I happened to see this recent newspaper report: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sobbing-mum-finds-daughter-having-18194587 , which appalled me. I occasionally watch those rather repetitive police-cam TV shows, in which police stop “motorists” or at least car-drivers, as well as some pedestrians. Most seem to be carrying drugs.
I recall hearing a radio report from, I think, 1969, about heroin addicts in London, in which it was stated that most UK heroin addicts were in London and that the number was at that time, in 1969 or 1970, about 500. This was seen as a crisis at the time, apparently. I imagine that, were the number of drug addicts or hard-core abusers now in the UK only a few thousand, not a mere 500, that that would be seen as some kind of huge social or policing success.
Though it has not impacted me directly (except when I appeared once in court in London as Counsel in a drug-smuggling case, circa 1993), the UK has a drug crisis which has been made worse by half-hearted chop-and-change efforts to deal with it.
Some people say that the way to deal with the drug problem in the UK is to legalize now-illegal drugs and then to regulate the manufacture, quality-control, distribution and sale, thus controlling the use of them and also making it possible to tax them, so providing funds which can then be used to treat drug-abusers and generally reduce drug abuse.
The above is a cogent argument which has its attractions, but is expensive, at least initially, and also does not seem to put an end to the problem. It might cut off funds to presently-criminal operations, true, but would that not mean that the criminal operations just continue as “legal” commercial operations?
In the 1920s and early 1930s, one of the biggest Prohibition-busting operations run into the USA (from Canada) was operated by a criminal Jew family called the Bronfman family. Their company, Seagram’s (now and for the past decade or two under largely other ownership and called simply “Seagram”), supplied illegal booze to several major US states.
It could, again, be argued that Prohibition is a case in point, in that there was an attempt to criminalize something many, perhaps most people wanted to do and that, in doing that, organized crime was accelerated in its growth without stopping the actual use of alcohol (possession of alcohol for personal use was never illegal under Prohibition; neither was the consumption of it).
The counter-argument would be that alcohol has been tolerated (except, mainly, in Islamic lands) for centuries, indeed for millennia. Wine in particular is intimately bound to Western civilization. Beer and mead are also ancient drinks: the Egyptians drank beer thousands of years ago, and the Slavs drank mead long before –in the 17th Century– they ever discovered vodka and the like.
Drugs in the sense in which we speak here (opiates, cocaine, cannabis etc) are not part of our culture, or have not been until the past century (leaving aside a few oddities such as de Quincey). Indeed, for most people, this is a situation which has developed since the 1960s.
People often say that cannabis or marijuana has been used for many centuries and so is somehow OK. However, I believe that the Persian poet Hafiz wrote against the use of marijuana in Persia, to the effect that it had contributed to the decadence of the culture and people (it was introduced in the 13th Century). Certainly, I cannot think of any country where its use (legal or illegal) has improved society: Egypt, Jamaica etc.
The once-strict British legal situation has been liberalized almost to tolerance. I recall attending, as 16 year old spectator, the magistrates’ court at Henley-on-Thames, in –I think– 1973, where a severe-looking Lady Somebody presided (with the usual two useless me-too bookends). An epicene young man, the very picture of post-aristocratic dissipation, was charged with possession of a small amount of cannabis. He had been in the old and squalid Oxford Prison for the week since first appearance (the prison is now a luxury hotel, with even the smallest rooms made out of 2 of the original prison cells; some made out of 6 or 8. The hotel featured in one episode of Lewis: see trailer in Notes, below).
The defendant applied for bail. A character witness (his girlfriend, I think), a young blonde woman wearing a traditional fox fur round her neck, complete with head (well, this was 1973…), said that the defendant had been and would be staying at her family’s home (read “small estate”) near Pangbourne. I recall this case well, partly because the young woman was asked by the Clerk of the Court “are you Miss or Mrs?”, to which she replied, stiffly, “the Honourable”!
Anyway, the upshot was that bail was refused! Despite the small amount of drugs, despite the character witness, despite the obvious no-flight-risk…This was prior to the passing of the current Bail Act. I remember that the defendant was quietly in tears at having to return to Oxford Prison (the Honourable Blonde was also wiping away a tear). Another reason I remember it all well is that I cannot imagine what use that slight, sloping-shouldered and dissipated creature could possibly be to the blonde! Ah well, ours not to reason why, I suppose…
Today, that defendant would quite likely either be given a verbal warning by the police, or a formal caution. He would probably not find himself in court at all, let alone be imprisoned either pending or after trial. Even if he did go to court, the likely outcome would be a small fine, probation or maybe a community order or the like.
I suppose that many, looking at that Henley case, would say that it is better that minor cases like that do not now involve such upset to individuals and expense to the State. On the other hand, it seems to me that the drug “epidemic” has got out of hand. That applies even more so to the “hard” drugs, to cocaine, heroin etc.
We have recently seen that a Cabinet minister, Michael Gove, has admitted to regular use of cocaine when a journalist. It has certainly been tacitly admitted that the likely soon (hopefully brief) “Prime Minister”, Boris Johnson, has even more frequently abused the drug. Its use is ubiquitous in Britain’s corrupt and decadent mass media, artistic and political circles. An early exposure was that of Louise Mensch, briefly an MP and often talking about the faults of others less affluent than herself.
These facts are important. They have social and political, as well as personal, consequences.
America declared a “war on drugs”. It failed to work (as I knew it would) because it involved bombing South American peasants and their crops rather than shooting defaulters in Washington D.C. and across the USA.
Likewise in the UK, the State uses the Navy, SBS etc to catch large-scale drug imports at sea. The importers caught there or by highly-trained police detectives and Customs operatives in the UK are very heavily punished, distributors less so, sellers less so, and the actual consumers, who drive the whole process, scarcely at all!
I wonder (I say no more) whether we should start seriously purging the country of recreational drugs, drug abusers, drug suppliers and importers, starting with the corrupt wealthy metro-liberal pseudo-“elite” at Westminster and in the msm etc. Perhaps we as a society should start shooting people. Action not words. Action, not hand-wringing. Discuss.
(note: the Henley-on-Thames Magistrates’ Court is now no longer in existence, having fallen, like many hundreds of other magistrates’ and county courts —not to mention railway branch lines— to cost-cutting and “reorganization”. The branch line to Henley is still operational, but the court was closed in 1999: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2009-11-05c.295992.h