Saturday, 21 August 2010

When are we going to see an honest debate about drug use and abuse?

Drugs are in the news again; always a good topic for a few headlines - and that’s really the problem.

The ConDems make it into the news because they want to consider the possibility of removing welfare benefits from people who refuse treatment. Excuse me, but my understanding is that there aren’t enough places on treatment programmes for those wanting them. But we should live safe in the knowledge that the ConDems are going to ask people their views. Once again, we see the ConDem PR machine in action. More talk and (not yet) any action. Hypocrisy.

At the other end of the spectrum, Sir Ian Gilmore, retiring President of the College of Physicians, has suggested that drugs should be legalised. The problem for Sir IG is that he knows what he’s talking about; and the one thing politicians don’t want on drugs is informed debate . . . though they like to say they want it.

Labour is no better; one of the most stupid decisions the Labour Government made was to reclassify cannabis - C to B. Other than a couple of days’ good headlines what use did this do? A rhetorical questions . . . but I’ll answer it. None.

I wonder, sometimes, what land politicians live in. How many of us can honestly say we don’t know anybody who uses them? Like most of us, I have many friends who smoke cannabis; other classified drugs, I don’t know. I’d like to say I’m fiercely opposed to drug use and that I never take them. In terms of classified drugs I can say I don’t take them - but I drink alcohol and coffee. I gave up cigarettes years ago for health reasons.

The UK has an ambivalent attitude to drug use . . . look at the dope-smoking, pill popping lead character in SHAMELESS, a popular anti-hero. And comedy (however broad) reflects society - see the name of this blog.

Drug use is common at all levels of society - even at political levels. Drug use is complex - in judicial, medical, financial and social terms. The sooner politicians realise this and enter into an informed, serious and above all honest debate the better. Politicians can lead . . . are there any brave enough to lead on this?


  1. I feel the worst drug out there is alcohol. The most insidious of them the being the introduction to alcopops! Albeit I do believe that most drugs in moderation are not bad for us.

    Most politicians are not in touch with the average person but I guess they do the best they can. But removing welfare benefits of people that refuse treatment shows the lack of awareness Politicians have got. Soon there will be a ban on everything that is connected to a financial output!

  2. I think much of what you say is right. Alcohol is difficult, isn't it? In moderation OK, but it easily can get a grip on people. Have you seen the recent reports on addition levels among gay people? I think politicians (all parties) are mostly out of touch, but also unwilling to take on the complexity of the drugs debate. Thanks for your comment.