Monday, August 02, 2004

Hang on, Where is Bruce Willis?

Here is a little something that got my blood up. At first I thought it might be an April Fool. Apparently it is serious. It originally appeared in the Independent, and I first saw it in the Weekend Herald.

Below I reproduce the story, as it appeared, and if you'll allow me I'll run through it with you, commenting at will. Should be fun.

British children to get jabs against drug addiction
26.07.2004
By SOPHIE GOODCHILD and STEVE BLOOMFIELD

A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by British ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.

Jesus. Hold up. Come again?

A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by British ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

What exactly are British Ministers doing thinking that their mandate extends to deciding physiological characteristics of future humans?

Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Who would be at risk? Poor people, kids unfortunate enough to have criminal parents, pretty much the dark and oppressed I’ll bet.
Royal love rats and Parker-Bowles’ offspring are pretty unlikely to be jabbed. They’re white, rich and into coke. Important difference.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.

Protection from the euphoria. What kind of protection is that? Where is our protection from the kind of people who wish to protect people from euphoria?
This is, if you'll pardon a touch of hysteria, the kind of condescending and controlling evil wrapped up in professed good intentions that informed eugenics and the Holocaust.

What if these kids want to have the chance to experience euphoria, even if illegal? Anti-drug laws are one thing but Governments are not there to decide what future citizens are going to be permitted to experience.

Further, surely not all the euphoria one experiences when taking these drugs is unique to taking the drugs. To vaccinate against euphoria might have effects on euphoria released by other legal activities.

Pre-programming the responses of humans to substances smells draconian. And it continues….. it appears that a lot of people are pushing this along:

The Department of Trade and Industry has set up a special project to investigate ways of using new scientific breakthroughs to combat drug and nicotine addiction.

A national anti-drug immunisation scheme is one of the proposals being put forward by the Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs project, an expert committee of scientists appointed by the Government earlier this year.

Professor David Nutt, a leading government drugs adviser who sits on the committee, told the IoS that anti-drug vaccines for children are likely to be among the panel's recommendations when it reports next March.

This, Greenies and Christians, is a panel of government appointed people playing God. Not with tomatoes but with people. Deciding what they will be permitted to experience. If you are a God squader or an anti-GE type this should be infuriating to you. But the issue is not even on the radar.

Professor Nutt, head of psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol and a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said: "People could be vaccinated against drugs at birth as you are against measles. You could say cocaine is more dangerous than measles, for example. It is important that there is a debate on this issue. This is a huge topic - addiction and smoking are major causes of premature death."

It is important there is debate. I'd like to debate just what you think you are doing Nutt.
Actually, Professor Nutt? They're taking the piss. Surely. I mean Psychopharmacology? Listen to this - Prof Nutt of the madey-uppy-namey-discipline says "cocaine more dangerous than measles!" But, ridiculuos as it seems, this is on the level. In any event I'm certainly developing a psychopharmalogical response - I feel very angry and in need of a drink.

I’m not sure if cocaine is more dangerous than measles, but I’m certain that the war on drugs becomes more dangerous than drugs when these science fiction dystopia solutions are being seriously mooted.



According to the Government's own figures, the cost of drug addiction - through related crime and health problems - to the economy is £12bn a year. There is a strong incentive for the Government to find new ways to halt spiralling addiction.

Last week, the IoS revealed that cocaine use had trebled in Britain with increasing numbers of users switching to highly addictive crack cocaine.

So it is popular. And expensive. And illegal. Perhaps if it were popular and inexpensive and legal 80% of the problem would disappear and the 20%, to give a generous figure, that have trouble with drugs could be better helped and focused on. But all these noses in the money trough that is constantly replenished to fight the war on drugs would be put out. And we can’t have that. No, better to extend government powers.

Scientists are already conducting trials for drugs that can be used by doctors to vaccinate against cocaine, heroin and nicotine addiction.

Xenova, the British biotechnology firm, has carried out trials on an anti-cocaine vaccine which showed that 58 per cent of patients remained cocaine-free after three months.

58%? Just by stopping their pocket money you could have better results.

Meanwhile, experts at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, have developed a super-virus, harmless to humans, which produces proteins that can block or reduce the effects of cocaine.

Oh come on. This is a bad movie script. We know how this goes, Evil Corporations engineer super-virus to control behaviour. Society enslaved. Freedoms crushed. Some dickhead reads out some Orwell quotes. It is so familiar it is cliché. But one thing is missing. Where are the good guys to save us from this fate? Bruce Willis would be nice, or a mid-80s Arnie.

The team at Scripps tested the virus on rats by injecting it into their noses twice a day for three days. On the fourth day, the rats were given a shot of cocaine. The researchers found that cocaine had more effect on the rats not injected with the virus than those that were.

Shit, I'll settle for Stallone if I have to.

Scientists hope the virus will help stop the cravings experienced by cocaine users for the drug by
blocking the pleasure they normally associate with cocaine.


This seems way too close to female circumcision for my liking. Clitorises make woman unruly and lustful. Cocaine makes the proles unruly and troublesome. Can’t have that.
Lets chop off their pleasure sectors to make them pliant. Sure it denies the pleasure their bodies were built for, but this is for their own good.

In fact this is exactly what this is. Female circumcision writ large.

This anti-drug medication is expected to be available to users within the next two years in the form of a nasal spray.

Well, slightly less intrusive maybe. Anyhow, it is coming soon. But where are those good guys? How is the reception?

Proposals to introduce a national anti-drug vaccination programme have been greeted with a cautious welcome by MPs and experts.

What? Where is the caution? They have funded this along every step of the way. This didn’t just happen, this is known as planning.
Problem is no one wants to be seen as ‘soft on drugs’. If only the same stigma was attached to ‘soft on civil liberties’. Being anti drugs and soft on human rights puts you in good company; Hitler was a notable example of this thinking and, in fact, all totalitarian regimes take this line. Pol Pot's Cambodia, Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, Blair's Britain.

Ian Gibson, head of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, said the Government would have to carry out public consultation.

That is good. The public need their say. Just so long as you have an open mind Dr Ian Gibson.

"There is no reason to think this would not be a starter or beneficial," said Dr Gibson, Labour MP for Norwich North.

It would appear not.

"But ... proper consultation with the public needs to happen well in advance."

So what is he saying? - this is a goer but we do need to undertake consultation. It’d look bad otherwise.
It augers well.

David Hinchliffe, chairman of the Commons Health Committee and Labour MP for Wakefield, said: "This could have a huge impact on society in terms of preventing damage to others and dealing with addicts. [But] the ethical perspective does need to be looked at closely."

Wonderful. Someone talking about ethics. Lets see how this article goes on to address this important issue:

The National Treatment Agency, which manages drug-addiction programmes, welcomed any new ways of treating addiction but said there was no "magic bullet".

And that is, quite seriously, the full attention payed to ethical considerations. That is how the article ends. Brilliant.

Is anyone asking these questions?

Am I the only person who thinks this is sick?


2 Comments:

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Make Tea Not War said...

I agree with you entirely.

Its part of human nature to enjoy altered states of consciousness- for recreation, for relaxation, even for some people transcendent oneness with the universe etc. Where is the harm especially if done in moderation? And why should some people be excluded from these pleasures on the basis that they MIGHT possibly become addicts with attendant social problems at some possible stage in the future?

Do we really understand enough about how addiction and brain chemistry work to start messing with peoples brains like this? Do we know for sure it won't interfere with legal highs? Falling in love etc? I doubt it.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger sarah said...

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