Zero tolerance on possession of nitrous oxide can be an effective policy

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Friday 03 September 2021 18:00
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<p>Nitrous oxide cartridges lie empty on the ground in a rural area of the UK </p>

Nitrous oxide cartridges lie empty on the ground in a rural area of the UK

I see there is controversy about the home secretary’s proposals to criminalise the use of nitrous oxide as a recreational drug, with self-proclaimed “experts” saying “smart education”, not legislation, is needed.

When I was a student, in the drug-ridden 1970s, education certainly helped by pointing out the risks, often graphically, but what really prevented people like myself from falling into that world was the zero-tolerance policing of the time, coupled with the threat of a career-ending criminal conviction for even minor possession, as employers practised zero tolerance too.

Ian McNicholas

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