There was a time when the number of addicts in thius country was very small, there were no people living on the proceeds of drug dealing and no crime committed to provide money for addicts to buy drugs.

Unfortunately because only a few doctors were prepared to prescribe, and they would only do so privately, the few addicts sold a very small amount of their pharmaceutically pure prescription to pay the doctor. So the number of addicts increased to approximately 200 UK-wide.

Then the media created a frenzyn and the government of the day reacted by making it illegal for doctors to prescribe Class A drugs to addicts unless they were specially licensed psychiatrists operating in drug dependancy centres. There was a waiting period for these centres and the drugs became difficult to obtain. So, initially illegal heroin known as 'Chinese' appeared on the streets of London. More addicts were created and these addicts had to commit crimes in order to buy drugs.

This has now reached a point where at least 70% of all crime is drug-related and addicts plus dealers can be found everywhere, even in the smallest village.

The special centres rarely get addicts clean. Instead they often supply methadone, a drug that has only been used long-term comparitively recently, for the life of the addict. How long that addict lives depends on whether they are ready to stop, and so become addicted to methadone, which has a longer withdrawal period and a risk of an irregular heartbeat, or if they sell the methadone, commit crimes, and buy illegal heroin.

My proposal is to repeal the laws banning ordinary doctors from prescribing these drugs, instead educating and ensuring that NHS GPs in all areas are willing to prescribe.

That would remove the market for illegal drugs so there would be no drug dealers. It would remove all crime associated with the taking of these drugs by addicts because they wouldn't need large amounts of money to buy them, therefore saving money and freeing a great deal of police resources for other things. It would also ease pressure on hospitals that have to deal with the results of addicts taking impure drugs with unknown strength. It would also free up a large number of prison places.

Also, such a step would remove a great deal of the glamour that many young people see in taking these drugs. Instewad, with the right education, addiction would be seen as an illness, and what young person wants to be ill?

I believe this would save the government several billions to start with, taken from savin gs in the health service, police, and prisons. Eventually the number of addicts would drop considerably and the government would gain money from prescription charges.

Of course drugs that are currently illegal could be sold in appropriate places, taxed, with the price controlled by the state, but unless the cost was very low crime would continue, although probably to a lessser degree. I don'yt think pensioners (the number of whom are growing) dependant on these drugs for most of their lives should have to pay, especially if they have worked and paid taxes for most of their lives.

Why is this idea important?

It would save a great deal of money, cut crime, especially muggings and burglaries, dramatically, remove drug dealers from our streets, and hopefully eventually be rtesponsible for the number of drug dependant people dropping to the pre-1967-68 level.

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