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Letter: Protect drug users, don't punish them

Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance

Evening News, Norwich

Tuesday 11 Jan 2000


Reader Jenny Holmwood wrote "Surely we need to ask ourselves where
society is failing our young folks who feel they find solace in taking
illicit substances." (Evening News, December 31 1999)

The government made the gravest of mistakes when they decided to punish
rather than help drug-users and that is where society is failing.
Drugs-like plants and man-made substances like alcohol have been used
since prehistoric times.

Ms Holmwood is correct when she says that people find solace in drugs.

The reasons why people take these substances, legal and illegal, vary as
do the effects of the drugs.

What most people share is the desire to feel better.

I have to ask why we should punish people simply for trying to do that?

When society learns to accept the need for drugs for some people and
decides to try to protect those people - that is, when it becomes an
issue of health and not law - then and only then will the drug-problems
start to be solved.

Drugs should be made legal and their supply put into the hands of
professionals, rather than being left up to the criminal element.

Then the quality, purity, dose and price will be controllable.

Hard and addictive drugs would be available on prescription, as was
heroin in the Sixties and before, when there was no big problem with it
apart from the addiction itself.

That would knock the bottom out of the present illegal market which is
driven by greed for profit and fueled by addiction and crime.


Alun Buffry
Legalise Cannabis Alliance
PO Box 198




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