The Indy (not a direct link – scroll down to “This Britain”) reports that Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, has blamed governments that have softened laws on cannabis for their own drugs epidemics.
Mr Costa says that such states have the “drug problem they deserve”.
Obviously one of his main targets is the UK, where David Blunkett, when Home Secretary, downgraded cannabis from a class B to a class C drug; meaning that those caught with of small quantities would no longer be automatically arrested.
Mr Costa argues that controlling cannabis (and presumably harder drugs as well):
requires consensus, a consistent commitment across the political spectrum and by society at large.
After so many years of drug control experience, we now know that a coherent, long-term strategy can reduce drug supply, demand and trafficking. If this does not happen, it will be because some nations fail to take the drug issue sufficiently seriously and pursue inadequate policies.
One of the big problems with cannabis is that after years of smokers being unable to buy anything much stronger than a used teabag or small piece of shoe polish, new strains have increased enormously in potency.
A “coherent, long-term (and presumably global) strategy” on drug control seems like a pipe-dream [sic] to me, but with senior police officers estimating that more than 70 per cent of crimes are drug-related and also blaming the recent knife-crime outbreak on drug abuse then surely something has to be tried?
Is Mr Costa right? Can the UK (or indeed the world) put the genie of drug use back into the bottle? Is there really any more of a drug problem than there was in the 1970s or 80s?
According to the BBC the most recent figures suggest that overall drug usage is stable.
But if there really is such a problem then what, exactly has changed?
I know what I think. Since Thatcher’s festival of selfishness, drugs have become respectable amongst the middle-classes.
Unless the police are prepared to risk raiding the networks which operate behind the steel gates of the yuppie fortress or the respectable suburban house then they may as well just legalise all narcotics and cream off the tax….