Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2006
Source: Cambridge Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2006 Cambridge Newspapers Ltd
Author: Jack A. Cole and Tom Lloyd


Tom Lloyd, Cambridgeshire's former chief constable, is meeting former
US police officer Jack Cole this week to discuss a campaign to
legalise heroin. They told the Newswhy they are united by a common

Cambridgeshire's chief constable last year and has a policing career
stretching over 30 years.

DURING my police service I became convinced that this country's
approach to attempting to control illegal drug abuse is deeply flawed
and unsuccessful.

I learned from personal experience that enforcement is either
ineffective or actively counter-productive, and policy-related harms
are now far greater than harms caused by drug misuse.

In short, the current approach amounts to prohibition.

Prohibition leads to harm maximisation for drug users, the creation of
crime at all levels, a crisis in the criminal justice and prisons
system, political, economic and social instability in drug producer
and transit countries, and mass criminalisation and the undermining of
human rights.

Harm-reduction initiatives, while sometimes temporarily successful,
are largely directed at alleviating health or social problems created
or exacerbated by prohibition.

The resources devoted to treatment are grossly inadequate, fail to
deter drug dealers and do not recognise the huge cost benefits of
funding such activity.

Community safety and crime reduction in this country are imperilled by
this approach. I believe the time is now right for changes to occur.

I have secured charitable funds to support my work and intend to
persuade Government to look at this issue with fresh eyes, to
implement rational policies, and to reduce crime by prescribing heroin
to addicts.

I believe prescribing heroin to addicts will reduce crime driven by
the need to buy drugs, stabilise users and make it easier to help them
and, importantly, take away the profits from dealers and drive them
out of business.

The rights of the victims of crime as well as the addicts will be
taken into account.

Jack Cole is a former narcotics officer with 26 years' experience with
New Jersey State Police and is now a leading campaigner for the
legalisation of drugs in America.

AFTER nearly four decades of fuelling a war on drugs with over a
trillion dollars of our taxes and creating increasingly punitive
policies toward drug users, what are the results?

Our court system is choked with the escalating number of drug
prosecutions and our quadrupled prison population has made building
jails this nation's fastest growing industry.

Despite all the ill-spent money and the lives wasted, drug barons
continue growing richer, terrorists make fortunes on the trade, and
citizens continue dying on our streets.

The final outcome to this terrible story is that, today (Thursday, 30
November), illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier for
our children to get than they were 35 years ago.

This represents the very definition of a failed public policy. There
is a saying: "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is
stop digging."

We should stop digging in the hole of a failed war on drugs and start
searching for alternative strategies. 
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath