Letter: The choice we dare not face over drugs

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The Independent Online
Sir: Steve Boggan writes of "Britain's spiralling descent into drug-fuelled amorality" (8 August). The consumption of drugs does not lead to amorality. It is their illegality that raises their price and makes them attractive to criminal elements, drawing people outside the scope of morality. This is the problem with all prohibition and is simple economics.

We have a choice as a nation. A choice we have been too fearful to consider. The first option is to make the penalties for dealing and possession of illegal drugs so harsh that we impinge upon civil liberties. (Malaysia, for example, imposes the death sentence on dealers.) The second is to make drugs no longer profitable for criminals by legalising them totally. There is no half-way house. Decriminalisation creates more legal grey areas while allowing the gangs to profit.

Neither choice is pleasant or easy, but talk of wars on drugs merely glosses over the fact that criminals are already fighting wars over drugs.

BERTIE CAIRNS

London SW2

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