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Julian Critchley and legalisation of drugs

I've thought for a long time that the so-called 'war on drugs' is misconceived and an inevitable failure so the only logical course is controlled legalisation. I'm very glad to hear that Julian Critchley, a former civil servant who once ran the Cabinet's anti-drug unit, has publicly said that decriminalisation is the only sane way forward. The parallel with prohibition in the USA is obvious.


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david hill on :

Julian Critchley oversaw a cabinet unit that would not listen. Indeed, he should have been innovative where he was not and kept with the steady state all the time. It was him I believe who ultimately refused even the thought of trials of the Vietnamese cure for hard drug addiction in the UK, even though the government of Vietnam offered their hand of help at their highest political and scientific level. With no cold turkey, detoxification within 48 hours, a herbal cure with no addictive properties, cheap and with no deaths directly attributed to the treatment, he was blatantly ignorant to the facts. His team were likewise and one wonders whether they were in the back pockets of the large pharmaceuticals who definitely did not want the cure to be introduced into the West.

Overall Critchley and his team were responsible for not reducing the drug scourge because they never opened their eyes. Indeed, responsible for not even trying and causing indirectly the suffering of hundreds of thousands in the UK and their families. The combined situation affecting millions.

Therefore he and his team were/are a complete failure for Britain.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation Charity (WIFC)
Bern, Switzerland

Mike on :

Hurray for Mr Critchley. Indeed, I'd go further and say the trade should be state-regulated, with legal outlets (dispensing conditional on medical supervision) deliberately undercutting street prices. This would rid us of the scourge of drug pushers and smugglers, theft by junkies, and generally minimise a self-inflicted wound that started in the 60s with criminalisation.

However, this would have to be coupled with serious resources going into helping existing addicts come off, no bureaucratic messing and no waiting lists.

Graham Mitchell on :

I wrote a thesis 5 years ago advocating the legalization of recreational drugs. Without going into the very detailed arguments for the proposal the bullet points were-:
1) The prohibition of recreational drugs has provoked the biggest world wide explosion in organised crime since the prohibition of alcohol in the USA in the 1920's
2)The majority of deaths are caused by consumers not knowing exactly what they are using.
3) Simply because they are banned they become a fashionable fad instead of a stupid way of showing off.
4) The proliferation caused by the dealers giving the kids free samples would disappear if there were no commercial incentive for them to do so.
5) The massive savings achieved would turn into a revenue earner if the various substances were moderately taxed.
6) Savings and taxes would more than finance a serious drug dependency unit to also cover tobacco and alcohol.

I have many more instances where society would benefit from this approach and would suggest that a serious study be made to weigh the benefits of this approach against the disadvantages.

I am sure the benefits outweigh the downside by a considerable margin financially, danger to society and even ethically.

The biggest obstacles are 1) The public kneejerk reaction to the proposal and 2)the politcal reluctance to take a stand on something which has been obvious to me for many years

If you like to enter into a dialogue in respect of the above I am at your disposal. I am semi retired and would happily spare as much time as it takes to give our ideas some momentum now that a voice in the wilderness has been heard. I sent a copy of my thesis to several chief constables and got some very snotty replies as you can imagine,

Yours sincerely,

Graham Mitchell
The Oast House
The Vern
Office 01568 700112
Home 01568 797822

Graham Mitchell on :

Dear Mike,

That is the suggestion but if you go the medical supervision route you will still be left with a market place for the illegal stuff, not as big a market admittedly but my idea was to allow a dispensing chemist to issue whatever and give a verbal warning on side effects plus the usual flags on the packet "Smoking Kills" etc --really goes back to treating people like adults--they might actually respond plus I think we should all decide on our own exit route--mine's alcohol !

The main thing I can't get a handle on is how you start applying the pressure on the polticians to change the law ?

Any ideas ?

Graham Mitchell

mike cadoux on :

Yes, the devil's in the detail, and as a parent I don't lightly abandon the backup provided by "It's illegal and you go to prison" - reluctantly legal, but not easy. Maybe pharmacists for low hazard types - cannabis, uppers etc but GPs (as they used to do) and dedicated clinics for heroin. Not sure about cocaine or ecstasy. And some things not at all, but given the legal availability of others, they would have very limited appeal. I hope.

Policy would have to evolve in light of experience.

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