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Published on January 31st, 2012 | by Ryan Austin
Image © [caption id="attachment_6910" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="© Fran Monks"][/caption] The War on Drugs. Once a battle agreed upon by almost all of society as a battle worth fighting, now perceived as a retreating offensive. Business Tsar and Global Drug Commissioner Sir Richard Branson is now among the few government advisor’s whom have controversially spoken against the governmental status-qua of a hard-line policy against the use and distribution of drugs. But the Virgin Boss is not the first. In 2009 we witnessed the renown governmental drug advisor Professor David Nut speak out against the governments drug policy by sarcastically stating that horse riding had the possibility to cause more harm than some drugs, and therefore it too should be banned. Specifically, Professor Nutt's comments were controversial and arguably revolutionary. Never before had a government scientific advisor spoken out. But the immediate sacking of Professor Nutt by the then Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson marked a change in opinion. It marked the moment where both government, scientific reason and society collied over an issue that seemed unmoveable: unchangeable. People use drugs. Whether you're a careerist civil servant who willingly obeys the political status-qua or you're a resident upon an estate that has felt the colossal impacts that the drug trade brings, drugs are out there and as long as people continue with a desire for drugs, the consequence wont disappear. But that doesn't mean we or the government should give up. If there’s one clear message in Richard Branson’s vision for rehabilitating Britain it's the manor in which both drug dealers and drug users are dealt with. Branson argues that a change in the handling of the drug trade will bring real results. Specifically, he states that the responsibility for drug users should be left for the Department of Health whilst the Home Office can concentrate on more serious organised crime such as large scale drug trafficking. If anything, Branson has only empathised with the view that those most affected by drugs are the users themselves. Depleted and despairing, drugs serve as the catalyst for further criminal behaviour whether it's robbing a local corner shop for drug money or a fight with a rival gang, drugs are the source. The source for a life of dependency, a source for a life of neglect and a source for a life based on feeding an addiction. Branson also made clear the injustice in the current system. A system that shows no distinction between the users and the dealers and a system that labels all drug users as equally. But Branson has also missed the crucial point. His motive is wrong, the drug system doesn't need reforming because it's spent taxpayers money on the support of overcrowding prisoners, but it needs reforming because it's failing to change: failing to adapt with an altering society. However, that doesn't mean I want an accepting society. I don't want a society that ends the war against drugs because it's failing in the same way I don't want society to end the war on murder, even if the number of murders doubled in the space of a year. No, I want society to take a stand against drugs and say no, but I also want a society that will accept the meek; the user. You don't send an ill man to a prison, you send him to a hospital. Drug users are used, they're used by a drug and industry that aims to exploit addiction. And this is the message of Branson, he doesn’t want a society that say drugs are right, but a society that cares for the ill rather than throwing away the key. One of the most commonly asked questions by both dealers and users is “Why do you care? Why do you really care what I do with my body?” What they're missing is the real danger of a drugged society; the affect and indirect consequences upon both local communities and society. The substance is irrelevant. Whether its class A crack to low-lying cannabis, the whole trade and operation behind the use of drugs is the reason “Why we care” I start to care when innocent children find needles when walking home from school. I start to care when a women is sexual exploited in return for drugs and I start to care when communities that have long-stood the atrocities of the Wars are gradually destroyed by the consequences of drugs. I'm not against drugs. But I'm not for them either. I'm for justice, justice for the addicted, justice for the ill, justice for the drug lords and justice for a society that aims to be healed from dependence. I want the war against drugs to be a battle for justice.

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Is The War on Drugs Heading For Retreat?

© Fran Monks

The War on Drugs. Once a battle agreed upon by almost all of society as a battle worth fighting, now perceived as a retreating offensive.

Business Tsar and Global Drug Commissioner Sir Richard Branson is now among the few government advisor’s whom have controversially spoken against the governmental status-qua of a hard-line policy against the use and distribution of drugs.

But the Virgin Boss is not the first. In 2009 we witnessed the renown governmental drug advisor Professor David Nut speak out against the governments drug policy by sarcastically stating that horse riding had the possibility to cause more harm than some drugs, and therefore it too should be banned. Specifically, Professor Nutt’s comments were controversial and arguably revolutionary. Never before had a government scientific advisor spoken out.

But the immediate sacking of Professor Nutt by the then Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson marked a change in opinion. It marked the moment where both government, scientific reason and society collied over an issue that seemed unmoveable: unchangeable.

People use drugs. Whether you’re a careerist civil servant who willingly obeys the political status-qua or you’re a resident upon an estate that has felt the colossal impacts that the drug trade brings, drugs are out there and as long as people continue with a desire for drugs, the consequence wont disappear.

But that doesn’t mean we or the government should give up. If there’s one clear message in Richard Branson’s vision for rehabilitating Britain it’s the manor in which both drug dealers and drug users are dealt with. Branson argues that a change in the handling of the drug trade will bring real results. Specifically, he states that the responsibility for drug users should be left for the Department of Health whilst the Home Office can concentrate on more serious organised crime such as large scale drug trafficking.

If anything, Branson has only empathised with the view that those most affected by drugs are the users themselves. Depleted and despairing, drugs serve as the catalyst for further criminal behaviour whether it’s robbing a local corner shop for drug money or a fight with a rival gang, drugs are the source. The source for a life of dependency, a source for a life of neglect and a source for a life based on feeding an addiction.

Branson also made clear the injustice in the current system. A system that shows no distinction between the users and the dealers and a system that labels all drug users as equally. But Branson has also missed the crucial point. His motive is wrong, the drug system doesn’t need reforming because it’s spent taxpayers money on the support of overcrowding prisoners, but it needs reforming because it’s failing to change: failing to adapt with an altering society.

However, that doesn’t mean I want an accepting society. I don’t want a society that ends the war against drugs because it’s failing in the same way I don’t want society to end the war on murder, even if the number of murders doubled in the space of a year. No, I want society to take a stand against drugs and say no, but I also want a society that will accept the meek; the user. You don’t send an ill man to a prison, you send him to a hospital. Drug users are used, they’re used by a drug and industry that aims to exploit addiction. And this is the message of Branson, he doesn’t want a society that say drugs are right, but a society that cares for the ill rather than throwing away the key.

One of the most commonly asked questions by both dealers and users is “Why do you care? Why do you really care what I do with my body?” What they’re missing is the real danger of a drugged society; the affect and indirect consequences upon both local communities and society. The substance is irrelevant. Whether its class A crack to low-lying cannabis, the whole trade and operation behind the use of drugs is the reason “Why we care”

I start to care when innocent children find needles when walking home from school. I start to care when a women is sexual exploited in return for drugs and I start to care when communities that have long-stood the atrocities of the Wars are gradually destroyed by the consequences of drugs.

I’m not against drugs. But I’m not for them either. I’m for justice, justice for the addicted, justice for the ill, justice for the drug lords and justice for a society that aims to be healed from dependence.

I want the war against drugs to be a battle for justice.

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