Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Senior doctor suggests drug decriminalisation

Do you remember the Liberal Democrat Conference in 1994 when LDYS submitted a motion suggesting the decriminalisation of Cannabis? This is why we jokingly sing at the Glee Club (for the uninitiated a last-night-of-conference singalong) about the leadership "getting all hot at the thought of pot available sweetie counters".

In those days there were very few people calling for any drug to be decriminalised to help tackle addiction and they were pretty much all hippy liberal types. These days, there is increasing concern that prohibition just isn't working. Today a senior doctor, in fact, one of the most prominent in the country, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Ian Gilmore,  has suggested that decriminalising drugs would not only reduce crime but also improve health..

He said:
"There's a lot of evidence that the total prohibition of drugs, making them totally illicit and unavailable, has not been successful at reducing not only the health burden, but also the impact on crime. I'm trying to take a fresh look, as many people have done. There is a strong case for trying a different approach. I'm not saying we should make heroin available to everyone, but we should be treating it as a health issue rather than criminalising people."
He joins a growing list of lawyers, academics, police officers and fellow doctors, all of whom have seen the terrible consequences of our current failure to tackle addiction. Professor David Nutt lost his Government job but enhanced his professional credibility with comments last year that alcohol was more harmful than Ecstasy.

We really need to have a proper debate about drugs policy and make our decisions based on the evidence available, the experience of other countries, like Portugal, and not via the ill-informed opinions of the tabloid press.

1 comment:

Richard Gadsden said...

I don't remember a motion from LDYS.

That was the monarchy. The cannabis motion was from Saffron Walden. There was a wrecking amendment on a Royal Commission.

Of course, legalisation is now party policy; the Royal Commission's only allocated role is to work out how to do it


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