A Parent's View of Decriminalization of Illicit drugs
By Bill Cameron
Drug Free Scotland
Drug decriminalization, drug relegalisation, drug legalization or drug liberalization?
Take your pick without introducing serious polemic and they all refer to the process of eliminating or reducing drug prohibition. By allowing licensed clinics to sell or dispense hard drugs, might we take business away from violent dealers and let rationality and regulated economics rule the streets instead of crime. Is that so?
Parents who have struggled against drug addiction, many over decades, and their addicted siblings might suggest that it has nothing to do with rationality.
We are painfully aware that legal Methadone is liberally sold on or streets and if their prescribed dosage is insufficient then a short trip to the local dealer for a bag of heroin will do the trick - FACT! Decriminalization would not eliminate illegal dealing - there will always be a dealer selling something to someone in need, for profit.
Drug addiction is not just about getting high, sticking a needle in your arm or a silver paper tube in your mouth and using - it's about the getting!
Demand for addictive drugs goes far beyond medical guidelines and although legal clinics might know when to say when, legal dispensation of hard drugs might not sate regional cravings. And now that this drug will be free, will not the addict be asking "How much do I get? Who decides how much I will need? How often a day will I get it? How many drugs will be decriminalized - crystal meth, ecstasy? What if I need more than prescribed? Are there trained people all over the country to take these decisions? And by issuing dangerous drugs legally, who takes the rap if I overdose?"
Therefore, since even legalizers would hesitate to allow children to take drugs, decriminalization might easily result in dealers turning their attentions to younger and younger children, who - in the permissive atmosphere that even now prevails - have already been inducted into the drug subculture in alarmingly high numbers.
It is unclear which drugs the legalizers are referring to and to whom they should become available. Do they wish to legalize crack and will all people, regardless of age and mental condition, be able to buy it? Doctors would be reluctant to prescribe. The implication that cannabis is a benign substance is dangerous and inaccurate.
The policy must be "first do no harm" and Sweden is an excellent role model. The UK Government has no intention of legalizing drugs but the damage done by the publication of some so called "Harm Reduction" reports should not be underestimated. (Dr Ian Oliver - "Drug Affliction")
The arguments in favor of legalizing the use of all narcotic and stimulant drugs are twofold: philosophical and pragmatic. Neither argument is negligible, but both are mistaken, I believe, and both miss the point.
Scotland is a signatory of all three conventions on Narcotic drugs 1961, 1971, 1988 and the convention of the Right of the child article 33 which state this clearly. It limits the use of narcotics drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. It does not allow 'recreational' or religious purposes. Children should be protected from drugs - our children, our future.