Source: Evening News (Norwich UK)
Fax : 01603 628311  (+44 1603 628311)
Contact:  Mon, 13 Apr 1998


So drug-related crime has shot up in the area (Evening News April 7).  What
a surprise!

It proves that heavy-handed prohibitionist tactics are doing nothing to
solve the drugs problem or the associated fund-raising crime.

To punish an addict is senseless; they need help.  Forcing them to buy
their substances of addiction at hugely-inflated illegal market prices,
does nothing to help them.

I am not suggesting that hard drugs be available over the counter in the
corner shop, but it is surely about time that the supply of hard drugs was
taken out of the hands of the criminal organisations and pushers.  Drugs
which cost thousands of pounds on the illegal market could be supplied by
doctors at a fraction of the cost.  This would immediately knock the bottom
out of the criminal supply, reduce fund-raising crime drastically, and help
in the identification and treatment of addicts.

Such an idea is more than feasible.  It has already been tried - and it
succeeded - by Doctor John Marks in an area of Liverpool.  He legally
supplied heroin to addicts and all the above positive consequences were

The incidence of new addiction dropped - there was no need for the addicts
to raise funds through passing on some of their illegal drugs at a profit
to new users.

To a person who's heart is set on prohibition and punishemnet the idea of
helping addicts may seem unappealing.  What is clear is that the present
system is disastrous, and a new approach is needed.


Alun Buffry