• Question: What are your views on drug legalisation?

    Asked by willemh to Sara, Kimberley, Julia, Drew, Amy on 15 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Drew Rae

      Drew Rae answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi Willem. This is my personal opinion, but I think that we need to decide laws mostly based on their effects, not on what we personally think is right or wrong. I don’t like people using drugs, but I think that making drugs illegal causes more problems than people taking drugs does. The evidence is fairly good that making drugs illegal stops some types of drug use, but isn’t overall effective in stopping people selling or using drugs.

      Lots of the “little people” in the drug industry use drugs and sell drugs, so I don’t think you can draw neat lines either and say that we will make using drugs legal but selling them illegal.

    • Photo: Kimberley Bryon

      Kimberley Bryon answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi Willemh,

      This is a very tricky question to answer. Drugs are very dangerous. I use them in my experiments so I can exactly how dangerous drugs like cocaine are. However, even though they are illegal people still take them and because they are illegal the drugs are often mixed with really nasty stuff such as kitchen cleaner, chalk, other nasty chemicals, to try and make them go further.

      I agree with Drew, I think that selling drugs should be illegal. People who take drugs need to get help and it must be very difficult to do that if you think that you might end up going to jail, so I can see an argument for legalising them as also if drugs were legal there could be more control about how much people took and what was in them.

      Honestly, I think that most drugs should probably stay illegal for now and that we should spend more money on trying to help people who are on drugs. I am undecided on where I stand on softer drugs like cannabis which are less harmful than alcohol.

    • Photo: Julia Griffen

      Julia Griffen answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I think alcohol should be controlled more stringently… although lovely on a friday night,.. if abused it is the major cause of many health problems and costs the NHS billions in treatment of patients…

      its a tough one though cus we all like a drink

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Hey – great question! I think its a complex issue – I personally think that people shouldn’t take drugs for recreational purposes because it causes harm to yourself and to society. I also think that the state has a role in the correct running of a country and as a responsible body should use its legal power wisely for the good of the people. But what does that mean I think they should do? I’m not entirely sure.

      By cracking down on drugs and alcohol and making things illegal they send out a strong message that their inappropriate use is not acceptable – which is a good thing. But it does mean, as has been said, that people will not stop using drugs and it will just become less safe for them to do so (due to bad formulations etc). But not to set a positive example from the top gives the message that these things are OK and not too big a deal. When you live with the damage and hurt they cause you realise that this is not the case.

      So I think its important to send out a hard line message on drugs governmentally – BUT you also need to provide the appropriate community care and help to people who have drug-related issues.

      Basically laws and love. xx

    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Hi willemh. Ah, hotly debated question! I am personally more for less regulation and more civil liberties. On the drug question though there are some tough ethical concerns. For one, most drugs are pretty dangerous, that’s why they are illegal in the first place. However, I think prohibition of alcohol in the US didn’t work and I don’t think prohibition of drugs is working either. I think it would be much safer for everyone if they were legal, but highly regulated. Regulation on drugs would provide those afflicted with addictions actual help they could turn to and the government could regulate the distribution of drugs, thereby keeping an eye on people with problems. Additionally, instead of all that money going to drug lords and other nefarious people that money could be put to good use by the government. The numbers are on order of billions of dollars here in the states! That is insane. Legalization would also make countries in south america much safer (some even want legalization – Mexico for one wants legalization of at least some drugs to cut their crime). If drugs were legal the cartels would go out of business (sure there are other illegal things they could get into, but drugs are a big business that is tough to recover from such a loss – note crime went way down after alcohol prohibition ended in the states, mobs went out of business). In fact I think alcohol use went down. So yes this is a very tough issue. I think drugs should be legalized, but highly regulated (especially the most dangerous ones). In my opinion it would be better for everyone involved (except the drug lords but I don’t care about them, they often take advantage of very sick people).