by jamesbaker on 1 April, 2015
Many US states have now moved towards legalizing cannabis, and Portugal has decriminalized drug use. We have been losing the war on drugs for years, and the mood of the times is to try a different approach. An approach where people who use drugs are given support and help to quit their habits rather than one in which they are locked up. This is the approach that Liberal Democrats argue is needed, it is the type of approach that has shown great success in places like Portugal.
Drug dealing is prevalent in Warley ward, you only have to spend a bit of time walking around before you will see people waiting at the side of the street for someone to drop of packages. The Police are totally unable to cope with the problem. The money from this illegal trade goes often goes to organised criminal gangs who are involved in serious crime like people trafficking. It is no different from prohibition era america where gangs took control of the trade in alcohol.
I would like to see a situation where drug users where given the help they were needed to end their habits. The cost of locking people up is extortionate and it would be better spent on treatment. Improving these services and helping people to stop taking drugs is what would really help to stop drug dealing in the ward.
The local Labour candidate in her leaflet says “No to Drugs” yet her party is failing to grasp how to solve the problem, and wants to continue with the failed model of criminalizing drug users and locking them up in prison. Let’s be clear if we continue on this policy approach we have done in the past nothing will change, you will still have your children exposed unregulated, criminal drugs dealing on the streets. Labour want to appear tough on law on order and try and attack the Liberal Democrats for being ‘soft’. The truth is there is nothing soft in having the wisdom in seeing we need to reform our drug laws, having the wisdom to tackle the problems of mental health, and having the wisdom of not criminalizing young people and ruining their life chances.
EDIT – I just wanted to add the reason I feel so strongly about this is because when I was 16 I had a girlfriend whose mother was suffering from serious depression and also addicted to Heroin. I tried to support my girlfriend at the time, who was having to basically care for her mother and try and get her help to beat her addiction. The threat of criminal proceedings, and fear her mother would be locked up added to her stress and the difficulty of the situation. They both needed the help of a compassionate society to get treatment. It’s medieval and barbaric to think what was needed was to lock that person up in a prison, yet that’s what Labour are advocating simply to try and win a few votes.