Examination of Witnesses (Questions 620
TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2001
ADEBOWALE, CBE, AND
620. They were made to do bad things.
(Professor Strang) Your original question was: is
drug policy failing? In a way I think it is almost the wrong question
because one is tempted always to point out aspects where policies
are failing. You really want to know whether it could do better.
621. Just focus on this heroin and legalising
or decriminalising it. It is true that there is a very small number
of heroin users relatively speaking, but they are responsible
for about 60 per cent of acquisitive crime and that is the thing
you would be aiming at. You have been talking about the effect
on the patient most of the time, but there is another side to
(Professor Strang) If I may come back to the point
I think you were making earlier on, it is not just crime. It is
a pity that crime does now dominate the House of Commons debate
about the issue.
622. It dominates the lives of many of our constituents,
that is why. It is the biggest single issue.
(Professor Strang) Indeed. But there is also a huge
health toll to the drug users themselves, their families and the
wider community and they are also your constituents. I am only
saying the health toll stands alongside the crime cost. It is
not noticed as much, but it is still massive. You are right. What
you are wanting to do is to look at finding better ways in which
we could unlock the drug problem from the consequences. Can you
unlock the drug/crime link so that it is either not there or less
of a drive? And similarly can you , unlock the drug/HIV or the
drug/hepatitis C link?. There we can do a lot to contribute to
that which does not involve just saying that alcohol or tobacco
are wonderful role models. As peacetime drugs, alcohol and tobacco
are not very impressive examples to be honest.
Chairman: Gentlemen, it has been a veryif
I may use the word in a context we understandstimulating
discussion. You have kept us here well over our normal time. I
am very grateful to you. Should any points occur to you after
you have gone away, do not hesitate to get in touch with us and
draw our attention to them. The session is closed. Thank you very