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decriminalize all drugs

Comment 3rd July 2010

There are a number of logical statements that are difficult to dispute:-

1. The use of all drugs is potentially harmful (100,000 deaths per year from tobacco, 40,000 deaths per year from alcohol, 40 deaths per year from heroin fewer if any from cannabis)

2. The misuse of drugs is a potentially treatable medical condition and getting the person to volunteer for treatment is in everyone's interest.

3. Heroin etc is cheap to produce but making it illegal creates a "mark up" of such proportion that it is an attractive business proposition for criminal supplyers.

4. The cost on the streets is high and many users who are not rich can only fund this use by criminal acts that harm themselves and others. (burglary, assault and theft, pimping, prostitution, fraud etc)

Therefore the best way to reduce the damage done to innocent citizens and the cost to society by the need to commit crime to acquire drugs is to decriminalize all drugs and supply them free at the time of use (like any other NHS supplied medication) with the offer of support to get the user off the drug(s).

The effect of this would be to undercut the criminals who supply the drugs indiscrinimatey at the moment and quickly put them out of (this) business). (see repeal of prohibition in USA) . Widely publicised drug seizures merely temporarily reduce supply and increase the price. To halve the current prison poplulation. To avoid the unecessary deaths from accidental overdose and contaminated drugs as currently supplied. and stop drug wars between competing gangsters and even some of the funding of the war in Afghanistan.

Opposition to this idea is based on the idea that banning drugs limits their  (mis)use- no evidence. That regulation implies complicity with their (mis)use- not true we regulate alcohol tobacco (many times more dangerous) and  drugs for (other) medical conditions. Decriminalising drugs would lead to an influx of users from other parts of Europe – This has not happened in Portugal (No prosecutions of users since 2002). 

Ther remains the obscene situation in UK (and elsewhere) that misuse of drugs is OK if you are rich and can get a clean supply and are able to pay for treatment to come off the drugs whereas if you are poor you are likely to be sent to prison (where drug use seems to be endemic).

Why does this matter?

Decriminalizing drugs would save lives, save money and save innocent people from the effects of criminal activity. 

Political representatives remain cowardly in their response to this important issue that they could solve "at a stroke". They fear a backlash from middle class England to the point that the previous goverment banned Mephadrone on no evidence and later it was found that the two reported deaths were in people who had not even taken the drug.

Riding a motor bike (and many disapprove of it)  would appear to be much more dangerous than taking drugs so this activity is    REGULATED not made a criminal act.



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