We need to look again at how to fight the drugs war

COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

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It’s hard not to be moved by the heartfelt plea by Anne Foster we feature on page 7. 
Tragically, she lost her brother David Sharland to drugs.

The 48-year-old died last year after a lifelong struggle against the scourge of drugs.

And today Anne makes an appeal for the government to take a long hard look at the current drug laws and see if enough is being done.

As she rightly points out, the current way of dealing with the problem costs every single one of us dearly.

We’re paying through our taxes to keep offenders in prison, but there’s also the societal price that comes with the after-effects of homes that are burgled and people who are the victims of crime by drug users.

Mrs Foster feels the existing laws should be toughened up.

That would certainly send a message out to users and dealers.

It would become a higher-stakes game than it already is for those involved in terms of the law.

Maybe more stringent penalties would help tackle the problem.

Young people tempted to try drugs for the first time may think a little harder if they know there’s no easy get-outs or soft outcomes.

If they were caught, they would face severe sanctions.

The other view, of course, is the war on drugs is lost and the way forward is dialogue – treating users as victims rather than criminals.

There’s also a lot to be said for this view.

It keeps drug users from clogging up the courts and out of jail.

And although it may not be popular with everyone, it’s the carrot, to the stick of tougher penalties.

So we send out heartfelt sympathies to Mrs Foster and agree.

Drugs is a huge problem and the current situation is not satisfactory to either side of the argument.