Hard drugs itching for the same status: When motivated reasoning infects science

C C Offline
Lab rat survivalism

Cynical Sindee: If schoolyard Pauline gives one brat a peek, they're all waiting in line the following days with their 20 pence.

If you let a "harmless" Ted in the door, then Herman and Liz will soon be knocking on it too.

Same old predictable story in terms of "what comes next" consequences, no matter what the context. That in this particular case revolved around the egotism of the applicable academic idiots, politicians, and industry facilitators who deludedly felt they had figured out how to elude such with regard to further, extended experiments on society.

- - - - - -

Is there a case for legalizing heroin?

EXCERPT: . . . Carl Hart, who was one of the first Black scientists to attain tenure at Columbia, cut a charismatic figure. He had an easy authority in talking about the human and pharmacological experience of drug use, describing it in a way that turned an audience’s expectations on its head.

Recounting the Rat Park experiments of the seventies, which allowed rats to press a lever for a drug, Hart explained that rats raised and kept in isolation consumed greater quantities of the drug than those that were held in a stimulating environment.

“The key factor is the environment, whether you’re talking about humans or rats,” he said. In the late Obama years, most everyone, but especially most evidence-minded liberals, had lost faith in the war on drugs, and Hart became the scientist who said that pharmacology was a weaker force than we’d been led to think.

To promote the book, and this idea, Hart travelled overseas. During those trips, he said that he favored decriminalization and the regulation of all drugs from a perspective of harm reduction, positions that put him on the far left of the American debate.

Still, he was sometimes challenged by audience members who thought these positions condescended to users. At an event in Vancouver, a man in the audience raised his hand and explained that he was a heroin user. “Canadians are more polite than New Yorkers, but essentially he said, ‘Who are you to tell me how to live my life?’ ” Hart recalled. The man was smart and clear, and he knew things about heroin that Hart did not. Hart said the conversation made him feel that he had been “paternalistic, pedantic, all those things. I thought I was, I don’t know, some enlightened scientist, and it just came down to, I had no right.”

In Geneva, he met a physician who invited him to visit a heroin-maintenance clinic with which she was affiliated. Hart spent several months there in 2015, watching heroin users behave as efficiently and functionally as the weighted gears in a watch.

Patients checked in twice a day for injections, during one period that began at seven in the morning and another at five in the afternoon. In between, many of them went to work. The patients were each assigned a cubby to stash their respective belongings, and often one would leave a beer there, to drink after injection.

Hart noticed that though American doctors worried endlessly over the harms of mixing booze and opioids, it didn’t seem a very big deal to the Swiss users, maybe because they knew the exact dose of heroin they were getting and could trust its purity. When one patient had to attend a wedding in less enlightened England, utterly lacking in injection clinics, she carefully planned out her doses and travel arrangements so she could make the trip. When Hart told me about the Geneva injection clinic, he spoke about it in the way that liberal parents speak about Montessori schools—as a fanatically engineered expression of trust. Of the users, Hart said, “They were always on time.”

Shortly after visiting the clinic, Hart began regularly snorting heroin, as he recounts in a new book, “Drug Use for Grown-Ups.” His description of how he started is deliberately simple, suggesting how many of his boundaries had fallen away: a friend said that she’d never used heroin before but was interested in doing so. “Same here. So one Friday evening we did.”

He describes using heroin in carefully managed doses, with product he trusts, in the company of friends, at times when being in an altered state does not interfere with his life, and achieving “a dreamy light sedation, free of stress.” Hart says that he used on “no more than about ten consecutive days at a time,” with a frequency roughly similar to his use of alcohol. He writes, “Like vacation, sex, and the arts, heroin is one of the tools I use to maintain my work-life balance.”

There are libertarian strains in Hart’s extreme vision of a responsible individual user—but he also sometimes describes his use in the context of a shared racial identity. “I am frequently in a state of hypervigilance in an effort to prevent or minimize the damage caused by living in my own skin,” he writes. “When heroin binds to mu opioid receptors in my brain, I ‘lay down my burden’ as well as ‘my sword and shield’ just as described in the Negro spiritual ‘Down by the Riverside.’ ”

Last summer, during the nationwide protests after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Hart published an attention-getting Op-Ed in the Times, analyzing Floyd’s toxicology report and concluding that traces of fentanyl and methamphetamine found in Floyd’s system had played no part in his death, nor could they have made him “crazed,” as some backers of police had alleged. Shortly thereafter, he was interviewed extensively by the MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

But if liberals found themselves moving toward his point of view, Hart was moving away from theirs. This evolution becomes plain in “Drug Use for Grown-Ups,” which makes the case that even the hardest drugs can serve as tools for a more balanced life. Hart is sharply critical of the distinctions that liberals often draw between hard and soft drugs: he quotes Bernie Sanders’s claim that marijuana is different from “killer drugs” and calls that view “ignorant.”

Hart agrees with the scientific consensus that heroin is more likely to create a physical dependence than psychedelics or marijuana, but he does not believe that a heroin user is less likely to be functional than a user of “soft” drugs, a position that puts him outside the mainstream. He writes, “Neither heroin nor marijuana is inherently more evil than the other.” (MORE)
Syne Offline
Every slippery slope argument about leftist policies always comes true. They use to argue that it was a fallacy, but now they just avoid such argument, because they have no refute left. It's very clear that it is no fallacy at all.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)