Letter: Pragmatic lessons in the treatment of drug addiction

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The Independent Online
Sir: During 20 years as a secondary headmaster, I repeatedly saw the effects of drugs, mostly cannabis. I feel very strongly that young people, who are easily reduced to incompetence and dependence even by 'soft' drugs, must be protected in all possible ways. To my surpise, however, I have come to see legalisation of adult drug use as essential to this end.

Present law does not stop drugs being easily available to teenagers who want them. Where once drugs had to be fetched from the nearest city, they can now be purchased from youthful vendors in a dormitory suburb. Our county police can hardly infiltrate the teenage scene, and it flourishes almost unchecked.

Legalised drug sale, which must have age limits as for tobacco and alcohol, will not stop teenagers getting hold of drugs, but it should stop them being involved with a criminal set-up whose sole aim is to increase their consumption and dependence.

Yours faithfully,

PHILIP OAKESHOTT

Awbridge, Hampshire

2 March

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