Pubdate: Wed, 2 Jan 2008
Source: Mirror, The (UK)
Copyright: 2008 The Mirror
Author: Bob Roberts, Political Editor
Cited: Transform Drug Policy Foundation
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Fury Over Class a Pill Claim

One of Britain's top policemen sparked a furious row yesterday when 
he claimed Ecstasy was safer than aspirin.

Richard Brunstrom, the controversial Chief Constable of North Wales, 
said there was "scaremongering" about deaths and the side-effects 
associated with the dance drug.

He said: "Ecstasy is a remarkably safe substance, far safer than 
aspirin. It's far less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol which are 
freely available."

This contradicts Government warnings about the Class A drug, which 
has been blamed for more than 200 deaths since 1996.

Aspirin kills around 60 a year but these are mainly suicides.

The Home Office said: "The Government firmly believes it should 
remain as Class A. There's no such thing as a safe dose." Shadow Home 
Secretary David Davis and drugs charities slammed Mr Brunstrom's 
comments on Ecstasy.

Mr Davis said: "If you treat dangerous drugs as 'no worse than 
aspirin' you make a gift to the dealers who destroy young people's lives."

Mr Brunstrom, 53, also told BBC Radio 4 that the legalisation of all 
drugs was "inevitable" in 10 years' time, claiming "the current 
prohibition regime doesn't work".

His zero tolerance approach to speeding and support for Tasers have 
previously caused controversy.

Wound Aid

Ecstasy or MDMA was patented in 1914 for a drug to control bleeding.

Its street name of Ecstasy came from 80s California

Should All Drugs Be Legalised?

Yes, says Danny Kushlick, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

Drugs will be made legal through licensed outlets or doctors within 
10 years because that is the rational and most effective, just and 
humane way of dealing with the production, supply and demand for drugs.

All drugs are potentially dangerous but no substance is made safer in 
the hands of criminals and unregulated dealers.

Prohibition is counter-productive. And when it is ineffective it 
corrupts everything it touches.

It has corrupted Afghanistan, Colombia, South-East Asia, the 
Caribbean and most cities of industrialised nations in the West.

If that's success, I would hate to see what happens if we fail.

Supporters of prohibition have gifted a UKP320billion-a-year trade to 
the Mafia. In the UK, it takes UKP16billion a year to deal with the 
costs of crime alone.

The public can only be duped into believing it works for so long.

When people realise that it is a self-inflicted nightmare they will 
stop supporting the politicians who support prohibition.

No, says Peter Stoker, National Drug Prevention Alliance

All the evidence shows that every country that has tried relaxing 
drug laws regrets it and almost all have had to push the law back to 
where it was.

You can see with cannabis in Britain that the same thing is happening 
now. Every day we get some evidence about how harmful it is. If we 
are going to shift the classification it should be to where it is 
seen as more harmful.

How dangerous a drug is does not just relate to how many people die 
from it, but the wider impact it has in the form of crime and 
destroying people's lives.

It's not just the person who uses it that suffers, the impact of drug 
use ripples out across a much larger circle. As far as Ecstasy goes, 
if Richard Brunstrom thinks it's a safe substance he should talk to 
the parents who have lost children to it. We have enough trouble in 
Britain with two legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol.

The majority of the population are against current illegal drugs - 
they don't want them to be made more readily available. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake