The history of prohibition proves it fuels gangsterism and forces up potency, from moonshine replacing beer and wine almost a century ago in the United States through to skunk ousting milder cannabis on British streets. Stronger products mean smaller quantities for smuggling, bigger profits and more turf fights… When will Westminster accept its lethal failure on this battlefront? We have the highest rates of heroin use and almost one in three of the overdose deaths in Europe. Our mortality rate is ten times that of Portugal, where addiction is treated as a health issue, not a crime. It slashed heroin abuse after decriminalising drugs. British politicians are acting with criminal incompetence as other countries start to end this stupid war and focus on harm reduction.
Ian Birrell, Times, 18 April
There are drug injection facilities in almost 70 cities around the world, but not one in the UK. That is because of outdated laws that the UK government must either change or devolve to Scotland. There were 867 drug-related deaths in Scotland last year and countless other lives were devastated. How many of those people would still be alive if they were in a safe environment, using clean equipment and with medical professionals on hand?
Aileen Campbell, Herald, 9 April
Obviously, it’s far more harmful to drink heavily. However, the part of the [Lancet] study relating to moderate drinking appears to be mainly middle-class territory – the ‘one (or two) glasses of red a night won’t do me any harm and probably quite a bit of good’ self-delusion desperados, who seem to think their alcohol can’t hurt them because they bought it from Waitrose… It could be a pricey bottle or a dented can from the budget bin of the supermarket, but drink too much of it, at the right strength, and it will affect your health.
Barbara Ellen, Observer, 15 April
Shouty headlines on Friday morning proclaimed: ‘Couple of glasses a night shortens life by two years! Much more than four bottles a week can lop off five years!’ By that count, I should have died four years ago… I have always wondered about the veracity of these scare stories, thinking, well, what if your wine glasses are really small? And I cannot help wondering why everyone wants to prolong a life that will inevitably be joyless, as if this were our only ambition.
Liz Jones, Mail On Sunday, 15 April