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Philips Develops Roadside Drug-Testing Device 647

Al writes "A handheld developed by Philips for law enforcement detects traces of cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and methamphetamine in 90 seconds. The system uses magnetic nanoparticles attached to ligands that bind to traces of these drugs. Once saliva has been placed inside the device, an electromagnet mixes the sample and the nanoparticles. Frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) — the same phenomenon that underlies fingerprint scanners and multitouch screens — is then used to measure a change to the refractive index. By immobilizing different drug molecules on different parts of a sensor surface, the analyzer is able to identify traces of each different drug. An electronic screen displays instructions and a simple color-coded readout of the results."
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Philips Develops Roadside Drug-Testing Device

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  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:16PM (#28943833)
    ...that we can ill-afford. I have a much better idea. Why not simply jail everyone from the get-go to save everyone time?
  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:18PM (#28943859) Homepage
    They should open the code and hardware specs to reduce the understandable suspicion we have of black box judicial devices [arstechnica.com].
  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_liek_turtles ( 1110703 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:19PM (#28943877)
    Can this tell the difference between intoxication and merely having used said drug in the past couple of days? While cannabis may be illegal, a DUI should not be warranted if you happen to test positive, given the long time it's present in your bloodstream.
  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:26PM (#28944013)

    The main issue with all 'drug tests' is the constant problem with false positives due to OTC products and supplements..

    As far as field testing for being 'impaired'? It's called a line walk. If you can walk a straight line, you can drive a straight line. The "No filed test' issue is pure BS, and everyone knows it.

    Bad enough that the rabid prohibition group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or NAMBLA, has lobbied the legal BAL so low that I can't legally drive after eating a piece of my mother's rum cake.. Now I'll have to worry about a false positive for coke, meth, etc. if I take the wrong vitamin or supplement? To Hell with that.

    'Land of the free' my hairy white pimple covered ass!

  • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:27PM (#28944025)

    ... so our government can keep being at 'war' with us.

    Drugs are a social health problem, not a criminal problem. Sadly our representatives and much of our populous lacks the maturity or the foresight to acknowledge this difference --- and thus the current moralist/criminalist approach leads to filled prisons and fines that leave us wondering why we're all such bad people.

    Wake up -- curiosity and susceptibility are not bad things. Given the change in availability and removal of black markets, most drugs only impact the individual -- and for 'other crimes' that people may commit on drugs, those acts are still criminal. Example: in a meth legal world, the addict is not treated like a criminal, but if she neglects her child she can still be held responsible for that neglect.

    Like I said, drugs are a health issue.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:29PM (#28944065) Journal

    This could go a long way towards treating other drugs like alcohol for driving purposes. One of the major roadblocks in legalization was no field test for driving while impaired.

    The sad thing is that the way alcohol is treated makes no sense. Statistics show that the overwhelming majority of accidents caused by drinking are caused by people with BACs of 0.15 or higher. Instead of paroling the roadways looking for these drivers (who are usually swerving all over the road -- how many times have you seen this with no police anywhere to be seen?) the police tend to sit outside bars and pull everybody over, looking for those who blow a hair over 0.08. These people are then arrested regardless of whether or not they show signs of actual impairment.

    Then there's the loss of our civil liberties that go along with the war on drunk driving. Random police roadblocks, "implied consent" laws and the 21 drinking age all come to mind. The fact that my 19 year old brother can join the army but can't legally buy a beer is offensive the notion of free choice and liberty. I find the fact that I have to drive through a roadblock on my way home at night just because my house happens to be near a bar to be particularly insulting. We are treated as though we are guilty until proven innocent and that is not how things are supposed to work in the United States.

    You also gotta love the interest groups that have sprung up around the issue. MADD has morphed over the years from an organization with a laudable enough goal (reduce drunk driving deaths) into a neo-prohibitionist organization that is waging a war on all drinking. If they had their way, booze would be taxed at a higher rate than tobbaco and every car sold in the US would have an ignition interlock system. The Founder of the organization left it sometime ago in disgust at what it has become.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Psyborgue ( 699890 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:33PM (#28944121) Homepage Journal
    If there is no way to tell if a person is intoxicated by their behavior, what exactly is the problem? Is the person really intoxicated then?
  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:35PM (#28944153)

    Not having a field test for marijuana isn't a reason that marijuana is still illegal. Hell if that was the reason it wouldn't be a schedule 1 drug, while Cocaine which is much much worse is only a schedule 2.

    Honestly, I don't think there is a clear reasoning at this point why marijuana is illegal. It just is.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mewsenews ( 251487 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:36PM (#28944167) Homepage

    One of the major roadblocks in legalization was no field test for driving while impaired.

    Yeah.. in addition to generations of fear-mongering and politicians without the cajones to appear "soft on crime".

  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Delwin ( 599872 ) * on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:36PM (#28944171)
    Just because they can walk a straight line within the sensory limits of the officer doesn't mean there isn't a 5% or 10% reduction in reaction time that can be the difference between life and death in a car.

    Then again being tired at the wheel is far more dangerous. There's just no good field test for that.
  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:39PM (#28944211) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't measure intoxication, which is why I have such a severe problem with drug testing in general. Some guy likes to smoke a joint on Friday night, for the next month he'll test positive for marijuana, even though he's never never been high at work, while another guy stoned to the gills on prescription vicodin gets a free pass just because the vicodin is legal with a prescription.

    I know some ignorant people who used to be pot smokers who are now addicted to crack cocaine because of drug testing. Pot use can be determined for a month, while the cheap tests employers use for cocaine can only detect that for three days. Knowing full well that they've been bullshitted by the government about pot, they figure that Nanny Government has been lying about crack, too. So they switch from pot to crack and wind up fired anyway, because they've become addicted and are smoking the stuff daily.

    I'd like some of the anti-nanny state conservatives here to answer something - why are you guys so much in favor of antidrug laws? These are the worst of nanny state laws. Why should my employer have any say in anything that doesn't affect my job performance? Why should the government have any say over what I put in my body so long as it doesn't endanger anyone else? I'm against impaired driving, as that puts me at risk, but so long as you don't drive or go bow hunting while stoned it doesn't affect anyone.

    And you "pro-choice" liberals, why is it OK to remove a fetus but not OK to insert a heroin syringe? Both camps seem pretty damned hypocritical to me.

  • by Dr_Ken ( 1163339 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:46PM (#28944307) Journal
    ... letting the "war on drugs" police-prison-industrial complex beat us into the ground (i.e., take away all vestiges of privacy, personal choice, and/or any sense of pleasure) with its ever advancing technology? We should just end the WOD already? It ain't nobody's business what drugs/substances I use, drink, smoke or eat if if it doesn't harm anyone else. We need to declare an end to this Nixon era nightmare so we can empty out the prisons, give cops something more productive to do and increase our revenues by taxing the dopers to recoup what we can from their vices. Drug abuse is a medical problem not a PPI one. So let's treat it that way before the PPI's tax subsidized techno mavens create a total (but drug free!) police state for us to live. (End of rant)
  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElSupreme ( 1217088 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:47PM (#28944337)
    But even if they are experience a 5% to 10% reduction of reaction time they are 'acceptably' able to drive. There are some people who are much better at driving than others. Why should it be illegial for them to be driving at 90% their ability when they are still way better than most?

    If there are NO signs of imparment then there should be no testing. Bad driving should be enforced, not arbitrary values like BAC and speed limits. The thing is it is easy to quantfy BAC (not accurately but easy to get a number) and speed limits. So thoes get enforced.
  • Re:Waste of money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:48PM (#28944339) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the dogs are cheaper. It's not illegal to have traces of ANY drug in your system; being intoxicated while driving is. This neither tests for intoxication nor indicates the possession of any drugs.

    This technology is useless, except for propaganda purposes.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hojima ( 1228978 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:49PM (#28944355)

    We're still a long way to legalizing cannabis. The biggest problem is the misinformation that organizations like DARE throw about. Hell, some of my friends still argue with me that THC is a hallucinogen and has a biological basis for addiction.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:55PM (#28944453) Journal

    Unfortunately, the disproportionate political influence they gained from fighting for their earlier, more generally supported, cause is often maintained far longer than it ought to be

    MADD's political influence is maintained because coming out against drunk driving is about the easiest thing a politician can do to demonstrate that he "gets it" and is "thinking about the children". About the only thing that's more effective than pandering to MADD is passing more laws against "sex offenders".

    Roaming offtopic here, but that's another issue that has gone way out of control. It started with the laudable goal of protecting our children from the real predators of the world (there actually are some....) and has since morphed into a system that forces a 17 year old to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life for having sex with his 16 year old girlfriend. WTF is wrong with that picture? Here's a novel idea: Lock up the real kiddie rapists for life and throw away the key (kinda renders all those discussions about registries a moot point, doesn't it?) and leave the poor 17 year old out of the criminal justice system.

  • Tiredness Test (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:57PM (#28944495) Homepage

    Personally I'd much rather see a test for melatonin levels than any narcotic. Driving while tired is much more common and more hence likely to cause accidents than drug use I think.

  • by sam0vi ( 985269 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:04PM (#28944613)

    The thing about drug-testing (not alcohol) for driving purposes that always leaves me wondering is: how the they know I'm positively high? Maybe I shared a joint a month ago with my buddies, and since THC is fat-soluble it lasts longer than any other controlled substance in your system. Maybe it doesn't last for so long in your saliva, but still there should be a threshold just like there is with alcohol ( >0.23 = your are busted, 0.23 = you can go now). How do they legally state that you are not ok to operate a motor vehicle?? In my opinion the only way to assess this would be by legalizing, and then restricting. This way it's just nuts.

  • Great! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:04PM (#28944619)
    Now if they could only invent a device that got rage drivers, drivers that talk on phones/text, drivers that do makeup, and drivers that read the paper we will have better roads.
  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:09PM (#28944703) Journal

    Honestly, I don't think there is a clear reasoning at this point why marijuana is illegal.

    Money. Prohibition is big business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:13PM (#28944761)

    most drugs only impact the individual

    What utter BS.

    Ask the children whos parents are into crack. Ask the friends and family if they would loan any money to a heroin addict? You even said so yourself they should be treated like criminals for the other things they do. But you make a distinction of what kind.

    From your statements I can see you do not understand the mind of an addict. They care nothing for anyone around them other than their next buzz. Or in the case of a heroin addict how they will feel 'normal' soon. They do not care. Many would sell their souls to get it. Many do and more. How can that NOT have an effect on those around them? You are applying the broken window fallacy to an addict.

    Rules (such as laws) are meant to help society. That breaking those rules do not 'harm anyone other than themselves' ignores other effects. Here is a contrived example but plays out every day. Say a couple has a baby. The mother has a sister who is into crack or meth or whatever. The couple needs to go to a social function at the mans work but can not bring the baby. So they have choices now 1) leave baby with sister 2) hire baby sitter 3) do not go. All have downsides to society at this point. 1) They can not trust that the sister will take care of the baby properly 2) now they are out 30-40 dollars to have someone watch their baby 3) social consequences at work for not going. So instead of being able to help her sister she is unable to do so because she is not even considered reliable. The family is poorer for it. Notice I did not even involve the other negative aspects that the 'black market' entails.

    Go on with your 'im sticking it to the man by smoking weed'. But guess what to the rest of us we see thru your crap or the crap you got from someone else. It is self delusional crap.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:14PM (#28944773) Journal

    Good, they should be. Why? Because *they're breaking the fucking law*.

    Oh, take your self-righteousness and shove it up your ass. Ever heard the expression "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."? Everybody breaks a law everyday in this country. It is impossible to be aware of every single local/state and federal law/regulation. You think your special? Think again asshole -- if they want to get you for something they will find a way to do so.

    But if you drive with a BAC over the legal limit, whatever that limit is, then you're breaking the law and you deserve to be thrown in jail. Period.

    Thanks for ignoring the points I made about how such a system is completely ineffective at stopping the drunk drivers who are actually killing innocent people. Every single police officer sitting outside the community bar or manning a roadblock is one less police officer that could be patrolling the streets looking for impaired drivers who are swerving all over the place or actual criminals intent on doing something far worse than driving under the influence.

    You may think it's just fine and dandy that they sit outside bars and arrest every poor slob who blows a cunt hair over 0.08 but such a system is completely counterproductive if the goal is to save lives and get the real drunks off the streets. Of course if the goal is to put a large number of people into the criminal justice system and make money for the insurance companies, well, mission accomplished.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aaandre ( 526056 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:17PM (#28944827)

    Given the complexity and spread of the current legislation, everyone one of us commits a crime, at least a couple a times a week.

    I guess we should focus on building more jails?

    http://www.dumblaws.com/ [dumblaws.com]

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:26PM (#28945043) Homepage Journal

    Please, everything is more dangerous then driving at .08%
    Talking to passengers while driving is worse, texting is worse, changing the music station is worse, drinking is worse, eating is worse, being tired is worse.

    I mean, if .08 was so bad, we would have nothing but smashed cars on the side of the road.

    How about re arrest people who are driving recklessly and put away this whole idea that a thing you do is what's bad.

    Stop with the DD laws, the texting laws the cell use laws.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:31PM (#28945137) Homepage

    Most of the studies I've read suggest that the detection range is usually less than a month for the occasional smoker

    That's still about, oh, 29.5 days too broad. So what if someone enjoys a joint over the weekend, or in the evening ? As long as they're not stoned at work, I couldn't care less. Why is marijuana more evil than alcohol ? Yesterday's partying was hella crazy, yet I'm perfectly capable of doing my job today because the booze has run its course and I've had plenty of time to sober up. My BAC is probably zero or very close to it, and I'm at no risk of getting in trouble for boozing 24 hours ago, so why should a pot smoker be treated any worse ?

  • this is why: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:33PM (#28945183) Homepage Journal

    http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20090804/NEWS/90804012/Wrong-way-Taconic-crash--Driver-Schuler-was-drunk&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL [poughkeepsiejournal.com]

    people don't act responsibly. your opinion about drugs and complete freedom to their access would be valid if everyone acted responsibly with drugs

    but people don't act responsibly with drugs, and so they must be controlled, simply because it cuts down on pointless tragedies

    you could counter that limiting people's freedoms is not a justifiable trade-off for making the world a safer place. and i agree with you, in general. but on a case-by-case basis, there are certain freedoms which aren't essential freedoms at all. freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of political opinion, etc: these are essential freedoms for the living of a complete life. but freedom to take drugs? not essential, and therefore completely valid for limitation and control

    you could also counter that the tragedy i linked to wasn't prevented by drug laws. but i don't think the war on drugs will ever be won, and i don't think they will prevent every tragedy. they will just decimate the number of pointless tragedies we would see if access to certain drugs was unfettered. drug control is like taking the trash out every thursday at your house: a maintenance function of civilization, not a holy crusade that will ever achieve any victory. so to criticize the war on drugs in that fashion is to not understand the whole point of it in the first place. there is no war on drugs, really, bad description. there is just taking the trash out every week. and that never ends

    and i also think marijuana should be completely legal, but do i want someone stoned driving? do YOU want someone stoned driving?

    so give your law enforcement personnel the tools to combat this behavior, and get off your holier-than-thou rant that assumes ridiculous notions about human behavior. your ridiculous notion: that we all act responsibly with drug use

    as a matter of unchanging ironclad fact of human nature, there will always be people who use drugs irresponsibly, like get behind the wheel stoned or drunk, and such people need to be monitored, controlled, and punished

    do you honestly believe there is any other way?

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:34PM (#28945207) Journal

    I have been through quite a few roadblocks, and never actually tested. It is simply a way to plain sight search everybody on the road (this is probably worse). In fact they brag that they brag about how less than half of their infractions are drunk driving some times.

    I think you've explained for the rest of us why allowing police roadblocks is a bad idea. Roadblocks are something that most people associate with dictatorships or countries under military occupation. The fact that American citizens have to be interrogated by the police to use the public roadways that we've paid for is a national disgrace.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aaandre ( 526056 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:38PM (#28945275)

    Stating the obvious reasons for criminalization.

    - "War on drugs" is very very profitable.
    - "War on drugs" gets every parent's vote.
    - Politicians are not interested in anything that will make them less electable, especially by moms and old ladies.
    - Decades-long framing of the idea of illegal drug use as criminal and bad.
    - Decades-long framing of the idea that if a politician changes their mind, they are/were stupid or unreliable, contrary to the fact that changing one's mind is usually a sign of evolving worldview. Politicians are terrified of "flip-flopping."
    - Politicians do not serve the people who elected them but money.
    - Often people who use mind altering substances have more open minds. Open minds see through the BS of political systems and oppression. It is very convenient to have a quick, easy way of condemning and removing open minds from the fabric of society and the Holy Inquisition is out of fashion.

    I am sure you can add more.

    Pro-choice and anti-choice battle is a great example of how politics works. We are given an issue that polarizes and divides us and focuses our energy on fighting each other and not the oppressive system that enslaves us. If you look at that issue you'll see that the reality is we can not stop women from attempting abortion in one way or another. It is not possible. This is not the real issue. A culture where money is more important than human beings, lack of support for and negative attitude towards single parents, the necessity to work endless hours and live disconnected from one's children, the monetization of human health and life, are all major contributers to the issue. Dealing with these would change the numbers but would require many, many of us to change the way we think and act, and namely to start actually caring for each other.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:44PM (#28945371) Journal
    It doesn't have to be FOSS, the hardware can be patented so no one could actually reproduce the device without paying a license fee, but having the designs independently verified ought to be a requirement for this kind of device.
  • "Double blind"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <[sorceror171] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:46PM (#28945399) Homepage

    i've done some double blind video tape tests of myself doing things stoned showing I am actually more coordinated.

    You mean you weren't sure whether or not you were stoned for half the tests?

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:51PM (#28945507) Homepage

    You've never driven stoned, have you?

    No, and you shouldn't either. Speaking for myself, I know for a fact I wouldn't be even remotely competent behind the wheel while intoxicated on marijuana.

    I know a *lot* of potheads and not one of them feels or acts impaired while driving stoned.

    Uhuh. I know people who claim they can drive safely whilst drunk, too. I don't believe them, either.

    Driving while impaired by anything, be it alcohol, marijuana, or cell phones, is a fucking idiotic thing to do. I don't care if you think you can do it, because, odds are, you actually can't. Why? Because people are notoriously difficult at judging their own competence at, well, anything, really.

    So, please, take your rationalizations and kindly shove them up your ass. You and your friends are a danger, and should quit acting like self-centered morons. If you feel the need to get stoned, take a fucking taxi or crash at someone's place. But for god sake, don't drive. You just give the government one more reason to make the rest of us criminals.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ironica ( 124657 ) <pixelNO@SPAMboondock.org> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:52PM (#28945527) Journal

    Actually, the even worse parts about the whole sex offender registry are:

    1) It makes explicit what we've known for a long time... our criminal justice system has no rehabilitation element. People come out of prison just as dangerous as when they went in, if not more so.

    2) It gives a false sense of security to parents. They warn their kids to stay away from the guy who GOT CAUGHT, when there's probably three other pervs in the area who never have been.

    I think those registries are an affront to society in a ton of ways. I will never look at them. Instead, I teach my kids to trust their instincts about people and follow normal safety rules. I never imply that they should allow someone to hug or kiss them just because it's a relative or friend; THEY always get to decide about their comfort level with affection. And I keep an eye on them.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @02:54PM (#28945569) Homepage
    If that is true, you have the best pot and the worst LSD in the world.
  • freedom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:08PM (#28945765) Homepage Journal

    you have every right to express your political opinion. in a totalitarian society you don't, but the arguments for why you shouldn't express your political opinion, as expressed by totalitarian societies, are logically invalid upon examination

    you do not have every right to use any drug you want. in a free and open democratic society, the pluses and minuses have been put up for debate, and it is found that those who use certian substances hurt society in myriad ways, far worse than any way laws against those drugs could hurt society. the reasons put forth for why you shouldn't use certain drugs are logically valid upon examination

    you have to understand that every freedom, actual and theoretical, exists in tension with other people's freedoms. for example: freedom of expression. in most cases you should have it. but should you be free to shout fire in a crowded theatre? of course not, because you put other people's freedoms, namely, the right to live, in jeopardy. see? there is a natural logical reason to limit your freedom of expression, no fascist dystopian government need apply

    there will ALWAYS be a limit on your freedoms, in EVERY society, real and theoretical. what you have to do is stop looking at every limit on your freedom as some sort of march of fascism. its intellectually dishonest of you. some limitations on your freedom are perfectly valid and completely logical and completely unlike your unfounded fears of some mythical march of fascism

    in the minds of intellectual simpletons, the difference between an unfree society and an free society is the difference between george orwell and complete anarchy: ridiculous simplistic extremes

    in REALITY, the difference between a free and unfree society is a CONTINUUM of RELATIVE limitations and guarantees on freedom, in which there will ALWAYS be some limitations that will ALWAYS exist out of simple logical and reason stemming from the undeniable fact that your freedoms exist in tension with other people's freedom

    example: your right to listen to music as loud as you want. my right to get a good nights sleep

    example: your right to drive as fast as you want. my right to live

    example: your right to set off fire works. my right to not have my roof catch fire

    etc., etc., etc.

    please understand the issues surrounding innate freedoms more logically, and think of it less in terms of your unbridled fears of marching fascism

  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:19PM (#28945935)

    Another fucked up consequence of those registers is that it reinforces the idea that strangers are the threat.
    And so the concerned parents leave little suzy with oh so familiar uncle Mcbuggery while they go out to lynch anyone who's name sounds a little bit like that of someone on the register.

    Strangers aren't the danger, it's friends and family who are most likely to rape your kids.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong ( 1584383 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:24PM (#28945991)

    Did I say that "because something is against the law does NOT mean that it should be"? No. I didn't. What I said was, if someone is driving with a BAC level over the limit they should be thrown in jail.

    Really? You try to respond to me and simply reiterate the main point in your argument that I took issue with? As I said previously, this is a common logical fallacy known as 'begging the question'. The topic at hand was the legitimacy and efficacy of a .08% BAC and your just barge in with BLARG IT'S THE LAW THEY SHOULD GO TO JAIL FOR BREAKING THE LAW, which is totally worthless to the conversation. We all know that it is against the law, and we all know what the legal limit is. If you want to defend the .08% limitation, that's fine. Do that. But you add nothing to the conversation by just reiterating that it is against the law. Oh, and if you want to talk about straw men:

    Or do you really believe that people should be allowed to drive with arbitrary levels of alcohol in their blood?

    For real? You really think that is what I am arguing for? I am saying we ought to possibly reassess the way we determine intoxication -- why not impose a more rigorous form of performance based testing (and I am not talking about the Field Sobriety Test, we have much more sophisticated tests than that). That way, we can keep overly tired people from driving as well, since they are, after all, every bit as dangerous as drunk drivers. I am arguing that an arbitrary limit may not be the best way to go about it.

  • market prices (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:44PM (#28946329) Homepage Journal

    The junkies and crime deal is primarily brought about because of astronomical street prices because drugs are a high demand black market product(s). If all this stuff was legal, it would be cheap, so cheap, no crime/robberies necessary to "afford" it. A $200 daily "habit" might hit two bucks if it was legal, and that would be with fancy packaging. Think bags of sugar, how much do they cost? The real price of now illegal drugs would be closer to that than "street prices" are now. Crime related to that would be approaching zero.

    Half the police departments, an entire federal agency, half the judges, could be "let go" to go try and find some productive work, and we could close half the prisons. And a lot of hospital emergency rooms wouldn't look like a warzone triage effort every evening. And the "news" people would have to actually go and find some important stuff to investigate and write about. And mexico could maybe have a chance of building a real nation..and so on, too many positive results would be garnered from dropping drug prohibition. Ya, it would be the lesser of two evils, but right now we are still stuck with all the negative aspects of abusive drug use, PLUS the artificially negative created aspects of keeping them "illegal".

    Liquid drugs prohibition did not work, it was a *total failure* and just made things worse (organized crime gangs prospered, official corruption soared, joe average had to worry about being a "criminal" or who he might need to payoff to avoid getting busted, etc).

      Dry and leafy drug prohibition today is exactly the same, just moreso. It is the height of stupidity, but it's great and hugely profitable for both the huge organized crime gangs, the corrupt officials who take bribes (thousands of them, plus all the corrupt banks and real estate people and restaurants, etc who launder money), and for the mercenary poseur "drug warriors", lawyers, judges, the private prisons system that has developed, and various politicians. Job security for all those people. Well paid, too. It also, and this is even worse, has conditioned society to accept no knock raids, shooting people because "they made a furtive gesture", random stops, etc. That part is really really sucky. People got state sponsored terrorized into accepting half way to total big brother, literally scared into it.

    It's ludicrous, and it is harmful for society to keep those things illegal. Yes, a lot of people will still get really fucked up if it was legal..they are anyway, that's a zero sum game to argue that point. There are no credible stats available to show that "drug use" is any higher now than back when all of this was still legal. And violent crime is much higher since two things occurred in our "justice" system, making drugs illegal, and instituting the two or three strikes laws.

      Now that folks who are facing life with no parole are up against a decision to make in a split second, they mostly go "fuggit" and resort to violence, either to avoid arrest or to "leave no witnesses", etc.

    People like to talk about the US "wild wild west" as being somehow more dangerous and scary. On the contrary, there was much less crime back then. Almost everything was legal, and if you were a persistent REAL bad guy, a for-real "threat to society", your recidivism rate was quite low, because some local citizen would just cap you in mid crime and that would be that.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tixxit ( 1107127 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:11PM (#28946705)
    You are the exception. I used to skateboard back in high school. Everyone always thought they were better when they were high. I can't remember a single person who was (myself included), they all just didn't realize how much more they sucked.
  • Re:Legalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:24PM (#28946911) Homepage

    No it's not. It's a big drain on business. That's why alcohol was legalized again, it brought in more money for more people and businesses then prohibiting it.

    You're thinking of the "big picture", as in total cost versus total profit for our society at large. Think instead think solely in terms of those who benefit from prohibition -- everyone who makes a chemical that THC could compete with, the prison industry, and so on -- because those are the ones who keep pushing to continue the status quo. They don't give a fuck about society at large, they care about their own pockets, and for them, prohibition is big business.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyphercell ( 843398 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:24PM (#28946915) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, this is as much flamebait as the great grandparent. Your higher power could be anything, if you're losing your job over weed or getting DUIs, you aren't exactly one to talk about fallacies.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tixxit ( 1107127 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:43PM (#28947207)
    But we all make these decisions all the time. Just you choosing to drive puts a lot of people at risk. You could walk or bike to that store, but instead put pedestrians and others at risk by driving there. Going over the speed limit, again, adding to the risk (I know, you never speed right?). I know you'd definitely not answer the phone while driving. Certainly never get into an in-depth conversation with a passenger while driving either. Long day at work and crappy sleep? You wouldn't drive, I'm sure. How about if you are sick? Angry? Preoccupied with a problem at work? Blood sugar crashing after eating some carbs? Part of living in most societies is accepting the risks that come with certain freedoms and privileges. Clearly, not all risks are acceptable, but you can't just categorically say something is bad because there is risk involved. If you want to argue that impaired driving is bad, fine, I'm with you there, but you need to show the risk is unacceptable, not that there is simply additional risk.
  • Re:Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @04:53PM (#28947351) Journal

    Now, what would you assume? That it was some guy trying to save a little time? Or someone who was impaired and trying to avoid getting caught?

    Well, obviously. He knew he'd get stopped. He even said why he did it:

    Looking for some entertainment...

    Now, as far as the point of his anecdote goes, he was wondering how he blew a .02 when he hadn't been drinking at all, and what that says about the accuracy of the magic number that we get when we blow into this device.

  • Re:Legalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @05:07PM (#28947551) Journal
    And if the decision of an unimpaired, but less-skilled driver puts people at *more* risk than the impaired but skilled driver, then that less-skilled driver shouldn't be permitted on the road. Because, quite frankly, their decision to drive even without as much skill as the most skilled driver at all puts others at risk on the road, and that sort of decision isn't acceptable for a member of society.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @05:49PM (#28948091) Journal

    And if the person is just slow to begin with?

    They should NOT be driving. Next question?

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury