The news, and the skews, in the national media
Medical students need to learn, in a compassionate way, about the particular challenges of treating patients with drug addiction. And they need to learn from doctors who are tolerant and compassionate towards patients… phrases like ‘person that uses IV drugs’, in theory, should remind us that we are indeed dealing with a person and not a diagnosis – in the same way that my patient is a ‘person with schizophrenia’ or ‘a person with alcohol misuse’, rather than a schizophrenic or an alcoholic, defined by their diagnosis.
Elizabeth Romer, BMJ, 12 February
You can tell the state of a society, said Alexis de Tocqueville, by its prisons. Today you tell it by its attitude to drugs. Ten years ago the Labour government recklessly upgraded cannabis from class C to class B, ‘because of concerns of its impact on mental health’. Then they were minimal. After reclassification, police evidence is that 95 per cent of cannabis used is now skunk.
Simon Jenkins, Guardian, 1 March
Our prohibition of cannabis jeopardises children’s safety, encourages gang violence and leaves millions in the dark about what they’re taking. This approach has failed and the public know it. More Britons support a legal, regulated cannabis market than oppose it.
Daniel Pryor, Times, 1 March
More than a dozen times I have pointed out here that almost all rampage killers, all over the world, have one thing in common – the use of mind-altering drugs. I am not trying to exonerate them. On the contrary. But I am trying to prevent these things happening in future by being much tougher on illegal drugs, and much more cautious with legal prescriptions. Sometimes it is cannabis. Sometimes it is steroids. Sometimes it is prescription ‘antidepressants’ – themselves a scandal waiting to be exposed and understood. But it’s always there… The USA has always had legal guns, but these massacres are new. What else is new? Mass use of mind-altering drugs, legal and illegal, that’s what’s new.
Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 4 February
Cuts by councils to funding alcohol and drug treatment services are deeply concerning. Particularly when they come against a backdrop of increasing referrals in some areas. Given the proven links of addiction to mental health and other problems surely the pressing case for investment is self-evident.
Sunday Express editorial, 11 February