Listen, I am not sure if I am allowed to do this but a friend has posted some thoughts on drugs inspired by David Cameron's idea that ecstacy should be down graded from Class A, and I would love you all to read them. He has written the article I would love to write and with all the detail and facts that I don't have.
I have thought through the drugs debate a thousand times and every time I do it, I end up having no option but to ban alchohol and cigarettes. All drugs kill either directly or as a result of the decisions you take whilst in the altered state you end up in. Even with my minimal knowledge, however, I know that fags and booze kill more people each year than "drugs" ever will, cause more damage to people and property and cost the taxpayer an arm and a leg in all sorts ways.
The upshot of it all is that criminalising cigarettes and alchohol is not possible, so the importance of making our hard drugs policy make proper sense is beyond parallel or the whole thing lacks integrity and authority and betrays millions of young people.
However before I redirect you, and whilst I agree with much of what you are going to read, I insist that it does not make me soft on drugs. I hate the things and the despair and damage that they cause. But they are an evil reality and we have to deal with them.
The laws surrounding drugs and alchohol are the first real laws that teenagers probably deal with and from them (the laws) they get their first impression of politics and law making. If you tell the average 17 year old that ecstacy and heroin are classed together and carry similar punishments, they will laugh and from that point forward they will have not the slightest respect for anything else we adults say.
Until such time as public opinion allows for the complete prohibition of nicotine and alchohol, drug classification must be completely overhauled to account for reality as well as medical science; education and rehabilitation must be truly effective in its attempt to stop young people falling and picking up those who do; and our police must be ruthless in their pursuit of drug dealers and producers.
I am lucky, I do not have an addictive nature, I have always derived particular pleasure from standing out from the crowd and I dislike the notion of losing control. Compulsory drug testing in the Army kept me inhibited during my twenties, but even once released into the world, and working in Holland for a year, I still had no desire to play with the damn stuff.
But I have two children and nothing worries me more than how I am going to help them navigate a safe path through a world in which drugs are now rife and the norm.
Here's the link. http://bigtommygspeaks.blogspot.com/2005/11/guest-post-on-drugs.html