Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
High time the law changed
2 December 2017, 20:57 | Updated: 2 December 2017, 21:01
The government is dead set against recreational drugs, which makes it odd that they have just legalised a previously proscribed recreational drug for purchase over the counter at the chemist.
They did this after a public consultation which found that so many people were buying it illegally online and from drug dealers.
This meant that they did not know what they were taking until they took it. There is no quality control in the domain of the drug dealer and clearly the situation was a danger to the public.
How refreshing and sensible to finally be treating marijuana this way, you might think.
And you would be wrong. It wasn't marijuana that the government relaxed the law on, it was Viagra.
The erectile dysfunction pill is a recreational drug in that it is not essential for health and it is not used for work, you use it recreationally. If you use it at work, you are either a sex worker in the wrong job, or a celebrity about to get fired under a blaze of publicity.
You used to have to go to the GP to get a prescription, which was embarrassing and time consuming, especially if you were in throes of passion and you found you were in need of one.
It was impractical to ask your paramour to wait 'till you could get an appointment at the surgery and dash to Boots. The likelihood is that the moment will have gone.
Now you can stock up for a night in without the two week wait for the doctor to OK it.
Officials hope that this new convenience will steer people away from illicit sources of the drug, with all the dangers that are involved with buying mystery pills from unknown sources.
There are a lot of forgeries about - £50m worth confiscated in the UK in the past five years alone.
That is £50m that could have gone to the powerful and influential pharmaceutical giants. The government had to act, and now those legal producers of the drug are going to get a lot more money.
They are so happy they can hardly count.
The reason that the government is liberalising the law on erectile dysfunction (ED) pills and not marijuana is that the former is safe and the latter is dangerous.
At least, that's what you would think.
Marijuana is also a popular drug for criminals, of course. The growing and supply of it is completely unregulated and the user has no idea what they are taking until they have taken it.
The government's position is that by continuing to prosecute the war on specific drugs, they will prevent harm.
Unfortunately, that's not true.
Marijuana never killed anybody.
Look at the government's own cause of death statistics for any given year and you will find a zero next to deaths from marijuana.
ED takers have not been so lucky.
In 2014, Psychology Today reported that, in America alone, according to a study of erection medication side effects during the decade from 1998 (the year Viagra was approved) through 2007, Viagra has been implicated in at least 1,824 deaths mostly from heart attacks.
Similar drugs Cialis (approved in 2003) has been linked to 236 deaths, and Levitra (2003) to 121.
In addition, the three medications appear to have caused or significantly contributed to at least 2,500 non-fatal heart attacks and other potentially serious heart problems, and more than 25,000 other potentially serious side effects, among them: mini-strokes, vision loss, and hearing loss.
America's Food and Drug Administration’s entire catalogue of adverse event reports for erection medications over 10 years was of 26,451 reports.
That’s 220 reports a month.
The little gentleman's helper is implicated in a steady trickle of heart attacks, serious illnesses and death.
It is available at a chemist near you. Marijuana has not been implicated as the cause of any deaths at all and possessing it could put you in jail.
That is the government's considered policy. Maybe they were drunk when they made it.