Letter: Foolish drugs war

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The Independent Culture
Letter: Foolish drugs war

Sir: Having read your series on heroin in the UK last week, I wonder why we stopped the practice of prescribing heroin to registered addicts - a practice now being successfully trialled in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The Netherlands have a minor problem with heroin compared with most Western European countries. One of the main reasons is the setting up of "coffee shops" over 20 years ago, along with a sensible education policy. The coffee shops decriminalised cannabis and separated the market for cannabis from that for hard drugs.

Another mainstay of their policy is to treat addiction as a medical and social problem and not as a criminal problem, which has led to the trials with prescribing heroin.

As well as a relatively small, stable number of heroin addicts they also have the lowest rate of teenage use of cannabis in the western world.

Why are this country's political parties so blinkered?

HUGH ROBERTSON

Perth

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