Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Tetanus in injecting drug users

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:208

Rapid Response:

Re: Prevention would be better

RE: Prevention would be better

I could not agree more with Dr Weeks's conclusion.

The cracks (for me) first appeared in the late 1960's when I read Peter Laurie's classic book 'Drugs: Medical. Psychological and Social Facts'. Since then I have developed a growing impression that drugs policies have become the sole domain of intellectually challenged authoritarianism. They appear unable to modify their chosen dogma as and when new and better evidence arises which doses not seem to fit their views. Rather, just as R H Thouless described 'the principle of certainty' they only scream louder and more often when contradictory evidence is put before them. How can young people understand the dangers of drugs in general, when drugs are arbitrarily divided up into good drugs and bad drugs and other non scientific classifications?

The road to hell is often paved with good intentions and the present nonsense provides each generation of teenagers with an ever higher hurdle to stumble over. These later day temperance warriors are continuing to cultivate the very conditions and social ills that they declare to know how to put an end to. Considering the damage they do to our society maybe they deserve to have their own sub section in DSM IV; say some where after 297.3 ( Folie à Deux).

For those who would like to see a well thought out and probable better drug policy there is always: Transform Drug Policy Foundation:


And as for a augment that some addicts 'need' opiates, there's a thoughtful, well written and evenly balanced article by Jim Pittaway in the American Conservative; March 29, 2004, called: For some, "addiction" may be the only cure.


Finally: I have noticed that some addicts activate their heroin with vitamin C powder. Botulism grows well in the laboratory when protected from atmospheric air with ascorbic acid ( and so no doubt do other anaerobic bacteria). Does this practice - I wonder - add to the danger of contracting tetanus as well as having a weekend immune system.

Many regards

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 February 2005
Paul G Champion