One statistic you never hear from the pro-drugs lobby is that illicit drug use, far from spiralling out of control, is stable. In fact only around 5 per cent of the global adult population ‘do drugs’.
Yes, this is the headline figure from the newly released United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report. In numbers it translates to 185 million regular drug users worldwide, compared to a whopping three billion drinkers.
It is certainly not the statistic you’ll find touted by longstanding campaigners for drug law liberalisation, like Sting, Russell Brand and Sir Richard Branson, and the other signatories to the recent Downing Street letter.
In fact it is a bit of an embarrassment to them. They would rather you think that drug use is spiralling out of control.
But since I exposed the misleading and misrepresentative reporting of the self-styled Global Commission on Drug Policy to which Kofi Annan and Richard Branson were also signatories, they’ve stopped claiming global drug use is rising.
They are however still making great claims for Portugal’s drug decriminalisation experiment, although we are statistically pretty much in the dark.
It so happens that the architect of Portugual’s decriminalisation policy, Dr Goulao, is also the less than dispassionate guardian of Portuguese drug data. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction no adult data have been reported since 2007 which showed all drug use to have risen since decriminalisation in 2001.
The UK by contrast has witnessed a steady decline in cannabis use since 2003 and decreases in amphetamines, cocaine (16 -24s) and mephedrone.
As far as children are concerned, the picture in Portugal is far from rosy. Although Baroness Meacher – another legalising lobbyist – has unaccountably continued to claim that children’s drug use in Portugal has gone down, the most recent report of independent European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs shows the opposite. Amongst 11-17 -year-olds drug use doubled from a low base between 1999 and 2011. In the UK, lifetime prevalence dropped by well over a third in the same period.
But never fear, when in doubt the celebs have another specious argument up their sleeve. We must stop ‘criminalising people and focus instead on health and education’ they insist, as though these were mutually exclusive. You’d be forgiven for believing more addicts get banged up than get into treatment.
Here, some 200,000 addicts are ‘engaged in treatment’ in which this country has already invested unprecedented billions. That is quite a few more than end up each year in prison for their drug offences (just 10 per cent approximately of our 85,000 prison population) in case they hadn’t noticed. Not much criminalising of drug users goes on here as a number of Parliamentary Questions has established, or in the US of that matter. Though that’s for another blog.
This is just another example of the tosh celebs indulge in for their own selfish ends.
They‘d be better turning their attention to the damage their favourite drug does to teenagers (experts estimate that between 8pc and 13pc of all schizophrenia cases are linked to marijuana/cannabis use during teen years) and to exactly what is happening in the USA where their dream is being realised.
Apart from rising drug use and poisonings after five months of legal pot sales, crime is way up in Denver, Colorado. So much for the virtues of decriminalisation.
Denver’s crime statistics for the first five months of 2013 and 2014 are available here.
Of course, Denver is not the only city in Colorado. Over in Aurora, violent crime is up 10 percent so far this year after pot legalisation, with sex assaults up 30 per cent and aggravated assaults up 24 per cent. In Englewood, robberies have increased 11 percent since 2013, and burglaries are up more than 68 per cent. The same thing happened Brixton, south London, when we attempted the experiment here.
Whether or not you support marijuana legalisation, the facts are the facts.
They provide little justification for decriminalising drug use, something that is neither popular nor in demand here, that the silly celebs demand.