Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
Source: Press & Journal (UK)
Copyright: 2002: Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd.
Author: I. Farquharson


SIR, - Nothing the Government has tried in the fight against drugs has
had much effect. What good did Keith Hellawell, the drugs tsar, do?
Not very much or the Government would not have done away with his job.

It is not too surprising that the Home Office is relaxing penalties
for the personal use of cannabis. This was done mostly out of sympathy
with the police, who can no longer cope with the vast number of
cannabis offences.

I cannot see that engaging families and communities would make a huge
difference when one-third of children grow up in broken homes these

One wonders if there would be less heroin addiction if cannabis use
was to be made legal. Some argue persuasively that alcohol and tobacco
kill hundreds of thousands a year while deaths from cannabis use is
rare. Of course, it is a drug with many possible long-term effects,
but so are many prescription drugs.

And what is to be made of the fact that heroin was legal on
prescription until 1970, when we had a reported 2,000 heroin addicts?
Now that number stands at about 50,000. Several chief constables in
England and Wales are in favour of re-introducing heroin on
prescription. They are desperate to try anything to curb the wave of
drug-related crime.

Who can blame them?

I. Farquharson,
58 St Ronans Drive,
Peterculter, Aberdeen
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