You’re not hallucinating, MPs really did pass crazy bad drug law
These are not my words but the headline of an article in New Scientist. I’ve been tracking the discussion around the new ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill‘ for a while. The disquiet around this legislation has been mostly expressed in more measured tones, so this, coming from a scientific publication stood out.
Since Mephedrone (MCAT, Meow, Bubble) there was a ‘leap frogging’ between new drugs (NPS) and the law, and it was evident that each time a set of designer drugs got banned, a new set appeared. And each new set of drugs seemed more hazardous than the last. Things seemed to be getting progressively worse.
So the government decided that a ‘ban everything’ approach would solve the problem. There are two potential issues with this approach. Firstly if you say everything psychoactive is illegal, you immediately need to start creating exceptions. So it starts with Alcohol, Caffeine and Tobacco, but then where will it end? Secondly how do you police this? There is no evidence that making a drugs illegal makes them go away; but there is evidence that criminalising substances creates unintended consequences, most notably more crime.
This reminds me of the saying (often mistakenly attributed to Einstein, but of unknown origin) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Consider this: We know the safety profile of Cannabis, it has been around for a long time and there are no known cases of overdose or physical harm. There is a worldwide trend towards decriminalising it and it is being researched for a range of medical uses. While at the same time the latest synthetic cannabinoids (helpfully produced for us in China) are creating merry hell in prisons, amongst homeless people and other vulnerable populations. Are you beginning to see a possible solution?