trust – tolerance – self-sufficiency

The current problems caused by drug abuse provide a classic example of what happens when the State interferes with personal behaviour.  That taking drugs is deeply foolish needs no explanation but not only is it the inalienable right of any individual to go to hell in a handcart of their own choosing, more significantly, there is little that can be done to stop them – the widespread availability and use of drugs in our prisons is clear enough demonstration of that. Bans never work.

Addicts are driven by the physiological and psychological changes caused by their addiction.  On waking, their sole, immediate, and compelling concern is how to obtain their next ‘fix’.  They are oblivious to the dictates of reason, family ties, social conscience, and, least of all, the law.  Indeed, it is the law itself, in forbidding legitimate purchase, which drives addicts to the black market.  It is the very cause of the social and personal harm that it is supposed to be preventing.

The drugs trade offers dangers to society other than personal tragedy, rising crime, and the costs (your taxes) of health care and pointless policing.  Its vast wealth and sophistication necessarily bring many forms of corruption.  Obviously there is a strong risk of senior police officers, politicians and public servants being directly corrupted – indeed, it is hard to imagine that this has not already happened, with all that that implies – but there is also more subtle corruption in the draconian legal thinking and the self-sustaining nature of the institutions that have been set in place to deal with it and which would be reluctant to see the status quo disturbed.

The drugs trade is also a major source of funding for so-called ‘terrorism’.  To undermine one is to undermine the other.

The ludicrous and self-sustaining concept of a ‘war on drugs’ should be abandoned.  Addicts should be obliged to register with GPs and should be provided with free drugs from pharmacies, the whole trade being monitored by a ‘smart card’ system.

The advantages of this are as follows:

1. Addicts would no longer need to resort to crime to sustain their habit.  The reduction in crime could be considerable.

2. Addicts would receive clean drugs and needles, thereby reducing the costs to the NHS resulting from the use of badly ‘cut’ drugs and shared and dirty needles.

3. Their supply guaranteed, addicts would have more chance to take charge of their lives and set about seeking employment and rehabilitation.

4. With good quality products given away free, the financial base of the illegal drugs trade would be destroyed almost immediately.

5. The whole problem would become visible and measurable.  Its adverse consequences could thus be properly addressed, and education and rehabilitation schemes could be more accurately focused.

It is quite possible that the reduction in NHS costs and crime, together with the consequent release of many police officers for more worthwhile work, could yield a net financial gain which could be used to fund education and rehabilitation schemes



  1. Data on accidents and crimes caused or aggravated by drug abuse.
  2. Number of hospital beds taken by patients with illnesses caused by drug abuse, and the total cost to the NHS