All-inclusive Holidays & the Legalisation of Drugs

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We arrived back yesterday evening from fifteen days in Agadir, on the coast of Morocco. We had planned to go to escape the the darkness and snow of a Finnish winter. However, global warming meant that there was no snow to escape.

Last summer was extraordinarily hot and dry, and this winter has seen no real snow. There have been flurries but no adults have been skiing and no children have been sledging. Instead the temperature has hovered around the zero mark producing the worst effect possible. Snow falls for an hour or so and then melts and then freezes. In a normal winter the snow-ploughs sweep away the snow and throw grit onto the ground. So far this winter it has not been snowy enough to bring out the bobcats, and so the ground is treacherous.

We stayed at the Caribbean Village, my first experience of an all-inclusive holiday.

Upon arrival we were equipped with a rock-festival-like wrist band which entitled us to unlimited food and drink. “Unlimited drink” included all known alcohol, and so it was possible for the enthusiastic to drink gin and tonic continuously from ten o’clock in the morning until midnight.

Observation soon suggested that, faced with this unusual situation, almost everybody followed a similar pattern. On the first day they ate a bit too much and got tipsy. On the second day they ate far too much and got drunk. From the third day on they ate more or less normally and drank less and less. By the second week most people were drinking soft drinks by the pool and less and less at dinner.

Personally I find even Diet Coke too sweet in large doses, and I settled on a possibly eccentric 50/50 mix of orange juice and tonic water. Eventually the barmen got used to it, and just prepared it without asking when I hove into view

Why did this remind me of the legalisation of drugs? Because one of the main argument that is advanced against even discussing the possibility of legalising drugs is that the result would be a nation of incapacitated addicts. The all-inclusive holiday suggests another possibility – self-regulation. This has always seemed a much more likely outcome to me. It was, however, good to see some tangential and anecdotal evidence for this.

In the interests of science, then, I should point out that we got drunk twice after the second day. Once was when we visited the nightclub to see what it was like, and the answer is “I don’t remember”. The second time was an entertaining private occasion. I should also point out that some people seemed fairly drunk most of the time, although nobody appeared drunk to the point of danger or self-destruction.

But that is to be expected. If drugs were legalised then some people would become hopeless addicts, some people would never touch the stuff, and most people would act the same way as they acted with alcohol at the Caribbean Village.

By the way, some of the best and most cogent arguments for the political, social and medical reasons for legalising drugs have been advanced by Thomas Szasz, particularly in his book Ceremonial Chemistry.

Posted on January 12, 2007