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It is high time for new approach on drugs

Dear Sir,

Criminals do not create crime. Crime is created by opportunity.

It isn’t difficult to understand why some people take to crime.

Understandably, many argue that people should of course make better life decisions, but in the final analysis, it’s not difficult to understand why a 15-year-old decides to be involved in the drug trade. It is after all, an easy way to make good money; something they may have convinced themselves is not possible in more legitimate ways. It is also not difficult to grasp that where there are drugs, other crimes will arise.

As public policy the “war on drugs” is destined for continued failure. For nearly 50 years now, we have seen this failure play out continuously across the world.

We are fixated to the idea, that if we fine or imprison the user, then we are winning. We are not winning - we have already lost and that will continue.

The essential reason why we have failed, is that with every fine, with every imprisonment, there is one thing that never ever changes - and that is the demand for drugs.

Imprison users and demand will not fall. Imprison suppliers and demand will not fall. Demand will always be met.

The human desire to temporarily escape from life by taking a mind-altering substance is a desire that we cannot change.

As for dependency, studies in the UK suggest that dependency is around 10 per cent across the spectrum of available drugs. The one drug that bucks the norm, is heroin at 25 per cent.

It really is time for the Bermuda Government to take a different approach to drugs and crime, and face the reality of the situation. It is time to take out the suppliers, by Government taking responsibility for supply.

Heroin should be prescribed by doctors and other drugs should be sold under strict government-regulated conditions. It is time to stop treating those who become drug dependent, as needing punishment; they don’t - they need help.

If we don’t change our approach, we will still be fighting this “war” in 50 years’ time. And one thing is certain. In 50 years’ time, demand will not have decreased.

Taking control of the supply will not have an effect on demand - but crime associated with drugs will diminish.

Let’s take away the opportunities for crime the drug business creates. It’s time for the Government to step up.

WORRIED ABOUT CRIME