Media Savvy

Who’s been saying what..?

It is true that the cost in lives wrecked and lost through drugs is huge, not to mention the money spent trying in vain to control them. Drug barons are always one step ahead of the law. Those looking for heroin or cocaine can easily obtain it, at a price. But how would we prevent the ugly side effects of legalisation, particularly a likely increase in experimentation, paranoia and schizophrenia?… Holland has tried liberalisation with mixed results. Washington State in the US has also lifted its pot ban. If Britain did so, drug tourists would beat a path to our door. We should not take such a step alone. We need a rigorous examination of all the risks and consequences – and agreement at European level.

Sun editorial, 10 December

 There is a major contradiction at the heart of the [Home Affairs Select Committee] report. For it also states that the use of illegal drugs in Britain has fallen to almost the lowest levels since records began in 1996. We can all argue about why that has happened. But given this, it is bizarre to argue that drug policy is a failure. Indeed, one might say it seems to be working quite well. To say it’s such a disaster that we should now consider legalisation makes no sense whatever.

Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 10 December

Now the MPs are proposing a Royal Commission into drugs laws – a pointless exercise, since we can predict the outcome now. It will propose decriminalising cannabis, and recommend that drugs policy should be based on the harm caused by particular substances, an approach that seems eminently sensible to everyone except the Home Office. The Royal Commission will issue its findings and the government of the day will reject them before the ink is even dry.

Philip Johnston, Telegraph, 10 December

When we’re grappling with excess caused by legalised drugs – not to mention smuggling of legal-but-taxed tobacco and booze on an industrial scale – it is surely perversely optimistic to legalise/decriminalise another category. 

Michael White, Guardian, 10 December

The hard truth is that as long as people in the rich west consume large quantities of drugs, gangs will flourish in countries that supply or act as transit routes for them.

Independent on Sunday editorial, 2 December

Lots of right-on do-gooders who have not thought seriously about drugs since school will nod and think that liberalisation, decriminalisation or legalisation – whatever – is a good idea. Yet the truth is that no one has a better idea, except in minor details, than the present policy, which has been remarkably successful.

John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday, 16 December

To turn the public mood, Labour needs to find its voice and tell the stories that counteract Daily Mail scrounger anecdotes.

Polly Toynbee, Guardian, 6 December

In order to start an honest dialogue with people who use drugs we need to balance the focus on drugs-related harms by exploring pleasure, which is what motivates most people who use drugs, including alcohol.

David Nutt, Guardian, 3 December