Letter: Hypocrisy over drug dangers

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article on ecstasy and club culture (11 December) contained some interesting figures. According to the Government, around 1 million ecstasy tablets are sold every week, and there have been 100 "ecstasy related" deaths in the past eight years. If the same sales figures can be applied back over those eight years, I make that roughly 400 million tablets consumed, 1 death for every 4 million pills. All of these deaths were tragic, but how does this figure compare with the number of deaths caused by tobacco, or alcohol, or cars?

The London Drug Policy Forum are to be congratulated for their sensible proposals, but what is really needed is for the Government to rethink drugs policy. Current policies are as effective as the laws against alcohol in the US in the Twenties, and just as hypocritical: is there any possible justification for drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy to be illegal when other drugs, notably cigarettes and alcohol, are not only legal but provide huge amounts of revenue for the Treasury?

SIMON EVERETT.

Reading, Berkshire

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