Letter: Futile `drugs war'

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The Independent Culture

Futile `drugs war'

Sir: It is a good thing that David Macauley has resigned as director of Scotland Against Drugs. He criticises the Government for being ineffective in tackling the drugs problem, but the only positive suggestion he makes is that "the availability of drugs on our streets must be drastically reduced". He says, "Enforcement is key."

What on earth does this mean? Enforcement has never worked. It does not work now and it never will. It is the only thing we have ever tried and the demand for drugs has continued to escalate.

Mr Macauley is right to criticise the Government: they cannot succeed if most of their effort is concentrated on enforcement and so little is spent on helping those whose misuse of drugs causes problems to themselves and society. Mr Macauley seems to be proposing that we waste further resources in doing even more of the wrong things.

The only solution is to try to bring drugs under reasonable legal control. When the criminals cease to have a monopoly over the supply and distribution of drugs, drug-related crime and deaths will diminish. Then, harmful use can be openly discouraged and those who have a problem will come forward and be helped without fear of repression.


Creech St Michael,