Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Politicians are intoxicated by cowardice

"Drugs policy is desperately important. It has the power to wreck lives, families and communities. It underpins a third of crime and 80% of acquisitive crime. Four decades of illegality have done nothing to curb consumption, merely breeding the most lucrative, untaxed product market in Britain. No country has achieved the remotest success with prohibition, but Britain's archaic laws have been the least successful. Go to any deprived area, any difficult school, any failing social service, and the root cause of trouble is drugs." —Simon Jenkins

"Speakeasies, moonshine and gangsterism live on in folkloric infamy, even though the disastrous American experiment in prohibition only lasted for 13 short years. It has been three times as long since the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act instigated its own unwinnable war. In the late 1960s there were 2,000 registered drug addicts, together with a perhaps similar number who lived their life below the radar. Four decades on there are 360,000 problem drug users. Addicts scramble to spike their veins with dangerously adulterated substances that sell at inflated prices, while modern-day Al Capones clear up. As well as accompanying an explosion in damaging narcotic use, strict prohibition has gone hand in hand with an equally remarkable increase in recreational dabbling, making criminals of a huge minority of young people along the way. Half the government, as well as the Conservative leader and three US presidents in a row, have used drugs in their own youth, and yet punitive laws continue to threaten others who do the same with prison. The three-year sentence that a teenager can receive for providing friends with a few ecstasy tablets snuffs out his future far more surely than any drug, and does so at great expense to the taxpayer." —The Guardian

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