Melanie Phillips

17 November 2011

Drug legalisation? We need it like a hole in the head

Published in: Daily Mail

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Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, is rapidly becoming a priceless guide to what to think. That is to say, whatever position she adopts is an excellent indication that the opposite view must be correct. For her misjudgements are as egregious as they are multiplying.

This is the woman who, as head of MI5, presided over the spectacular failure of that agency to grasp the threat from home-grown UK Islamic extremism, leading to the debacle of the 7/7 terror attacks on London in 2005. Two months ago in her Reith Lecture, she expressed the asinine view that Islamic terrorists were impelled to destroy free societies such as Britain because of their frustration at not having been brought up in free societies.

Now the Daily Telegraph reports that, along with her fellow members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, Lady M-B believes that the current war on drugs is not working and that it is time to consider decriminalising possession of small quantities of narcotics.

Groan. For the umpteenth time, there is no war on drugs in the UK. On the contrary, what there is instead is a refusal to enforce the law against drug use in a coherent, consistent, and effective manner --  a failure of policing on the ground disastrously amplified by lethally idiotic decriminalisation mood music constantly tinkling from the great and the un-good who, for a variety of different reasons including the less than intellectually rigorous desire to prevent their own drug-taking offspring from accruing criminal records, are incapable of doing anything other than parrot drug legalisation propaganda.  

The Telegraph reports:

‘Baroness Meacher, chairwoman of the All [Party] Parliamentary Group said there were clear examples abroad showing appropriate regulation of drugs can help cut crime. She said: “I think we need to look to the evidence. We have evidence from a lot of different countries about what works rather better than what we do in the UK.

 ‘“The Czech Republic and Portugal have decriminalised possession and use of small quantities of drugs. They have lower levels of problem drug use, lower levels of use of these drugs among young people, lower cocaine use, lower heroin use.  It's fairly clear that you do quite well if you have decriminalisation, so that's one of the policies we think needs to be looked at.”’

But this is rubbish. As Manuel F. Pinto Coelho, Medical Doctor of the Association for a Drug Free Portugal has written (after a similar BBC report last year):

‘Drug decriminalization in Portugal is a failure… There is a complete and absurd campaign of manipulation of facts and figures of Portuguese drug policy which Matthew Hill [BBC News] appears to have “bought”…

‘The article says that the number of newly reported cases of HIV and AIDS among drug addicts has declined substantially every year since 2000 (907) until 2008 (267), quoting a Portuguese Institute IDT´s official.

‘As a matter of fact Portugal remains the country with the highest incidence of IDU-related AIDS and it is the only country recording a recent increase. 703 newly diagnosed infections, followed from a distance by Estonia with 191 and Latvia with 108 reported cases. We’re top of the list, with a shameful 268% aggravation from the next worst case (EMCDDA – November 2007)

‘The number of new cases of HIV / AIDS and Hepatitis C in Portugal recorded among drug users is eight times the average found in other member states of the European Union. “Portugal keeps on being the country with the most cases of injected drug related AIDS (85 new cases per one million of citizens in 2005, while the majority of other EU countries do not exceed 5 cases per million) and the only one registering a recent increase. 36 more cases per one million of citizens were estimated in 2005 comparatively to 2004, when only 30 were referred ” (EMCDDA - November 2007).

‘Since the implementation of decriminalization in Portugal, the number of homicides related to drug use has increased 40%. "Portugal was the only European country to show a significant increase in homicides between 2001 and 2006." (WDR - World Drug Report, 2009) "With 219 deaths by drug 'overdose' a year, Portugal has one of the worst records, reporting more than one death every two days. Along with Greece, Austria and Finland, Portugal is one of the countries that recorded an increase in drug overdose by over 30% in 2005".(EMCDDA – November 2007).

‘The number of deceased individuals that tested positive for drugs (314) at the Portuguese Institute of Forensic Medicine in 2007 registered a 45% rise climbing fiercely after 2006 (216). This represents the highest numbers since 2001 – roughly one death per day - therefore reinforcing the growth of the drug trend since 2005(Portuguese IDT – November 2008). “Behind Luxembourg, Portugal is the European country with the highest rate of consistent drug users and IV heroin dependents”. (Portuguese Drug Situation Annual Report, 2006.)

‘Between 2001 and 2007, drug use increased 4.2%, while the percentage of people who have used drugs (at least once) in life, multiplied from 7.8% to 12%. Cannabis: from 12.4% to 17%. Cocaine: from 1.3% to 2.8%. Heroine: from 0.7% to 1.1%.Ecstasy: from 0.7% to 1.3%. (Report of Portuguese IDT 2008) “There remains a notorious growing consumption of cocaine in Portugal, although not as severe as that which is verifiable in Spain. The increase in consumption of cocaine is extremely problematic.” (Wolfgang Gotz, EMCDDA Director - Lisbon, May 2009)’

‘The reality of Portuguese drug addiction has been blatantly tampered with. The statistical results have been insidiously manipulated by institutions controlled by the government. The Portuguese IDT goes on distorting the numbers and manipulate minds.’

Meanwhile, a fresh head of stream is building up to undermine the UN drug laws, the basic international instrument behind the goal common to all civilised countries of preventing and eradicating the use of narcotics.

The LibDems (of course) are stepping up the pressure on the Tories to decriminalise drugs, and are pushing the false Portugal line.

Today, the All Party group started a two-day meeting in the House of Lords in conjunction with two organisations committed to drug policy liberalisation, the Beckley Foundation and the Drug Policy Commission, to discuss

‘the goal of reforming global drug policy, including amendments to the UN Conventions.’

The Beckley Foundation is headed by Amanda Feilding, whose main claim to fame is that she ‘trepanned’ her head – drilled a hole in her own skull with an electric drill, apparently to alter her state of consciousness.  Readers can see pictures of her performing this procedure here. She has extolled the benefits of trepanning thus:

‘“Over the next four hours I had a kind of feeling like the tide coming in, a soft flowing feeling. … the ego had stopped talking”. As to how it feels today Amanda has said, “It’s not an ecstatic feeling at all, but it’s very slight rise in the level of the floor of the psyche to the floor of childhood.” and “If one puts the adult norm of consciousness at zero and the LSD users at one hundred, then the childhood level and that attained by trepanation is thirty, and the level of cannabis is around fifty to sixty.”’

Lady Meacher and the former head of MI5 not only have the distinction of apparently sharing the same view of drug policy as a woman who has bored holes in her own skull but also with President Santos of Colombia, the name of whose country is synonymous with the narcotics trade. President Santos, the Guardian gushes, has emerged as

‘the leading voice on the international political stage calling for a major rethink on the war on drugs’

because he is suggesting decriminalising marijuana and cocaine. But his position is incoherent. He supports such decriminalisation in order to smash

‘the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking’

but nevertheless he

‘would never legalise very hard drugs like morphine or heroin because in fact they are suicidal drugs’.

Leaving aside the fact that cannabis and cocaine harm both users and others unfortunate enough to have anything to do with such users, as well as posing a threat to society in general, if President Santos thinks decriminalisation will eradicate violent trafficking then how can he not support decriminalising heroin as well?

Moreover, when George Soros’s Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy (LACDD) advocated drug decriminalisation a couple of years ago, this position was denounced by Colombia’s own Interior Ministry which warned against legalising drugs or weakening the state’s action against the drug trade in any way. Yet this is the very weakening that President Santos, along with Baronesses Meacher and Manningham–Buller, the trepanned Amanda Feilding, George Soros and Uncle Tom Legaliser and all are intent on bringing about.

There are many deep flaws in the arguments for drug legalisation -- including the fact that the only way of ending the criminal black market in drugs, which Lady Meacher believes decriminalisation would achieve, would be to make all narcotics available absolutely free and available on unlimited demand.

But the bottom line is that legalisation would mean more people on drugs, more addiction, more disease and death and more violence, antisocial behaviour and harm to the rest of society. The campaign to undermine the UN drug laws is being promoted by some very bad people indeed and a large number of useful idiots. We need drug legalisation like... well, like a hole in the head.

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Read full biography

Books

  • The World Turned Upside Down
  • Londonistan
  • The Ascent of Woman
  • America's Social Revolution

Contact Melanie

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Contact Melanie