In the inevitable vacuum that follows a tragic death, predictable emotions include the need to create some beneficial change as a result of the loss. The wave of sympathy that was aroused by one ecstasy death resulted in an expensive campaign against the drug in 1992. There was no beneficial effect. Nothing was ‘sorted’. The drug became more fashionable and its use increased.
A family’s response to a death associated with one of the legal highs persuaded the Government et al to impose new prohibition. The reasoning is based on the myth that prohibiting drugs reduces harm. The UK’s major 1971 act of prohibition was followed by a continuing increase in addicts from 1,000 to 300,000. There is very little evidence of harm from the newly banned life style drugs. If there are bad consequences, they are now likely to multiplied. Increased use is likely now the drugs are elevated to the status of ‘forbidden fruit.’
The murder rate in the USA was level until alcohol was prohibited. It stayed at its highest rate under the 13 years of prohibition, and then returned to its previous level. It rose again when illegal drug use became prevalent. The carnard believed by all the UK’s political parties is that prohibition reduces use and harm. Where is the evidence? Use varies according to fashion. Prohibition lubricates the process with a little frisson.
There is proof that de-penalisation and decriminalization does work. The best recent one was in Portugal in 2001. Drug deaths halved and use declined in all known sectors as this proves: -
My garden today