Greg Lance – Watkins
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I incline to the opinion that firstly everyone should be considered owner and thus responsible for their own bodies NOT THE STATE. If you accept this principle then in a free society we should have control over choosing if we wish to drug ourselves or not whether that is with alcohol or something more intrusive and potentially damaging.
Much is made of the costs of treatment as a result of taking drugs be that alcohol, cannabis, tobbacco or the various recreational drugs including Class A. However in terms of treatment alcohol and tobbacco hugely outstrip all other drugs in cost terms – yet they are virtually deregulated!
Meanwhile each citizen in Britain spends somewhere around £400 a year in policing controlled drugs then we must add court and prison costs to that!
So what have we achieved with this obscene level of spending on just one small sector of crime, beyond of course criminalising a sector of the population, increasing drug costs, increasing other crimes to fund the habit and diverting Police, Courts and Prisons from considering such mundane matters as burglary, sexual assault, violent crime, theft, robbery and the many other areas of crime that get neglected!
Society has totally failed on every count to enforce its whim relative to what are deemed ‘DRUGS’.
Further society can be counted on to continue to fail – I well remember in the days of ‘Starky & Hutch’ and ‘Miami Vice’ on TV it was laughingly pointed out that one episode of Miami Vice cost more to make than the Miami drug police budget for drug control & policing in a year!
The most tragic irony was that after many episodes of ‘Starsky & Hutch’ both entertaining and informing the public relative to the law and dangers of drugs Paul Michael Glaser, who played the Southern California undercover officer Savid Michael Starky lost his wife Elizabeth (Meyer) Glaser to a medical blunder – she was given a blood transfussion during the birth of their second child, which infected her with AIDS which led to her very premature death.
We really do have to consider how we plan to deal with ‘drugs’ and if you accept my proposition that in a free country and a fair democratic society we should be masters of our own bodies, minds and lives responsible for them in every way iy MUST be considered that ‘drugd’ should be decriminalised and then by all means regulate their condition, strengths and sales.
Whilst considering freedom of choice we must also display clearly the risks of ALL ‘drugs’ it is compulsory to include contra indication and recommended dosage data on all medically prescribed drugs why not on all other drugs from alcohol & tobbacco to opioid & crack cocaine with relevant hypothicated taxation to cover ALL direct costs of management and treatment that may subsequently fall to the public purse.
Perhaps we should take a more intelligent and grown up approach to other freedoms such as the liberty of women to control their own bodies and lives with a right to abortion up to a given date and also the absolute right to Euthenasia should you choose to excercise that fundamental human right to terminate one’s own life should one wish to without stigma, hinderance or criticism.
With all theses freedoms must of course come responsibility and just as a driver should be automaticly prosecuted and face a custodial sentence relative to the infringement – ie perhaps 6 months SERVED & a life ban for driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs – just as causing death by excercising the right to take drugs should be considered as harshly as any other premeditated killing!
Yes the laws surrounding theses freedoms will need to be detailed and ajustable as legislators democraticly implement improvements in this entirely new field and new concept of legislation.
We will, in Britain, be looking at the whole gammut of law over the next few years as we regain control and management of our laws after BreXit restructuring it free of the EU adherence to Roman law with its adherence to ‘the letter of the law’ rather than the more ergonomic British structure of law which values intent and prescedent with the protections of Habeas Corpus and Double Jeopardy – what better time to consider these new human rights of freedom of choice and formalising them in the new body of law to ensure justice.
The BMJ would seem to be thinking along these lines:
Drugs should be legalised, regulated, and taxed
Published 10 May 2018
Some numbers in this week’s journal bear reflection. The war on drugs costs each UK taxpayer an estimated £400 a year. The UK is now the world’s largest exporter of legal cannabis, yet recreational and medicinal use are criminalised. Scotland has the EU’s highest rate of drug related deaths, double that of 10 years ago. The global trade in illicit drugs is worth £236bn, but this money fuels organised crime and human misery. Why should it not instead fund public services?
A growing number of countries are taking a more enlightened route, say Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse (doi:10.1136/bmj.k1999). In Portugal, where non-violent possession of drugs has been decriminalised, consumption hasn’t increased but drug related deaths have fallen considerably. In the Netherlands, the USA, and now Canada, regulated markets for the sale of cannabis generate substantial tax revenues.
Meanwhile, in the UK vast sums are spent on prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of drugs into cities, carried along “county lines” by vulnerable children. Reed and Whitehouse speak for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, which calls for legalisation and regulation. They say that the money could instead be spent on quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child protection. Revenues could be diverted from criminal gangs into government coffers.
When law enforcement officers call for drugs to be legalised, we have to listen. So too when doctors speak up. Last month the Royal College of Physicians took the important step of coming out in favour of decriminalisation, (doi:10.1136/bmj.k1832) joining the BMA, the Faculty of Public Health, and the Royal Society of Public Health in supporting drug policy reform (doi:10.1136/bmj.j3461.)
This is not about whether you think drugs are good or bad. It is an evidence based position entirely in line with the public health approach to violent crime. In their Editorial, John Middleton and Jonathan Shepherd say that the UK’s epidemic of gun and knife crime is in part due to the increased availability of fentanyl and crack cocaine (doi:10.1136/bmj.k1967). The UK government’s newly released Serious Violence Strategy acknowledges the link between drug prohibition and violence, but it proposes spending £40m on prohibition related policies. Reed and Whitehouse say it will do nothing to tackle drug related crime.
The BMJ is firmly behind efforts to legalise, regulate, and tax the sale of drugs for recreational and medicinal use. This is an issue on which doctors can and should make their voices heard.
To view the original of this article CLICK HERE
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