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Pakistan: Legalize Alcohol

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    Pakistan: Legalize Alcohol

    Mods: I am posting it in General for I believe that this should be discussed by all as it relates as much to social development and public policy as it does to politics. But if you move it Politics, that’ll be understandable.

    Today there is a rather troubling full-page write up in the New York Times about Heroin addiction in Pakistan. Estimates put the addicts from a conservative 1.5 million to a lot more. In Karachi, one out of 15 males is addicted to Heroin, or approximately 600,000. The article goes on to discuss the lack of any rehab centers and the Police turns a blind eye on addiction and in fact scourge money from addicts. The drug is easily and cheaply available. There is only one facility that offers some kind of rehab (for only 500 addicts) but the success rate is pathetic. There are very few volunteer organizations to deal with drug addicts. In summary, it is a shameful picture.

    Until last year Pakistan was # 1 producer of Heroin, later taken over by Afghanistan. Everyone suggests that this addiction is a result of (a) prohibition of alcohol, and (b) Afghan war. These are right reasons, but to the families of addicts what is more important is that their loved ones are cured of this sickness and there are places to treat them.

    I feel sad to read all of this. This is an issue that does not require much. Only a small portion of what is spent on Defense can take care of drug problem.

    I will urge my fellow brethren to do whatever they can to pressure authorities to do something about this problem. I strongly believe that if prohibition on Alcohol is lifted, the problem of drug addiction can be brought under control. It might be a surprise to you, but Pakistan today has the largest numbers of Heroine addicts.

    Yaar, I disagree with you. Just because alcohol and heroin are correlated in terms of intoxicating substances does not mean that one should be picked over the other to reduce the harms of the more dangerous one.

    I mean, look at the implications. In a society like Pakistan, legalizing alcohol won't stop people not to use heroin. I even think it will encourage more. People are not that well aware of health related problems associated with alcohol back home. Primarily they consider it haram because of religion. Having it available without any restriction would eventually result in 'experimenting' in some more, ultimate fun.

    Secondly, in the West there are strict laws on drunk driving, but even then a staggering number of lives are lost because of it. In a country like Pakistan, where laws are not practiced and implemented even to a reasonable level of strictness, imagine how many lives would be in danger because of drunk driving.

    I say if Pakistan were to take a big enough step to legalize alcohol and spend resources at it just to reduce heroin addiction, then it might as well spend same amount of resources and energy, to eliminate the evil of heroin and provide rahab for addicts, even without legalizing it.


      okay, I will call CE saheb, first thing in the morning tomorrow. But I know what the reply is going to be Alcohol is forbiddened in Islam and so is every other drug. So they cant do that. And PAkistan being an ISlamic state plus we have the constitution based on Islam it is impossible. Kindly no one give an example of the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia is as strict as alcohol as Pakiatn. And if anyone goes of saying Arabs do everything, let me assure you eveything happens in Pakistan too.


        Roman Yara, there is a world of difference between Heroin and Alcohol. Alcohol (given that is produced with certain guidelines and not in Bhattis) is lot less (in fact 250,000 times less) addictive than Heroin. Heroin is the most addictive substance in the world. Secondly, it is produced in non-pharmacological labs with god knows what inside. The average age of a Heroin addict is 11 years after the first puff. Alcohol is not the same. I am not saying that Alcohol should be forced on people, all I am saying is that those who like to get high should be offered some alternatives, given that we can not cure their disease. I strongly believe that “addiction” is a “sickness”, just as Diabetes or Hypertension. It needs to be treated. Even if you ban the good stuff, it turns ugly. By that argument, we should then legalize Heroine (since it is available so easily) and manufacture it under strict controls.

        Alibeta yar, We need to look at the issue outside of Islamic archetype. Islam has offered nothing to Pakistan, if anything it has kept us backward. Religion is for personal fulfillment, and should not be forced on everyone. No one is stopping anyone to believe what he/she wants to believe in.


          just legalize that crap. My uncle drinks in pakistan anyway.



            I understand your point but my point is that practically it does not make any sense. For alcohol to be legalized, there would be quite few changes in the laws and policies etc along with spending more resources on implementation and so forth. Why not take the same resources and time and concentrate on traffic control on heroin and providing more rehabs?

            If we are talking about alternatives then I think charas or hash is a better alternative than alcohol as it's closely related, is not addictive, and does not promote violent behaviour as it does in case of many drunk people.

            But is offering a lesser evil to eliminate a greater one an optimal or only choice? There are numerous ramifications to allow this to happen in Pakistani society, with no gaurantee whatsoever that it will, in fact, help reduce the usage of heroin.

            Most importantly, considering the scenario in which both heroin and alcohol are available to use, I don't think people won't go towards heroin just because alcohol is available. I think they will try both. So if heroin is available that easy on the streets, legalizing alcohol isn't gonna reduce its sale or availability. They don't seem to be regressively related.

            [This message has been edited by Roman (edited April 19, 2000).]


              "I am not saying that Alcohol should be forced on people".
              Gee thanks NYAhmadi.What would we have done without such benevolence on your part??.Sometimes I wonder where the world would be without people like you.


                I think banning liquor actually increases illegal activity. I remember when liquor was banned by the government of the state of Haryana, people used to travel to neighboring states and smuggle bottles. Government officials also made a lot of money in this. I don't know whether this kind of thing happens in Pakistan. In the end the Chief Minister was forced by the people to lift the ban !!
                I think North Indians (specially Punjabis) drink a lot and depriving them of it can prove disastrous

                [This message has been edited by BombayKid (edited April 19, 2000).]


                  Dear Ahmad, What’s your point here? Are you for it, against it, or don’t give a damn? It appears that you don’t give a damn and the you just get your kicks by taking a sentence out of context, and grinning about it. What a lovely way to get high.

                  Don’t spend too much energy wondering about me. Pakistan is an example of a place of people without me.



                    The way I see it is NYAhmedi, you are asking us to consider which is legalizing lesser of the two evils.

                    Just think for a moment, that a government (and a legal system) which has been unable to successfully control the distribution and use of heroine in Pakistan, what chance do they have of effectively controlling the distribution and use of alcohol AFTER it is legalized.

                    I hope you can see the horror of what you are suggesting. If an 11 year old can get access to heroine, what is going to stop him/her from abusing alcohol in the same manner. True the immediate effects of alcohol do not lead to addiction, but eventually people do develop tolerance levels. To get the same level "high" people will drink more and more... leading to the end result ALCOHOLISM.

                    Now I am not saying everyone who drinks will become an alcoholic, but seriously... when have you know Pakistanis of doing anything in moderation. If the country legalizes alcohol, who is going to control the nightmare of people "drinking and driving". In a country like the US, where there are set rules and regulations, how can one ignore the problems law enforcement agencies face with this by-product of alcohol. Do you think that the Pakistan Police force is ready to control this one minor problem. Let alone the other simple social disorders that are attributed to under-age drinking and excessive drinking (such as bar room brawls, etc).

                    I do understand you point of doing something to curtail the use and abuse of heroin in Pakistan, but I seriously disagree with your proposed solution. Legalizing alcohol will not solve the problem of heroine addiction. In fact very well know studies (I can get you the details if you need them) have shown that people who use alcohol, are more likely to abuse it. Further, the studies showed that people who abuse alcohol, are more likely to try some other form of illegal substance to get "high".

                    The solution to Pakistan's heroine addiction problem in my opinion goes into a lot of different areas. One, is the need for an educated and well trained police force. I am not talking about just the Officer (they are well trained if I am not mistaken) but also the Foot patrol (or local "Hawaldaar and Spahee"). Two, would be to have a well defined, and effectively regulated medical system. Rehabilitation is not possible unless the medicine and the doctors are there to support them. I think Pakistan turns out enough doctors as it is, but given them the right training to deall with social medical problems, instead of just physical medical problem, should be a priority. Three, would be education of the public in general... where the knowledge of what heroine does to your body, beside the "high" can be understood by even the local bicycle repair man.

                    These are just a few solutions, and truthfully attainable... but then again... who am I to pass judgement on the ruling class of Pakistan, whom it falls upon to bring about these changes. Leadrship can make or destroy the country... Pakistan just has to wait for the leader I guess.

                    However, definitely.... legalization of alcohol... not a vaible option.
                    "Question not the things that are done, but question the things to be done. For in the past no fault lies... yet for the future the fault is within us if we do not comprehend the failures of our own doing."


                      Heroin use is widespread because it is CHEAPER and more readily available both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

                      Also, society sees alchohol as western-influence whereas heroin is a locally grown cash crop.

                      If heroin gets banned, expensive or difficult to obtain then people will shift to maybe sniffing or locally brewed alchohol - brewed with God knows what!

                      The best treatment for addiction are economic opportunities, education and health services - all scarce commodities in Pakistan.

                      Good topic!


                        I see I really touched a nerve!
                        If I didn't give a damn I wouldn't bother replying in the first place.Right?But that is exactly what I am going to do about your foolish remarks about me because THOSE I really don't give a damn about.
                        "Dear Ahmad,What's your point here?"
                        Anybody with an average intelligence could see through my Sarcasm and get the point.But if you didn't you could simply have asked.'Well Ahmad waht's your point?' but Oh nooo.
                        "by taking a sentence out of context".
                        Mr.NYAhmadi,perhaps,I mean just maybe you could have said what the correct context was??I mean after all what's the point of that utterly useless post upthere??What's its contribution to this thread,if you couldn't even say a simple thing like that?
                        But then perhaps it's just a habit of yours to launch a personal attack whenever criticized rather than counter that criticism,but is there any reason why you couldn't have done both?(Assuming you can't stay away from one).Though it would save us both a lot of time if you did.


                          Some good suggestions and lots of valid points (including my friend Ahmed’s). Dear Ahmed, that was just my way of getting you engaged (and I do give a damn about what you think). I apologize for my earlier remarks (call it out of frustration for not being able to do “something”).

                          Eradicating drugs is a terrestrial task, and even developed nations like USA have their hands tied behind their back when it comes to fighting illicit drugs. Only a few days ago, the Commissioner of DEA was summoned to appear before the Senate to answer about why was a case involving Defense Minister of Mexico suppressed? USA does not want to touch Drug lords when it comes to economic and trade interests (just as it would not touch China, no matter what it (the USA) may think (or preach) about Human Rights). So to envision countries like Pakistan being successful in their fight against illicit drugs is too much to ask.

                          My argument is that if Alcohol is legalized, it can generate enough economic activity to finance the “rehab”, “policing” and “educational” programs to fight the Drug problem. Drugs are “illegal” and the people who are involved in production and pushing will never stop doing that (to them it is a business). Pakistan will still have the task of controlling, both the flow and the consumption of it. But with revenue generated by Alcohol will give them an additional (badly needed) weapon to deal with it. Recently, Pakistan has repeatedly said that it does not have the “resources” to deal with this problem. Pakistan is always looking towards West to help it fight this war.

                          Alcohol is available in abundance in Pakistan (just as drugs are). Most of it comes from China and smuggled from India. Those with money buy it, and Police is helpless because those involved in smuggling have partners in High Places.

                          Fighting drugs is not an easy problem, and no matter what solution a country adopts, it will be a very long and hard battle.


                            Just nuke afghanistan to get rid of the heroin problem.


                              Is prohibition a state policy or national policy. If liquor is made legal, who earns revenue, state or centre?