This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

Report this comment to a moderator

Please fill in the form below if you think a comment is unsuitable. Your comments will be sent to our moderator for review.

Report comment to moderator

Required fields.


Should drug possession and use be legalised?


it's curious that both debaters have looked at this very much from the point of view of the individual drug user, or the doctor treating them. A vast amount of harm is caused - not just to the users, but to society overall - by the consequences of criminalisation. Illegal drugs are expensive (although cannabis and opium - and their analogues) can be produced at low cost if you don't have to worry about criminality. In order to fund their habits, people are forced into crime, prostitution, destitution. People involved start to carry knives and other weapons - and to use them. The consequences of this on the rest of us are that we become the victim of those crimes. In the process, young black men in poor areas, for example, get drawn in; and many who are not involved are taught to resent the police and to feel outside society by being stopped and searched when they haven't done anything wrong. In order to wage this war on drugs, crime fighting bodies wage an arms war on the drug pushers and smugglers, at great cost to the taxpayer, with a lot of collateral damage, and with very limited success. Even from an individual user's point of view (and that of the doctor caring for them): some might use more drugs if they're more accessible, but at least, if the drugs are regulated, they will be safe and free of the contamination common to street drugs, which can be cut with substances which are poisonous or contaminated with pathogenic organisms. Looked at from the point of view of society, the argument is overwhelmingly in favour of decriminalisation.

Posted date

12 Aug 2016

Posted time