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?