Drug Policy Alliance in US argues why US Drug Policy All Wrong

In 1997 when US actress Rachael Leigh Cook was a box-office star someone thought it clever to summarise America’s drug problem with a frying pan and an egg. It was a cringeworthy Public Service Advert which a few weeks ago was rehashed as a Public Service Advert for the Drug Policy Alliance, again with actress Rachel Leigh Cook a frying pan and eggs, but pointing out how wrong the US’s current Drug Policy is.

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“It is gratifying and promising to see the evolution in Rachael Leigh Cook and in the American public over these last 20 years,” Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The war on drugs is a disastrous failure that has ruined millions of peoples’ lives, especially people of color. Let’s hope this ad is seen by as many people as the original and inspires folks to end this unwinnable war.”In the advert Rachel Leigh Cook holds a frying pan and eggs of two different colours to demonstrate the racial disparities in our criminal justice system when it comes to drug crimes.

“The war on drugs is ruining people’s lives,” Cook says. “It fuels mass incarceration, it targets people of color in greater numbers than their white counterparts. It cripples communities. It costs billions and it doesn’t work. Any questions?”

For any Year 11 student revising about drugs for their GCSE RS exam watching the advert is worth 5 minutes of their time. There are often questions on the exam paper about how to punish people who take illegal drugs. Obviously we know how we can refer to religious attitudes (eye for an eye, the Golden Rule, love thy neighbour, forgiveness, situation ethics, Buddhist precept of no drugs or harm, karma, affecting your ability to follow religious teachings) and the aims of punishment (reform, deter, vindication for laws being in place, reparation, protection, retribution) but how drug policy can also affect generations of people and their efforts to get educated and pull themselves out of poverty should also be considered.

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Canada on track to decriminalise cannabis to protect children

Canada will be the first G7 country to completely legalise marijuana use if the plans which are starting to go through parliament are successful.

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The prime minister Justin Trudeau made the promise to legalise it stating that by legalising it the drug could be better regulated, kept away from children and profits would be kept out of criminal hands. At the earliest the new laws will be passed by probably 2019. Until then, Trudeau has stressed that in the absence of legislation, recreational marijuana remains illegal across Canada. “Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” he told reporters.

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Here in England cannabis is a Class B drug.  Other Class B drugs are: Amphetamines, barbiturates, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine). Being caught in possession of a Class B drug can bring up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Whereas being caught dealing or producing can mean up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

BBC Three Provides a Plethora of Revision Videos

BBC Three on YouTube have some excellent videos about alcohol and drugs which will be useful to watch for GCSE Religious Studies students doing the old AQA course. There is some strong language so this is definitely more for the GCSE age group and above.

Radio 1’s Wednesday evening show called The Surgery

This week’s Radio 1 show called The Surgery discussed Addiction. They looked at all forms of addiction and gave advice on how listeners could break their addictive habits. Musicians and actors who have themselves been candid about their addictions are Lady Gaga, Zac Efron and Demi Lovato.

Three years ago a Crystal Meth Addict, today Olympic Long Jump Silver Medallist

I loved watching the Olympics this summer, and thought I’d read it all. Every day I would read the newspaper websites which shed light on the personal stories behind the victories and medals. The British cyclist who’d beaten a cancer scare to claim gold, the American gymnast who’d been fostered as a child and was dealing with racist tweets by refusing to place her hand on her heart during the American anthem, and the British diver who’d nearly died from an illness but had fought back to be match fitness.

Well somehow I missed this story. A South African long jumper who just three years ago was a crystal meth addict, and who’d overcome the addiction and with the help of an Irish coach had managed to win a Silver medal at the Rio Olympics.

UN Global Commission on Drug Policy

The United Nation’s Global Commission on Drug Policy has just released its annual report which states that civil and criminal punishments for drug use and possession should be abolished.

The former Swiss president and chair of the commission, Ruth Dreifuss, told the Guardian: “Politicians should show and prove to the people that what they are doing is to save the lives of these people and bring them to the health services they need to avoid overdoses and to create a climate so when these people are in need, they are able to find help.”

The report explains that even though most of the world has punitive harsh measures to try and deter people taking drugs the world has actually seen a 33% increase in the number of 15-64 year olds taking drugs in the last twelve months in the time period 2003-2014.

Do you think Britain should decriminalise drug taking and possession? Or do we need strict laws on drugs for the protection of British citizens?

The Drug Ecstasy

Even though more men than women take ecstasy more women die from it. Why? Ecstasy is also known by its chemical name, MDMA, though a big problem with it is that it’s rarely pure. Sometimes, there is no MDMA at all. Regardless of what it looks like and what it is called, you can’t be sure what’s in a pill or a powder and you can’t predict how you’ll react.

Ecstasy is a Class A drug. This means that it’s illegal to possess, give away or sell. Possessing it can lead to a prison sentence of up to 7 years or an unlimited fine or both. Supplying (which includes giving it to a friend) could lead to a life sentence or an unlimited fine or both. Remember: Having a criminal record can make it difficult for you to get a job or visa if you want to travel abroad.