Drugs are bad, but criminalising them is worse

For all the time that drugs have been around, putting people in jail for using them has helped neither the users nor their communities.

Andreea Groenendijk-Deveau
Andreea Groenendijk-Deveau The Market Mogul, United Kingdom
Source: The Market Mogul
Drugs are bad, but criminalising them is worse - NewsMavens
Eye. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Ignoring the problem has never led to any effective solutions for anything. And when it comes to drugs, it's even more complicated. It's easy to say that drug users should carry their own weight if they want to indulge such a nasty habit.

However, we tend to forget one important aspect of it all: nobody chooses to be a drug addict. People make mistakes; human nature is both weak and strong. We are resilient in the face of danger, pain and suffering and fight for a better world for ourselves and others every day. Yet, we are not strong enough to not have that extra piece of chocolate or push ourselves out of bed in the morning and go to the gym, or say no to the things we know will have dramatic impact on our health: fast food, tobacco, drugs. 

The reality is, drugs exist and are probably not going anywhere anytime soon. It's just like prostitution: the law of supply and demand. We can stigmatize people and criminalize the activity. But would it not be better - and more humane - to regulate and try to help those involved?

It's always easier to judge than to understand. And some of us will find it hard to relate to those fighting this problem. But it all comes down to one mantra: treat those around you how you would like to be treated. And if you think you'll never be in this situation, that's fine. But I have many times found that life is complicated and full of surprises. On never knows what tomorrow will bring.

Details from the story:

  • In 2015-16, around 1 in 12 adults had taken an illicit drug in the UK
  • This is the equivalent of 2.7 million people
  • In 2015, there were 2,479 registered deaths due to drug misuse
  • This is an increase of 10% from 2014 and 48% higher than in 2005
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