Pubdate: Sun, 06 Aug 2006
Source: News of the World (UK)
Copyright: News Group Newspapers Ltd, 2006
Note: You can email your letters direct to the News of the World. We 
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Author: Ian Kirby & Philip Whiteside
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


RELAXING laws against cannabis has ended in disaster - and caused an
EXPLOSION in hard drugs abuse.

That is the damning verdict of a secret dossier compiled by Tony
Blair's own No10 Strategy Unit.

Their confidential report, seen by the News of the World, reveals how
the government's decision to decriminalise cannabis two years ago has
enabled dealers to wean a flood of new users on to deadly drugs, such
as crack cocaine and heroin.

It says: "The vast majority of local drug dealers will use cannabis as
an easy way of making money and increasing their client base.


"They will seek to secure more hard drug clients from among that

"Recent changes to the law have increased the number of people taking
cannabis. The amount of hard-drug abuse has also increased. Although
more research is needed, it appears the two rises are connected."

The report's findings were confirmed by News of the World
investigators, who discovered our streets are riddled with cannabis
dealers. It took just MINUTES to buy the drug in five cities across
the country-and many pedlars were also pushing hard drugs.

When cannabis was downgraded to a Class C "soft" drug, the government
claimed there was no evidence to suggest its use would encourage
people to try harder drugs. But the new report concludes that almost
all "high harm-causing drug users" (heroin and crack addicts) began by
smoking cannabis.

There are now estimated to be 3.5million regular cannabis users in
Britain-A FIFTH more than in 1997.

In public, the government insists that educating the public about the
dangers of the drug, instead of punishing people for using it, is the
only workable policy.

But privately, the No10 Strategy Unit warn: "Far more drugs are used
now than in the past. The supply market is highly sophisticated and
attempts to intervene have not resulted in sustainable disruption to
the market at any level."

The Downing Street team's cannabis findings are part of a report on
the overall drugs problem. It reveals that it is now EASIER to buy
hard drugs on Britain's streets than ever before.

The report warns 260,000 heroin addicts spend UKP4 billion a year on the
drug and cause UKP16 BILLION of crime to fund their drug habits.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis branded the government's drugs
policy was a "total disaster".

He added: "Many continue to think cannabis is a safe, soft drug. They
still wrongly think it is legal.

"And many more young lives will be damaged by the pernicious trade in
this dangerous drug." 
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