Examination of Witnesses (Questions 134
TUESDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2001
134. Good morning, gentlemen, and welcome. This
is the second public session of our inquiry into the Government's
drugs policy. We have received more than 160 submissionsmany
of them flatly contradictoryso we have to try and pick
our way through the contending schools of thought. May I start
by saying, first of all, our ambition is to have one main reply
to each question, rather than five replies to each question. Sometimes
members will direct questions to a particular individual, but
if somebody else on the panel wants to add something by all means
indicate and I will call you in. If I see we are getting to a
stage where we are getting five replies to everything I shall
have to try and pick and choose. There is no bar to two people
replying to a question but indicate, please. Secondly, it will
be helpful if each of you briefly could indicate the organisation
to which you belongand I know you do not all represent
organisations. May we start with Mr Kushlik.
(Mr Kushlik) I am a Director of Transform,
the campaign for effective drugs policy. We are a national campaign
for the legalisation of all drugs; the replacement of the Misuse
of Drugs Act and prohibition legislation; which is something human,
commonsense and which reduces crime.
135. Do you have members or sponsors?
(Mr Kushlik) We have 3,200 members.
136. How do you become a member?
(Mr Kushlik) We actually do not have members any more;
we have supporters now. Basically, you contact the organisation.
We are based in Bristol.
137. Do they pay a subscription?
(Mr Kushlik) They used to. We do not have subs any
more. Donations are acceptable.
138. So you are funded by donations?
(Mr Kushlik) We are funded partly by donations, and
partly by grant-making organisations. We are funded by the Joseph
Rowntree Reform Trust, by the Limbury(?) Trust and a number of
individual donations as well.
(Mr Davies) I am a freelance writer. I tend to do
newspaper work for The Guardian. I also occasionally make
documentaries. Can I take it that you have seen the material?
I made a documentary for Channel 4 which was linked to a long
series in The Guardian.
139. What prompted you to take an interest in
(Mr Davies) I have been trying to do this for about
10-15 years. I have two people who are very close to me who are
long-term heroin addicts. Years ago I discovered that one of them
was going to a private doctor who was giving him heroin and, furthermore,
taking his money. I thought that was outrageous, because heroin
is a poison. I went round to verbally or physically assault the
doctor, who turned out to be a very powerful, charismatic woman
who said, "You don't know what you're talking about. Your
whole aggression is based on assumptions about heroin which aren't
true". She persuaded me over a period of time (because I
was extremely reluctant to believe her, because it goes against
everything you have been told) to look at the facts, and then
to look at the implications of those facts once they had been
checked out. Then I encouraged the person who was going to her
to continue going to her and get away from the black market and
to get the drug from her.
(Mr McNicholas) I am the Editor of a magazine called
Muzik published by IPC Media. We have around 50,000 readers.
It is a dance music magazine. It deals with club culture and youth
culture in general. Prior to that I was news editor on another
magazine called Mixmag that publishes the most extensive
annual survey of drug use amongst young people.