Prohibition demonstrably does not work and the cost to this country is great both in terms of law enforcement and social damage.
Alcohol and tobacco are more damaging to the health and society than many illicit drugs yet they pay for themselves because they are regulated and taxed; tobacco tax generates 10 times the amount it costs the NHS during these hard economic times it is no time to cut one's nose off to spite one's face.
Heroine should be provided to existing registered addicts at cost, which will be substantially cheaper than "street" cost. This will significantly reduce their motivation to commit crime to fuel their habit and will remove the incentive from dealers to create more addicts, what's the point if they just go and get it from the authorities. It will also guarentee proper dosing and purity which will substantially reduce the health issues of this drug.
Ecstacy and cannabis plus a few others should be sold and their supply regulated and taxed just like alcohol. Although I will not argue these drugs are harmless, they most certainly are not I will say they are substantially less harmful than alcohol with cannabis being no more harmful than tobacco mainly because it is smoked. The tax generated will help fund the NHS and if the tobacco and alcohol markets are anything to go by this should fund it to excess.
Cocaine or similar stimulants should be made available too because there is a demand and most of the damage is again associated with the fact it is prohibited. It must be remembed that the same stimulants were provided to fighter pilots during world war II to help them perform better.
Why is this idea important?
Because the "war on drugs" costs this nation a great deal of money and causes a lot of social damage too with no return.
This may not clear up all the problems of recreational drug use but treating recreational drug use as a health problem will generate revenue, where the drugs are sold and regulated, that can be used to deal with the largely health related problems better. Besides I'd rather be in a room of people high on ecstacy or spaced out on cannabis than drunk from alcohol.
The biggest problem I can see with this approach that isn't a health problem is what will the drug dealers do when their revenue is removed from them? I do feel however that worring about their income and what they might do when it is removed is no excuse to continue the status quo.
It will also save money from police efforts which can then be put back in to fighting terrorism and rounding up illegal immigrants, which I think most people in this country would prefer.