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  1. Alfa
    NO 10: WE'RE LOSING WAR ON DRUGS


    Dealers in Control, Say Experts


    THE Government was secretly warned two years ago that the police were losing the war on drugs, it emerged yesterday.


    According to leaked papers, Cabinet ministers were told dealers had won the battle for control of the streets with the police proving unable to disrupt supplies.


    The report by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit - overseen by policy tsar Lord Birt - said measures to cut the amount of illegal drugs entering the UK since the early 1990s had little impact on supply.


    Seizure rates were running at less than 20 per cent, far lower than the 60 to 80 per cent the experts said was necessary to put major suppliers out of business.


    The damning report revealed there had been no "sustainable disruption"


    to the drug market.


    The trade's big players saw government intervention as a "cost of business" that posed no real threat to the industry's viability.


    Cocaine and heroin have halved in price over the last decade in real terms, although the report's authors said police action had slowed the rate of decrease slightly.


    The study revealed there exists an "inexhaustible" supply of drug traffickers, who are "innovative and technologically sophisticated".


    The international drug war led by the US simply forced production to be moved from one country to another.


    Researchers found that cracking down on drug users through the courts had little effect and Lord Birt had recommended forcing them into treatment programmes.


    The full report provided a powerful argument for legalising drugs in order to bring them under government control, cutting crime and at the same time undermining illegal suppliers.


    The cost of crime by heroin and crack users was put at UKP16billion and 30,000 drug users were committing 21 million criminal offences a year.


    Parts of the report were forced to be made public last week by Freedom of Information requests while the rest was suppressed - however that hidden half has now been leaked.


    Former Customs officer David Raynes, who now works with the National Drugs Prevention Alliance, said that rather than tackling the supply end, government should focus on reducing demand for drugs.


    He added: "Drugs enforcement doesn't solve the problem. The real problem with drugs use is preventing young people using drugs.


    "What has happened is we teach kids about drugs but we don't teach them to resist peer pressure to use drugs."


    A spokeswoman for No 10 said: "This paper was written two years ago and a lot has happened since then.


    "You need to see this paper for what it was - blue skies thinking. The intention was to provoke debate."

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  1. Alfa
    FACTS GOVERNMENT WANTED TO KEEP HIDDEN


    The Bad News On Drugs That No10 Tried To Bury


    THE shocking study shows how little has been achieved in the war on drugs.


    Only 20 per cent of illegal substances are seized - and it would take a four-fold increase to have a serious impact on the AUKP4billion of narcotics flowing into the country each year.


    Figures show profit margins for major heroin importers outstrip luxury goods firms such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.


    Afghan heroin traffickers can make up to AUKP2,500 profit from selling 1kg of the drug. And the report reveals crack cocaine addicts spend AUKP525 a week to feed their habit.


    The average price for a gram of cocaine is AUKP60 and the estimated annual spend of the average user is AUKP5,500. Crimes committed by the UK's 280,000 "high harm" drug users to support their cocaine and heroin habits cost AUKP16billion a year - but only 20 per cent of them are receiving treatment or in prison at any one time.


    Drug users are estimated to commit 56 per cent of offences in the UK, the study reveals, and more than three million people in Britain use illicit substances every year. Heroin claims 749 lives annually compared with alcohol which causes 6,000 deaths and 100,000 from tobacco. Drugs cause AUKP24billion worth of harm to the UK every year taking into account the social costs and the expense to the NHS.


    There are 1,006,000 people dependent on cannabis leading to 674 hospital admissions for mental health problems every year.


    But there were estimated to be no hospital admissions for psychological effects caused by taking ecstasy or amphetamines.
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