Tuesday, 2 March 2010

More evidence that prohibition only makes drug use more dangerous ... and more popular

In Today's Independent, we learn that "the UK's drug advisers are to review the effects of cocaine after describing as "deeply concerning" figures showing big jumps in its usage." The news that use "had increased five-fold among 16 to 59-year-olds during the past 12 years and the purity of street samples had decreased" has prompted Professor Les Iversen, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to "counteract the increasingly common misapprehension that cocaine is a relatively safe drug."

Regular readers may remember my comments last May when the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) tried to claim this dangerous drop in purity as a victory;
The vast majority of drug "overdoses" are not overdoses at all but a reaction to the impurities of the drug. Moreover, such impurities are more likely within the context of prohibition and the war on drugs, as it hands the trade over to criminal gangs who do not have to worry about regulators and standards of practice.


The fact that the very illegality of drugs is the source of most of societies drug problems is unthinkable. Those at the liberal end of the mainstream spectrum who go anywhere near such a conclusion must make utterly unnecessary concessions about "limits" and "avoiding a free-for-all" for their views to approach palatable.

As long as such attitudes pertain ... and the legalisation of all drugs remains off the agenda for governments, people will continue to die.
Professor Iversen's finding's, not to mention the startling fact that "growing numbers of children were being treated for cocaine addiction," only serve to illustrate this point. However, after the fate of his predecessor Professor David Nutt, Iversen is unlikely to make this case or move beyond platitudes about how "deeply concerning" his findings are. He has stated publicly "that he did not expect the report to result in a call for a change in the classification of cocaine's existing Class A status."

But it should. Lives are at stake, and it is blindly obvious that prohibition isn't working.