Tuesday, August 12, 2008

British anti-drug director for legalization

Sorry for the slew of drug-related posts, but this one was just too good to ignore. From the Guardian:

A former senior civil servant who was responsible for coordinating the government's anti-drugs policy now believes that legalisation would be less harmful than the current strategy. Julian Critchley, the former director of the Cabinet Office's anti-drugs unit, also said that his views were shared by the "overwhelming majority" of professionals in the field, including police officers, health workers and members of the government.

He also claimed that New Labour's policy on drugs was based on what was thought would play well with the Daily Mail readership [ed. note: like Fox News in the US], regardless of evidence of what worked. Downing Street policy advisers were said to have suggested stunts such as sending boats down the Thames to catch smugglers to coincide with policy announcements. [...]

He said that his views were widely held in the government but rarely expressed in public. "I think what was truly depressing about my time in UKADCU was that the overwhelming majority of professionals I met, including those from the police, the health service, the government and voluntary sectors held the same view: the illegality of drugs causes far more problems for society and the individual than it solves. Yet publicly, all those intelligent, knowledgeable people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the government would be 'tough on drugs', even though they all knew the government's policy was actually causing harm."

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