Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

“War (On Drugs) / Good God, Now / What Is It Good For? / Absolutely Nothing / Say It Again …”

“There is huge technical development happening in drugs. We are only just around the corner from memory-enhancing drugs. Middle-class parents will be looking for them to dope up their children to enhance their points. We are also close to safe euphorants and drug users won’t be reliant on peasant farmers.
“The future is much more dangerous than the present. Prohibition can’t handle the present. It certainly won’t be able to handle the future.”
A Grand Vizier writes: “That may sound like the blurb for an undiscovered Philip K. Dick novel, but no – it’s the conclusion to a superb interview conducted by the Irish Times’ legal affairs editor, Carol Coulter, with Dr Paul O’Mahony and published on Saturday. Dr O’Mahony has just had THE IRISH WAR ON DRUGS: THE SEDUCTIVE FOLLY OF PROHIBITION published by the Manchester University Press, and has some perceptive things to say about why the war on drugs is unwinnable, and why that has always been the case.
  “Personally, I’d argue that the decriminalisation / legalisation of heroin, ecstasy and coke, et al, would be a very bad idea indeed, as it’d blow a huge hole below the waterline of the good ship S.S. Criminal Motives for most of the crime writers I like to read. But that’s just me. And right now I’m out of my box on some grade-A Purple Ninja, which kicks like a mule with five legs, albeit so subtly I can’t remember if it was a spliff, a microdot or a stiff belt of poitín. So I’m probably not the most qualified person in the world to comment. You, on the other hand, are …”


Dana King said...

I don't know how it works in Ireland, but here in the States we declare war on anything that can't be solved in less than one election cycle: drugs, poverty, terror, cancer. The list goes on.

There are two problems with declaring war on a problem here. First, the original solution will be the only one ever tired, especially if the problem has a perceived law enforcement or military solution. All we'll ever do is increase funding to the same programs that didn't work the first time.

The second problem should be obvious from the first: the problem we declared war on will never go away.

John McFetridge said...

"We are also close to safe euphorants and drug users won’t be reliant on peasant farmers."

Safe or not, we're close, but it's really because our local suppliers don't want to be reliant on peasant farmers - or really, the farmers' "agents."

Good to see this kind of book coming out. Getting rid of prohibition might be best in stages. There aren't really "gateway" drugs for the users, but there are for the suppliers - in Canada the multi-billion dollar marijuana business funds an awful lot of other illegal activity. I imagine it's much the same in most countries.

Oddly, it would actually be better in the hands of tobacco companies.

Declan Burke said...

Gents - Dr O'Mahony makes some interesting points about the vested interests involved in the war on drugs, and how whole economies are propped up by it. Always be following the money ... Cheers, Dec