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Blanket ban on psychoactives will do little to reduce harm

by jamesbaker on 5 June, 2015

The plethora of unknown chemicals contained within ‘legal’ highs is a direct result of years of prohibition. As prohibition created the incentive for producers of drugs to experiment with new chemicals to create legal versions of illegal drugs.

Whilst there are many benefits to selling chemicals in ‘head shops’ that pay taxes rather than via criminal drug dealers, the cat and mouse game between prohibitionists and produces has created additional risks to users. The reason being that people who take these new drugs simply don’t know what it is they are taking, or how to take them in a manner that reduces the risks. This is the problem with prohibition, it increases the dangers associated with taking drugs because the supply is completely unregulated, and often adulterated.

We urgently need to start treating drug use as a health matter, and regulating and licensing the safest form of substances. Both Norman Lamb MP and Tim Farron MP the contenders for the leadership Liberal Democrat leadership have said they would like to see this move towards an evidence based reform of drug laws. Reforms that would likely result in the legalisation of some of the least harmful substances such as cannabis (as has been done now in US states like Colorado)

This Liberal approach is in sharp contest to the ill thought out blanket ban on psychoactive proposed by the Home Office and rubber stamped by the Conservatives. An ill thought out ban that defines the term psychoactive so broadly that it could be read to mean any substance consumed to affect a change in mood, a ban that will impinge on the research into the affects of chemicals on the brain, a ban that allows a nannying authoritarian home office tell you what you can or can’t do with your life.

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