Pubdate: Thu, 01 Mar 2001
Source: Oldham Evening Chronicle (UK)
Copyright: Oldham Evening Chronicle 2001
Contact:  P. O. Box 47, Oldham, Lancashire, England  OL1 1EQ
Fax: 0161-652 2111
Author: All Things In Moderation
Note: The Oldham Chronicle allows pen names if the author supplies their 
name and address. Referenced:


In the light of the recent research showing widespread alcohol related 
problems among young people, Chronicle Comment made a number of pertinent 
points concerning our drug policies.

I totally agree that a combined substance abuse policy would go a long way 
to reducing the harms of all drugs, legal or illegal. Unfortunately, such a 
sensible recommendation is unlikely to be implemented by the government in 
the forseeable future.  The concept of harm reduction  (reducing the harms 
caused by drugs and the harms caused by drug prohibition) is anathema to 
the Labour government, who see drugs policy primarily as a law and order 
issue rather than a health and social issue.

Clearly alcohol and tobacco are the major drug problems in society today. 
Even as someone who likes an occasional drink, I was shocked to find that 
one in eight deaths of men under 30 is directly caused by alcohol.  Compare 
this to deaths caused by cannabis - no recorded overdose death in 5000 
years of recorded use.

Of course cannabis is not completely harmless, and people are more prone to 
accidents when under it's influence, but if I was to hazard a guess, I 
would reckon the death rate attributable to cannabis use would be nearer 1 
in 8 million rather than 1 in 8 as it is for alcohol.

The Anne Widdecombe's of this world should think about that they next time 
they swig champagne in public whilst preaching "zero tolerance" about the 
"scourge of illegal drugs".  The health of the nation should take priority 
over drug war rhetoric.

All Things In Moderation
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens