Pubdate: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2001 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407
Author: P. Bowler


Sir, - Eddie Holt's article (February 10th) concerning our society's many 
conflicting perceptions of drug-taking warrants a great deal of praise. 
However, his call for a "realistic reappraisal" of the current situation is 
unfortunately naive.

The status quo suits those middle-class politicians who can with pompous 
regularity declaim on such and such an initiative and hire ever more gardai 
but singularly fail to tackle the social conditions which can motivate 
young people to escape into heroin.

It's not a problem which requires a great deal of intelligence to tackle. 
The current policy has failed, continues to fail and in fact there is no 
indication that it will ever be anything but a failure. There is no 
jurisdiction in the world, even those that regularly employ the death 
penalty, which has eliminated drug-taking. Surely the only response to 
something that doesn't work is to change it? Yet that "realistic 
reappraisal" is as a remote possibility now as it has ever been.

May I respectfully suggest that halving an already bloated police force 
would free up huge amounts of resources for social workers, care workers, 
psychologists, etc. Or they could invest the money directly into the areas 
where drug-related crimes and deaths are greatest. Realistic? - Yours, etc.,

P. Bowler, Rathgar, Dublin 6. 
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