Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Ian Gilmore calls for legalisation of drugs, the list against prohibition grows

Dear All

It seems that debate for the legalisation has gained another outspoken critic of the current system.

Professor Sir Iain Gilmore, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians who now advocates that personal drug use should be legalised to cut crime and improve health.

I have been blogging on this point for some time and it is good that others are starting to see sense.

The phoney ‘war on drugs’ cannot be won by prohibition.

A tenet of anti legalisation brigade is that drugs kill, this is true but so does alcohol and tobacco and they are legal.

Gilmore suggest that relaxing the law on possessing substances such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis would not increase the number of current addicts and he makes the financial case that vast amounts of taxpayers' money could be saved.

The current system is geared towards helping criminals have a dominant monopoly on the market.

In order to save lives, the drugs market must be bankrupted.

Health should be thinking for legalisation but add in the money aspect, legal sales of drugs could generate substantial revenue which could be ploughed into projects to help addicts and ease the burden on the NHS.

Another advantage is clearing the courts saving money and importantly time.

We have seen numerous cases of contaminated heroin sold on the streets that kill many addicts, these people lives could have been saved if there had been a safe supply provided by the state or legal third party.

As I wrote previously the NHS would benefit because there would be lower rates of diseases such as HIV.

Users sharing infected needles would be vastly reduced as clean equipment would be provided.

Gilmore remarks also echo the chairman of the UK Bar Council, Nicholas Green QC, he is calling for drug laws to be reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use too.

Everyone knows that the present policy doesn’t work; it is a financial black hole which has success so little to not justify the return spent.

Danny Kushlick of Transform, a think tank said:

“Sir Ian's statement is yet another nail in prohibition's coffin. Physicians are duty bound to speak out if the outcomes show that prohibition causes more harm than it reduces.”

Professor David Nutt famous sacked from the Council advising the Labour Government on drugs said Britain needs a radical new approach to drugs laws; this means the regulated sale of some drugs.

The moral argument is there, the health argument is there and the financial argument is there, all that is left is whether politicians can summon up the will power to do the right thing and adopt a radical strategy to save lives.

The choice is simple; we can continue paying criminals to supply drugs making vast fortunes which funds other avenues of crime or regulate the market and do some good.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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