Banning drugs drives users to gangsters

A while ago I noted that Julian Brazier really knows next to nothing about drugs, but feels compelled to comment on them anyway. In his latest our MP has welcomed the Bill proposed in the Queen’s Speech that promises to impose a ban on legal highs. This, of course, is a contradiction in terms because once substances are banned, they are no longer legal. The absurdity of the legislation is highlighted by the fact that in order to ban substances that have a psychoactive effect, the law also has to include exemptions, such as cigarettes, coffee and alcohol, all of … Continue reading Banning drugs drives users to gangsters

Time for discussion on potential of drugs

You may remember, a few years back, the public spat between the government and its advisor, Professor David Nutt, about the classification of drugs. Professor Nutt said that using Ecstasy was no more dangerous than horse riding. He was subsequently sacked from his post. This wasn’t because he was wrong. Indeed, he was, and remains, one of the foremost experts in his field. Unfortunately, what he said contradicted the popular belief, fostered by certain newspapers, and in certain influential circles, that all drugs are, per se, a bad thing. This is very strange. Most of us take drugs in some … Continue reading Time for discussion on potential of drugs

Reviewing effectiveness of UK drugs policy

I wasn’t sure whether to write about drugs or the media in this week’s column. So I’m writing about both. As it happens, there’s a new film out which covers precisely these topics. It’s called Kill the Messenger and it stars Jeremy Renner as real-life journalist Gary Webb who broke an amazing story back in the 90s and who was destroyed because of it. The story was about CIA complicity in the import of crack cocaine into the United States. The CIA weren’t directly involved: rather they turned a blind eye when one of their client groups, the Nicaraguan Contras, … Continue reading Reviewing effectiveness of UK drugs policy

Julian Brazier and Cannabis: who regulates the sources?

A few weeks ago our MP made a number of statements regarding the controversial retailers UK Skunkworks after a young man, Matt Ford of Whitstable, almost died from the effects of smoking one of their products. I responded by saying that while these legal highs are untested and potentially dangerous, some of our illegal drugs are relatively safe. I sent Mr Brazier a copy of the story. Here is an extract from his reply: “I am told by sources I respect that cannabis is both a much more potent drug than its namesake of the 60s and 70s and that … Continue reading Julian Brazier and Cannabis: who regulates the sources?

Legal Highs vs Natural Highs

It often happens that there’s a confluence of stories which seem to illustrate the same point. Last week (21/09/’13) there was a story about legal highs in the Daily Mail. Karen Audino had released a picture of her son, Jimmy Guichard, 20, from Gravesend in Kent, who lay dying after suffering a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking a legal substance from the controversial shop, UK Skunkworks, in Chatham, also in Kent. This is one of a number of UK Skunkworks shops in the South of England, which sell drug paraphernalia as well as legal highs. … Continue reading Legal Highs vs Natural Highs