Media savvy

Who’s been saying what..? DDN’s round-up of what’s being said in the national papers

The choice we have to make now is how we do things differently. Repeating the mistakes of the past is not the way to solve this problem in the future. Put simply, if you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform.

Nick Clegg, Observer, 9 February

Instead of proposing any action, [Nick Clegg] is resorting to the nervous refrain of calling for more debate on a subject that has been debated for decades. Sadly, he appears to be doing this only for the most naked and short-term political reasons, as part of his desperate efforts to find some definition for his flailing party.

Ian Birrell, Independent, 10 February

When liberals, libertarians and Tea Party Republicans find themselves nodding in unison on drug law reform, it’s fair to say that the issue’s time has come.

Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, Observer, 9 February

The death ‘in recovery’ of Philip Seymour Hoffman emphasises the dangers addicts face when they start to use again… The lesson of Hoffman’s untimely death may well be that simplistic views of recovery and abstinence-only treatments leave addicts vulnerable to relapse, and increase the risk of death.

David Nutt, Guardian, 4 February

There are no winners in the illegality of drugs, except the lucky ones who make money from it without getting caught. The only hope is that high-profile casualties such as Hoffman’s might lead a few legislators to see the damage done by these laws and correct their ways. At least in some American states the door of legalisation is now ajar. Not so in Britain, where the most raging addiction is inertia.

Simon Jenkins, Guardian, 3 February

Drugs can give you pleasure, relaxation and sociability. If you try to use them to escape a shitty life, you find your life is even shittier when you come round. But we’re all potential rats on the pleasure pedal and anyone who can’t stop repeatedly using a substance (sugar, credit card or cocaine), even when we know it’s not doing us any good, is an addict.

Dr Phil Hammond, Telegraph, 18 February

People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.

Russell Brand, Guardian, 6 February

I am not bothered about Russell Brand. His petition demanding a parliamentary debate has become the stuff of comedy, given his earlier public strictures on ignoring democracy. Beyond celebrity groupies and metropolitan admirers, his erratic and self-serving ramblings won’t persuade.

Kathy Gyngell, Guardian, 20 February

There are no hard and fast rules in addiction; there’s no neat definition of it as a ‘disease’, whatever addicts are told in rehab. Some folk pass through a phase of addiction and then the compulsion leaves them… But for many – perhaps most – addicts, the addictive urge doesn’t leave you just because you’ve stopped using drugs, or drinking, or gambling, or gazing for hours at internet porn, or bingeing on cupcakes until you make yourself sick.

Damian Thompson, Telegraph, 3 February

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