Pubdate: Tue, 18 May 1999
Date: 05/18/1999
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Author: Jonathan A Jones
Note: Subject line by MAP editor

Sir: Your leading article of 15 May implies that drug addiction leads to
crime. If that were indeed the case we would all live in fear of being
mugged by the millions of cigarette addicts who walk our streets. If heroin
were available as cheaply and easily as tobacco then heroin-related crime
would disappear overnight.

There is ample evidence from experiments in Switzerland that addicts
maintained on legal heroin can live healthy and productive lives. With
careful licensing of sales it should even be possible to keep heroin
largely out of the hands of children, something which the current
prohibition-based approach has conspicuously failed to achieve.

The war against drugs has not only failed spectacularly (the use of
heroin is going up and its price is falling steadily) but has itself
created a host of new problems. There can be no progress until we
abandon this foolish war.

Jonathan A Jones,