Pubdate: Mon, 16 Nov 1998
Date: 11/16/1998
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Author: Dan Williams
Sir: The Government's timid response to the Lords committee recommendation
on medicinal use of cannabis highlights why we have little hope of
reversing the terrible effects of dangerous drugs use.

If the Government is serious about reducing drugs use and the crime it
causes, the campaign needs a dose of radical honesty. All the efforts
of the past 50 years have been based on the demonising of any
substance that isn't legal - hardly the approach to influence young

The narcotic debate is still based on the 1920s approach that was
based on grounds of morality and deviance. Even the most dim-witted
teenager will identify that alcohol is easily as culpable on these
grounds, yet enjoys legal and taxable status.

Drugs use has to be tackled primarily on grounds of health risks and
should target those substances that are demonstrably addictive or
fatal and are at least more dangerous that alcohol or tobacco.

If you apply this test to existing proscribed substances many will
fail despite over half a century of effort to link them to the proven
effects of narcotics like heroin and cocaine.

With their big majority, there is no excuse for the Government not to
raise the level of debate on drugs.

Dan Williams,
Southend-on-Sea, Essex