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Drug war mentality has to change

April 21, 2013

Dear Sir,

Enlightened countries have programmes to reduce the harm the drug war has caused. Bermuda’s politicians allow the suffering to continue.

People are ready to accept drug policy change if politicians publicly advocate discussion without being shouted down or, worse, vilified for raising the issue. In Bermuda drug war advocates still smirk at nothing being done, while any progress toward harm reduction is led by law enforcement, the foot soldiers of the drug war.

In other places the suggestion that Bermuda set up clinics to supply people dependent on heroin with the drug is small potatoes. Elsewhere there are drop in places where people are able to take drugs without fear of prosecution, clean needles supplied and in some cases uncontaminated drugs. Not just heroin but cocaine and crack too.

The government must surely recognise that they no longer need a drug war to win votes. The electorate all know someone who smokes pot or something harder, be it a relative or themselves. Politicians cling to barbaric ideas like “drugs are evil therefore the people with drugs are evil and must be apprehended, pursued through the courts and punished” at enormous expense, with crippling social consequences measured at individual and family levels. This has a history and was imported like the rest of the drug policy.

When the US government dismantled alcohol prohibition, bureaucrats in fear of losing jobs and influence needed other substances to prohibit and so popularised, with misinformation, the evils of other drugs. The demonising of people via their association with drugs has been an effective and pernicious method of enabling the most cruel and outrageous injustices to be perpetrated upon citizens otherwise indistinguishable from their drug-free compatriots.

Central to reform is the adoption of evidence-based policy. Critical thinking is urgently required.


A top concern of canvassed constituents; politicians don’t appear to have a clue about the issue; too many lives trampled and left with a life-long handicap; the enormous cost to Bermuda is unstoppable without re-education and policy change.

Bermuda’s unshakable conservatism, people believing drug war falsehoods, the church, and politicians expecting drug war propaganda to garner votes all need a reality check.

Positive harm reduction actions now please, debate done, research done, people wounded - healing needed.


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Published April 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm)

Drug war mentality has to change

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