The Sunday Herald, 22 Nov 2015 - REGARDING the commentary by Howard Wooldridge, there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalisation (The lives and trillions of dollars sacrificed on the altar of futile modern prohibition, Comment, November 15). Switzerland's heroin maintenance programme has been shown to reduce disease, death and crime by providing addicts with standardised doses in a clinical setting. Its success has inspired heroin maintenance pilot projects in Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. Expanding prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organised crime of a core client base. This would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction. Cannabis should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the advertising. As long as criminals control cannabis distribution, consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs. Cannabis prohibition is a gateway drug policy.
The Sunday Herald, 15 Nov 2015 - SINCE the official beginning of the drug war in 1971, the law-enforcement community in the United States has spent just over $1 trillion. Tens of thousands of citizens have died, sacrificed on the altar of this modern prohibition. Millions have suffered from a drug arrest, which haunts them forever - and the difference on the streets? Federal research shows drugs are cheaper, stronger and more "readily available" to America's youth. As a street cop and detective in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, I had a ringside seat to this unfolding social disaster.
The Sunday Herald, 15 Nov 2015 - Scotland's war on drugs amounts to a war on the poor, according one of the country's leading authorities on substance abuse. In a new paper, Dr Iain McPhee, from the University of the West of Scotland's Centre for Alcohol and Drugs Studies, calls the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, "unjust, unfair and unworkable." McPhee was Project Leader of the National Drugs Helpline and the National AIDS Helpline, and has worked as a drugs specialist with social work and Scottish police.
The Sunday Herald, 15 Nov 2015 - LEGALISE DRUGS? THAT'S NO ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM I'D LIKE to commend the Sunday Herald on raising the need to debate our current drugs legislation. It has been clear for a long time that the so-called war on drugs is simply not working. Those at the top of the supply chain go unpunished and get rich while the vulnerable are criminalised for the violence and petty crime that surrounds the use of illegal substances. It appeared from your reports that interested parties who are in the know were not asking for immediate decriminalisation. They were just asking for a debate to be opened up in Scotland about the issue of decriminalisation. As was pointed out, Scotland is a progressive country and there is nothing to fear from a discussion, surely?
The Sunday Herald, 15 Nov 2015 - LEGALISE DRUGS? THAT'S NO ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM IT SEEMS that there was a comma in the wrong place in Ian Bell's excellent article. The prison industrial complex in the USA has now provided more than two million customers for companies like the Corrections Corporation of America. Over 900,000 are in jail for drug related crimes, 10 times more than stated in the article. The Scottish government's response to the new Irish policy was predictably pathetic. A Celtic mouse?
The Sunday Herald, 15 Nov 2015 - LEGALISE DRUGS? THAT'S NO ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM TWO things puzzle me about Ian Bell's article in last weekend's Sunday Herald (How to win the war on drugs? Legalise them, Comment, November 8). Firstly, his point that Portugal's decriminalisation has resulted in the decrease in the price of street drugs. Isn't an increase in the price of addictive substances (booze, fags) meant to reduce demand?
Independent, 09 Nov 2015 - Six years ago the Government's chief drugs adviser, David Nutt, alerted us to a frightening addiction called "equasy". Equasy, as Nutt described it, was a pursuit that released adrenaline and pleasurable endorphins into the brain. It was also extremely dangerous, often fatal. Nutt reckoned that around one in every 350 usages of equasy resulted in acute physical harm. Worse still, this was an addiction that had in its grip tens of thousands of people across Britain, including small children.
The Sunday Herald, 08 Nov 2015 - Amid a fragrant haze of hypocrisy, the line is that there will be no change, funding cuts aside, in UK drugs strategy. Meanwhile, police forces the length of these islands are improvising policies of their own IT could be a pub quiz question. What do Armenia and Argentina have in common? The Czech Republic and Chile? Paraguay and Poland? The answer isn't football. Each has decided, in some fashion, that if you just say no to drugs, you say nothing useful at all. Depending on the definitions used, there are between 25 and 30 such countries. Their laws, methods, aims and ambitions vary. Some have legalised drugs. Some have "re-legalised". A few never got around to prohibition to begin with. Most have experimented - for personal use, you understand - - with a gateway policy, decriminalisation.
Sunday Independent, 08 Nov 2015 - The 'war' on drugs was lost before it had ever begun. The futility of prohibition is finally beginning to dawn, writes Dan O'Brien EFFORTS to stop people taking intoxicants will be in vain for as long as human nature is as it is. The downsides of prohibiting substances that people want to consume outweighs the upsides. For softer drugs, such as cannabis, the case for decriminalisation is overwhelming.
Independent, 09 Nov 2015 - There can be no doubt that the daft war on drugs is devastating many of the world's poorest countries, from Africa to Latin America. But this has been ignored by major charities that claim to campaign for international development, presumably for fear of upsetting their donors. Now one has broken ranks, with the release of an important report from Christian Aid condemning what it calls "a blind spot in development thinking". Christian Aid deserves credit for taking a stand, one which has caused internal palpitations. The report itself highlights the hypocrisy of successive British governments that have poured money into aid yet supported the prohibition ripping apart poor communities. One day they will see that sanctimonious talk of saving the world is not a solution to complex problems.
The Sunday Herald, 08 Nov 2015 - ALL debate is good. So, we welcome calls today for an informed discussion in this country around drugs. We know the absurdly titled 'war on drugs' has failed miserably - criminalising ordinary men, women and children for recreational use of drugs such as cannabis. We also know that Scotland sees itself as a progressive, intelligent country. Progressive, intelligent countries are not afraid to debate difficult issues. This is not about campaigning for decriminalisation. This is about Scotland debating how best to deal with a very real drug problem and making an informed choice about how to proceed.
The Sunday Herald, 08 Nov 2015 - SCOTLAND must start the debate on decriminalising drugs, campaigners, MSPs and former government advisers have said. The call follows an announcement by the Irish government that it plans a "radical culture shift" which will see possession of drugs decriminalised in ordered to focus on offering helping to addicts and users rather than punishing them with criminal convictions and prison.
Independent, 06 Nov 2015 - Marijuana Legalisation Will Help Poor 'Supply' Nations An absurd status quo has held sway in Mexico, ever since the United States began to legalise marijuana, for medical, and, more recently, recreational use. The nation - encouraged by Washington - has some of the strictest drug laws in Latin America. But the vast majority of the marijuana it produces ends up in the US. So Mexican law enforcement officials - complying with the demands of their American counterparts - have been expending massive resources on preventing the growth and trafficking of a drug that is often, by the time it ends up being smoked within US borders, entirely legal.
Daily Telegraph, 02 Nov 2015 - GERMANY plans to set up a state cannabis agency to regulate the drug's cultivation and distribution to treat seriously ill patients. More pain sufferers would be given regulated access to the drug on prescription and paid for by their health insurance under measures outlined in a draft bill from the ministry of health and seen by German newspaper Weltam Sonntag.
Independent, 21 Oct 2015 - The UN wants its members to decriminalise drugs, and Sir Richard Branson thinks that is just great. Well, it is not quite like that; as so often, the story is more nuanced than the headline. The paper Sir Richard leaked, which urges "decriminalising drug use and possession for personal consumption", was drawn up for a conference in Kuala Lumpur on harm reduction by Dr Monica Beg, an official at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. It has since been withdrawn and, as you can gather from the outcry, it is certainly a "third-rail issue" you touch it at your peril. Actually, the idea that personal drug use should not be a criminal offence is supported by other UN agencies, including the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS, and the argument is really about the balance of harm rather than any high principle. Is it better to have drug use made legal, and therefore taxed and regulated, or might this encourage more drugs to be consumed with the social and other costs associated with that? This will be a central issue at the forthcoming conference on the world drug problem at the UN General Assembly next April.
Irish Independent, 20 Oct 2015 - 'We Should Treat Drug Use As a Health Issue' A United Nations body plans to urge governments around the world to decriminalise possession of drugs for personal use, tycoon Richard Branson said last night.
The Guardian, 20 Oct 2015 - The entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has been involved in a clash with the United Nations over his claim that the organisation was poised to endorse a global policy of decriminalising drugs. Branson, a member of the Global Commission on Drugs Policy, claimed on his personal blog on the Virgin website yesterday that the UN's Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has been a bastion of the "war on drugs", was poised to publish a statement endorsing the decriminalisation of the personal possession and use of drugs.
Independent, 20 Oct 2015 - 'Decriminalise the Possession and Use of All Substances' United Nations officials have called for the possession and use of all drugs to be decriminalised by governments, in a private report hailed as a "turning-point in drug policy reform".
Independent, 13 Oct 2015 - Legalising cannabis would raise taxes worth hundreds of millions of pounds and produce large savings for the criminal justice system, a private analysis for the Treasury has concluded. It judged that regulating cannabis, which was used by more than two million people in the UK last year, could generate "notable tax revenue" and "lead to overall savings to public services".