Hardliners and liberals unite on drugs policy

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 24 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1628

In the fight against illegal drugs two distinctive schools of thought have emerged. One is based on law and order with heavy penalties for the use and trafficking of drugs. The other is more liberal, favouring a distinction between soft and hard drugs and some decriminalisation.

The two camps rarely see eye to eye—as was apparent in the European parliament when members examined the European Union's five year plan to combat drugs. The German Green MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit is a member of the liberal school: “Many people used to think that repression was the way to get rid of drugs. We have to bring the debate back to hard and soft drugs and see how to undermine the market by taking addicts and giving them the opportunity …

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