You've got to admire our Labour government for their endless stream of headline grabbing gimmick policies. The latest is to cut the benefits of persistent drug users. I'm no expert but I think I can spot a couple of flaws in the idea. For a start the major problem associated with drugs is the amount of crime committed to get the necessary funds to buy them. How the hell will cutting benefits improve this problem? Surely if a drug user has less money in their pocket then they are going to have to commit more crime to get their fix. The cost of drug-related crime in England and Wales is estimated at more than £13bn. About one in five people arrested is a heroin addict.
Another problem could be deciding at what point you cut benefits and then deciding when to restore them. The government are claiming that drug use is at an all time low. I don't know where they are getting these figures from, or what drugs they are including in them. The UK now has the highest number of Heroin users in Europe and the second highest number of cocaine snorters. I feel a little bit of creative maths has been employed by the Labour spin machine - again. Addiction rates in the UK are double those in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. There has been a 111% rise in the number of people jailed for all drug-related offences between 1994 and 2005.
And as for the classic policy of seizing assets of suspected drug pushers without charge? They are having a bubble - surely it's against their human rights, and as we all know, criminals in the UK have more human rights than the rest of us. Instead of coming out with yet more gimmicks, the government should concentrate on the reason why only 3% of those going on the 12 week rehabilitation course come off clean.