Friday, 2 April 2010

Ridiculous Drug Policies

Something else from the world of BBC News that I thought was interesting:
It looks like the advisory council is fast becoming a joke which has no scientific reasoning for its existence, its just there to play to the whim of politicians looking for a way to appear tough on drugs for the sake of the morning papers. The latest being the farcical way Mephedrone was dealt with.
Seven members have resigned since the resignation of the previous chair and all have said there was too much interference from government in what should be a purely scientific and public health forum. Why do people always assume that you can solve a drug problem by banning it? It hasn't worked for decades and it won't start working now.
I don't think every single drug should be legalised, but I do think that every drug should be looked at individually not just at its effects when taken, but also at how banning the drug is likely to affect behaviours. When you ban one drug you open two doors, firstly, you hand control of it over to criminal groups who have no problem cutting it with cheap, toxic ingredients and secondly, you leave a gap in the market for a new, potentially more harmful drug to take its place.
Why should people who have no relevant qualifications in pharmacology or public health be in charge of the law of any drug? The general public blows any issue to do with drugs massively out of proportion, and still fails to solve the problem. For weeks people in favour of banning have been harping on about it being implicated in four deaths. The key word being 'implicated'. It wasn't even found to be the sole cause of death in these people. Yes it might have affected people and it may be dangerous, but we should investigate whether that's true without letting emotions rule decision-making. The governments desire to always 'act tough' on drugs is costing more lives than it is helping.
And what is the alternative that the Tories offer us? Well they just think Professor Nutt should have been sacked earlier and that the government doesn't have enough control over the council. So there position is we'll get it as wrong as Labour but do it more often and quicker. This is another one of those times when the Lib Dems seem to be the only party with any sense. They want the council to be independent and only be interested in the scientific basis for drug policy, surely that should be obvious to everyone? In the meantime, criminals are getting more and more money from banned drugs whilst making them more dangerous at the same time. Surely, being able to regulate a drug which is legal would be a more sensible approach for so many substances which are illegal right now?

1 comment:

Liam said...

Pretty sure I couldn't agree more, it's a "drug council" not a pressure group that the Daily Mail controls!