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Europe: British Police Chief Stirs Controversy With Claims That Drugs Will Be Legal in Ten Years, Ecstasy Is Safer Than Aspirin

Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales, has created a firestorm with comments made to the BBC that drug legalization is both desirable and inevitable and that ecstasy is "safer than aspirin." In response, anti-drug campaigners, politicians, and elements of the British tabloid press are calling for his head.
Richard Brunstrom
"I think that the legalization and subsequent regulation of proscribed drugs is now inevitable, and I think it's ten years away, not ten months away," Brunstrom told BBC's Today program. "It has already happened in for instance Portugal, a full member of the European Union, which decriminalized under the existing international treaties. The same sort of thing is being talked about across the world."

Drug prohibition had proven its futility, Brunstrom argued. "We're still causing something like £20bn worth of damage to our society every year," he said. "More than half of all recorded crime is caused by people feeding a drugs habit. The government wants evidence-based policy; the evidence is very clear that prohibition doesn't work, it can't work, an enforcement-led strategy is making things worse, not better."

His was a minority opinion, Brunstrom acknowledged, but that could swiftly change, he said. "I'm certainly out of step with the majority of senior police officers, but not all of them," he said. "But in terms of society, public attitudes change quite rapidly and you need look no further than drinking and driving: in the space of my lifetime drinking and driving has gone from being socially acceptable, almost the norm, to being socially unacceptable."

It's not like Brunstrom came out of nowhere. As early as February 2004, Brunstrom was irking fellow cops by telling interviewers drug prohibition "does more harm than good," and he was back at it just a few weeks ago when he issued a report calling for legalization in response to the government's ongoing drug strategy consultation.

But this time he really seems to have hit a nerve. Perhaps it was because he went beyond merely calling for legalization to make claims about the lack of harmfulness of ecstasy that went beyond the pale in the eyes of some. The remarks came as Brunstrom complained of "scaremongering" about drugs, and he pointed to ecstasy as a case in point.
knee jerk tabloid foolishness
"Ecstasy is a remarkably safe substance -- it's far safer than aspirin," he said. "If you look at the government's own research into deaths you'll find that ecstasy, by comparison to many other substances -- legal and illegal -- it is comparably a safe substance."

"Mr. Brunstrom should resign. His comments are increasingly incompatible with his position," Peter Stoker of the National Drugs Prevention Alliance told the UK Press. "The danger from illegal drugs isn't just a question of how poisonous it is in the short-term -- although any dose of ecstasy can kill -- it includes the damaging behaviour which people are sucked into and the harm it does to those around them, particularly their families."

Nor was Brunstrom winning support from his Member of Parliament. Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said Brunstrom had "extraordinary" opinions and an "obsession" with publicity. "I think these are very dangerous views," he told the BBC. "Ecstasy is not a safe drug and the people who sell ecstasy to youngsters in the Rhondda also sell heroin and the whole shooting range of drugs. Drugs have been one of the major challenges that the Rhondda has had to face since the mines closed." Bryant added that he believed "all drugs are dangerous."

The tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, meanwhile, was busily fanning the flames of hysteria by featuring Brunstrom's photo on its front page and calling him "the most idiotic police chief in Britain." Given the source, perhaps he should be honored.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Honorable Mention???

For clarification, the Mail is a newspaper for people who can neither read nor write; its journalists are generally brain-dead alcoholics wallowing in their own waste products and its readership is drawn from the criminal underworld (the only group benefitting from this obscene war-on-drugs), and the section of society with well-below-average IQs.
Peter Stoker is someone whose passing will be mourned by every criminal drug dealer in the UK, but society will be well rid of dangerous scum like him.
Bryant is just another ignorant, self-serving political shit-bag who couldn't care less about society's ills.
In a logic-based society, he'd be cleaning toilet bowls; it's all he's capable of in reality.
We need more Chief Constables of Brunstrom's caliber.

Gutter Filth. . .

When you're attacked by the most idiotic gutter-rag on the planet you know you're doing something right. I wouldn't dirty my arse by wiping with the Mail.

Toxic Daily Mail

…although any dose of ecstasy can kill -- it [the danger] includes the damaging behaviour which people are sucked into….”  --Peter Stoker

Stoker really betrays his total ignorance of toxicology when he says any dose of ecstasy can kill.  Claiming “any dose” automatically excludes all other contributing factors or variables as causes.  But Stoker wants people to think he’s an expert in toxicology, pathology, pharmaceutical science, and whatever else he knows nothing about.  So he makes idiot statements, as do a lot of drug warriors.

And what part of being empathic toward others while under the influence of ecstasy allows it to cause “dangerous behavior”?  Maybe Stoker has a moral hang-up about dancing and he thinks ecstasy is the root cause of dance clubs.  Who can tell what motivates people like Stoker?

However, there does appear to be an ongoing ignorance of chemical toxic effects among the general public that helps sustain drug war myths.  The mistaken idea is that a non-radioactive atom or chemical molecule, or a few such molecules, can kill (or heal) a large animal like a human.  It’s the belief that influenced the John Birch Society to think that fluoridated drinking water is toxic and a communist plot.  It’s also the idea behind the pseudoscience of homeopathy.

Perhaps if people had better examples of toxicology to refer to, they could better understand the concept of dosages and toxic accumulations.  Here’s one: Selenium is twenty-five times more poisonous than arsenic; yet without a small amount of selenium in our bodies we’d be more prone to getting cancer, and we wouldn’t be able to rebuild healthy lung tissue.

Drug warriors and marketers who have issues with objective science have no problem taking advantage of the public’s ignorance of science.  Fortunately, any such myths fashioned from ignorance can be countered by employing science.


The only problem is that the

The only problem is that the sheep in this world(unfortunately a demographic that is highly overrepresented in the media) put a higher value on govenrment lies stated ina scientific way than actual science.

I mean most scientists today know that pot is the most harmless drug in existence, but try telling that to the sheep when some know-nothing ondcp rep goes on and on about the new "super" pot that is so potent its more akin toi heroin than the pot you grew up with(their new tact is to aknowledge that many americans used in the past but that they are now old and frightened, thus easily led) and most of the sheep won't even aknowledge that the drug war MUST include the most dangerous of the pleasure drugs, alcohol, or ban NO drugs.

They cant see that banning SOME drugs while allowing others to be used as any person sees fit as long as they are above a certain age, is the sme thing as saying that white people can vote, but other races are too dangerous to have their political voices heard. If you doubt me, or read this porst and think, "oh, its not the same at all" then ask yourself this? If all people are obviously(except to racist fools) basically the same, with equal rights, then why shouldnt they all vote or none of them? which goes to the point o drugs, if alcohol is a highly addictive substance that changes mood and mental activities, actually causes violence(the only drug that pharmocologically causes violence) and you can overdose on alcohol then why is it just and right that alcohol be excluded from this oh so "Moral" "war" on drugs?

I once stood in a courtroom accused of posessing 2 small bags of heroin and the judge was reluctant to let em "off" with "just" 3 years probation because of the "seriousness" of the crime. I thought of pointing out the fact that I was arrested accross the street from the liqour store that served the vera projects i was shopping for heroin in. If i had just preffered one poisen to another(alcohol to heroin) then I would have been an upright citizen. But because i prefer a mellower more pleasant high, i'm instead considered a "criminal" having commited a "serious" crime.

Am I the only one who feels like the whole world has fallen through the rabbit hole?

Down the Rabbit Hole and Through the Looking Glass

Yes to both. Examining the drug war while expecting to find examples of logic and reason is futile. The drug war requires understanding the irrational, which for me means looking at other examples of the irrational in human history.

Lepers are a good place to start. The way lepers were treated in the high middle ages is similar to the present drug war and the way it treats drug users or addicts, in that morality was once inextricably linked to leprosy, which from a scientific point of view is merely a serious bacterial infection.

Lepers were supposedly being punished for their alleged sins; but the good news (for them) was that they were being punished in their earthly lifetime, so they were even more likely to go to heaven after serving time as a leper. However, because they were unclean sinners, and not just sick people (and because they might be contagious), they were persecuted, generally mistreated, confined, ostracized, disinherited--their property was seized, and they were forced to go through rituals of death that signified their complete separation from society, etc. In this way, a persecution society developed to deal with lepers. See what I mean by the irrational?

I think the same persecution society concept applies to what’s happening in the drug war. And it works this way because morality is again being linked to a medical or biological issue involving, in some cases, addiction, or the safe use of some chemical sacrament that’s been arbitrarily defined as evil.

Once the label of evil has been attached to an object, the evil gets transferred to the person consuming the object. No, it is not rational, but it’s the most common belief found in all the world’s religions.


Extremism & Fundamentalism Still the Root of This Evil...

Yes, Extremism, Fundamentalism & Authoritarianism, remain highly antagonistic to our rights, liberties, and freedoms!

The purveyors of gods & gov'ts continue to illegally usurp the law in order to alienate us from our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness & legally acquired property... just to mention a few!

Education NOT Incarceration has always been the most effective, and legal, method of 'promoting the general welfare', which, of course, conflicts with the Machiavellian beliefs and draconian methods of the purveyors of gods & gov't... not to mention the police state that enforces the lunacy & crimes of these highly despicable & delusional people!

Always measure your excesses carefully and act like the responsible self-governing adults society demands for an egalitarian society to exist & thrive!

'Truth is treason in the kingdom of lies' - Ron Paul (for president '08)

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Giordano? Giordano Bruno? Burned naked at the stake in 1600?

Surely this can't be the last man burned alive, naked at the stake, by the inquisition in 1600? Brunos humiliating, not to mention excruciatingly painful, death was relished by the church and was used to quick-off a 'jubilee year'!

It's another excellent analogy of this... the 2nd machiavellian drug war... of over 7 decades... which immediately followed the failure of the 1st drug war... upon the repeal of alcohol prohibition!

Harry Anslinger... uncle scams '1st Drug & Propaganda Czar', and another truly despicable fundamentalist tea totaling evangelical christian crack-head, racist, bigot and anti-semite that I look forward to seeing in hell, is largely responsible for marijuana's current and continued illegal prohibition... currently under the guise of regulation!

Another intellectually dishonest tactic that works well on the 'cognitively impaired' is calling your drug of choice something else... say... alcohol!

Hence, the lie 'Drugs & Alcohol' instead of the truth: 'Drugs... especially Alcohol'!

Always measure your excesses carefully and act like the responsible self-governing adults society demands for an egalitarian society to exist & thrive!

Just say no to mental masturbation and the schism gism that infects their minds!

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

P.S. Hey, have you heard the D.E.A. (Dumb Evil Assholes) are in fact the enforcement arm of a secret society of whores called the F.E.A. (Fundamentally Extreme Authoritarians)?


I was present at the overdose death of a young man .He had just injected a drug we called MDA.This drug is now called ecstacy.The drugs on the street are manufactured by gangs of criminals that have no concern as to whether or not you survive the experience that comes with the purchase of their product.TheirTheir only concern is the profit they make in selit.ThereThere is no quality control and no consideration given as to quality or puritproduct.Bect.Be careful.

Education NOT Incarcaration when 'promoting the general welfare'

Sounds like the brave constable has taken an educated and principled position on the evil policies of ignorant & evil people!

Education NOT Incarceration has always been the most effective, and legal, method of 'promoting the general welfare', which, of course, conflicts with the Machiavellian beliefs and draconian methods of the purveyors of gods & gov't... not to mention the police state that enforces the lunacy & crimes of these highly despicable & delusional people!

Always measure your excesses carefully and act like the responsible self-governing adults society demands for an egalatitarian society to exist & thrive!

'Truth is treason in the kingdom of lies' - Ron Paul (for president '08)

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA


I find it difficult to understand why so many people argue:

1 Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths than any other drugs and are legal.

2 Therefore, other drugs,presently illegal, should be taxed and regulated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco

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