By Paola Tamma
In 1677 Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote: "We always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it." It's a lesson which has been proved again and again in drug policy and it's being proved once more in the wake of the Psychoactive Substance Act.
The law, which banned the sale of so-called legal highs in high-street head shops, had many critics, including the police, homeless services, drug treatment centres and prison officers. They argued that it would push the trade of psychoactive substances underground, benefiting unscrupulous dealers and overburdening already overstretched police forces. And that's exactly what happened. In prisons and among the homeless community, the two largest and most vulnerable user groups, the ban has made the problem worse.
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