Monday, February 19, 2007

How Should we Fight the War on Drugs?

Alec Douglas Home once said: "There are two problems in my life. The political ones are insoluble and the economic ones are incomprehensible".

This quote sprang to mind when I saw The Independent's front page this morning. POLICE CHIEF CALLS FOR HEROIN TO BE AVAILABLE ON THE NHS. The strapline read - Addicts should be given drugs on prescription to stop them turning to crime, says Britain's most senior officer. The senior officer is question is the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Ken Jones.

Call me old fashioned, but I have a zero tolerance of drugs. I left a party once when I saw someone smoking a joint. It's just the way I am. So I am all in favour of fighting a so-called war on the wretched things. But I do keep asking myself the question: is the war on drugs winnable?

Seventy per cent of crime in urban areas is now drug related. So should we start thinking the unthinkable and actually doing what Ken Jones is suggesting? I still can't quite bring myself to advocate it, but the fact that I can even treat such a suggestion seriously shows how the debate has moved on. Here's Ken Jones justification...
"I was a drugs officer and we have to be realistic. There is a hardcore minority
who are not in anyway shape or form anxious to come off drugs. They think 'I am
going to go out there and steal, rob, burgle and get the money to buy it'. What
are we going to do - say 'OK we are going to try and contain this by normal
criminal justice methods' and fail, or are we going to look at doing something
different? Start being a bit more innovative. It is about looking at things in a
different way without turning away completely from the current position."
He added that drug prices in some areas of the UK had reached a historic low, which
he conceded was a good indicator that drugs were readily available.
He said: "I am not in any shape or form a legaliser, but what I am concerned with is that we have to shape up to some tough realities. We don't have enough treatment
places for those who want to go on them. What we need is a cross-party consensus
which considers the overwhelming public view to be tough on the roots of drugs,
as well as treating its victims."
Studies on heroin prescription in the Netherlands and Switzerland found significant reductions in illicit drug use among those receiving the treatment. Both the Swiss and Dutch reported a drop in the crimes committed by their addicts. The widespread prescription of heroin in Britain was phased out in the 1960s. GPs in England and Wales have the legal power to prescribe heroin, but do so extremely rarely. The UK has 327,466 hardcore "problem drug users" who are regularly using either heroin, crack or cocaine. A report by Glasgow University last year found that fewer than 4 per cent of heroin addicts beat their habit with methadone. There are an estimated 40,000 problem heroin users using methadone.
Mr Jones said that he knew of one region where many years ago doctors had prescribed heroin to try to deal with problem addicts. "There are junkies who are alive today who would have been dead now," he said. "Their lives are stable, yes, their addiction is being maintained, but far better they are being maintained than them trying to get their fix off the street from crime. Heroin is an incredible stimulator of crime and I think we are foolish if we don't acknowledge that."

Up to now I have always taken the view that if you can deal with the dealers and the traffickers you should be able to keep the drug problem at manageable levels. But the trouble is we have failed in that and the drugs which are coming into the country are very different and far stronger than they used to be. That does not mean to say we shouldn't redouble our efforts to bang up the dealers for a very long time, but at the moment they are not deterred. the likelihood of being caught is fairly minimal and the sentencing is sometimes laughable.

So what do you think? Do we need to take a radically different approach to the war on drugs?

134 comments:

Londontory said...

I read somewhere that contrary to popular opinion, heroin is not particularly addictive and that even regular heavy users can come off it (medically speaking) easily. Given the right treatment we should be able to get people off heroin and our of the crime cycle without making it even more widely available.

Anonymous said...

Iain, the 'war' on drugs cannot be won. In the same way as the 'war' on Al-Qaeda cannot be won in the sense of the Second World War. There are no defined geographic boundaries, and there is no 'structure' - rather an ill-defined group of people in cells.

People seem hugely opposed to giving drugs to addicts, but the alternative is asking them to go 'cold turkey'.

This isn't going to happen, but if they were offered drugs in exchange for a programme where they were weaned off that might help.

Of course, prevention is better than cure, and the answer to that is better education about the effects. That would dampen down the demand. By all means come down on users and dealers like a ton of bricks - if you can catch them - but that in itself is not going to solve the problem.

A big step would be to have strong border controls. Just as we can't control or limit the amount of crap and spam and porn on the internet. we can invest in a good quality firewall. The firewall at our borders is non-existent and so even the deterrent effect has been lost.

kinglear said...

I have said for over 20 years that drugs should be dealt with as a) taxable b) prescribed by the NHS and c)all illicit dealing violently discouraged. After all, this is in essence the situation we have with drink and tobacco, out of which the government does quite nicely. We also have to be serious about education on drugs ( there's that word again) and on rehab. So far, the NHS spends some £5billion a year dealing with overdoses etc, and about 50p on rehab.
Like you I am utterly against drugs, I don't smoke and I only drink abroad, but what Jones says ( the war is unwinnable) is correct. The real problem is that there are literally millions of people who are disregarding the law, and that only breeds contempt for the legal system and all its officers.

Praguetory said...

I advocate free heroin (and rehabilitation) to addicts. It would pull the rug from underneath dealers reducing the number of new addicts. Crack dealers should have the book thrown at them and users should be charged unless they finger a dealer.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

The current system is clearly inadequate at dealing with the scale and complexity of the problem. We need to start looking at different approaches and recognise that there is ALWAYS going to be drug addict, and a supply of drugs to fuel this addiction. I don't know if prescription heroin is an approach that will work, but it's certainly right to be asking these types of questions. NHS funding is obviously a concern but prescriptions could be a good way of bringing addicts back into the system where help and support are available and there is a better chance of reform in the longer-term. There are wider cost/benefit considerations here. It would be safer for everyone if people were going to their doctors and local chemist, rather than a local dealer.

MAC

Anonymous said...

This issue, and subsequent panacea, are by no means black and white.

The fact is though that the addicts as well as the dealers are criminals. That is the law and not an opinion.

Take away the criminal element and you take away the criminals, introduce regulation (taxation anyone?!) and much safer drugs. It's the blackmarket nature of the drugs trade that makes it so dangerous.

I don't have an answer but the absolute hard line and the idiocy of any zero tolerance policy is just not going to fix it.

A new direction is required.

Anonymous said...

When talking about drugs you have to think about alcohol and tobacco too. How do they fit into your world view?

Heres an interesting article on the legalisation of drugs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/drugs/Story/0,,506559,00.html

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Licensed sales would cut crime, cut the profits of crime, and reduce the stress on our criminal justice system produced by dealing in the courts with addicts who should really be dealt with by medically trained personnel, not judges.

As an aside - Nicotine is known to be more addictive than heroin incidentally and causes far moe mortality.

verity said...

Like London Tory, I too have read that coming off heroin is relatively easy. Easier, experts will tell you, than quitting smoking. But it's a psychological, rather than a physical dependency. Other drugs are harder to ditch,

Anyway, I would agree that hard drugs should be available on prescription for the reasons stated, plus, with a regular supply, some of them may overdose and remove themselves from the food chain. Others will die young. So I don't see a downside to this suggestion.

Chris Carter said...

Zero tolerance has failed, as alcohol prohibition failed.
Indeed, not only has it failed to achieve its direct goal, it has caused and continues to cause massive harm through the criminalisation of large numbers of people and the creation of a large number of unnecessary victims of burglary, robbery, mugging, and murder.

Iain - your question answers itself.

dizzy said...

Pains me as it does to say, but I actually agree entirely with Johan Hari today.

The gun crime we've seen in the last week is linked to drugs because of prohibition. And as Hari points out, Milton Friendman identified this with prohibition and Al Capone: "Al Capone epitomises our earlier attempt at Prohibition; the Crips and Bloods epitomise this one."

Legalise, regulate, tax and you will remvoe amultibillionaire criminal indusrty overnight.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

You said that you left a party because someone was smoking a joint - it wasn't David Cameroon at the last conference was it?

MAC

esquared said...

londontory, you're thinking of the rat park experiments:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park

An incredibly large number of London professionals under the age of 30 must use cocaine, very few have serious problems. Why not give people the freedom to make their own minds up as to what they consume, it's their body. Tax the product to pay for any negative externalities.

Adam said...

I think that, as conservatives, we should really take a cynical, realistic look at reality. That reality certainly does appear to be that 'drug wars' don't work. In addition to that, why the hell should the government be intruding? People should be able to do what they like when it doesn't affect others; that's why we can drink alcohol so long as we don't drive. I don't care to take drugs myself, but I don't give a toss if other people wish to. I'm not sure about giving it ou on the NHS; I'd make it legal for sale.

Newmania said...

Glad to see noone agrees with Peter Hitchens who was pontificating about this in the mail yesterday. At the very least we should legalise all the drugs I take which are nice ones.
Its alright for you to be zero tolerance Iain you don`t enjoy anything.

except pies.....

Londontory said...

This is what I mentioned earlier - Dr. "Dalrymple" is an interesting man for those who haven't read any of his books.

http://tinyurl.com/o3t5h

Mostly Ordinary said...

I’ve never believed that the legalisation of class A drugs has ever been a sensible solution to the drug problems of this country. If you are too debilitated by drugs that the only way to fund the habit is by committing crimes or begging if you have to buy it from a dealer or Boots is immaterial. The entire history of the ‘War on Drugs’ has been written by people who believe that drug addicts are scum who can be legislated out of existence.

Never one to believe that Politician’s are thick I choose to believe that they ignore the overwhelming evidence that the prescription of heroin, cocaine etc more often than not removes the need to commit crime to pay for the drugs. I guess no-one who leads a political party wants the headline ‘Tories to give free drugs to junkies’ splashed across the Daily Mail. Well that’s leadership for you making the tough choices based on the evidence to hand.

Subsidising a drug addict offers the possibility of moving them out of the Criminal Justice system into the Health Care system. Who knows maybe some of them will overcome there addiction? Is the cost of a sedating a crime-free heroin addict on his drug of choice in the community cheaper that dragging them through the legal process which will only result in them ending on the street committing more crime?

Surely reducing the market for drugs makes easier to find those who selling this crap?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

About time somebody started thinking outside the box,it's illegal but has economic value ,therefore somebody supplies it ,sounds like some goverments ,yes make it legal ,tax it ,with any luck people will slow down using it because it is legal.

jailhouselawyer said...

I think the top cop is talking sense. If you and Dave are to get on Iain, you will need to change your zero tolerance policy on drugs to fall into line with his more tolerant approach to drugs.

ConservativeHomo said...

Providing or selling drugs to addicts would reduce criminality, but if this route is chosen we need a way to deal with the harm that would continue to the users. Expansion of rehab is crucial, even with the recognition that is will often fail.

A realistic admission that the War on Drugs has failed would be highly welcome, although I doubt Mr Cameron is in a position to do it wihout inviting more smear attempts.

Tim Worstall said...

More Friedman on the subject.
http://www.fff.org/freedom/0490e.asp

Just legalise them all, please, before our current idiotic policies kill any more people.

AnyoneButBlair said...

Allowing free methodone on the NHS has to be a good idea, as anything that might help out apalling societal drugs problem other than the current stasis has to be a step in the right direction.
However do drugs cause crime, or do we have criminals who use and deal in drugs? If we remove the drugs will the criminals suddenly convert to a life of honesty? I think not. Will the toe-rags who nicked my car "drugs related, mate" said Brighton fuzz...will they suddenly start working for the NHS or work in a Call Centre..again I think not!
We have an underclass of drug-using criminals and dealers who will continue to be criminals (it's their chosen lifestyle and profession) whether the drugs are there or not. How many times do I have to despair of the current concensus that drugs cause crime. No we have criminals who use drugs. Yes crime helps pay for drugs, but we are very naive to believe that cutting off the drugs by making them free will stop the crime. For example, how many times do you hear NuLab or other social commentators bemoan the recidivism rate of convicted criminals. Why do they reoffend? Is it beacuse of the lack of education, training, TVs & iPods in Jail? Or is it because they are er, criminals?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I would give drugs to those who want them.If they want to kill themselves they should be free to make that decision.

It is a war and we need to fight.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with legalising & taxing.

I feel a petition to No. 10 coming on....though be better if it came from you Iain...

Roger Thornhill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Well said Guido.

The two key points here are:

1) Criminalising drug use deters almost no-one and turns vast sections of the population into criminals. If they insist on using drugs, let's at least make them cheap, clean and supplied from non-criminal sources.

The new affordable price will negate the need for users to commit crime to raise the money to pay for them. And we can spend the money saved from a reduced need for policing, on drugs education and rehabilitation.

2) There is a glaring historical precedent which demonstrates emphatically the completely lunacy of banning a drug (or drugs)which millions of people want to take. That precedent is the Prohibition era in the US, which criminalised a great swathe of America and led to an explosion in organised crime which still bedevils the US today. The Prohibition Act was eventually recognised as being so damaging to the fabric of American society, that it was repealed.

The UK is currently in the middle of its own prohibition era, and until drugs are legalised once and for all, all law abiding people will continue to suffer appalling and unprecedented levels of street crime, burglaries, car crime etc.

I hold no brief for drugs - in fact I detest them - but we need to consider alternative methods (to criminalisation) of dissuading people from using them.

These could include similar sanctions to those we deploy against misuse of alcohol i.e. 'Drug driving' laws being heavily enforced, employers being allowed to discipline employees under the influence of drugs, etc.

What is clear, though, is that the status quo can not continue. Because it has, quite simply, failed, with appalling consequences for our society.

Danvers said...

If doctors want to prescribe something to cure a dangerous addiction, they should be allowed to do so, and should not be prevented from doing so because the drug itself is illegal.

However, so that this doesn't become an additional source of supply on the streets, the recovering addict would have to have the drug administered by the doctor in controlled surroundings. If heroine were legalised in this context, it is hard to see how anyone could object but it might not receive universal approval from the addicts themselves.

verity said...

adam - the only way to get rid of drug dealers and attendant high prices for drugs is to cut them out of the scenario. That means free drugs to addicts.

The dealers would have to find alternate employment, as would the mules and the wholesalers.

If the entire anglosphere agreed to act in concert, that would finish the drug industry as it is structured today.

Hannibal said...

Iain,

Another Independent article (referred to above) by Johann Hari is very good today.

And here's the best section:

http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_a_l/johann_hari/article2283952.ece

Here's how it works. By criminalising the trade in cannabis, cocaine and heroin, we don't make the drugs disappear. We simply hand this multi-billion pound industry - around 3 per cent of Britain's GDP - to armed gangs. A fortnight ago, two of the most powerful drug dealers in south London were sent to prison, so a slew of gangs is now fighting to take over their patch, their trade and their profits. The boys who are being gunned down are rivals for these riches. They will keep shooting their opponents until one gang emerges as the clear winner, or until a few gangs band together in an obviously unbeatable alliance.

So these gun-toting posses of kids have not tooled up simply to play the Big Man and look like Snoop Dogg (though no doubt it's an incidental pleasure). This is not Columbine-style senseless violence. It is happening for hard economic reasons. Milton Friedman, the late Nobel Prize-winning economist, understood this. He explained: "Al Capone epitomises our earlier attempt at Prohibition; the Crips and Bloods epitomise this one."

He saw a central truth. Guns are not inherent to the sale of drugs. They are only inherent to the sale of drugs under prohibition. Go to a pub or off-license in Hackney, and you'll find that Oddbins and Costcutters are not engaged in a turf-war. The Tesco Posse and the Sainsbury's Massive are not taking out each other's homies over the right to sell Tetley's Bitter. Why? Because their trade is not subject to prohibition. If somebody tries to steal their stock, they can call the police.

But prohibited substances can only be protected with private force. That's why the underground bars in Chicago needed Capone's guns, and why today - according to Scotland Yard estimates - 95 per cent of the guns in Britain are linked to the drugs trade. Friedman calculated that there are 10,000 additional murders in the US every year as a result of drug prohibition: a vast mass grave of slaughtered dealers, their families, and (mostly) random people caught in the crossfire. We are now building a replica-pit in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Out of interest, did you ever leave a party where someone underaged got drunk? Or is it only certain illegal activities that upset you so much?

AussieGooner79 said...

Iain,

Legalise, regulate and tax.

Massive income for the Treasury, massive drop in crime.

If you can bear to, read High Times by Ben Elton while you're on the plane this weekend.

Coincidently I too am flying off this weekend, but in the other direction to yourself. I'm spending a weekend in Amsterdam for my birthday with my missus and we'll enjoy the various delights available in a safe and responsible manner before returning to our respective jobs next week. Why shouldn't we be able to do the same here?

Yak40 said...

It was once available on the NHS if I remember right. Why did it stop ?

wrinkled weasel said...

These "legalisers" forget that you are going to end up with an army of state registered zombies.

That means, treatment for life and a drain on health services, an unproductive person who is totally reliant on state handouts, and a danger to society who will ultimately die of heroin-related health problems. Not only that, a tacit understanding will be apparent that it is ok to take heroin because the state will look after you. We went down that road with single mothers, and it has gotten us nowhere.

What we need to do is to stop fighting in Afghanistan and spend the money saved on stricter, more efficient border controls. Tougher penalites for pushers and zero tolerance of drug-related crime.

If you make it difficult for the money men it will make them go somehwere else.

The next thing is for the leaders in this country to admit that we have imported a lot of this problem from former colonies.

We are living the result of nice fluffy liberal policies on immigration and the wholescale flooding of our country with cultural and ethnic groups who do not share the our sense of responsibility to the maintaining of a civilised society.

Yes, I am tempted to vote BNP. And the reason is that no decent political party has the balls to say what is really going on here and do something about it.

mordonian said...

Make 'cold turkey' part of the sentence if caught ... simple as that!

The Hitch said...

Iain the problem is people take drugs because they enjoy them, banning drugs is like banning sex if I may be specific criminalising homosexuality, even if you have draconian penalties as in singapore people will still buy/sell and use them. Same with sex, once upon a time gay sex meant prison or the rope it didn't mean people stopped having sex.
I haven't taken an illegal drug for over four years and doubt if I ever will again mostly because they I realised the damage they were doing to me and those around me.
We should make anything available, if people want to mess their lives up so be, alcohol is just as bad.
Anyway i rather enjoy the though of Fawkes popping into Boots the chemist and Demanding ...

"20 E 's and several grams of your finest Changa pharmacist"

In the manner of falstaff demanding several pints of porter.

machiavelli said...

I have to admit that it's brave of you, Iain, to admit to taking a "zero tolerance" approach to what other people want to do with their own lives.

I was surprised by your claim that drugs are stronger now than when, say, members of the shadow cabinet were taking them in their use. This appears to be the case with cannabis, but I know of no evidence that ecstasy, cocaine, heroin or crack are stronger now? Indeed, people who actually use them tend to report the reverse. So have you made this up?

The trouble is that there are far too many people in public life, sounding-off about drugs, who know sweet Fanny Adams about them. At least Ken Jones is an experienced officer who's seen the "drugs war" fought and lost over decades.

What the "war on drugs" has achieved is making drugs more dangerous by preventing regulation, putting criminal gangs in control of supply, killing countless police officers, users and others, and guaranteed that heroin and crack addicts will commit crime to feed their addiction.

The effects on society of the war on drugs are identical to those of alcohol prohibition in the US. It must be blindingly obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that the cause is not the drugs, it's the prohibition.

It's also the case that alcohol causes massive amounts of direct harm - through people drinking themselves to death to violence in our town centres. Why not ban alcohol? Or are you fond of a tipple, and as it's your drug of choice it is somehow excused?

I was going to say I'd love to hear Guido's view, but I see he's already posted :¬)

Raedwald said...

Legalise heroin and I suppose you have to legalise cocaine and cannabis - but what about crack? Could you possibly have legal smack and illegal crack? I don't know.

And what sanctions for those who don't want rehab? There will always be those just happy to float from day to day on a heroin high supported by free state housing and welfare benefits.

While I know the 'war on drugs' is unwinnable, and paradoxically HMRC's (deliberate?) failure to intercept any but a minute proportion of the drugs entering the UK keeps the street price down and the burglary rates low, I'm not sure I'm ready to accept the alternative as yet.

machiavelli said...

I also think that this is well worth reading if we're going to discuss this topic

I think we can mention this now that the Labour Party have done their outing of certain amongst us...?

Lobster Blogster said...

I should get druggies like Staines' off the team first.

Anonymous said...

Of course we need a different approach - we have a massive use of hard drugs compared to more relaxed reginmes elsewhere.

Chuck Unsworth said...

esquared: 'An incredibly large number of London professionals under the age of 30 must use cocaine, very few have serious problems.'

Isn't that the whole point of 'recreational' drugs? No probs about anything at all, man...

Anonymous said...

Being a drug addict must be a living hell. I feel great sympathy and compassion for them, however I also sympathise with the person whose house has been burgled or who has been mugged to feed their habit. We need to be protected from them and they need to be protected from themselves. Treatment centres need to be much more widely available but they should be secure units with the addicts attendance forced by the courts until they've broken their addiction. If they don't wish to participate then - its their call. Lets see the length of prison sentences increasing with each successive conviction. If the prison population doubles, so be it. It may be expensive but at least we'll all be a lot safer. Make it easier to give up and make life harder if they don't.

Anonymous said...

Look at the US if you want to see the future for British society. If we take the politically correct, ostrich inspired, liberal route the problem will only get worse. Legalsise it, remove the viscious circle of profit, addiction, crime, crime prevention, dishonesty, profit that reflects the drug trade today. And see the difference overnight.

Legalise it;

More tax revenue
Less cost to health, education, police, prison and crime associated costs everywhere

Boost productivity

Remove vast swathes of other criminality; money laundering, carousel fraud, protection rackets etc (many other 'crimes' are initially built off the back of the drug revenue stream)

It would raise massive amounts of tax (if you allowed a cigarette style legalisation)

In fact anything is better than the current situation.


The only policy on drugs doomed to failure is the one we have now.

Etzel Pangloss said...

So you prefer gangsters and thieves.

javelin said...

One big problem is that the left-wing typically ignore national interest. They believe that ideology can improve a nation. Sadly they have attached blindly to the idea of globalisation as meaning national interest. The result has been a half-botched economic policy and open-borders. Border police would be a good start - but drugs are like a virus once inside the body it's difficult to get rid of them.

neil h said...

Making heroin available on prescription in return for addicts signing up for rehabilitation programmes to get them back into education, work and society in general has to be good move. it would cut crime and get these wretched people out of the spiral of self destruction that they end up in.

Legalising cannabis and making available in Amsterdam style cafes would also put a large dent in the drugs trade, and free up police resources to deal with more serious crime.

A realistic approach to the drugs problem would certainly be better than the current flip-flopping Labour policy.

Peter Risdon said...

I have zero tolerance for this sort of drivel. Drug prohibition has had exactly the same effects as alcohol prohibition did, as Hari and countless others have pointed out. Your personal dislike of drugs is your own business, not a matter for public policy.

It's bad form to link to my own post, but hey....

verity said...

The Telegraph has asked the same question on it's Have Your Say page. Someone writing as Peter Hesham reminded us that Singapore and Malaysia do not have a drug problem at all. The penalties for more than half an ounce of heroin is death. Since 1991, they've hanged 420 - although some of those were hanged for murder, which also attracts the death penalty. That means 28 people a year (including murderers). Less than half an ounce attracts the rotan.

Voyager said...

I go to Boots to get a prescription filled. At the little hatch an addict waits for his Methadone fix.

I pay £6.65 for my prescription item and pay for his free Methadone.

The GP whose surgery is full of women with young children and others waiting to get to see a doctor now wait for drug-addicts to go through their usual self-debasing lies and attempts to steal prescription pads before the doctor can see the sick as opposed to the addicted ?

The NHS spends upwards of £500 million each year on drug-addicts yet sick people are denied all sorts of healing drugs.

I think we need new Police Chiefs. I am tired of this Therapy Policing and want some Punitive Policing. I am tired of being taken for a fool by some policeman with a Sociology degree

Anonymous said...

you want to know why the current policy is doomed tune into COC and listen to that total moron McNulty answering questions on ASBO's etc pitiful

javelin said...

Those libertarians who believe that drugs should be legalised take a naive-left-wing stance that drug de-prohibition is about ideology and not about nature (and biochemistry).

They fail to understand that whilst most people can cope with drugs a significant part of the population cannot deal with drugs and will have their lives ruined because of them. The primary responsiblity of Government is to protect those people even at the expense of the majority.

Iain - you're instinct, as a conservative is right, the public need to be protected from those people selling psychologically altering drugs.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

1. Recent studies show that, contrary to received wisdom, many, perhaps most, addicts were actually into crime before they were into drugs.

2. Again, as per londontory [1.00 PM] recent studies show that the grip of heroin addiction is probably no greater, perhaps less, than that of nicotine. Addicts can come off it if they choose to do so.

3. Most addicts prescribed Methodone continue to take heroin as well. They just use the methodone to control their withdrawal symptoms.

4. If you legalise drugs the Mr Bigs will move into some other area of crime. Deprived of one market they will find another, perhaps even more unpleasant. What drives them is the lure of big money, wherever it is to be found.

5. If heroin and/or cocaine is freely available addiction will spin out of control.

6. People like Kate Moss and the fashion moguls who promote "heroin chic" have much to answer for and should be called to account. So should television producers who show rich and glamorous people taking coke.

Chris M said...

I know this view doesn't appear to be popular but I've always felt that drug users are not victims. They made a concious choice to try drugs, knowing the consequences.

I also fail to see how legalisation, especially with taxation, will make any difference. Most drug related crime is to do with users not suppliers - and that will not stop if they are still addicted to drugs and having to buy them. Throw in extra taxation to the mix, and you can guarantee that those who already steal to pay for their habit will still have to steal to pay for their habit.

You will also see the criminal underworld either move into legitimate supply or carry on supplying via the black market. Thus both original problems will still be there, however you will have also made access to drugs easier, thus creating more casual users and potentially addicts who eventually turn to crime.

Likewise if you start to supply drugs to addicts via the NHS then you are not fixing the problem, merely perpetuating it. Also, if I turn to crime to pay for a fast car addiction, would anyone expect the NHS to buy me a new Ferrari? Hell no! So why should I, as a tax payer, pay to perpetuate someones drug addiction?

For me the only solutions are:

Absolute zero tolerance on dealers and people involved in any part of the supply chain (and by that I mean 10's of years of jail time).

Absolute zero tolerance on those who use crime to pay for their addiction. Well for crime such as burglary full stop and mugging.

A clamp down on all prisons to stop the supply of drugs in what are supposed to be secure institutions. Frequent searches of prisoner quarters (at random, without warning). New criminal charges brought against those caught supplying or possessing drugs.

A clamp down on our borders to police who and what comes into our country.

And to back up the zero tolerance approach, we need a vastly improved support service for helping those people seeking help to come off drugs, plus support programs for those placed in jail to minimise the effects that cold turkey would bring.

Education, in my mind, does not need to be improved. Like sex education it is already pervasive, everyone knows the risks but choose not to care, and it has utterly failed to work over the previous few decades.

Anonymous said...

OK, supply heroin on the NHS and the addicts will stop committing crime. Really? No, they will continue to rob, steal, burgle, shoplift, sell their bodies or whatever for the other little essentials of life. Food, rent, clothing etc. It's not as if they are going to be employable if they are away with the fairies most of the time. Of course someone might suggest we support them on special 'druggy' welfare payments...

swift said...

Legalise it all, tax it to the hilt and come down hard on any black market goings on. The tax raised can be used to fund drug education/rehab etc. Indirectly you'd be helping in the reconstruction of countries like Afghanistan and Colombia. Someone could even set up a nice 'Fairtrade' brand of drugs to keep all the BBC/Guardian types happy.

kris said...

Feeding people's destructive habits is not the answer.

I suppose this cops's learned opinion and hope is that stupefied druggies will rot in a corner rather than rob etc.

Get real.

The innovative thinking I'd like to see is one where society demands that people take more personal responsibility rather than less!

Nick said...

The problem with only attacking one part of the trader is that immediate and unavailable unintended consequences it produces. Just as "cracking down" on the users of prostitutes says to women in a vulnerable position "sure you can sell sex, but only to criminals" so does only targeting dealers say to drug users "Sure, you can get drugs, but only from criminals!".

So if you accept that drugs are a problem, then you have to tackle all sides of the market equally. Otherwise you just distort the economics of the market rather than taking down the market (making a dealer a riskier but EVEN MORE profitable operation).

But the reason why such a policy is impossible to implement is because there are just far too many consumers of drugs around! And in the end, many of these people (myself during my student years and still plenty of my friends these days) enjoy drugs and function normally and have jobs and all the rest of it. So I think in the end, it is best to just legalise and educate.

Of course, no one would begrudge you your opinion, Iain, on drug users and drug use. I realise that drug use is distasteful to many and somewhat problematic in a society where people aren't held account for their actions properly even when they are sober! It is just you shouldn't decide on a policy on the basis of taste. It should be done on the basis of people's rights and the evidence of what works.

verity said...

anyonebutblair - Methadone is just as addictive as heroin. It's a non-solution. Give them all the drugs they want, free, and let them overdose. Or do what Singapore does but Britain does not have the bottle to do, hang drug dealers.

The Hitch says that even draconian penalties, as in Singapore, don't work. Oh yes they do! They most assuredly do!

We should either adopt Singapore's zero tolerance stance - which we will not because the government has a yellow streak down its back - or give them all the drugs they want, free, and hope they overdose.

javelin said...
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Giovanni said...

I say yes to the legalisation of drugs. I'm like you on the zero tolerance for drugs in my personal life, and will not willingly associate with people who habitually smoke pot, forget the harder stuff, although I have remained in parties where other people have toked. I have a very low consideration of people who "need" drugs for anything outside of medical usage. Although having said that, when my mother was dying of cancer I was looking to find her some marijuana to reduce the pain (she died before I ever had to buy any).
However the drug trade has made the worse possible people in the world very very rich and that drug money infects the enitre environment. IN my Sicily, the mafia used drug money to corrupt cops and politicians. Legalising drugs would cripple the crime families and reduce urban crime.
So yes, legalise the poison. And quite frankly, at the risk of sounding quite harsh, if the junkies all OD on the filth, good riddance.

Scary Biscuits said...

Drug prohibition is like socialism: not matter how badly or how many times it fails, people just keep believing in it.

The other solution of effectively nationalising drug dealerships via the NHS, is equally socialist and doomed.

My preferred solution is for a Vice Act. Thus, all the main things that humans do that are narcissistic (drugs, prostitution, porn, gamgling) should be treated in the same way: they should be allowed but at the same time clearly marked as not socially constructive. If a person is determined to delve the depths of human depravity then no regulatory force in the world is going to stop him. Instead the role of Government should be limited to ensuring that nobody goes there by accident, that the road to Hell should be clearly signposted.

For example, sex shops and gambling shops should return to being closely controlled with blacked out Windows. They should be forbidden to advertise. Drugs should be sold in the same way and not in a shop that is allowed to sell anything else, especially not another vice, i.e. no mixing drink with gambling or drugs with prostitution.

If drugs were legalised this way, I think the social message that this sent out would be more powerful than prohibitive legislation (as Cameron argues) and drug usage would fall.

As a small businessman myself, I get far more hassle from the authorities than the average drug pusher. I can even go to prison now for not putting my company registration at the bottom of an email. It would be nice to see such bureaucracy and the Health & Safety gestapo decending on the drug dealers, again with a likely decrease in deaths and overall turnover.

Finally, I think it's worth noting that drug prohibition is at the root of our problem with Islamic terrorists. If drugs were legal, then bandit states like Colombia and Afghanistan would never have got so lawless or, ironically, so impoverished - and in turn created ideal breeding grounds for extremists.

Tristan said...

We shouldn't be fighting this war.

It is the fact that we are fighting the war that causes all the crime associated with it.

I find most recreational drugs distasteful (apart from alcohol and caffeine) but it is not my place to forbid others from doing as they wish to their bodies.

If they commit crimes to fund a habit, punish them for their crimes, but let drugs be available to adults legally and you shall remove them from the black market and reduce crime.

People don't kill each other for nicotine of alcohol (for the most part), prohibition of alcohol has had disastrous results where its been tried, the same goes for other drugs.

Treat addiction as the illness it is, not as a crime.

The right to self-ownership is fundamental to civil society, to prohibit voluntary actions by an individual, no matter the harm caused to themselves violates them.

ghost of john trenchard said...

this suggestion is nothing new - heroin was available on prescription from GPs until around 1971 i believe.

so what has the abolition of that accomplished in pratical terms?

bugger all if you ask me - in fact, i'd go as far to say that its made the situation (crime,money for terrorists etc etc) far far worse and its created an entire underclass of criminality.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Should we end the war on drugs? Absolutely. Partly because it's the right thing to do (I'm not exactly a fan of illegal drugs, and drink in moderation, but I'm also enough of a libertarian to think that adults ought to be able to screw themselves up if they want) and partly on purely pragmatic grounds (I'm sure everyone sees the similarities to the Volstead Act...)


This isn't the same as handing them out for free on the NHS. Have them available for sale from the off-licence alongside the cheap scotch and the 20 Marlboro. Remove the costs involved with smuggling and running a criminal network, and street drugs are rather cheap.

At the same time, you make the penalty for "doing something incredibly stupid whilst under the influence of drink or drugs" immediate death by firing squad, or something similar. Give people back their freedom, but force them to take responsibility for their actions.

Raedwald said...

Boris had a nice piece the other day about the city - makes 8.8% of the UK's GDP, pays squillions in taxes, 335,000 people, world financial powerhouse, don't kill the goose etc.

I'll be they also get through more nose-powder annually than some african nations.

I don't do illegal drugs, and whilst I'm not as puritan as Iain I do tend to leave conversations when my interlocutor is babbling, bright-eyed and has traces of icing sugar around their nose. It's a taste thing.

If gak were cheaper by being legal, the upside is that these people would have more money for boats, houses and other toys. On the downside, they'd burn their brains out far more quickly and be a drag on taxes through the NHS.

And how many international financial firms would want to locate in London, world capital of nose powder?

Anonymous said...

They fail to understand that whilst most people can cope with drugs a significant part of the population cannot deal with drugs and will have their lives ruined because of them. The primary responsiblity of Government is to protect those people even at the expense of the majority.

Javelin:

You could say exactly the same about alcohol. Most people drink fairly sensibly, some people become alcoholics and have their lives ruined. Is the responsibility of your government to protect those people by banning alcohol?

I suggest that that is the path of nanny-state Blairism, and that the sensible, liberal, Conservative thing to do is to require people to take responsibility for themselves. Alcoholics who go through AA programmes, for example, know that they can't drink in sensible moderation, so they chose to not drink at all.

Anonymous said...

Children need priming for the adult world.

Brought up on a diet of TV, computer games, colouring in at school & rap music it's no wonder these kids are bored and drawn to drugs and mindless crime.

We have to get the basics right but with a generation of poor or irresponsible parents and an education system that can't even teach them read write and do sums we have a lot of work to do.

Personally I'd scrap half the National Curriculum for under 11s and give them all a musical instrument and instruction at 7.

Hugo said...

You are such an old Tory. There are two types of drug users, and they necessitate different approaches:

1. Addicts. Treat 'em. Heroin addiction is basically a medical problem. treat it as such.

2. Recreational users. Legalise it and tax 'em. Why are cannabis, cocaine and ecstacy even considered in the same breath as the above? Different issue, different sociological problem.

chameleon said...
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Northwing said...

I think this initiative will simply legitimise drug dependent communities. Giving free drugs is like giving free money - it will simply reinforce dependency. People who fall under the spell of heroin do so because of and inspite of themselves. They are not the only ones to have an addiction of some sort, and they are no more victims than anyone else - its just our society seems to make victims and moral cowards of everyone. This plan will simply suck whatever moral courage these people had in them to start with - out, leaving the welfare state to wet nurse them in perpetuity.

The solution to the problem lies in dealing with chavocrity and the enormous number of people now living in 'anomie'. It isn't simply an issue of libertarianism. If it was, we wouldn't have to make choices for these people. Whole communities live under the spell of heroin. I used to live next to one and it was like living with a community of vampires. Giving people like this who are already on the bottom rung, already welfare dependent, living in dysfunctional and often feral communities, free heroin, will simply reinforce their lot - and feed their shared communal mysery.

verity said...

"The primary responsiblity of Government is to protect those people even at the expense of the majority."

Wrong. The primary responsibility of the government is not to protect people from themselves. Especially "at the expense of the majority". That is Blairy-fairy thinking. Nanny state knows best - no matter that all the evidence points in the opposite direction.

Mark O'Leary said...

Lets remind ourselves why drugs are a problem:

1) Crime to support habits
2) Crime around import and distribution
3) Risks associated with usage (discarded needles, unpredictable behaviour, self harm etc.)
4) Glamorous/dangerous image attracts new users.

State supply of drugs counters (1) and (2). The only shoppers left in the criminal market place would perhaps be rich/celebrities if a cheaper or free state alternative were available.

I'd advocate adding a second layer: make the supply free, but only if the user has the drugs administered under controlled circumstances at appropriate premises (so no dirty or discarded needles, unsafe practices) and mandate that the drug taker stays on those controlled premises until the effects have abated. Then the public is not inconvenienced by persons not in their right mind, self-harm risks are reduced, and drug taking becomes as glamorous as queuing for a monthly giro and laying for a few hours in a bare cell room...

The free provision removes any form of addiction as a defence, so punishment tariffs for usage outside of the state-controlled system should be made extremely severe.

Stephen Tolkinghorne said...

I believe that murder rates have increased so much it clearly shows that we've lost the war against murder, therefore, we should legalise it.

Stephen Tolkinghorne said...

"Making heroin available on prescription in return for addicts signing up for rehabilitation programmes to get them back into education, work and society in general has to be good move."

This is already reality. Hasn't cured the problem, has it ?

Observer said...

Heroin addiction is basically a medical problem.

No - it is basically an Addictive Personality Disorder which may well be untreatable.

Though the Govt is currently pushing legislation to detain indefinitely people with untreatable personality disorders.

Heroin addicts may require far too much diversion of scarce medical resources to deal with their narcissistic complaint.

It may simply be better to incarcerate them in large mental hospitals

wrinkled weasel said...

Javelin has already had a reply to his nanny state beliefs, because he is terribly mistaken.

We have no responsibility towards losers who destroy their lives by their own free will.

Personally I wish that addicts were just slung in a cell and left to go cold turkey. These days, that is seen as a human rights issue and bugger those people whose lives have been ruined by drugged drivers, rapists, and general scumbags.

By all means, feel sorry for addicts if you want to, but don't expect me to pay for them.

Raedwald said...

Northwing I *applaud* you

Yes, strong families and strong communities with real authority, rather than an overweaning State just have to be the long term answers. And it's this grasping Leviathan central state that has created these loose individuals, the anomie and these feral autolytic non-communities.

No one sets out to lose self respect, to live in a squalid dump with rags nailed up at the windows, and every miserable possession worth selling already sold. No one actively seeks the looks of contempt and loathing that skag-heads attract. But all the local authority that could prevent this abysmal cycle of self destruction has been neutered.

Cameron has already made all the right noises on increasing the importance of families and communities, but unless there is a real will to shrink the state as well these spawn pits of despair will continue.

no longer anonymous said...

Legalise all drugs and let the morons wipe themselves out.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know how winnable the war on drugs is, look at the Prohibition. Tells you all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Tolkinghorne said...

I believe that murder rates have increased so much it clearly shows that we've lost the war against murder, therefore, we should legalise it.


Well, no. Taking illegal drugs isn't, in and of itself, harmful to anyone except the user. All the harm to the rest of us comes when the drug user commits crime to fund his habit, goes bezerk under the influence, or causes an accident by driving etc. under the influence. The first problem is largely eliminated by legalization. The second and third are eliminated by a transition to a state where people are actually expected to take responsibility for themselves.

Murder is, rather by definition, harmful to someone else. The closest you can get to "harmless murder" is assisted suicide (which, you will note, is legal in certain other European countries and there is a campaign to legalize in the UK.)

Anonymous said...

verity - let me know your thoughts on this, as you are in favour of 'the market'. Therefore you might not be in favour of 'market-distorting' solutions, like getting the WTO to hike up coffee prices to help trade in Colombia.

No, my solution is to make coffee ILLEGAL !! This will lead to a hike in coffee prices as people have to head to underground 'speakeasies' to get their fix. The war on coffee will lead to smugglers to switch their efforts to an illegal trade in the distribution of coffee from Latin America via the old 'cocaine' cartels, and the development of new smuggling routes from the Kenyan coffee plantations.

Suddenly the true value of coffee beans will be seen, as people have to pay much more to satisfy their coffee addiction. The growers will then be able to be more fussy about who they sell it to and charge far higher prices.

They won't bother with all the effort to MAKE cocaine, when they can just sell the coffee beans with no effort beyond picking them.

Of course, we will have a problem with 'coffee addicts' having to lie steal and cheat to get the money to pay for their fix. But at least it won't kill thousands annually...

Hmm..some might see that as a flaw in the plan..

Vienna Woods said...

I have a very good friend who is a general practitioner and who has some sympathy with drug addicts on his list. One day a drug addict came to him and pleaded with him to give him anything that would give him a rush. My friend gave him some sample amphetamines tabs, merely because he was not allowed to prescribe heroin and the guy had exhausted his allowance of substitutes. Just 12 hours later the man committed suicide. There's something to learn from this!

Minum said...

The question is not - is the war on drugs winnable? The question is - what right do the government have to tell us what we can injest. Yes, penalise heavily anyone who drives under the influence, but its absolutely nothing to do with anyone else what I take in.

And the crime cycle is largely down to the prohibition of drugs, and consequent price hike.

verity said...

Vienna Woods - So what are you saying? We should give drug addicts amphetamines in the hope that they'll commit suicide?

I'm not saying it's a bad idea; I'm just trying to figure out the rationale behind it.

mutleythedog said...

I once rented an office over a German clinc administering such a programme - heroin and other drugs. The users were harmless, many smartly dressed and included a surgeon, managing to finally rebuild his life. It is sad they stopped the experiment. It is dirt in drugs which kill addicts, not drugs, not even injectable ones..

Northwing said...

raedwald - ditto

When people say that drug users do only harm to themselves they forget about addict mothers and the damage they do to innocent children. Libertarianism doesn't mean being amoral and indifferent to the rights of babies.

It is the sovereignty of family, the rights and obligations which go with that which are the answer. In the meantime anomie - the culture of anarchy/nihilism - whatever, is a burden on us all because policing it takes our tax money.

Anonymous said...

I just asked my wife what she thought of making heroin available on the NHS; I told her that the average heroin user commits more than one crime a day to fund his/her habit so how does she feel about making Smack availabe on perscription to serious users. Her response: "Oh Julian, I was about to watch Coronation Street". I thought this to be an amusing interlude to the very very depressing demise of our great nation. Smack on the HHS! You couldn't make it up!

Steven_L said...
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Stephen Tolkinghorne said...

The naievety of the argument which says that drug users only harm themselves is laughable.

No man is an island, everyone is affected by what someone else does: their spouse, children, neighbours, employers, etc.

Giving official sanction to those who pursue such recklessness is tantatmount to promoting anarchy. The problem has been that drugs are becoming wider spread because of the 'tolerance' (read: weakness and apathy) shown over recent decades by the ruling classes to those who indulge in illegal narcotics. If you fought a ruthless campaign against the dealers and pushers - including life sentences (meaning life), hard labour, real punishments - you would win.

The police have fought with one hand tied behind their backs because of the increasingly weak and woolly policies pursued by post war governments. As they get weaker and woolier, the problem gets worse.

Therefore, to legalise drugs, we'll simply fall into the state of total moral-less vacuum that the politicians have been steering us toward all along. We haven't been fighting the drug problem, we've just accepted it increasingly, step by step. We're almost at the point where no-one seems to actually remember when anyone stood for anything because it was morally right to show restraint.

If these pages represent the irresponsible thinking within the Tory party, you've a good leader in David Cameron. A man who has devoted so much of his life to wanton indulgence, without having to suffer consequences. But, that's because he's wealthy and priveleged. Experience shows that it's always the lower classes who suffer from the liberal excesses of the chattering classes, because they've not the financial means to protect themselves from the disastrous effects upon society at large.

Legalisation of drugs would be just such another betrayal, and descent into Saturnalia.

Observer said...

All the harm to the rest of us comes when the drug user commits crime to fund his habit, goes bezerk under the influence, or causes an accident by driving etc. under the influence. The first problem is largely eliminated by legalization.

Driving isn't addictive and buying cars is legal - this country still has the highest car theft rate in Europe

Lagwolf said...

Two words: legalise it.

Anonymous said...

Are you people complete f-wits or what? You can't win the war against death and disease either, but shall we just give up?

And do we make crack cocaine legal tooand al the other hard drugs that cause agressive and anti-social behaviour? Don't be ridiculous.

If you legalise heroin, you'll make it more popular, therby causing more addicts. As addicts are the kind of people who don't work, they will still commit crimes in order to finance their habits.The level of drug-related crime will sky rocket with the increased number of addicts. Then some bright spark will suggest that we let the taxpayer pay for the heroin.

If you are in any doubt about legalising drugs, I suggest you read Theodore Dalrymple's article on the subject:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a1.html

Anonymous said...

Ok, so you decriminalise drugs and handing them out like lolly pops.

Just how will you explain to 12 - 14 million smokers why we - and our legal habit - are being ruthlessly demonised, criminalised refused health care and taxed off the planet?

Are you going to decriminalise smoking and give smokers free fags too? If so, how will you make up the £8-9 billion tax shortfall?

Anonymous said...

Interesting metaphor i.e. sex as opposed to drugs.
Here in Scotland the Scottish Executive(no doubt benefitting from generous Celtic occupant of No 11 Downing Street) has accepted that if everyone from the top down is at it, advises "if you are gay or bisexual and live in a rural area or have difficulty accessing safer sex condoms, for whatever reason, you can now order them free by visiting our website www.heathygayscotland.com "
So a few thousand pound of rubbers saves millions in HIV drugs.
Difficult for those of us with moral values to get our head around, but I suppose it makes sense. Why not with drugs.

Matt Davis said...

Ken Jones is absolutely right. The war on drugs was lost years ago and cannot, and will not, ever be won outright. Therefore a pragmatic and caring society must adopt policies that will minimise the harm that addicts cause to others and to themselves. The policies that have been proven to work in achieving those desirable outcomes are the ones advocated by Ken Jones, a man who knows a hell of a lot more about the reality of this issue than most of us do.

Letterman said...

The 'war on drugs' is not a war on drugs it is a form of prohibition, that is why it will fail. `it is not a war on the drug dealers or traffickers but on the 100s of thousands of people in this country who take them and forced into criminality. In Leeds and most bug cities the war on drugs is not even being faught. I don't take drugs but I know where to get them and where to find lots of people that take them bu the police do nothing but a few headline grabbing initiatives that last the best part of a week because even they know that really its not a problem most of the time and anyway they have nowhere near the resources to tackle it. This is a multi-billion dollar (untaxed) international industry, if you want to win a 'war' against 'it' then you would have to match that money and no Government will do that. So things will stay the same until the law changes or someone puts the money in. I could go on...

Lady Finchley said...

How many of you who advocate giving free drugs to junkies actually KNOW any? I do and for most part (and these are people who do not have to commit crime to fund their habits) they are unhealthy, selfish, dirty and couldn't give a toss about their nearest and dearest, including their children. I used to have to take the child of two junkies to school every day because they were too stoned to be arsed to. Having legal drugs does would not stop this. Their's is a squalid lifestyle and you have to think about their families in this too. Would you let your child have a playdate with the child of a parent who was lolling around the house all day, most probably in filth and squalor. They wouldn't even get a fish finger to eat because the junkie parent is too busy enjoying their high? Yes, you can say this about alcohol but two wrongs don't make a right. Don't think you can solve your problems by inflicting more on the families of junkies or is it a case of nimby-ism?

Manfarang said...

Yak40
Yes it was once available on the NHS.It stopped because of American pressure to criminise heroin use.

wrinkled weasel
"imported a lot of this problem from colonies"
Like hell we did.We were producing it in our former colonies and exporting it.Have you never heard of the Opium Wars?

Sing jia u ee (Taechui Chinese for a Happy New Year) to you Iain

Anonymous said...

What we are currently doing is not working. For whatever reason, people want to use this stuff (although I have never gone anywhere near it myself). Making criminals out of a third of the population is just not sensible. It brings the laws we really do need (violence against the person etc.) into disrepute because the whole system gets the blame.

So the choice is either to throw away the key on every dealer you can catch (no matter what their age) or to legalise-with a similar licencing regime to the sale of alcohol and tobacco. Then provide the information on the consequences of abuse of these concoctions and leave it up to the individual.

I know which one I would choose.

CityUnslicker said...

Don't forget if we legalise heroin too we can buy the poppy crop in Afghanistan and so help our allies there by rebuilding the economy.

Cinnamon said...

Iain, this is what is happening above ground:

The war in Heaven against drugs

Jesus, in a very worried state, convened all of his apostles and disciples to an emergency meeting because of the high drug consumption problem all over the world.

After giving it much thought they reached the conclusion that in order to better deal with the problem, that they should try to buy up all the drugs themselves and thereby remove them from circulation. It was therefore decided that a commission made up of some of the members return to earth to buy the different types of drugs.

The secret operation is effected and two days later the commissioned disciples begin to return to heaven. Jesus, waiting at the door, lets in the first disciple:

"Who is it?"

"It's Paul"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring Paul?"

"Hashish from Morocco"

"Very well son, come in."

"Who is it?"

"It's Mark"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring Mark?"

"Marijuana from Colombia"

"Very well son, come in."

"Who is it?"

"It's Matthew"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring Matthew?"

"Cocaine from Bolivia"

"Very well son, come in."

"Who is it?"

"It's John"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring John?"

"Crack from New York"

"Very well son, come in."

"Who is it?"

"It's Luke"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring Luke?"

"Speed from Amsterdam"

"Very well son, come in."

"Who is it?"

"It's Judas"

Jesus opens the door.

"What did you bring Judas ?"

"The FBI, YOU MOTHER FUCKERS! EVERYONE AGAINST THE WALL!"
---
I found this on the Internet, and so it must be true.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a common misconception that if you decriminalise a drug (or all drugs) that usage would go up.

Please do some bloody research before spouting forth your completely incorrect view.

ALL countries which have decriminalised drugs have seen a REDUCTION in the usage. This is obviously because a lot of people take drugs BECAUSE of the allure of doing something illegal.

Legalising heroin turns it from something 'glamourous' to something 'mundane' and 'dirty' and this is NOT encouraging people to take it.

The WAR on DRUGS has FAILED and is PROVEN to be completely COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.

Anonymous said...

i am totally in favour of the decriminilisation of drugs, of safe injecting houses, the lot. its time a new approach was at least thought about. instead of being 'tough' ont he causes of crime, the Government should start trying to understand them and think of a viable solution.

Lady Finchley said...

Anonymous 11:52

You are talking out of your arse. What do you think drug addicts are - a bunch of naughty children?

italiantory said...

As an addendum to all of the pro legalization arguments , once drugs were free to use and cheap to buy the glamour factor would diminish gradually overtime , especially if harder drugs were made to consume in controlled premises. In my experience with Dutch students in Amsterdam , they considered drug-taking extremely uncool in the same way as we would consider a wino getting drunk in a park bench . Here in the UK because of the illegality and consequent high price , drugs acquire street-cred and are viewed as luxury items such as Cristal or Krug ,in turn fuelling demand and the related criminality .

italiantory said...

As an addendum to all of the pro legalization arguments , once drugs were free to use and cheap to buy the glamour factor would diminish gradually overtime , especially if harder drugs were made to consume in controlled premises. In my experience with Dutch students in Amsterdam , they considered drug-taking extremely uncool in the same way as we would consider a wino getting drunk in a park bench . Here in the UK because of the illegality and consequent high price , drugs acquire street-cred and are viewed as luxury items such as Cristal or Krug , fuelling demand for them and related crimes.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Theodore Dalrymple has a good line on this:

"the ultimate cause of all criminality is law [but] as far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that law should therefore be abandoned."

Jamie said...

Legalise them and you release police resources, take billions out of the criminal economy, and remove dangerous unknown chemicals from addicts' bloodstreams.

In the meantime, it's depressing the extent to which criticism of an entirely failed policy is deemed not respectable by the political and media classes.

verity said...

Manfarang - and Gong Xi Fa Chai! to you, too! (Mandarin for Happy New Year!)

Jess The Dog said...

The criminal and economic impacts of addiction are the greatest threat to society, not any "war on terror". Challenging this state of affairs requires enormous resources and a complete change in direction. For example, one in eight men of working age in Glasgow is on incapacity benefit because of substance abuse.

How do we change things?

1. Lock up drug dealers for a very long time. Ten years. Contrary to belief, criminals do want to avoid prison and it is a deterrent. This will require a large increase in prison places, and the aim should be to deter and to rehabilitate through proper education and training. Former prisoners could be recruited as temporary prison staff, after screening, working under the supervision of prison officers. I would estimate a 20 year programme, based on 10 years of locking up offenders for 10 years at a time.

2. Provide proper rehabilitation programmes for drug and alcohol abusers, regardless of cost. This would be residential (ie in detention) and the ticket out would be rehabilitation. Intensive education and training could also be provided. The small minority who cannot be rehabilitated would be kept on prescription drugs but with severe restrictions on liberty and no scope for raising a family.

3. Do not be afraid to intervene in families. Children in the households of addicts are at a far greater risk of death or serious injury than in other households. They are also far more likely to end up addicts themselves. The transfer of behaviour patterns from generation to generation of addicts has to be stopped, and children have to be given a chance in life.

The point about drug laws is not that taking drugs is an immoral act or that the state is trying to prevent self-harm. The point about drug laws is to prevent damage to society through widespread drug use and associated crime. Self-medicating MS sufferers growing their own cannabis are not a threat to society. Those who grow their own dope for home use only are not a threat to society. The likes of David Cameron toking on a joint are an indirect threat to society, if they are receiving drugs from mainstream dealers. Chronic addicts are a direct threat to society, more so if they participate in crime to fuel their addiction. Drug dealers are the greatest threat to society and are heavily involved in other criminal behaviour such as dealing firearms, extortion and smuggling illicit alcohol, cigarettes and pornography of even the most vile varieties.

verity said...

Jess the Dog - Your comment was interesting and pragmatic, and I would suggest using your course of action for possession for 10 years or 20 years from Day Zero when the project is implemented.

Also from Day Zero, adopt the method that works so well in Singapore and Malaysia. Hanging for possession of more than half an ounce of heroin - with intent to sell. There is a scale for other drugs, too. For less than that amount, the rotan. This would concentrate the minds of those who had been incarcerated on your project. In fact, having those about to be hanged housed in the same prison as the detainees would serve to concentrate their minds, if I am not mistaken.

(I am making a distinction here between dealing and possessing. As we worked through this current bulge, with death for dealers and prison for possessors, fewer people would be motivated to possess.)

When I lived in Singapore, I would leave a party and walk down a street hoping for a cab at 2 a.m. with absolutely no thought of fear.

Lady Finchley said...

Hear, hear Jess the dog. You talk so much sense - especially about the children, something which all the pro-legalsing bunch are pointedly ignoring. I would just like one of you to tell me what happens to the children who grow up around junkies. What kind of monster would want to subject these innocent kids to the junkie lifestyle. C'mon, I'm waiting to hear it. If you'd like I will take you to Kids Company and you can see for yourself the children grievously wounded(emotionally and yes, sometimes physically) by parents who are drunks and junkies. And then you can tell me if you still think legalising heroin is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

"How Should we Fight the War on Drugs?"

Put George Osborne in the army?

ghost of john trenchard said...

so what lady finchley. kids in south london are surrounded by illegal drugs now anyway.

illegal drugs are now so profitable, BECAUSE they are illegal, that we have cases of 10 year olds dealing in drugs.

and because of gun laws, the youngsters are now carrying weapons.

so tell me - what has decades of prohibition acheived, in terms of hard, factual results? a reduction in drug use? no. a reduction in criminality? no. a reduction in gun crime and murders? no.

ghost of john trenchard said...

" Lady Finchley said...
How many of you who advocate giving free drugs to junkies actually KNOW any?"

i'm not an advocate of free drugs from the NHS. its like legalising alchohol, but only being able to get vodka from your GP.
i'm more in favour of complete legalisation. not only will drugs instantly become less glamourous, they'll become utterly mundane and "uncool", as the, albeit limited, experiment in Holland has shown.

short of executing drug dealers on the street, there is no other solution except legalisation. we have had decades of prohibition and it simply has NOT worked.

now, if you want to go down the fascist police state route, then be my guest - but i dont want to live in a country like that.

and yes - i do know former junkies. and some of my friends even died from drugs. i aint no liberal pussy. i'm talking from hard factual experience.

ghost of john trenchard said...

letterman -> "I don't take drugs but I know where to get them"

i'm the same letterman. i can ring up a friend, who will call another friend, who will call another friend, and i could have a lot of Bolivian marching powder this evening. its *that* easy. just one mobile phone call. but i choose not to.

much as i choose not to drink 10 bottles of vodka this evening (which is perfectly legal). drugs are practically so easy to get nowadays that you might as well legalise them and just accept that prohibition has completely and utterly failed.

The Grocer said...

Reading the comments left it seems that the majority are in favour of legalisation, regulation and taxation. Maybe someone in government should be reading this.

I agree with the majority, we really need to take a different approach as the current one is failing miserably whilst we continue to bury our heads in the sand.

ghost of john trenchard said...

http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a1.html

Theodore Dalrymple completely misses the point and actually makes a factual error in his second paragraph.

"But no society until our own has had to contend with the ready availability of so many different mind-altering drugs,"

Ectasy: banned in 1977 UK, and it wasnt until 1985 that it was banned in the USA

Cocaine: banned in the USA , 1914.

Heroin: fully banned in the US in 1924

Cannibis: banned from 1925 onwards.

so tell me Mr Dalrymple, how do you square your statement about the current state of affairs , with the fact that you could buy cocaine from a pharmacy in 1910?

ghost of john trenchard said...

i have re-read and read again Mr Dalrymple's article again and again - and the one thing that pops into my mind? Marxism. The plebs are not to be trusted. It is an utterly disgusting and class warfare ridden article that is full of hidden references to the untermenschen. it is a load of bollocks in other words.

i think we'll do quite well without the fucking nannying state Mr Dalrymple. but you are the socialist asshole that gets in the way of it and just makes the situation worse.

Lady Finchley said...

Ghost, it's the kids, stupid.

So the kids in South London should be left on the shitheap because whey faced wusses like you don't want to live in a 'fascist' state. Boo hoo.

Most kids who live in stable, loving homes and whose parents give them boundaries don't resort to guns, heroin and being emotionally damaged. Are you that selfish? And yes, if it means saving young kids I'll go down the 'fascist' police route any day.

Anonymous said...

Lady Finchley from anonymous at 11.52.

"You are talking out of your arse. What do you think drug addicts are - a bunch of naughty children?"

No. It is you who are speaking out of your bottom.

What do I think drug addicts are? - simple answer "People with a problem". 'What' the hell do YOU think they are?

Who the FUCK are you to say that if someone takes substance Y that person should be LOCKED up when another person takes substance A or substance N then that's fine? These are all mind altering substances you know, you dappy fucking bitch. Alcohol and Nicotine are MORE harmful than most illegal drugs.

"And yes, if it means saving young kids I'll go down the 'fascist' police route any day."

Ooh think of the children!

ARE You still under the misconception that drug use goes up when drugs are legalised? Please answer this simple question...

If you do think usage would go up then you are stupid and are commenting on a subject you know NOTHING about. Do some bloody research on what has happened when this has been tried.

If on the other hand you accept this point then what extra harm is going to happen to the children that is not already? Decriminalising and reducing drug use would cut down on harm to children of users.

You
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stupid
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fucking
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bitch
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Anonymous said...

"So the kids in South London should be left on the shitheap because whey faced wusses like you don't want to live in a 'fascist' state. Boo hoo."

Actually 'Lady finchley', most people in this country would prefer not to live in a fascist state. You make SO many stupid errors in your posts that I don't think its really worth replying to you any more!

Oh and you certainly ain't a 'lady'! ;)

Lady Finchley said...

Anonymous

Profanity is always the last resort of people who have no ideas. You don't have a clue as to what you are talking about, little boy.

verity said...

anonymous (I couldn't be bothered to capitalise your clever nomme de guerre because you're such a chav you wouldn't know the difference) 11:45 a.m. - I thought Ian was opposed to profanity and vulgar name-calling on his blog, but it seems to be OK if it's a man abusing a woman.

Would you dare try to call someone a stupid, fucking faggot on this site? I doubt it.

Meaning, you're a bully. Lady Finchley has joined the discussion and expressed an opinion. You don't approve of her opinion. Fine. Tell her (and us) why not. Resorting to abuse is bullying. Your anger is showing and that makes you look weak and needy.

Lagwolf said...

Prohibition is a great wealth creation scheme for the criminal fraternity. Doesn't help the drug users or the law-abiding types much though.

Lady Finchley said...

Thank you for that Verity. You and I have crossed swords but never did we call each other 'stupid fucking bitches' and illustrated in such a childish, immature way. I have to say that I agree that the absolutely vicious name calling that goes on, particularly when a woman expresses a strong opinion is scary in the way that I think some elements of society still haven't moved on and think that women should be seen and not heard - or perhaps wear a burkha! I never thought I'd complain about treatment because I was a woman but this has happened just once too often. Devil's Kitchen, who at least has the balls to name himself even if it is a nom de guerre, once became so vicious it was scary- that was until I saw him in real life - I could have have beat him with one hand tied behind my back. And I was sorely tempted too but I was laughing too hard!

Anonymous said...

Oh excuse me, Verity and 'Lady' Finchley, I don't believe I uttered the first profanity, I think that was 'Lady' Finchley saying I was speaking out of my arse. So don't have a go at me for continuing in the same vein.

My comments would have been pretty much identical had you had a 'masculine' name (I guess fucking stupid bitch would have become fucking stupid bastard as a matter of fact), your sex has nothing to do with my opinion of the value of your input to this debate. And I'm still not convinced that you are actually a 'lady'! ;)

Back to my point, do you still contend that legalisation causes increased drug use?

(Note I haven't sworn at you once in this post so please try to answer this time and not continue to avoid the argument you obviously cannot win!)

ps - Verity as far as I'm concerned you can capitalise or not capitalise whatever you like. (Being a unix sysadmin kind of person I'm used to working in pretty much all lower case. /So/ sorry if a lower case letter offended you!)

Anonymous said...

"I thought Ian was opposed to profanity and vulgar name-calling on his blog, but it seems to be OK if it's a man abusing a woman."

Actually Verity I suspect Iain let that one through because it's pretty apparent that 'Lady' Finchley is in fact exactly what I said!

Re-read her last few comments and think about what she's saying. She wants us all to live in a fascist dictatorship 'for the good of the children'!

Well fuck me what's that if not the ramblings of a dappy bitch?

She refuses to accept the evidence that is readily available that shows that drug use goes DOWN when drugs are legalized/decriminalised and in ignoring this evidence renders her own arguments null and void.

You cannot argue that legalisation is going to cause additional harm when all the evidence in existance shows that this would reduce usage of drugs (unless you think reduced drug usage == increased harm, and I really don't think that is what she's saying).

Lady Finchley said...

Anonymous,

Your arguments are puerile and you stamp your foot when you can't get people to change their opinions to yours. Now I will say it one last time, arse wipe, it is the children who suffer with parents who are junkies-what kind of a lifestyle is that? What kind of intelligent person thinks a that a society that makes drugs illegal is fascist? Are you quite mad? Lastly, if you think I am going to let the Government use my hard earned tax revenue to give drugs to junkies so that they can loll around the house all day while I work ten hour days, think again. You really are a fool.

Anonymous said...

"Now I will say it one last time, arse wipe"

I stamp my feet? Oh dear oh dear, let the insults continue my dear 'Lady'. Seems I may have touched a nerve?

I'm not going to dispute for one minute that kids of junkies are not getting the best start in life. Okay? I'm not disputing that.

I also haven't argued that taxpayers money should be spent giving drugs to junkies. I am arguing that drugs should be decriminalised. That is a completely different argument. The effect of decriminalisation or legalisation would be a major drop in price, as most of the current high price is made up of various components of the black market taking a large mark-up to cover their risks. This would have the obvious effect of reducing crime, a large proportion of which seems to be to pay the high black market prices for illegal drugs.

I'll repeat my question ONE more time and then I'll give up...

What do you think will happen to the number of people taking drugs if they are legalised? (Considering that all the evidence gathered so far shows that drug use falls under these circumstances)

If you accept that use would fall if legalisation occurred, as the evidence shows, why are you STILL going on about these children of junkies, when this policy would REDUCE the number kids being born into this?

If you don't accept the evidence from countries that have actually tried this, well then you really aren't worth arguing with.

Lady Finchley said...

Anonymous,

I don't give a toss about your so called statistics because they are not the point. A reduction in drug use - how much reduction - can you answer that? We are talking about human beings here, not statistics. And who is going to give these people money to buy drugs because believe me very few junkies can or even want to work. Not me, I can assure you. Who is going to look after the children - you? I don't think so.

Drugs are wrong, plain wrong, in what they do to people and decriminalisation will only worsen it. Cannabis has been effectively decriminalised by reducing it to class C and what do we have? More and more young people with severe mental health problems because of particularly pernicious skunk. People who commmit horrendous crimes under its influence.

So sorry, your argument is shot to shit.

One more thing - decriminalisation is just another example of the free for all society which has resulted in irresponsible fathers, children without boundaries, gangs, guns,and people on lifelong benefits. Laissez faire society just does not work for most people - they are simply not that disciplined. It is not fascism as middle class pseudo intellectuals like to bleat. It is a sense of order which we do desperately need.
I am all for rehabilitation but I also know that a user will only truly engage in rehab when they want to and often it takes quite a few tries. So, will we win the war on drugs? Probably not. Some people will always do it. But, we can seriously cut it by not only offering rehab programmes (which by the way really must be live in)but also to wake up and look at the society we have created. And do something about it. There are no quick fixes here (pardon the pun) and it might take a generation but we had damn well better start and soon.

So, anonymous, take your statistics and put them where the sun don't shine.

Anonymous said...
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