Friday, January 07, 2011
This came to mind the other day when I was writing about the FDA and smoking. In 2010 the FDA will spend $200 million USD on "to continue to implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Preventing youth from using tobacco and helping Americans quit, promoting public understanding of the harmful constituents of tobacco products, developing the foundation of science for regulating tobacco, and regulating tobacco to reduce the toll of tobacco-related disease, disability and mortality are tobacco program priorities for FY 2011." This out of a total of $4 billion USD budget.
So if one imagines that cocaine as an "industry" does about $100 billion USD in revenue each year I have wonder why I have not seen one, not one, FDA warning about cocaine products here in the good old USA.
No, I'm not talking about the bump you get down at local bar (apparently no one complains about that).
I'm talking tea (like the kind you make with hot water) containing coca leaves. The kind you can buy at Amazon.com. The kind that will get you busted in a drug test. For example, this kind of "Coca Tea" sold directly on-line here (I went all the way to checkout just to make sure I was not on the Bolivian or Colombian Amazon.com).
So what is up with this and the FDA? I really don't get it.
Cocaine is a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Yet there seems to be nothing going on with it related to the FDA save for the banning of a drink called "cocaine" (see this) - a drink that did not actually contain any cocaine (yes, this is really like Alice in Wonderland).
Clearly cocaine is nearly as big, if not bigger, than smoking.
And we are told, and have been since 1913 or so, the cocaine is bad; and since the 1950's that smoking is bad.
We know this.
So why spend $200 million dollars a year on smoking prevention but still allow us to drink cocaine tea?
Isn't a little tobacco like a little cocaine?
Apparently not, at least by the FDA. Tobacco is FAR WORSE.
(Only ex-hippy, liberal, wacky nut jobs in the government would think this.)
I think this is like the $20,000 USD vet bills we run up (see this) giving little Fluffy an MRI, surgery, and blood tests.
Why, you might ask?
Because sometimes you get so focused on something, like your pet (or smoking), you start to miss out on the bigger picture (like the massive US cocaine addiction).
Wouldn't it be better to spend $20,000 (or $200 million) on something else?
Is my money going to make that much of a difference?
And, most importantly, are there smarter things I might be doing instead...
LIKE SPENDING THE $200 MILLON ON PREVENTING KIDS FROM USING COCAINE?
You see, I think we are just busy trading one problem for another.
When I was a kid in eighth grade your friends' older brother could get a six pack of beer somewhere without too much trouble and you could hang out, shoot the shit and drink it. No harm and no foul.
Then the federal government came along and made kids having a beer a horrific crime by threatening states that if they didn't make it a horrific crime they would have some (5% or so) of their highway funds cut.
And it worked... Except little Johnny and little Suzy are strung out on crack, coke, meth, oxy's, and pot.
You see - they were going to experiment regardless of the FDA's laws - a few beers - a cop catching them - running away through the bushes - that sort of thing made you grow up. I know I grew up when my best high school friends sister was killed when I was 15. She was in eighth grade when it happened. My friend was never the same.
The problem is that today 16% or more of all drivers on strung out on drugs (see this). Only about 2% have a blood alcohol greater than the common legal limit of .08. The alcohol drivers "over the limit" are down about 50% since the 1970's...
In 1976 my friends sister was the exception, not the rule.
So you see, the "Don't Drink Till Your 21" program working, right?
At least the government thinks it is because they don't have to care about what else little Johnny might be doing instead...
We all get tobacco is bad.
We all get that its "evil" and "foul" and "violates your rights".
We all tolerate the rights of bar and business owners loosing the right to entertain customers using legal products.
We all tolerate smokers having to stand out in the cold and rain so as not to "harm" everyone else.
While the FDA can proudly point out all the progress that's been made against smoking and alcohol WHO IS GOING TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE VAST INCREASE IN HARD DRUG USAGE?
You an bet it won't be the FDA and anti-smoking bigots.
Posted by John Gault at 5:30 PM