Pubdate: Fri, 27 Aug 1999
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact:  1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL
Section: Letters
Author: Emilie Silverstone


Sir: It is overly simplistic to describe all drugs as bad and endow the
taking of drugs with immorality (letter, 19 August). The experience of
abusing a drug will inevitably be described as a bad one. As a recovering
heroin addict I speak from my own terrible experience.

Not all drugs are abused; they may be abused by some and used by
others, and heroin could be in a class of its own in being inevitably
abused. There is a world of difference between the uses of cannabis
and heroin.

Drugs need to be demystified and removed from the moral badlands, as
this can exude a glamorous aura of danger and anti-heroism to
vulnerable youth. Whilst drugs remain a taboo, misinformation and
half-truths will confuse and beguile.

Prohibition inevitably drives the use of drugs underground and it does
not prevent use.

Government and society need to overcome their fear, accept that drugs
are used and tackle the problems of abuse. There needs to be a
comprehensive system of education, quality control and accompanying
health advice. Only then can abuse and the reasons for abuse be fully

Emilie Silverstone

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