What are our drug laws for ? What purpose are they meant to serve ?

Are they to protect individuals (from themselves) or to protect society ?

Either way it is obvious that our current policies have failed on both counts.

 How are individuals protected if

  • they are forced to deal with criminal gangs
  • the drugs they buy are contaminated
  • the drugs they buy are of unknown strength
  • they are discouraged from seeking medical help (for fear of attracting police attention)
  • they are forced into prostitution or theft to “feed” their habit

 How is society protected if

  • criminal gangs make huge profits
  • organised gangs compete for these profits
  • police time is spent arresting and prosecuting users
  • muggings, thefts and burglaries are carried out by drug users
  • prisons are filled with drug users
  • criminal and terrorist groups (in e.g. Colombia and Afghanistan) get massive funding

Our laws should be based on a proper, scientific investigation into the potential harm to individuals that drugs may cause. We have to accept that banning certain drugs has not stopped large numbers of people experimenting with them. We must also accept that of all the potential health and social problems caused by drug use by far the greatest harm results from criminalising users. 

There is also an elephant in the room ignored by all politicians and newspaper editors. Tobacco and alcohol cause far more individual harm and expense to society than illegal drugs, but they are tolerated on the grounds of personal freedom. It is merely historical accident that these two were in widespread use before tabloid hysteria dictated political policy.

If the distribution and sale of drugs was controlled in the same way as alcohol and tobacco, society would save the millions currently spent on the futile attempt to eradicate their use. It would also make fiscal sense in the current climate to tax drug sales. I would much rather the huge profits went to the exchequer rather than some drug baron (and, somewhere up the supply chain, the Taleban).

The potential dangers must of course be made very clear and steps taken to prevent use by children, but surely it is not beyond us to put controls in place.

Are any politicians willing to face up to the inevitable tabloid outrage and propose a rational drugs policy ?

Why is this idea important?

The enormous cost to the taxpayer of attempting to enforce futile laws.

The potential income from taxation if drug supplies were government controlled.

It would remove one of the sources of funding of the Taleban in Afghanistan.

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