Letters / We are deluding ourselves that the ‘war on drugs’ is winnable

Both the UK and Shetland community and police forces kid themselves that the ‘war’ on drugs is winnable.

One only needs to look at the US experience under George Bush – both of them! The country with the greatest military might singularly fails every day in its ‘fight’ (their words) against drugs.

Only after another recent drug death a ‘swoop’ on a long-established and very well know ‘drug den’ takes place. Who are we trying to kid?

The only sensible approach to tackling any substance abuse is both an educational and safest use approach, as in Portugal.

As sure as day follows night teenagers will experiment. Being prayed on by adult users and suppliers is however another thing entirely. ‘User-pusher and mules’ are the real danger to the vulnerable.

Phrases like ‘legalising drugs’ set alarm bells ringing amongst the moral minority, whilst in Shetland there is probably a very large minority equal to it, if not greater, of ‘recreational’ drug users, who may not have an addition issue at all.


I am not minimising the horrors of the impact of any substance misuse, especially on the lives of children. Shetland has had, and continues to have, its daily horrors that are entirely alcohol related.

One only needs to look at the weekly ‘body count’ of misery, self- destruction and ruined lives through chronic health conditions, lost driving licences and related jobs, violent acts and domestic abuse caused through excessive alcohol consumption. No great gnashing of teeth over that I note.

So we plod, PC or otherwise, along, deluding ourselves that the ‘war of drugs’ can be won. It’s pathetic.

Maybe an autonomous Shetland could adopt an enlightened, educated and efficacious approach to any substance abuse and leave the vacuous moral minorities of England and Scotland behind.

James J Paton



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