Dealing with drugs needs new thinking and new courage
The kerfuffle over the sacking of the chief drugs adviser to the Home Office masks a much more serious crisis than any of the participants pretend.
Let’s face it. If we were to categorise risk, then undoubtedly alcohol would be a class A drug and so would tobacco. They both kill on an absolutely spectacular scale.
The reality is that 50 years of attempting to deal with the drugs disaster have been a complete and utter failure. Nothing has staunched the growth of criminality, imprisonment, loss of life, devastation of lives, and enrichment of criminals.
Far more lives are devastated by the criminalisation of drugs than by the drugs themselves. Many of those in Britain’s jails are either on drugs or in jail because of handling drugs in some way.
The illegal drugs industry in America alone is worth many hundreds of billions of dollars. The political compromise across the world generates skulduggery at every level of society.
Dealing with drugs requires new courage and a completely new approach. I speak as somebody who’s intersected with a day centre working with young people, many of whom are either on drugs or on the fringes of drugs. I’ve been involved there for 40 years.
He may never become prime minister, but Alan Johnson’s great gift to personkind might be to re-engage Professor Nutt and join with him in calling a halt to a completely bankrupt method of handling the drugs disaster.