Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, May 15, 2009

Drug Harm Index Under Scrutiny

Whitehall, London, looking south towards the H...Image via Wikipedia

A focus on harm
Mark Easton, BBC News - UK


The index has its critics who argue that it conflates two different types of harm: the harms from using drugs and the harms from a policy of prohibition. The campaigning Transform Drug Policy Foundation puts it this way (A Comparison of the Cost-effectiveness of the Prohibition and Regulation of Drugs 2005 [444 KB PDF]):

"The failure to disaggregate drug use harms from drug policy harms or, specifically, prohibition harms, is a major obstacle to meaningful evaluation of existing policy and consequently, to the rational development of potentially more effective policy responses."

Nevertheless, the idea that we should focus on reducing "harm" rather than simply "crime" is increasingly embedded in Whitehall thinking - and the implications could be far-reaching.


Soca's definition of "harm" goes beyond illegal drug running and the economic costs of crime - this is a complex measure by which the agency pursues all its activities. Physical, social, environmental, economic and structural harms are considered at every level - from the personal to the international:

"SOCA's focus is not solely on the criminals and the offences they are committing" the agency explains, adding that their "operational business now focuses more sharply on the question of what will make a tangible and lasting difference for those who are being adversely affected".

Looking at crime through the harm prism may make us reconsider priorities.

A warning against cannabis
If there's a good side to the incident at Hospital Hill, it's that there are decent people in cynical times.

UK may need Class D, but nothing will save Rosemary McLoud?
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

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