The Suicide Act, 1961, finally noticed the insanity of legislation that criminalised suicide. Prior to decriminalisation, people attempting suicide and failing were prosecuted. Ignoring panics associated with religion politicians began the greatest reforming era in British political life. Since then successive governments have infantilised British citizens by ‘protecting’ us from ‘danger’. This state sponsored attempt to guard British citizens from themselves is not only offensive it is also a form of legislative insanity.
Both alcoholic and tobacco products are toxic.* If they were new products both would be classified as category ‘A’ hard drugs joining dozens of others on that list of highly toxic drugs. Alcohol and tobacco are legal because of their status as legacy drugs embedded in British society. Alcohol is used in key Christian religious services and is endorsed by the Bible** itself. Other hard drugs are illegal in the UK. All currently illegal drugs should be legalised not because of the hypocritical anomaly of legal access to alcohol and tobacco but because having laws in this arena infantilises British adults.
The debate for the legalisation of hard drugs should be centred on the role of government in the life of the citizen. The legalisation of hard drugs would rectify a malevolent evil. This law means that there are no regulations, no quality controls of the manufacturing, distribution or sales process of hard drugs and therefore the consumer does not know what they are buying. Quality control is entirely absent. When class ‘A’ drugs are manufactured, distributed and sold by criminals no- one knows how toxic they are and that includes the criminals themselves. This recipe for disaster is created by legislation. The anti- drug legislation is literally killing consumers, creating risks where none should exist. And the justification for this is what? To protect people from risks. which would be understood if there was no legislation. These laws create a lethal lottery. Choosing risky behaviour for a temporary buzz is deemed to be a form of mental illness. British anti- drug legislation infantilises the adult population because it offers a prescriptive list of government approved activities. Lists that dictate recreational activity is treating adults as children needing protection from their immaturity.
Suicidal behaviour is a choice. It is a dramatic intellectual jump to claim that anyone who engages in (very) risky behaviour is mentally ill and needs protection. If that is the case then many sportsmen are mentally ill, because many sports have significant harms directly associated with them. Indeed the buzz from the dangers*** of sport may explain why sportsmen participate. Taking hard drugs is a choice, which is made lethal by handing over the manufacture, distribution and sales to criminals. Drug taking is undoubtedly risky and some consumers will pay the ultimate price for their pleasure (compare note *) but is that sufficient to criminalise a recreational choice? Legalisation of drugs would empty prisons; reduce mortality; guarantee quality; reduce prices, and make the entire industry taxable. It is a total win- win solution.
Anti- drug laws in Britain are an economic, moral, philosophical and political disgrace. Some life- choices are dangerous but that is a matter of taste. Infantilising the entire British population because an activity is deemed to be distasteful is an incursion into the freedoms of the individual and is intolerable. Worse: When the legislation demonstrably creates a whole series of harms, all of which are quantifiable, it is a clear abuse of power. All anti- drug laws should be repealed before their centenary in 2020.
*Alcohol related deaths in 2011 were 8367; tobacco related deaths were circa 100,000
** John 2:1-11 Jesus turned water into wine to keep a party going with a swing.
*** 6.1 million hospitalisations from sporting activities in the EU in 2010 of which 388,500 hospitalisations were in the UK (1064 a day!)