Thursday, July 28, 2011

'Drug Policy Doesn’t Work' – Says Leader in The Times

In its leader today The Times calls for a ‘radical rethink’ of drug policy. Under the title ‘Drug Policy Doesn’t Work', the leader concludes:

“This is a complex issue. If there were an obvious answer it would have been found by now. One thing, though, is clear — a radical rethink is needed. Drug abuse ruins so many lives and a policy based on prohibition, although comprehensible in its own terms, is not succeeding in reducing either usage or harm. There are some examples, in Switzerland, for example, of heroin being offered in a controlled and prescribed way for addicts. There are a number of intermediate points between prohibition and legalisation, and it is time to start exploring them.”

The paper will include a follow up column on the issue tomorrow.

The Times is to be congratulated for making such a clear call. The leader shows now that the issue of the need to explore alternatives is very much in the political mainstream. The paper's economics editor, Anatole Kaletsky called for legalisation in his column, back in August 2007.

Unfortunately the online paper requires a subscription, but if you want to see the whole thing, it’s here.


Steve Rolles said...

Good stuff from the Times - important to note that they also cite the recent Global Commission report that does infact make a clear call for countries to be allowed to experiment with legal regulation of drugs (see ).

The language here is also important - they might more usefully have refered to exploring the models of legal market regulation that sit between prohibition and and libertarian free market models. legalisation is after all a process - not a policy end point or policy position in it self (see for more discussion on this).

Still, mustn't grumble. This is the Times, tehy are essentially saying the right thing and therefore its an important landmark.

Bolivia Newton-John said...

Wow. Would never have expected this from The Times. Great news, and cause for optimism.

LokaSamasta said...

Just treat drugs like cars. The other 'essential item' that is also fun and deadly.

Tax, insurance, training, exams, annual checks.

££££ for government coffers and safety first for everyone.

Derek said...

Yes, this is good, but any regime which isn't prohibition is a legalised regime. Prohibition only means one thing, there can be no shades of prohibition.

So any change at all, even to the most rigid of restricted access regimes, is a change to a legalised regime.

There seems to be this reluctance to use the "L" word, but leglalisation should not be confused with liberalisation.

Agreeing to avoid the "L" word isn't going to help move things forward though. Better to encourage an understading that it can mean a whole rainbow of possiblities.

Steve Rolles said...

Your right Derek, but my point was that legalisation is a process (ging from something illegal to something legal) not a poicy position as such - the policy position has to include not just the need for the porcess but some detail about what the post prohibition regulation model will look like - thats why we try to talk about legalisation and regulation (and point people to blueprint when they ask what we mean) rather than use the 'l' word in isolation (which leads to misunderstandings / confusion- see previous link )