The War on Drugs……

18 Dec

‘As the subject of tackling substance misuse and addiction has been raised again within the hallowed walls of Westminster, I felt now was a good time to look again at the issues which affect us all as citizens and tax payers’

 

Fighting a Loosing Battle……

 

As a society we are loosing the ‘war on drugs’.  We have been consistently loosing the ‘war on drugs’ since the 1960’s.  The affect on drug users, their families, the criminal justice system, the National Health Service and society in general is measurably damaging.  But, we are not loosing the war due to lack of ‘ammunition’ as it were, rather, the policies and approaches to dealing with the problem, which despite the advice given to government by the professionals specialising in addiction, have remained largely the unchained……Drugs and drug paraphernalia

 

Statistics in Isolation…….

 

The statistical data pertaining to drug misuse and the affects on society as a whole is disjointed and taken in isolation.  The criminal justice system can offer statistics relating to the number of crimes linked to drug use.  The commercial sector can provide figures for theft of goods and increased security costs.  The NHS can provide statistics for the costs of secondary treatment provided as a result of damage to health caused as a result of drug misuse.  What is not available are statistics of the causal effects of how one is linked to any of the others……

 

The Origins of Democracy …..

 

The word democracy is derived from ancient Greek:  ‘Demos’ meaning ‘the people’ and ‘Kratos’ meaning ‘power’.  The literal interpretation of ‘Democracy’ is the power of the people.  In ancient Greece this was seen as the fundamental way in which parliament operated; upon the power of the people……

 

Democracy in Practice……

 

Our democracy is far cry from its original meaning but it shouldn’t be.  The power, or opinions of the people, should still be exercised by governments they elect.  Furthermore, as it would be impossible to canvas the people on all issues of policy, we entrust the ‘will of the people’ to acknowledged experts in their fields and cross party select committees.  One only has to look at the House of Lords which, for all of its shortcomings, have some highly respected specialists chosen to add an unbiased and independent voice to political debates.  For example, Lord Robert Winston was chosen for his intimate knowledge on Embryonic Stem Cell research and reproductive medical issues.

 

There are however, some notable exceptions.  We have recently seen the complete disregard for the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson into the future regulation of the press.

 

Another hot potato is that of the recommendations made by those specialist charged advising the Government on substance misuse and addiction.  Professor David Nut is a specialist in Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology and

Professor David Nutt

Professor David Nutt

addiction.  Professor Nutt was the Government’s chief drug advisor until he submitted advice which was not dissimilar to hundreds of other peer reviewed scientific studies into the treatment of substance misuse and addiction, recommending a radical change into the way in which services are delivered.  As Professor Nutt’s recommendations were diametrically opposed to the current legislative framework the Home Secretary asked for his resignation as the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.  The Home Secretary then appointed a chairperson who agreed wholeheartedly with current doctrine.  The potential benefits to all of society were stopped in their tracks by ‘democracy’……

 

‘In future blogs I will set out the ‘radical’ proposals put forward by Professor Nutt and site the numerous peer reviewed scientific studies which demonstrate a much more effective approach to dealing with substance misuse issues to the benefit to all parties affected.  Surprisingly, none of these suggestions require and change to legislation and are in fact laid down in the guidelines as the recommended course of action.’

 

 

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