So what's Adrian Hollister's position on drug use in Newbury and the UK? I have a rather simple view: “Consumption of drugs should be a personal choice – not something promoted by society and not forced on other people (such as through obvious consumption in a public area).”
For such a general statement I need to qualify my comments some what. There are boundaries to personal choice and there are those that choose not to consume or be forced to consume.
To understand the where they can be consumed, I should qualify my definition: where anybody around would be in full consent. So, for example, train stations are an unlikely location to consume drugs as people would object either through forced consumption (in the example of smoking), but also because it's not something that should be promoted in or by society. Perhaps an acceptable example would be single drug private clubs that could be labeled as such.
We have examples of these already with alcohol being served in places where people choose to consume it and it's not acceptable to consume it on the streets or on the train. How many people now use cafe's or similar avoiding the association with drugs (alcohol or smoking).
Clearly there would have to be exclusions such as proximity children, the vulnerable and on health or welfare grounds, as well as input from the local community (including those that do not want to see or consume drugs).
The change in our society brought about by the smoking ban could facilitate this change. We are starting to look differently on drugs now, especially smoking, where it's no longer something generally promoted by society but people are still legally allowed to consume the drug. There is a long way to go to reduce our inherited need to consume drugs, but as the generations go by the approach taken to smoking could be used to removed all inherited need – and that should be our goal. Remove the inherited need for drugs and allow personal choice and freedom to take over.
The classic example is the need on a Friday and Saturday night to binge on alcohol. This is not something seen (to this extent) on the continent, but it does seem to be an inherited right of passage that we as a society don't seem to be able to break. It's what everyone does and it has it's own badges of honour and gives people a shared experience, and it is that that appears to be missing in our society. Bonding without drugs and the shared experience can be difficult in our society today.
The Shared Experience Gap
It's the shared experience gap – an excuse to meet and bond with peers, to gain badges of honour, to impress, and perhaps to find a mate. So what's missing and where do we differ from our friends overseas? To keep to the point, I will cover this in another blog entry.
Modern Society Drug Use
We have the starting point of a modern system today. In effect a pilot has been conducted, mostly on health grounds, to break the inherited need to smoke. It's a compromise that has allowed people to retain their personal freedom whilst respecting other peoples right to avoid drug consumption.
I would extend this scope to other drugs and would look to single drug private clubs (consenting clubs) to allow freedom of choice (to consume and to not consume), to provide for the shared experience gap, and to create an environment that would not be promoted by our society but accepted and tolerated.
I would also place further safeguards than there are today, for example, ban drugs from any where near children (even at home), the vulnerable etc. It's just not fair to inflict drugs onto people who are not able to choose for themselves.
I would both extend the use of the current system for nicotine consumption through smoking and provide further safeguards for those that need it.
So going back to my original statement: Adrian Hollister's position on drug use “Consumption of drugs should be a personal choice – not something promoted by society and not forced on other people (such as through obvious consumption in a public area).”