The LegaliserCarl WilkinsonNovember 2008
We need to manage the people who use them and help the people who misuse them, not criminalise either of them -Danny KushlickDanny Kushlick is the founder and head of policy and communications at Transform Drug Policy Foundation
People will always use and misuse drugs. On that basis, we need to manage the people who use them and help the people who misuse them, not criminalise either of them.
Prohibition is a gangsters' charter. It's the second largest opportunity for organised crime to make money to the value of £160bn a year, every year.
We are being lied to. The public is being duped into believing that prohibition works when it doesn't. It creates crime, it creates ill health, and it destabilises producer countries and transit countries to the point where their development issues become intractable.
Legalisation is not a panacea. There are deep social and political problems that underlie the misuse of drugs, including inequality, deprivation, discrimination. The legalisation and regulation of drugs enables us to deal with these problems, rather than criminalise the people involved.
Prohibition is one of the most counterproductive policies on earth. There are 200 million illegal drug users worldwide. When you have that kind of money involved combined with that level of demand, you have one of the largest commodity markets on earth totally unregulated.
If my children ever became dependent on heroin and cocaine, I'd far rather they could buy them or be prescribed them legally than have to score them from a dodgy bloke around the corner and prostitute themselves in order to support their habit.
We need to take the supply of drugs out of the hands of some of the nastiest people on the planet and put it back into the hands of government and democratic society.
We have a thing called Green Room Syndrome. Most politicians, before the recording light goes on, will tell you that having a war on a commodity that is used by 200 million people and perpetuates all sorts of wars and conflicts around the world should stop. But to maintain short-term political power, they'll tell you the complete opposite on the record.Drugs should be legalised because they're dangerous, not because they're safe. They should be brought within the law where consumers would have information like ingredients and purity guides.
It was my experience of working with crack and heroin users in the criminal justice system that made me want to work towards drug legalisation. In prisons I saw drug users who were damaged in almost every way they could be - the last thing they needed was to be incarcerated.
Most people who want to use illegal drugs are already using them. Their illegality is not a deterrent.
I see legalisation as ultimately inevitable. Alcohol prohibition - a 13-year experiment - ended catastrophically after it created the mafia and corrupted every US federal institution.