Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Michael Mac (DP184)

Summary of Main Points

1. I think that the war on drugs is not working. There are always going to be people who want to experiment with drugs that are currently illegal. Such as cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms etc. I believe that current laws and government stance is causing more harm in the long run because people take these drugs for enjoyment, current drugs illegal status gives them an aura of glamour, in that, “what you can’t have or someone says you are not allowed to have—you will always desire more!” I believe that they should be decriminalised and more information about the possible dangers of taking them provided, also people who take them offered counselling. People should not be sent to prison for taking these substances, currently illegal.

2. I believe that because drugs are illegal that there are more health problems in the long term because the people that want to take them are getting substances that are not pure, mixed with contaminants and therefore putting people that want them at risk. If some drugs were legal then people would take them less in the long term. That does not included heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine which are more addictive.

3. In the case of cannabis there are synthetic substances out there created to avoid the law and these substances are actually more harmful than the naturally grown substance. One case of this is Skunk and a substance called Spice, I have heard reports of these substances causing temporary psychosis lasting more than natural cannabis would cause.

4. In relation to MDMA(methylenedioxymethamphetamine)/Ecstasy, the purity of this drug has declined partly because of the success in law enforcement. However it’s not stopping people wanting it and being sold substances that the dealer claims are MDMA which are not and are more dangerous. Also the synthetic drug Mephedrone is used by people because proper MDMA is not available anymore. MDMA is less harmful than Mephedrone. People are also buying mixtures of Amphetamine, Mephedrone and Ketamine under the name MDMA which is dangerous.

Information on Me

5. I do not take illegal drugs, I am just a concerned individual who believes the so called “war on drugs” does not work and is allowing criminals to make fat profits out of drugs and added misery inflicted on users. When, if some drugs were decriminalised safe products could be made available by certified providers. I don’t see that it’s wrong for the government to allow these substances to be safely manufactured. Why shouldn’t a responsible adult be able to get MDMA from a legal source (on licence, safely and legally) as a therapeutic tool or for relaxation? When Viagra is a available? Current research from Harvard Medical School indicates MDMA does not cause long term brain damage and actually is beneficial in moderation.

Factual Information

6. I support Sir Richard Branson’s views on this matter. I don’t see what is wrong with using a drug in a recreational way as long as it’s safe and within moderation. That said I do not use illegal drugs. There are 130 deaths per year on average from Paracetamol in England and Wales.1

7. 3,000 people per year die or are seriously injured by people drink driving in the UK. Approximately 30 die from MDMA/Ecstasy, however as stated over 80% of what is sold as MDMA is not or is cut with more dangerous drugs. Also many have taken a cocktail of drugs so there is no proof, in many cases that MDMA that is the cause. So if it was legal and not impure, with health guidance there would be less damage to health.

8. I think that the committee should take on board the facts as presented by Professor Nutt of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. That alcohol is the biggest problem, someone can get drunk legally and then assault someone this happens every day—MDMA on its self does not cause people to commit violence. Alcohol does. Why is alcohol freely available and MDMA, a Class A drug? When it is clear MDMA is less harmful than alcohol?

9. Ultimately I think all these drugs should be decriminalized in the long run, to get them out of the hands of criminal gangs—but with serious research into what makes people addicted to drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine. The irony is that research in the USA2 by into using drugs like MDMA/Ecstasy as a therapy tool could help people with addiction to the previously mentioned drugs. Also Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psycho-therapy for people suffering from trauma caused by child abuse and other problems. MDMA helps them deal with their emotions relating to bad experiences.

10. I have researched these subjects on the Internet. Problem with LSD in large doses the user can have bad trips that can cause psychological damage. MDMA/Ecstasy does not do this which is one reason why it is much safer, as the Harvard Medical School research indicates.

February 2012

1 www.pharmweb.net/pwmirror/pwy/paracetamol/pharmwebpic9.html

2 www.maps.org/research/mdma/

Prepared 8th December 2012