Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by James Gordon (DP022)

The call to action asks: is the Governments 2010 Drug policy a “fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights”?

1. Science

I would put it to you that the resignation of Professor David Nutt, who cited scientific facts when he argued some illegal substances are safer than legal ones, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not grounded in science. There are many scientific studies that show the disparity between some substances classification and their lethality. Further if you look at the statistics from Portugal’s Decriminalization act, it shows a policy of treating addicts as patients rather than criminals has more than halved the number of addicts since 1990.

2. Health

The least we should expect from our Government regarding Drugs, would be to provide us with the best medication available. If some substances are deemed illegal and barred from use in medication just because of their history and public perception, then we have been done a great injustice. Surely some legal medication can have similar psychoactive effects and be even more harmful and addictive, so why has the select few been demonised and denied? While others are approved for use by our Doctors?

3. Security

I know little about the international and border security that our drug enforcement policy demands, but I can see what it does in my neighbourhood. Drug dealers competing with each other and selling unregulated causes so many local problems.

4. Human rights

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights states that we are each entitled to:

(a)Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; 18

(b)No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home. 12

5. Amongst others, these all pertain to our mental and spiritual freedoms we all enjoy. I would argue that this should also expand to our bodies and what we chose to do with them. Mark Twain said “My body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm… it is I who suffers, not the state.” If we have the freedom to abuse our bodies with alcohol and tobacco why not anything else?

In Conclusion

These are a few of the simple facts that have been ignored by our government in favour of a “safe” policy that does not go against public opinion. A whole industry has had the profit handed to drug dealers while the public still pays all the bills. All I ask is that any future policy is dictated by proper scientific study, not the opinion of the misinformed.

January 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012