January 25, 2006

When heroin was legal

The conventional wisdom is that Heroin, one of the hardest of hard drugs, is an evil menace. That to stop people becoming addicts, and all the problems that that brings, it must be illegal so that people can be protected from themselves. For if it where legal and you could buy it over the counter at Boots then the whole country would inevitably fall under it's grip, and be reduced to a seething mass of skeletal addicts, like a scene out of Dawn of the Dead, tearing each other apart to try and desperately scape together enough body parts to sell to get their next fix.

Well that is the conventional wisdom. The reality is rather different, you see Heroin was legal in the UK up until 1955. The name, Heroin, does not originate in some strange slang, it is the brand name that it was marketed under. There where not the seething mass of addicts, in fact there where only 317 addicts to 'manufactured drugs' in the entire country. This despite the fact that since the country was still just recovering from the second world war the levels of real hardship and poverty, the usual reasons given for addiction, where far higher then than they are now.

So yet again prohibition didn't work and in reality made the problem worse. Legalise all drugs, and the sooner the better.


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