Pubdate: Mon, 28  Jun 1999
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Contact:  Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE UK 
Author: Nigel Simon


Regarding David Macaulay's article "Drugs Factfile - the Killer List". I
generally applaud your newspaper's efforts in making this investigation but
would like to raise a few points.

Most recreational pursuits carry an element of risk. I believe that using
mood-altering drugs can, at least initially, be considered a recreational

When presenting the facts and figures on death rates it is easy to ignore
the fact that many other recreational activities can lead to the death of
the participant.  We live in a dangerous world and thrive on the element of
risk in our lives.

If the EDP were to compile a list of 100 recreational pursuits and the
known death rates applicable over a 10-year period my guess is that close
to the top would come road traffic accidents (exclusive of essential
driving), followed by tobacco and alcohol.

Further down the list would come flying, and accidents in the home. On
average, four people will die from lightning strikes every year. Certainly
more people will have died after falling off ladders in the last 10 years
than have died as a result of using cannabis.

Forty people have died from doing nothing more dangerous than eating beef

No one using heroin can be under any illusion as to its dangers.  Yet few
of us will consider that every day someone dies as a result of a car
accident in the UK when we get in our cars.

Comparing alcohol and cannabis I can see no good reason why the sale of the
former is legal and the latter is not.

There are no "safe" recreational drugs, but taken as a recreational
activity they should be taken in context with all other recreational pursuits.

I am not aware that anyone has died as a direct result of using cannabis.
Consider this the next time you go skiing or horse riding or sailing or
golfing or hill walking or cleaning your upstairs windows.

Compared with these, cannabis is getting bad press. 

Nigel Simon,
Nelson Avenue,
Downham Market.

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