British MPs condemned the UK governments drug policy this week, and called for the drug classification to be revamped to reflect the real harms caused by drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.
We have more drug addicts today than weve ever had and we have more people using Class A drugs than ever, said Phil Willis, chairman of the house of Commons science and technology committee, The classification system as a device to reduce harm to individuals and society has failed.
Mr Willis comments followed a study by leading medical scientists of the real harm and social costs associated with 20 different narcotics, which ranked heroin and cocaine as the top two most dangerous drugs, with cannabis at 11 and ecstasy 18. Alcohol (a central nervous system depressant causing intoxication, coma and respiratory failure) was 5th with tobacco 9th, ahead of LSD (13) Ritalin (15) and Alkyl Nitrites (poppers) at 19.
Civil liberties campaigners Transform welcomed the Committees report (titled Drug classification: making a hash of it?) though suggested the entire classification system is unsustainable.
The bigger issue at stake here, is that the entire classification system is based on drug war ideology, has no scientific basis whatsoever, and does the exact opposite of what it is intended to do, said Transforms Steve Rolles.
We would like to see this is a prelude to a more significant inquiry into the evidence base for the criminalisation of drugs per se.
Leading Times columnist Carol Sarler also ridiculed drug classification as a shambles pointing out todays politicians, head teachers, judges, doctors, editors and top executives is the generation that first made chic the widespread use of illegal drugs.
It took me less than an internet minute (how much more quickly would an 18-year-old do it?) to be told that Ecstasy causes just seven deaths per million users a year and that more people die fishing, she added.
So what do we, put skull and crossbones on angling magazines? No. We lie and we manipulate, she scoffed.
Jonty Skrufff (JontySkrufff.com)