Having worked in a school for just over 2 years of my life, I am beginning to feel that the drug problem amongst young people is never ending. I have several solutions to counteract this, none of which are the ideal situation, but the government don’t seem to want to listen. I understand that this is a very controversial subject and that my views may not be agreed with, however in the best of my professional knowledge, I believe the 1st answer to be the most straightforward and most effective.
My first plan was one involving the decriminalising all drugs, making them free to access. In my opinion this is the best option, having never touched drugs in my life, as it seems to me that it enables the drugs to be taxed with VAT, meaning 17.5% (as of September 2010) less profit for the dealers, and also stopping the flow of underground cash for the criminal underworld. This money should then be reinvested in rehab centres, leaving the user to ‘pop in’ when they feel ready to do so, not when the government wants them to stop. My school had a hard line of not involving the police and investing in counselling to those affected. Where this was not ideal, it stopped the problem as the counsellors (including myself) were normally happy for the use to continue whilst we winded the situation down. This would also be of benefit to the economy, as the VAT and other duties imposed should more than cover the cost of the centres. Money should also be invested in drugs education, where qualified professionals could be paid from these funds to talk about the effect of drugs, thus acting as a deterrent.
The second plan would to be to keep drugs criminalised, but with a policy of referring for counselling anyone involved rather than charging on a 1st time offence (with the exception to Class C.) This again is not ideal, as it puts a further of pressure on the victims to attend, rather than them doing so at their own free will. I would support this, provided the same strategy is not used for those dealing, as stricter sentences should be placed upon dealers in an attempt to deter them from doing so.
My third and final plan would be the increase of sentencing to deter young people from drugs in the first place. I am against this for several reasons, including that it leaves young people with drugs records, making them vulnerable to national immigration whilst visiting foreign countries. It also places the suspicion in everyones mind of ‘once a drug user, always so’ which in so many cases is not the case. This would also leave extra expense in the policing and NHS section, whereas these could be easily recouped from elsewhere if my favoured strategy was put on trial.
As I said, you’re free to make up your own mind, and I have views that other professionals don’t, but in my opinion my preferred choice seems best, as it benefits everyone, not just the police forces.