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  1. FuBai
    [h1] Tough-on-drugs policy 'pointless'[/h1]
    BBC News

    _41184220_cannabis_bundle203.jpg

    Britain's policy of being tough on drugs is "pointless", says a former civil servant who once ran the Cabinet's anti-drugs unit.
    Julian Critchley now believes the best way to reduce the harm to society from drugs would be to legalise them.
    Mr Critchley, who worked with ex-Labour drug tsar Keith Hellawell, said many he had worked alongside felt the same.
    They publicly backed government policy but privately believed it was not doing any good, he said.
    War on drugs
    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme in a media-driven age it was difficult to present a case on what was a complex issue.

    He said: "It's much easier to come out with soundbites about being tough on drugs and continuing to crack down on drug dealers when in actual fact we know that doesn't work."

    Ten years ago, the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit was at the heart of the war on drugs in the UK, co-ordinating policy across all government departments.
    Mr Hellawell, the controversial former police chief who went on to accuse Labour ministers of "closing their eyes" to the drugs problem, was appointed in 1998 as the public face of the government's war on drugs. Mr Critchley worked behind the scenes as the unit's director.
    In a response to an entry about drugs on BBC home editor Mark Easton's blog, the former senior civil servant wrote that when he started work in the field he did not favour decriminalisation, but as time went on he changed his mind.
    "I joined the unit more or less agnostic on drugs policy, being personally opposed to drug use, but open-minded about the best way to deal with the problem. I was certainly not inclined to decriminalise," he said.
    But he soon came to the view that enforcement of the law was "largely pointless" and had "no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs", he said.
    Market 'saturated'
    Mr Critchley went on to argue that wishing drug use away was "folly" and that there was "no doubt" there would be a fall in crime as a result of legalisation.

    "The argument always put forward against this is that there would be a commensurate increase in drug use as a result of legalisation," he said.
    "This, it seems to me, is a bogus point: tobacco is a legal drug, whose use is declining, and precisely because it is legal, its users are far more amenable to government control, education programmes and taxation than they would be were it illegal."
    Studies showed the market was already almost saturated with drugs, he said, and anyone who wished to purchase the drug of their choice could already do so.
    "The idea that many people are holding back solely because of a law which they know is already unenforceable is simply ridiculous," he said.
    He also said the "overwhelming majority of professionals" he met, including those from the police, the health service, government and voluntary sectors, held the same view.
    "Yet publicly, all those intelligent, knowledgeable people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the government would be 'tough on drugs', even though they all knew that the government's policy was actually causing harm."

Comments

  1. 0utrider
    [h1]Drug prohibition – an untenable hypocrisy[/h1]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/13/drugspolicy.drugstrade
  2. FuBai
    Here is the original article to which the response was posted:

  3. chillinwill
    Legalise drugs, says former senior Cabinet adviser Julian Critchley

    From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...-senior-Cabinet-adviser-Julian-Critchley.html

    Julian Critchley, the former director of the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said Labour's "tough on drugs" approach was like "shifting the deck-chairs around on the Titanic".



    He said: "The drugs strategy doesn't work, can not work, because we have no way of controlling the supply of drugs."


    It comes after a report found that police and customs are fighting a losing battle against the illegal drug trade despite billions of pounds being spent every year on fighting it. Mr Critchley, who ran the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit in the early years of the Labour Government, said a belief that drug use could be legislated away is "folly".


    He said he is in "no doubt" that their legalisation would produce a fall in crime, while providing heroin addicts with the drug on prescription would stop them committing crimes to raise money to supply their habit.
    Ten years ago, the Cabinet Office's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit was at the heart of the war on drugs in the UK, co-ordinating policy across all government departments.



    Keith Hellawell (CORR), the controversial former police chief who went on to accuse Labour ministers of "closing their eyes" to the drugs problem, was appointed in 1998 as the public face of the government's war on drugs.



    Mr Critchley, who worked behind the scenes as the unit's director, said he had taken up his role "more or less agnostic on drugs policy, being personally opposed to drug use."



    But he had become convinced that anti-drugs policy and enforcement had produced "no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs."


    The only way to effectively battle the problem would be to legalise drugs and take control over their supply, he claimed.


    Mr Critchley said the "overwhelming majority of professionals" he had worked with, including those from the Government, NHS, police and charities, shared his view.



    "Yet publicly, all those intelligent, knowledgeable people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the government would be 'tough on drugs', even though they all knew that the government's policy was actually causing harm," he said.



    Mr Critchley dismissed arguments against legalisation based on fears of an increase in drug use as "bogus".



    He said: "Tobacco is a legal drug, whose use is declining, and precisely because it is legal, its users are far more amenable to government control, education programmes and taxation than they would be were it illegal.
    "The idea that many people are holding back solely because of a law which they know is already unenforceable is simply ridiculous."



    He recalled meetings in which "there was a very large amount of agreement that actually this drugs strategy was shifting the deckchairs around on the Titanic, we were trying to minimise harm but ultimately we knew that this was riddling while Rome burnt."


    A Home Office spokesman said: "We have no intention of either decriminalising or legalising currently controlled drugs for recreational purposes.



    "Drugs are controlled for good reason - they are harmful to health. Their control protects individuals and the public from the harms caused by their misuse."


    The Conservatives rejected Mr Critchley's comments. Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve, said: "Drugs wreck lives, destroy communities and are a major cause of crime.


    "The answer lies in robust policing and sentences to catch and deter the peddlers of drugs. We also need to establish a dedicated UK Border Police to stop drugs flowing into our porous borders.



    "Finally we must expand residential rehabilitation so that we can actually get addicts off drugs, in contrast to Labour's policy of simply managing addiction."


    A report last month from the UK Drugs Commission found that traditional crime-fighting tactics were simply not working and that the £5.3 billion British drug market was "too fluid'' for law enforcement agencies to deal with.


    In 2005-06, the Government spent £ 380 million just on reducing supply in England, the report said, while the annual cost to the criminal justice system of dealing with Class A drugs is more than £4 billion.
  4. FuBai
    Re: Legalise drugs, says former senior Cabinet adviser Julian Critchley

    Additional articles should probably go here.
  5. AntiAimer
    Really hate people like this, yeah speak out after you got paid and ruined millions of peoples lives.

    Money is the root of all evil in the end.
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