The Mail on Sunday

Drug policy: dancing alone and off its head


OUT of control, shambolic, chaotic behaviour is often associated with drug use. Now these words are being used to describe drug policy.

Another member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Eric Carlin, has resigned in protest at the rush to ban mephedrone. He is the seventh adviser to leave after the sacking of Professor David Nutt. Mr Carlin did not think it his role to further criminalis­e the young, as this ban is not evidence-based but opportunis­tic electionee­ring.

As predicted, dealers stockpiled mephedrone and similar drugs and are already flooding the market. You see, not even this authoritar­ian government can ban entire molecular groups.

Scare stories read as little more the salivating adverts. Mephedrone is so last year – the new moral panic is about NRG-1. It costs less than a bag of crisps. Let’s quickly ban it and get those sinister Asian chemists to come up with a new legal synthetic drug. Which they will. And people will take it and dance all night and have unsuitable sex because people DO.

A few will have a terrible time but find there is little help to be had, because the politician­s are off their heads dancing alone in some strange space. No one can reach them any more. They won’t even listen to their own advisers. It’s a huge price we pay for this.

The cheaper, safer and healthier option is to start from the basis that many people will take drugs for a period in their lives. And mostly be fine. Such honesty, though, is deemed heretical and thus the gulf between real life and the fantasy lives of our rulers grows ever deeper.

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