Pubdate: Tue, 01 Oct 2013
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2013 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Peter Hitchens
Page: 18


You ask (leading article, 30 September) how "die-hard supporters of
the status quo" will react to the latest call for weaker drug laws,
from the Chief Constable of Durham. The question itself and the absurd
claim that drug liberalisers are "silenced" by derision show a curious
lack of knowledge or observation.

Liberalisers are in fact guaranteed a prominent and uncritical hearing
in most of the British media. Politicians, it is true, noisily
proclaim their supposed toughness on the subject to gullible media.
But the status quo - as any police officer should know - is that
informal decriminalisation of drugs has been under way in this country
for more than 40 years, and many of the ills that we now see are the
results of that.

Those caught in possession of illegal drugs, including those in Class
'A', rarely face any serious punishment. Abusers of heroin are
expensively provided with substitutes (mostly methadone) by the taxpayer.

As for the connection between drugs and crime, there is no reason to
believe that legalisation would end it. Much crime in this country is
based on the smuggling of cigarettes, and on the manufacture of
alcohol. Both of these are, for better or worse, entirely legal.


London W8
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt