By Lyle Broom
Making drugs safer may seem an unusual goal for some. Why make drugs safer when we are trying to discourage people from their use? Surely we should be making it more difficult to obtain drugs and, when they are still obtained, send people to jail?
This has been the basic drug policy in Britain for many years. Possession of an illegal Class A drug, like MDMA, can be punished with up to seven years in prison with the possibility of an unlimited fine and possession of a Class B drug, like ketamine, can be punished with up to five years in prison with the possibility of an unlimited fine. We punish those who are found with illegal drugs, but not particularly harshly in comparison to the US, whose Federal Law punishes first-time marijuana possession with up to five years in prison and, depending on the amount of the drug possessed, it could reach a 40-year sentence. In comparison, UK police usually issue a warning or a £90 on-the-spot fine for marijuana possession. Though the law is no different when you’re at a festival, the chances of it being enforced are. With scores of unsupervised teenagers attending festivals at which the booze is in full flow and drugs, typically, are not in short supply, you’ve a recipe for potential disaster.