Letter: Tackling drugs

Sir: It sounds as though Keith Hellawell has been spending his weekends in Amsterdam. Gone is the War on Drugs rhetoric and at long last there is some acknowledgement that treatment is better than prison.

He clearly has his hands tied on the question of decriminalisation, but has given the strongest hints yet that this is where we are going, albeit through Dutch-style changes in policing and sentencing policy rather than changes in the law. Drug misuse, which is clearly a social and medical problem, is still being dealt with within a criminal justice framework. Why?

It is doctors and patients, not judges, who should make treatment decisions. Indeed it is the prohibition of drugs that causes crime, not the drugs themselves. Addicts steal because their drugs of choice are illegal and therefore expensive, and organised crime can only flourish because of the criminal market.

Whilst drugs remain illegal the tsar's targets are just pie in the sky.

STEVE ROLLES

Campaign Co-ordinator

Transform

Bristol

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