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April 2010
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In an alternate universe

Here’s a fun little thinking exercise for you.

I do my fair share of writing science fiction in my head (ie, daydreaming) and here’s one I thought I’d share.

Imagine, if you will, a device, about the size of a phone booth, that can instantly sober up anyone. A built-in computer detects any substance anywhere in your body at the molecular level, and then can remove it all in seconds by acting through a parallel dimension. It could remove all traces of alcohol, pot, heroin, cocaine, etc., making you instantaneously sober (without the hangover or headache). There would be absolutely no residue — you could pass any drug test no matter how sophisticated.

There would probably be a little shimmer, like with a Star Trek transporter, but the only molecules going anywhere would be the ones you didn’t want.

Of course, such a device could also probably be calibrated to go after cancer cells and other bad things, but let’s not worry about that right now.

One good place to install these booths would be in drinking establishment. Let’s say we charge $5 for the process and the bar keeps half. Other businesses might install them as well, or, perhaps there would even be a home version. Stopping by one of these before taking a drug test would guarantee that you’d pass it.

Seems to me that this would be a pretty handy device.

Here’s the question… How would prohibitionists react to it?

MADD?
Drug Czar’s Office?
Law Enforcement?
Representative Mark Souder?
Drug Treatment Industry?
Bensinger/Dupont/etc.?
Drug Testing Industry?

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10 comments to In an alternate universe

  • daksya

    Clearly, this device would obstruct JUSTICE by removing evidence of CRIMES; also, by preventing withdrawal, it would eliminate a major symptom of some drug use, esp. chronic opioid use – that’s a big no-no for sado-moralists.

  • denmark

    Was wondering when M A D D would come up in the discussion.
    Reason for the wondering is because they are the ones most likely pushing the false ‘drugged driving’ agenda. I don’t want to go to their website but my guess is we’d surely see ‘drugged driving’ there.
    NORML had mentioned some time ago that M A D D was the biggest opponent during legislation regarding ending prohibition, or some such thing.

    As for the device, it probably already exists darling, but the government doesn’t want to lose any more power over the masses than it has now. Tesla anyone???

  • Steve

    Outrage! How dare you cheat the consequences of your immoral behavior? What kind of message does that send to our children?

  • Nick z

    And then there are the prohibitionists who are really just in it for the profit. They would oppose the device initially, but if it became widely popularized, they would attempt to take control of it and profit from it also.

    They might do something like turn it into a huge money-maker by controlling the industry that produces them and find a way to water the effect down so that the devices are not quite as effective, and then invent some kind of excuses for making the device work in cooperation with Big Pharma (the vampire in everyone’s bedroom).

  • paul

    MADD: “Great! These devices should be miniaturized and installed in your car’s air conditioning with ignition locks that prevent driving without using the device. We need a national campaign to raise awareness!”

    Drug Czar’s office: “This machine is a menace to public health and safety. The device doesn’t change the fact that you can become psychologically dependent on drugs, and not everyone will use the device. Also, some people will OD before they can reach the machine and die. Kids will also think there are no consequences to drug usage, (even though with the machine that’s pretty much true) and may ignore our warnings. So let’s keep drugs illegal and ban the machine. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

    Law enforcement: Arrests! Drugs are illegal, and so is public intoxication. Just because you used the machine to clear out your system doesn’t mean you didn’t just commit a crime getting drunk at the bar, or doing drugs in the bar. As a matter of fact, the machine destroys evidence and obstructs justice, so drug addicts trying to hide their crimes with this machine should be charged with those crimes, too.

    Mark Souder: Drug use is an immoral act that should be punished. The machine should be banned, since it both encourages and hides drug use. I’ve attached a rider to some vital legislation that will be very difficult to remove without killing the bill to ensure the safety of our children. I’ve also earmarked funds for a study at a university coincidentally located in my state that will show the machine actually increases addiction rates and causes cancer.

    Drug treatment industry: Lots of people are psychologically addicted to drugs, and these machines won’t stop that. The machines should be banned because it allows people to give in to their addictions and believe there are no consequences. The machines should also be banned because they will reduce the number of clients forcibly sent to us by the courts, but we won’t actually make that argument in public.

    Chemical industry: Why should we care? Just to hedge our bets, we’ve decided to invest in companies that supply parts to the drug machine manufacturing company, rather than the company itself, so people won’t be able to see us investing in a drug culture company. If the machine is going to be banned, we’ll get early word of the ban from our contacts in congress and dump our shares before the news hits the internet.

    Drug testing industry: This machine is clearly all about hiding signs of drug use, so it ought to be banned. But if we can’t get it banned, we’ll try and sell more field detection kits in case you think your employees are getting high on the job. We’re also developing a scientifically dubious test that can detect the presence of drug metabolites and by-products in the blood we will claim the machine fails to remove.

  • Servetus

    People wouldn’t need assholes anymore. And assholes, AKA prohibitionists, could be eliminated in a really big way.

    Sure, a new and improved super enema machine can be programmed to extract poop, drugs and metabolites. But the Super-Enema should also be programmed to suck the gene segments out of people that cause them to think and act like prohibitionists. No more authoritarians. No more prohibs. No more prohibition.

    As for the whole drug prohibition industry, there would be a moment, one often experienced by the typical American worker, of finding oneself made obsolete by some revolutionary new technology, in this case, a Super-Enema machine. A prohib identity crisis might loom. Psychotherapy and drug therapy might be required. At least with the authoritarian genetic component removed, the prohibs wouldn’t be seeking some new outgroup to persecute.

  • Holly Mathis

    I took the dare to say no to drugs & ended up with a gambling problem!!! It’s a DAMN good thing that I am a RESPONSIBLE gambler!!!

  • Holly Mathis

    yes!!! you got that right!!!! mathISpower!!!! & i

    “AM” the “BOSS” of me!!!!

  • Rich

    A related thought experiment: What happens when nanotechnology gets to the point where for $100 you can buy a black box that will assemble arbitrary molecules from simple (eg, dirt) raw materials? And that device can be programmed to make any molecule. Sort of a primitive replicator, I guess…

    Even if it operates at a billion assembly operations per second, very potent drugs will be favored by those inclined to use the technology for the production of psychoactive materials. All else being equal, a more potent drug is more dangerous, if only fron the increased chances of accidental overdose.

    A public health approach would encourage legalizing the less potent natural substances, perhaps. A prohibitionist would either ban the machine outright or place it under armed guard with lots of restrictions on what it can be allowed to make (muzzling the horn of plenty, as it were).

    A fundamentalist would declare the machine to be the work of Satan and then whine about how they’re being oppressed.