The war on drugs
Does prohibition work?
- By: James Varley, John Ferguson
Since 16 April 2010, anyone caught in possession of mephedrone could be sentenced to up to five years in prison, fined, or both. Before this, mephedrone was available legally from a variety of sources. In 2009 it was voted the fourth most popular recreational drug, behind only marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy (Winstock A. Results of the 2009/10 Mixmag drug survey. Oral evidence to the ACMD, 2010).
Mephedrone was associated with the deaths of several young Britons and the media put the government under pressure to act. The manner of the decision and the decision itself prompted widespread controversy. In light of recent high profile calls for the government to adopt a decriminalised approach to drug use,12 a closer look at this particular case gives some insight into the merits and limitations of the selective prohibition policy in the United Kingdom.
Human beings are attracted to things that alter their mental