August 17th, 2010

Another recruit

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I see yet another top medical chap has come out in support of the 200Weeks stance on the decriminalisation of drugs.

No less an authority than Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, has said that current drugs laws should be  ”reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use”. He says that the ‘war against drugs’ has not worked for forty years & shows no sign of ever working. “We cannot stop production from overseas and we cannot stop importation, but we can start treating heroin addiction as a medical condition. We see people in hospitals every day who are suffering not from heroin but from dirty needles, from impure supplies of the drug.

“There has been some really successful projects providing, not every addict, but the hard end of the spectrum – so to speak – with clean heroin under controlled conditions. “It improves health, it gets them off of heroin and it stops the crime, it stops them stealing to feed the habit.”

Sir Ian says that there is evidence which shows that decriminalising heroin or other drugs doesn’t increase the number of drugs users.

Nicholas Green QC, chairman of the UK Bar Council, said: “A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences. It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health.

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12 comments

  1. Ragman says:

    As I understand it the criminals can already produce counterfeit watches, handbags, cigarettes, DVDs etc etc that a lot of people (hence the market for knock-off goods) don’t seem to realise are fake or care enough about buying them instead of the genuine product. Maybe it’s price that makes up their mind when purchasing said goods?

    It’s been reported that the crims can even produce and supply knock-off prescription drugs that have entered the UK pharmacies to be supplied unwittingly to us punters.

    Someone suggested taxing the legalised supply of drugs to ‘make their eyes water’ – surely this just creates a market for the black market suppliers – only this time it’s easier for them as it’s legal for the end-user to consume?

    I’m not suggesting that we do nothing – I just think we need a LOT more debate about this subject.

    I don’t want my kids growing up thinking it’s ok to take heroin, cocaine etc but at the same time I also don’t want them thinking it’s ok to get lashed up on booze.

    I only have to look down my local ‘shopping centre’ to witness the lack of control way too many people have over their diet due to the availability of cheap food and booze – turning this nation into a bunch of fat knackers.

    It hate seeing fat, lazy young kids who have got that way because of the lifestyle choices their parents have made and taught them are normal, what’s the chance these parents and their kids can make informed rational choices about taking legalised drugs?

    I understand the NHS is worried about the number of fat people and the effect this will have their budgets, at the same time they are having to deal with the Thursday, Friday , Saturday night lashed up idiots getting so pissed and causing themselves and others damage, meanwhile the Police have to deal with the drunks, druggies etc. What do the front-line NHS staff think about having to deal with a potential influx of legal drug related emergency admissions?

    Is this likely to have a knock-on effect similar to the one created by the 24hr booze licensing laws, who knows – not me but I sure want the people that will be making the decisions to investigate the possible outcomes of their decisions.

    In my mind it’s about what we want a decent and moral society to look like and I think there are far too many with a defective moral compass in the UK right now.

    August 18th, 2010 at 09:56

  2. Dan H. says:

    A better way to think of this is to describe the goal that you want to achieve, then consider how to get there. Puritanical idiocy aside, most people would like drug use to vanish quietly from sight, along with the associated crime that goes along with this drug use. So, how to achieve this?

    Draconian anti-drugs enforcement might work, but it would mean abandoning all human rights and submitting to property searches, invasive testing, high taxes and draconian punishment of violators. The sort of society that this would create would be profoundly unpleasant to live in, especially as it would be governed by small-minded State-sanctioned bullies; this would remove drugs at the expense of making life hell.

    The current system respects a lot of human rights and property rights, and because of this permits a lot of underground trafficking in drugs; drugs are freely available but users and suppliers are persecuted and the supply is restricted. Addicts commit crime to fund their habit, and high-level suppliers get very rich indeed for little personal risk; efforts to confiscate ill-gotten wealth result in miscarriages of justice.

    The proposed system is to keep illegal sources of drugs illegal, but to provide officially-sanctioned supplies. The official sources need to be of controlled purity, clean, higher quality than the illicit ones and kept cheaper than illegal supplies. To gain access to the official drugs, a person would need to register as an addict and lose some rights to do so, but once in they would then no longer need to buy illegal drugs. This is economic warfare as well as a way of stopping addicts commiting crime; addicts are the primary revenue stream for illegal drug suppliers, and if this revenue stream gets choked off, then the entire illegal supply chain fails and quite a few people in this chain get left holding now-worthless drugs, and owing money to the suppliers; this has the effect of scaring a lot of would-be suppliers out of the trade, and forcing most of the rest to give it up.

    August 18th, 2010 at 10:31

  3. Civ_In_The_City says:

    I think Dan H is on to something. We`re too often presented with an ‘either/or’ description of a problem, when the best route (sometimes) is a third way or a bit of both the alternatives.

    Give the seriously problem drug-users the clean legal supply under controlled conditions. Break their link with their supplier thus depriving them of one of their best customers.

    But maintain the illegal status for everyone else. Is this two-faced; legal-when-it-suits-us? What we`ve been doing isn`t working very well, why not do something different and maybe get different results.

    If we legalise it completely we don`t send the right message to each new generation of kids. Wouldn`t it be nice to make heroin a bad memory?

    August 18th, 2010 at 10:44

  4. shijuro says:

    LOL – I suspect a lot of readers have not actually met or dealt with many PPO druggies…

    They will take the freebies; continue crime and buy more illegals…

    You think illegals are going to disappear from the street if they are given out free?

    Has free condoms stopped the spread of aids?

    August 18th, 2010 at 11:29

  5. Fee says:

    Swithering here – half of me says supply the addicts with a clean and cost-controlled product, aiming to eventually reduce the habit to nil. The other half remembers the shambling goons who turn up at our local chemist for their free Methadone (or fairy liquid as it’s known). They then wander around the other shops to see what they can nick to buy illegal drugs, until the daily police patrol turns up to chase them away. No easy answer, then.

    I do know that when I was my daughter’s age, I’d never seen a drug addict, far less stepped over a comatose one at the cash machine (happened a few weeks back!). Drugs scare me more than booze.

    August 18th, 2010 at 14:08

  6. Brother Random says:

    To quote
    They will take the freebies; continue crime and buy more illegals…

    A good point and probably highly likely. I sincerely hope this sort of consideration is also taken in More Debate if a new system is to be introduced.

    Personally I like genetically modifying a plant disease to only effect Poppies (or even the heroin version only if it can be targetted that well) and whatever plant grows the cocaine base chemical (Coca plant comes to mind, but I think I’m confusing coco in there as well).

    August 18th, 2010 at 14:17

  7. Tony F says:

    I said legalise then tax until their eyes water! The plusses outweigh the minuses. In the long term, decriminalisation will reduce the number of new users, purely because it’s not illegal. Many scrotes will become, er, jobless. Er more jobless.. Sorry dug a hole there.

    Same goes for prostitution, legalise and regulate.

    August 18th, 2010 at 19:46

  8. shijuro says:

    Taxing just makes a greater demand for illegals…

    August 18th, 2010 at 20:13

  9. Blueknight says:

    I am undecided. Depends what we are trying to achieve. If the aim is less acquisitive crime, ‘free’ drugs prescriptions may help. but only if the hand outs are coupled with increased penalties for theft burglary and robbery.
    If the aim is less addicts, I don’t see how free drug handouts would help.
    Not sure if there has ever been a study of what leads to Class A drug addiction, – I would guess that not many people went straight to heroin or cocaine without trying cannabis or amphetamines first, but does one lead to the other?

    August 18th, 2010 at 22:48

  10. Oi says:

    but does one lead to the other?

    Yes, but with a proviso.
    Cannabis users are no more likely to turn to hard drugs than tobacco smokers, except the illegallity of it leads them to move in the same circles as the smack/mwth etc users/suppliers. This is where the progression takes place – Well, in my opinion anyway

    August 19th, 2010 at 01:30

  11. DrummerBoy says:

    Never having been a drug user, I can’t begin to understand their drivers.
    Having said that alcohol makes many town centres no go areas on weekend evenings – and that is legal.
    Personnally I’d rather face a person on Heroin or pot than some one who is drunk.
    I veer on the side of legalisation, but with caveats. Official supplies, low enough in cost to undercut and drive out of business the dealers, and you have to register to get the cheap deals. A change in law to ensure than anyone caught in illeagal activity whilst on the register is much more heavily punished.
    There has to be carrot and stick, and the greater harm to society (IMO) is that which the crime behind the drugs causes (local robbery etc) and the funding of more larger scale international crime (Terrorists, people trafficers etc).
    Let’s face it if there was an easy option, we’d have taken it up years ago!!
    People will allways want drugs, as they always have. At the moment we just have a 2 tier system – drugs that are legally and socially acceptable, and those which aren’t.

    August 19th, 2010 at 09:18

  12. Ambulance Amateur says:

    I’m sure Oi is correct – it’s the fact that opiates are often supplied by the same people who sell cannabis that makes it so easy to get the former.

    I’d legitimise cannabis tomorrow. You’d get many more people using it at first, but this would decline within a year. Sure, there would still be many more users than now (including me!). It may just mellow some of the violent drunks.

    I’d even be inclined to legalise the harder substances provided that there were some reasonable control measures as to who could supply them. Otherwise you’d get them cut more and more, and then the poor bloody user would end up ODing when s/he got the real stuff.

    Dan H has it right in that illegal suppliers could be cut out by the legitimate (state sanctioned) ones if the price and cleanliness of the legal alternatives were better.

    August 19th, 2010 at 22:19

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