People dependent on drugs and alcohol who refuse treatment could have their welfare benefits withdrawn under plans being considered by the Home Office.And why not? Why should an illegal activity (at the moment) be propped up with taxpayer's money? It's not free money? Like smoking, my view is, if you want to take copious amounts of drugs, carry on, and like everything else in life accept the possible consequences of making a choice.
The idea is in a consultation paper on the government's drug strategy for England, Wales and Scotland.
The proposals also suggest that addicts on benefits should not be required to seek work while receiving treatment.
Personally I largely err on the liberalisation of drugs side of the fence; what people do to their own bodies is up to them. And the experience of Portugal seems to suggest that decriminalistion has led to positive results from a social point of view:
In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs.This announcement has led to quite a heated debate on BBC's; 'have your say'. The majority of the comments appear to be in favour of some kind of liberalisation of the laws as well. This is not acceptable to some experts though:
The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006, according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.
Some experts have suggested that withdrawing benefits could lead addicts into crime and prostitution.Er well tough.
This last episode from the wonderful children's series, Press Gang, of the early '90s sums up my view on having too much sympathy with drug addicts:
Life should be about choices, not so-called 'sympathetic' authoritarian experts.