiously.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

Any 'harm' or 'benefit' cocaine or any other drug provides is besides the point.

Drugs laws are illegitimate and immoral. I own me. End of story. What I put into my own body is nobody else's business.

I am not suprised at this statistic. I was surprised the official one was so low.

prj45 said...

thespecialone said... prj45 - So if (and I hope they never are) drugs are legalised, do you seriously believe that all the dealers are suddenly going to go straight?

Probably not in many cases, I imagine there would still be a black market, but the size of it and the dealer's power would be much diminished.

The fact is is that if decriminalised, they will be seen as 'cool' and even more teenagers' lives will go down the pan.

And we'll have more money to support them, and they won't get arrested and end up in prison, and less people will die from drugs cut with all manner of substances.


So what do you say to the soldiers in Afghanistan with the remit of stopping heroin getting to the UK?

That their masters should be paying the Afghans to produce the poppy crop, there's a world shortage for use by the medical profession as it is.

(Ignoring that the poppy thing is just a side story).

happyuk07 said...

Idle Pen Pusher,

"I own me. End of story. What I put into my own body is nobody else's business."

But more often than not it does end up becoming someone else's business: anti-social acts or crap decision-making caused by auto-intoxication, stealing to fund habit, etc.

Imagine a dentist or heart surgeon having the same attitude, when just at some crucial moment they start gagging for a snort.

Not an amusing thought, but this kind of behaviour goes on at all levels in all socio-economic groups.

prj45 said...

happyuk07, Imagine a dentist or heart surgeon having the same attitude, when just at some crucial moment they start gagging for a snort.

Ridiculous.

They don't gag for a drink or a fag, or do they?

Anyway, it's the anesthitists that are the addicts. (one fooor you, one for me).

Idle Pen Pusher said...

happyuk07: "But more often than not it does end up becoming someone else's business: anti-social acts or crap decision-making caused by auto-intoxicatio...

Sounds like a ban on alcohol is in order...

"..., stealing to fund habit, etc."

I've heard it said that sometimes people steal to fund lavish lifestyles. Why don't we just ban the lavish lifestyles?

"Imagine a dentist or heart surgeon having the same attitude, when just at some crucial moment they start gagging for a snort. "

LMAO! This is getting beyond parody. Did you know alcoholism affects all levels of society too? Not a pleasant thought...

Robin B'stard MP said...

Follow the Dutch example and legalise it's sale and use through and in licenced premises.

I know lots of Dutch people who don't use it, why? because they are taught about the associated dangers in a different way. They are taught theres nothing big in using it, but they are still allowed to go out and try it legally for themselves.

What do we do here? Piss test everyone and hammer those with positive results....is it working? NO.

The British establishment has always been far to dictatorial in it's approach to drugs. Users get a thrill from using it, many see it as sticking two fingers up at the establishment.

Youngsters get as much of a buzz just out of the buyin it, hiding in parks and multi storey car parks, avoiding detection and doing something illegal. I've been with people smoking absolute shite gear and still they've got high on the adrenalin rush of doing something they shouldn't.

Remove the gangsterish appeal and watch the use plummet.

Actually, don't. That would kill the appeal of my monthly pot parties!

Another joint an bed me thinks........nite all.

Where's my Ginger Nuts??????

captainff said...

I read on a blog recently (buggered if I can remember where though) a well linked post with results of a survey carried out into perceptions of drug use.


The majority (around 70%) of the people surveyed thought that cannabis should be legalised.

However .. ..

The majority (also around 70%) thought that their view was in the minority and that only about 25% of the population shared it.


It's time for politicians to grasp the nettle, admit that prohibition is a failure, and have a proper discussion about the drugs that are currently illegal.

happyuk07 said...

Idle Pen Pusher,

[cough] yes, absolutely spot on about alcohol.

But Iain is on about cokeheads, not pissheads. Their behaviour is already well-known and well documented.

I would surmise that you enjoy the odd sniff yourself.

But the fact is increased tolerance and dangerous life choices follow repeated cocaine abuse.

Long-tem cocaine effects as tolerance builds include paranoia, hallucinations, cardiovasculat effects and mood disturbances

In larger quantities, coke h often results in erratic behavior.

These are the reasons why I don't want my friendly local dentist abusing coke any more than alcohol.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

"But Iain is on about cokeheads, not pissheads. Their behaviour is already well-known and well documented."

So you're arguing to ban other people from consuming alcohol too, then? (after all, you're perfectly free to ban yourself from doing anything, without needing the blue-uniformed goons and concrete cages that go with bans)

Paul Stott said...

5000 have used coke?

I should imagine the percentage of 'cokeheads' visiting this site is probably lower than the percentage in the House of Commons........

DespairingLiberal said...

Idle Pen - my car has been broken into twice and had stuff nicked from it by drug users trying to score their next hit. I don't think I've ever been robbed by non-druggies in search of an easier lifestyle.

Your argument that "it's your body" ignores the huge negative impact on society of hard drug use. Countries that have large numbers of class A users are utterly degraded, violent and unable to function normally. This harms children, the elderly and all decent people who do not take drugs.

We haven't yet started on the pernicious effects of alcohol, which consume vast amounts of taxpayer's cash on cleaning up town centres, NHS bills for all the injured from drunk-driver incidents, massive expenditure on police activity, etc.

I recently spoke with a police officer in my home town and asked him what percentage of their time is spent on alcohol- and drug- related incidents. "About 80%" he said. "This isn't the pursuit of drug dealers. It's mopping up the chaos that junkies and drunks cause".

Idle Pen Pusher said...

Despairing'Liberal': "Idle Pen - my car has been broken into twice and had stuff nicked from it by drug users trying to score their next hit.

And not once have I, or anyone else I know, broken into a car or anything similar. Yet you wish to use the brute force of the state to lock me up for having the temerity of putting something into my own body you don't approve of because some people have committed real crimes (ie ones with actual victims) before or after having done so. And you have the cheek to call yourself a 'Liberal'.

"I don't think I've ever been robbed by non-druggies in search of an easier lifestyle.

Clearly you don't own any shares, pensions or insurance against thefts then.

"Your argument that "it's your body" ignores the huge negative impact on society of hard drug use.

Yes, clearly I'm ignoring that. The last time I went out and had a line of cocaine, I clearly ignored the "huge negative impact on society". Are you for real?

"Countries that have large numbers of class A users (basically Britain and America) are utterly degraded, violent and unable to function normally. This harms children, the elderly and all decent people who do not take drugs.

Were you dribbling when writing this?

We haven't yet started on the pernicious effects of alcohol, which consume vast amounts of taxpayer's cash on cleaning up town centres, NHS bills for all the injured from drunk-driver incidents, massive expenditure on police activity, etc.

I am supposed to be persuaded by the fact that some illiberal scheme to force me to buy a crap health insurance policy from the goverment might incurr additional costs? How about scrapping the damn compulsory health insurance instead?

I recently spoke with a police officer in my home town and asked him what percentage of their time is spent on alcohol- and drug- related incidents. "About 80%" he said. "This isn't the pursuit of drug dealers. It's mopping up the chaos that junkies and drunks cause".

And there you have a rock-solid case for prohibition. Because prohibition clearly works, as well as being moral and liberal. Clown.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is that there's a pervasive opinion that anyone that's taken any type of illegal drug somehow instantly becomes a "drug (ab)user" and criminal. There's simply no evidence whatsoever that this is the case. It's just an extension of "reefer madness" propaganda, as anyone who's ever taken an illegal drug knows.

In fact, there's strong evidence to the contrary. Why not read a Doctor's opinion on the WHO's largest ever study of cocaine use. The WHO report concluded:

Occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems … a minority of people start using cocaine or related products, use casually for a short or long period, and suffer little or no negative consequences, even after years of use.” [emphasis mine]

If you want to ignore all the evidence to further a personal or political agenda, that's fine. Be aware that you are part of the problem and not the solution if you do so. The rest of us want to see evidence-based policy that will actually reduce the social problems associated with criminalisation.

Mark Reckons said...

captainff - I think you were referring to my blog post from a few weeks back which discussed findings from a poll in New England in 2004.

It showed that the vast majority of people polled thought that cannabis should be legalised for medical use but they thought that they were in a minority.

Blog post link here.

captainff said...

Mark Reckons - that was the one!!


Thanks for the link .. .. .. I won't lose it this time ;)

IanVisits said...

Trawling found this old, but apt cartoon:

http://www.hobycartoons.com/cartoons/?Road-to-Nowhere/146