14:01, September 25 107 0 theguardian.com

2017-09-25 14:01:03
It doesn’t make sense to leave alcohol out of the drugs debate

It was interesting and puzzling to see John Harris’s piece on illegal drugs (I was relaxed about Britain’s drug culture evolution… , 23 September) two days on from the five points of view on whether or not drugs should be legalised (G2, 21 September). Interesting in the light of the government’s drug strategy but puzzling in that neither piece mentioned alcohol. Looking at statistics about illegal drugs without considering the wider context will result in the continued pursuit of policies that are only partially informed and based on legal and moral concerns rather than public health concerns.

Blaine Stothard

London

What most commentators on drug legalisation ignore is that until the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, most drugs were legally obtainable in the UK (the exceptions were LSD and amphetamines). Before the act came into effect there were about 900 registered heroin addicts in the country, most of them members of the medical profession, and most in employment. It was the prohibition of heroin in 1971 that led directly to the huge increase in drugs misuse and the enormous, illegal industry to manufacture and supply them. Legalisation would simply be to recognise the disaster that was caused by the criminalisation of drugs in 1971.

Owen Wells

Ilkley, West Yorkshire

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