Fight or flight: Our stark choice over drugs

Apr 11, 2018 by

by Neil McKeganey and David Raynes, TCW:

It is always a bad sign when the police tell you that they have not lost control of the streets. If they had that control it would hardly need pointing out and, with more murders in London this year than in New York, the signs are far from encouraging. It will come as no surprise that at the heart of much of the escalating levels of street violence in London and elsewhere is our burgeoning drugs problem. As if this alarming state of affairs were in need of further graphic illustration, we heard last week that seaside towns, so long the backbone of our flagging domestic tourist industry, have become centres of the drug epidemic’s rising toll of addict deaths.

Increasingly it is not just the police that have lost control of our streets, it is our hospitals, our social work services, our child protection services and our schools. All of these services are struggling to cope with a drug problem that is beyond anything they have seen before. In 2005 the present writer Neil McKeganey wrote a report for the UK government forecasting what the UK drug problem might look like in 25 years. That report set out a vision of a drug problem that was undermining virtually every facet of public life. We are now seeing that gloomy prediction coming true.

The problem with illegal drugs is that it is a problem that knows no limits. In an increasing number of our communities the trade in and use of illegal drugs has created a self-perpetuating world with its own career structure, financial rewards and status for the few and limitless pain for the others, its own social structure, its own laws and – after a fashion – its own law enforcement. This is a world of organised and uncompromising euro-criminality that has exploited and corrupted the EU vision of free movement of people, jobs and money.

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