10 questions for those who want to change drug laws

10 questions for those who want to change drug laws

31st October 2014

Following a debate on the merits of decriminalising/legalising illegal drugs (October 30, 2014), the CSJ puts forward 10 important questions that haven’t been answered:

  1. Recent trends suggest use of illegal drugs is falling: why upset this system?
  2. We’ve made alcohol cheaper and more available over recent decades, and over that time rates of alcohol-related mortality have surged, why repeat this approach?
  3. One of the reasons cited for the growth in ‘legal highs’ is that people think ‘legal’ means safe. Do we want to send out the same message on other dangerous drugs?
  4. Methadone (a legal substitute for heroin) has been prescribed for decades yet we know people still use other drugs whilst taking methadone and continue their addiction. Does this not show prescribing drugs doesn’t end the illicit trade?
  5. Some say decriminalise, others legalise. Sell in shops or issue to addicts by prescription. Where is the coherent alternative?
  6.  NHS mental health services are already stretched, why risk adding to this burden (particularly with what we know about the links between cannabis and mental health)?
  7. Why do those who champion legalisation ignore so many recovered addicts and those who work in disadvantaged communities say legalisation would be a disaster? Poorer communities bear the brunt of these decisions.
  8. Why are we letting ourselves be distracted by this when we should be focussing on boosting access to rehabilitation and long-term recovery?
  9. At a time when drug use among children is falling, why would we want to conduct this social experiment on the most vulnerable?
  10. America has seen the over-prescribing opioids (like oxycodone) lead to a new wave of heroin addiction among young people. Does this not show that prescribing drugs is not a ‘silver bullet’?

For the CSJ analysis and plan to tackle addiction, see our reports No Quick Fix,Ambitous for Recovery and Sentences in the Community.

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