Pubdate: Fri, 31 Mar 2000
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2000 Times Newspapers Ltd
Contact:  PO Box 496, London E1 9XN, United Kingdom
Fax: +44-(0)171-782 5046
Author: Danny Kushlick, Peter Fellgett, Tom MacFarlane, and Robert Sharpe


From Danny Kushlick, the Director of Transform, the Campaign for Effective
Drug Policy:

Sir, Your leading article (March 29) suggests that we should refrain from
making changes to the drug laws until we know the full dangers of using
illegal drugs.

In fact the opposite is true. The criminalisation of drugs has led to a
situation where enormous numbers of young people are buying unlicensed
Ecstasy from unregulated dealers in a market in which the Government cannot
intervene. We must legalise drugs because they are dangerous, not because
they are safe.

Danny Kushlick, Director, Transform, Roselake House,
Hudds Vale Road, Bristol BS5 7HY. March 29.

From Professor Emeritus P. B. Fellgett, FRS:

Sir, Perhaps I may remind the Home Secretary that alcohol is a drug and that
in the US it was very much associated with crime from 1920 until it was
decriminalised in 1933.

Peter Fellgett,
Little Brighter, St Kew Highway, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 3DU. March 29.

From Mr Tom MacFarlane:

Sir, "Drugs ruin lives" is your leading article's flourishing sign-off. And
how true! As your cartoonist Peter Brookes makes clear, the two most
damaging drugs of all are both legal.

Do you advocate prohibition in either case? If not, why not?

Tom MacFarlane
66 Rossall Road, Cleveleys, Lancashire FY5 1HQ.

From Mr Robert Sharpe of Students for Sensible Drug Policy:

Sir, I know quite a few people whose lives have been ruined by drug laws,
but no one whose life has been ruined by cannabis. Indeed, I know alcoholics
who have turned their lives around by putting down the bottle and picking up
the cannabis pipe.

Granted, they may still have a substance abuse problem, but at least now
they can get out of bed in the morning without a hangover and lead
productive lives. Nor do they run the risk of drinking themselves to death.

It is not possible to consume enough marijuana to die from an overdose.
Imagine how many lives would be ruined if every alcoholic in the UK were
thrown in jail and given a permanent criminal record.

Robert Sharpe (Students for Sensible Drug Policy, George Washington
201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Apt 701, Washington DC  ---
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