Media Savvy July/August 2016

mediasavvy The principal effect of drug laws is to inflate the salaries of the nastiest barons and gangsters on earth, funding organised crime and corruption, and fuelling the self-immolation of whole nations, from Mexico to Albania and Afghanistan… But if enough people keep making forceful arguments based on the available evidence, the heresy of reformed drug laws will graduate not just to common sense but prevailing wisdom soon enough.

Independent editorial, 16 June


It may be politic not to rush discussion of full legalisation but that should still be the ultimate goal. In the long term it is not tenable to decriminalise possession of a substance while preserving the profit motive of the criminal gangs that supply it.

Times editorial, 16 June


It is quite possible that elements of the criminal underworld will shift their attention to other illegal activities once the narcotics gold mine is closed off to them, but legalisation would also free up enormous police resources to detect real crime. In any case, it is not the responsibility of government to provide lucrative openings for organised criminals.

Christopher Snowdon, Telegraph, 16 June


The pro-drug lobby likes to quote Portugal at us not because it wants Britain to copy what Portugal has done but because it counts on us not knowing what actually happens to drug users in Portugal and hopes that, like the Times headline did on Thursday, we will confuse the words ‘decriminalised’ with ‘made legal’.

Ross Clark, Spectator, 18 June


Is addiction a disease? Most people think so. The idea has become entrenched in our news media, our treatment facilities, our courts and in the hearts and minds of addicts themselves… If it is, then we might expect it to have a specific cause or set of causes, an agreed-on repertoire of treatment strategies, and a likely time course. We might wonder how the disease of addiction could be overcome as a result of willpower, changing perspectives, changing environments, mindfulness or emotional growth. There is evidence that each of these factors can be crucial in beating addiction, yet none of them is likely to work on cancer, pneumonia, diabetes or malaria.

Marc Lewis, Guardian, 7 June


Moral panics are not all bad. Money will follow them. Show me a moral panic and I’ll show you wads of cash. It happened with HIV and it happens with some illegal drugs. People get scared – maybe too scared – but things get done. It’s just a matter of whether the right things get done.

Brigid Delaney, Guardian, 14 June