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Letter: Fresh Approach Needed to Drugs

Alun Buffry

Norwich Evening News

Monday 02 May 2011

There is still a massive amount of uncontrolled drugs on our streets despite the ongoing efforts to reduce it through arresting dealers ("More than 2,000 drugs arrests in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire", Evening News, April 26).

One could imagine the problems we would have if the sale of alcohol was to be made an offence - would it stop people drinking? No.

Would it stop people selling? - no.

It would simply introduce crime and prevent control. It's the same with drugs.

Throughout history people have taken substances (plants and plant products) to ease their suffering, escape or simply "get high" - and no doubt they will continue to do so.

But instead of granting them the same protection in law as the users of alcohol get, the users of some drugs become criminalised and forced to either go to dealers or else risk growing their own, in the case of cannabis. Those users, whether they benefit or are harmed, whether they harm others or not, risk arrest - all at taxpayers expense - a massive amount running into billions annually.

Only the dealers profit and don't even have to assure quality or pay tax. We can go on and on arresting users - but there will be more; we can continue arresting dealers but there is a seemingly endless queue of would-be profiteers willing to replace them.

Forty years down the line and all we have achieved is the criminalisation of people many of whom did not harm at all.

It is time that the politicians admitted that the present "war on drugs" has failed and an alternative approach is required.

Otherwise I confidentially predict we will read articles similar to this one over and over again

Alun Buffry
Woodcock Road




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