Saturday, June 10, 2006

Drugs: raising the stakes

You’d think that, by now, government would have realised that young people do all kinds of things they shouldn’t, just as they always have done. They get drunk, do drugs, cross thresholds forbidden to them, eat too many crisps etc. We're willing to bet that wannabe rock stars do a lot of this stuff in spades, too.

That’s not to say adults can simply ignore it, but dealing reasonably calmly with the blips, until one’s child has reached maturity with a relatively unblighted life, is on the job description for parenthood. And now the government wants to
raise the height of the hurdles:
Somewhere in Britain this morning there will be several hundred worried families. Their children will have been caught with cannabis last night and they will be charged with either possession or dealing. The current system is a perilous game of chance, under which, although the risks of being caught are marginal, for the few who are the consequences can be ruinous…

Serious though this situation is, the future looks even grimmer. As our home affairs editor reported this week, new tough proposals drawn up by the Home Office would make drug users caught with even small amounts of cannabis - sufficient for just 10 joints - liable to be classified as dealers. The current maximum for this offence is 14 years. Drug policy has swung from one extreme to another in the space of just six months.
It’s instructive to consider the government’s stance alongside this bit of news:

Drug information charity DrugScope has demanded a meeting with the Department of Health (DoH) to speed up charity grant payments.

The move comes after the charity, along with 500 other voluntary organisations, suffered a four-month delay in receiving Section 64 grants, for charities that carry out the Government's health and social care goals.

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