Sunday, 1 November 2009

Drug classification in the UK and the wrong message to the youf of today.

Speaking as someone who was a teen in the late 60s and the early 70s, who now has teenage children, I feel I can’t just leave this one alone, it’s like a hole in a tooth that must be probed.

From personal experience and from asking them directly, I have to conclude that a very large proportion of those people under 60 have tried cannabis, this means that many of the journalists and politicians discussing this issue have personal experience, some like David Cameron have admitted this.

Now the crux of the problem for me is that if government is going to have a drug classification
system at all, rather than saying that all illegal drugs are equally illegal, then those drugs in each classification must be roughly equally harmful.

By this I mean that if the government put a drug that a large proportion of the population know to be in roughly the same harm bracket as tobacco and alcohol, in the same bracket as a drug that is very harmful indeed, the message they are sending out is that the very harmful drug isn’t as harmful at it really is.

To those of us who are older and more experienced this isn’t so much of a problem, in as much as we have more experience of government advice being inaccurate or just plain wrong, but for younger people trying to assess risks, this message from our government could be very dangerous indeed.

It has been mentioned in high places this week that young people often wish to take some sort of risk with their lives, and I suppose that most of us have to concur on that one, this could be the relatively higher risk of say riding a horse or the relatively lower risk of trying cannabis.

However many would not wish to engage in the much higher risks of playing Russian roulette or injecting heroin, so the information from the government is important here.

I have added a picture of myself as a less experienced youf, someone who looks open to a few new experiences and risks.

There are some obvious problems with the drug legislation in this country, not the least being that it seems to mostly revolve around retribution rather than rehabilitation and education.

We have a situation now where almost everyone knows someone who has got into some sort of drug related problem that has been made considerably worse by the way drug related problems are handled in our society.

Much of this appears to be caused by government more influenced by the media sensationalising the subject, that politicians being influenced by their professional advisors or even their own personal experience.

We have, as an example the leader of the opposition who on the one hand admits to having done something and on the other to make doing that thing punishable by a five year prison sentence.

Consider the situation if this sort of incongruity extended into other areas, something along the lines of; “I did a bit of house breaking or GBH when I was younger but now I can’t see this as any reason why you shouldn’t elect me as the next prime minister” .

I will probably add to this as the day goes on.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's not a 'jazz cigarette' in that photo, is it Michael? Tut tut!

    (Sorry, first comment nixed due to unfortunate spelling mistake.)

  3. Richard the picture was taken about 40 years go so it’s a little hard to be certain, but I think it unlikely as it was taken in my mothers living room, she certainly wouldn’t have approved.


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