Newsbrief: Britain's Top TV Cop Says Legalize Heroin 3/25/05

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http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/380/alexnorton.shtml

While British politicians are busy wringing their hands over marijuana as parliamentary elections loom, actor Alex Norton has other drugs on his mind. Norton, who, as DCI Matt Burke in the police drama "Taggart" is Britain's most famous TV policeman, spoke out this week about heroin. In a move whose cultural significance would be akin to "The Untouchables" star Robert Stack bemoaning the idiocy of alcohol prohibition or "NYPD Blue's" star Dennis Franz (who plays Andy Sipowicz) coming out in favor of crack cocaine, Norton has called for the legalization of heroin.

Alex Norton's "Taggart" character, Matt Burke
(from http://www.taggart-fanclub.co.uk)
In remarks reported in the London Daily Record Monday, Norton said creating a regulated supply of prescription heroin would cut street crime. Norton, his family, and friends have been victimized by burglaries, car break-ins, and robberies, the 55-year-old actor said. "I don't think it takes a genius to work out the connection between drugs and street crime," Norton said. "Addicts will do anything to get their money. I think you have to try registering drug addicts and give them their fix and actually control it. It is like Prohibition in the States in the 1920s. That was what created all the alcohol barons."

It is long past time for politicians to try a new direction in the war on drugs, he added. "Every time you pick up a newspaper, it's about the war on drugs but we're not winning. Have they not realized that yet? Clearly, whatever is being done now is not working. We've got to try something radical because it is completely out of control."

The situation has only worsened in past decades, said the Scottish born actor, who moved to London in the 1970s. "Things were bad when I left Glasgow, when there were a lot of gangs and knifings," he said. "Now, I am afraid to pick up the newspapers in Scotland. There certainly seems to be more knife crime and the drugs problem didn't use to be anything like it is now. When we are out filming, you see a lot of desperate looking people, bombed out of their heads, who just seem to have no hope. You despair and think, 'What can be done for these people?'"

Prohibitionists promptly attacked the outspoken actor. "Alex Norton should stick to acting," said Alastair Ramsay of Scotland Against Drugs, who brought up the government's move to reconsider reclassification of cannabis. "The fact the Government has just announced a review of the reclassification of cannabis because of its potential for mental health problems really does take the debate into a new field," Ramsay told the Daily Record. "The remarks illustrate a lack of understanding of the way drugs -- particularly heroin -- impact on lives. This does not help people who have heroin problems."

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Issue #380 -- 3/25/05

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Editorial: Rise or Fall | Reefer Reversal? British Government to Reconsider Cannabis Reclassification | Medical Marijuana Bills Fail in Illinois, New Mexico | Special to DRCNet: Steroids, Sluggers, and the War on Drugs | DRCNet Book Review: Sports, Sex, Eternal Youth: A Cultural History of Testosterone | DRCNet Letter to Judge Wexler on Upcoming Hurwitz Sentencing Hearing | Please Help Students Losing Financial Aid for College Because of Drug Convictions Get Their Aid Back -- Alerts Online for the House, Senate, and Arizona and Rhode Island Legislatures | This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Corrupt Cops Stories on the Air | Events and Conferences Coming Up for Drug Reformers -- Come Out and Be a Part of It | Newsbrief: DC Judge Cleared in Jail Death of Paralyzed Marijuana User | Newsbrief: Michigan Nightclub Rave Raid Nets 118, Many Charged Only with Frequenting a "Drug House" | Newsbrief: From Exile, Kubby Challenges Search Warrant in Case That Caused Him to Flee United States | Newsbrief: Britain's Top TV Cop Says Legalize Heroin | Newsbrief: Marijuana Crops Defended in Fiji Senate Hearing | Newsbrief: Afghan Anti-Opium Drive Causes Prices to Rise, Makes New Planting More Attractive, UN Head Annan Says | Newsbrief: At US Behest, Pakistan Clerics Vow Jihad Against Drugs | Media Scan: Becker-Posner Blog, Neal Peirce, URI on HEA, Tulia, Loretta Nall, Baker Institute on Needle Exchange, New Jersey Network on Medical Marijuana, Whosarat.com | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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