Doctors yesterday voted for the production of a detailed report on the risks to health of all drugs of addiction, from heroin to tobacco and alcohol.
The report, which will be produced by the BMA Board of Science, will advise on the role of the medical profession in relation to drug misusers who are trying to quit; drug misusers who want to continue; and the arrangements for supplying drugs to either type of addict.
Finally, the report will consider the 'benefits or otherwise of decriminalising or legalising' some or all controlled drugs.
Dr Tim Webb, an anaesthetist from Glanclwyd hospital, near Rhyl, told the meeting that little was known of the true physical harm that drugs cause addicts - aside from the consequences of using dirty needles - or the lifestyle of addicts which lead to poor diet, poverty, bad living conditions and susceptibility to infections.
'We are asking that we collect the evidence, picking the fact from the fiction, and reality from the emotive publicity,' he told the conference.
Dr Webb said later that 30 per cent of young people used recreational drugs without a thought. 'Some people say they should be legalised. This may be a good thing or not . . . as doctors we should be able to say clearly what the damage is and what the dangers are.'