Pubdate: Thu, 18 Oct 2007
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Nick Maurice


Sir: Congratulations to The Independent for giving such
intensive coverage to the legalisation of all drugs, and in
particular to the Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard
Brunstrom, for the courageous but pragmatic stance that he
has taken. It is refreshing to see someone of such stature,
working within the criminal justice system, at last
recognising that there has to be a new approach.

In the last six of 25 years of general practice in a rural community
in Wiltshire four young patients of mine died as a result of heroin
use. They would be alive today if they had had legal and safe access
to their heroin. Many more young lives that I was aware of as chairman
of a Drugs Advisory Service were made intolerable by the custodial
sentences they were given for possession, for shooting themselves up
or for the criminal activities they indulged in to support their
habit. What they really wanted was legal, safe and controlled access
to the drugs they were taking so that they could over time decide to
kick the habit with the care and support of properly trained people in
the community.

It is criminal that we continue to take a punitive rather than a
public health attitude to drug use and as a result cause so much death
and destruction among young drug-users and such despair among the
victims of the crimes which are committed to support their drug use.

Dr Nick Maurice

Marlborough, Wiltshire
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