Parents tell the Commons to legalise all drugs
by The Guardian
Copyright: The Guardian
Parents whose children have suffered from heroin and other drug abuse told MPs yesterday it was time to legalise all drugs.
Fulton Gillespie, whose son Scott died from a heroin overdose two years ago, told the Commons home affairs select committee inquiry into the drug laws that he believed “if you try to regulate supply there is no point in leaving the power station in the hands of the criminals”.
Hope Humphreys, whose son was jailed for 2 years for supplying ecstasy to fellow university students, said the drug laws succeeded only in making criminals out of people who were not criminals.
“Most students like to smoke cannabis and take ecstasy and most do not have a problem with drugs. But they do have a problem with the law. My son went to prison because he told the truth that he was getting the ecstasy for a friend.” The evidence from parents who do not support the drug laws came in the
committee’s last session of its inquiry. It is expected that its report, to be published later in the spring, will endorse a more liberal approach to the drug laws.
Other parents and those who run support services for the families of drug addicts told MPs how difficult it was to get access to help and services, such as residential rehabilitation for heroin addicts.
Mr Gillespie said: “There are very few things in life that concentrate the mind more than losing a child. Until my son became involved in drugs, I was one of those people who thought the answer was just to build more prisons.
“I have given this a lot of thought and come to the conclusion that the only way that would work would be to legalise all drugs.”
He said his son had funded his habit by stealing and had spent five weeks in prison without drugs. On his release, as the coroner found, his body could not take his normal dose. “I am concerned that he is dead because of the law,” said Mr Gillespie.
He did not believe that legalising all drugs would increase consumption. “The executive should take control, regulate supply and make sure it is clean because the kids are going to use it anyway.”
Research published today explodes the myth that the police rarely take formal action over cannabis offences, with the 69,000 people cautioned or convicted for possession in 1999 representing one in seven of offenders dealt with for all crimes. The study, by South Bank University’s criminal policy research unit,
shows there has been a tenfold increase in the number of possession offences since the mid-1970s.