Dear Sirs and Madams
In the UK, and in other countries, Governments are re-considering their drugs policies. This is against a background of increasingly softer attitudes towards recreational drugs, and in the UK, in the light of one report that “the war against drugs is lost”.
With a recession, more and more demonstrations in the streets of Europe, people out of work and with more time on their hands, it may be tempted to see this as the right time to de-criminalise softer drugs, and making use of harder drugs something that needs treatment rather than punishment.
Surely the time must be right to relax policies, allow indulgences of the softer drugs such as marijuana, and weaker amphetamines, which, some would argue, are less harmful than drinking alcohol, or, in the long time, heavy tobacco smoking.
But there is a world of difference between keeping a law in place while not executing its enforcement harshly, and doing away with a law completely.
While I am a not a god-fearing man, I do have some sort of ethic/moral code. That may not stretch to eradicate the occasional parking my car in a forbidden place, or pocketing money found on the pavement rather than handing into the Police. But I was brought up to know the difference between right and wrong, and to have a respect for the law. I suspect that I am not the only one, and that in truth there are great numbers of ordinary decent citizens, who by and large live their lives without frequent interactions with the forces of law or trips to the judiciary for fines or more severe punishment.
People like me stay, mostly, on the right side of the law, even if the law may not be prosecuted vigorously. Therefore, while I know I might “get away with it” I will refrain from taking even class C drugs, because it is against the law. I know the law is there for a reason. While I cannot say I have never strayed from the path and indulged in a spliff (and, yes, even inhaled!) I knew it was wrong, and therefore did it rarely and certainly not in a public place.
However, were the law to be relaxed and the taking of class C drugs to become legal, then I would indulge a lot more. So would many more people. Opinion is divided about the harm soft drugs can do, but it is clear that if used to excess, and/or by people who have underlying mental health issues, they can be quite damaging. I have a few friends who were “pot-heads” in the 70s, and some of them are now in institutions, or have regular problems due to their over-indulgence back in the day.
The bottom line is that while alcohol and even smoking has a long history in societies, so much so that to ban alcohol would be to ban the mores of many generations, and even try to ignore an indulgence that shaped nationhood, smoking dope, and popping pills hasn’t. It may have spawned some expressions, a few stoner films and bands, but it is not woven into the fabric of what defines a nation. Consequently to allow soft drugs to be peddles and consumed would be to open a Pandora’s box, and no-one know what the consequence would be on all individuals, or on a the national psyche. We could be unleashing a slow maelstrom that will suck out the very essence of what defines a country and its people. I would indulge and I am pretty sure it will change me. And not necessarily for the better.
Therefore, I urge Governments to leave things as they are and stop playing with legalising soft drugs every time a report comes out saying that use is on the increase, or that there are not enough Police to enforce against its use. Leave the statute book alone. The very fact it is there will deter a lot of people from going down a road of regular drug use that may lead to a dark place in the soul and to the slow transformation of a society into a beast that we do not recognise.