Another day, another routinely dispiriting confirmation that being “tough on drugs” is not working: today’s Guardian has revealed that the number of cocaine addicts entering treatment is increasing sharply. And the numbers shown in the article are more than likely to be only a small fraction of the total number of those so addicted.
Why should this be? Ah well. There may be occasional headline grabbing drugs busts, but their effect on supply is trivial. The product gets to the market, and, being delivered there by organised criminality, is certainly plentiful, but has been adulterated with a variety of additives to bulk it out. Some of these may be carcinogenic: the drug gets the blame for the cancer, while the real reason gets ignored.
Current policy on drugs reinforces the presence of the criminally inclined in the supply chain, along with the variety of lawlessness that comes from the need to feed habits, debt collection, and turf wars. All could be reduced or even eliminated by ending the present charade and legalising – and regulating – the industry. All would then follow: education and treatment would occur without the threat of criminal sanction.
It would also become easier to make comparisons between drugs as to their relative ability to harm, modify behaviour, and cause dependency. Thus another reinforcement of public education. Only in a rational and unthreatening manner can we all become better informed – and have the ability to make our own choices.