The ‘war on drugs’ that failed our son


Journalists and politicians must back the legalisation of drugs, say Professors Pat Hudson and Tony Lane

Thanks to Simon Jenkins for attacking political intransigence over the reform of drug policy in the UK (Make mine a cannabis wine, thank you, 19 October). Our son died recently as a result of current policy that failed to keep him safe.

Through “county lines”, rural areas have joined the big cities in seeing drug deaths rise. Our son’s death in Carmarthen (population 14,000) was one of six, within months, in the town and its wider region. These were not ageing, long-term users but young people in their prime, in an area newly blighted by drug dependency.

The failure of the “war on drugs” is now acknowledged by health and welfare agencies globally and by councils, police forces, medical practitioners and political groups across the country. But is the failure of our two major political parties to advocate change merely a question of finding it impossible to admit that they were wrong? If Lord Falconer can apologise publicly, it should be possible for others to follow.


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