Views from the substance misuse sector

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The news and views from the national media

Yes, politicians who abandon the failed mantra of the drug war risk the incandescent rage of the Daily Mail. But how many lives have to be lost – or simply ruined – before reality and common sense finally prevail? Rather than expanding the efforts of a disastrous policy, the old failed approach must finally be abandoned. An earlier David Cameron would have agreed. It is a tragedy the current incarnation does not.

Owen Jones, Guardian, 3 June


The government seems to have decided that banning 500 substances is not enough. It must ban almost everything that gives pleasure. And what a ban. Of all the many idiotic, ill thought out and pointless laws ever passed, this would be the one of the silliest… The [Psychoactive Substances] Bill is a textbook example of bad legislation. It is unnecessary, incomprehensible, largely unenforceable, and, by encouraging professional criminals into a new area of business, it is likely to prove entirely counterproductive.

Matthew Scott, Telegraph, 2 June


I am too old now for anyone, least of all the government, to tell me what I may or may not ingest. What is this nannying? Where are the conservative concerns about liberty? What is this coalition of puritans? None of this is actually about helping addicts or saving lives.

Suzanne Moore, Guardian, 4 June


The prohibition of certain psychoactive substances is an affront to the basic right of bodily autonomy: the right to do whatever we want with our own bodies.

Stephen Reid, Independent, 11 June


Another mass killing is followed by the usual thoughtless political and media responses… If all these events were properly investigated (and few are, because conventional wisdom closes the minds of investigators), my guess is that almost all of the killers would be found to have been taking legal or illegal mind-altering drugs.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 21 June


Alcoholism, like all addictions, is a mental illness. It’s also the only mental illness that is treated with a strange sort of jocularity by too many people in this country. And that’s not surprising, considering the attitude towards alcohol in Britain. We all know that Britain has a problem: the binge drinking, the brawling, the town centres filled with vomit on Saturday nights, the courtrooms packed with alcohol-related crimes. These are the extreme – but by no means rare – examples… Less comfortable to acknowledge is the national attitude that alcohol is an essential social lubricant.

Hadley Freeman, Guardian, 3 June