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How Successful has British Drugs Policy been in the Battle against Drugs Chapter One Introduction The Drugs phenomenon The desire to experience some altered state of consciousness seems to be an intrinsic part of the human conditionwe are surrounded by drugsthe cups of coffee and tea the glasses of beer wine and whiskey the snorts of cocaine the joints the tablets of acid the fixes of heroin and the ubiquitous tranquillisers and sleeping pillsdrug taking still remains one of the easiest and most imediate ways of of altering psychological states for some people the ease and immediacy with which drugs achieve these effects prove particularly seductive So long as there are drug takers there will be drugs casualtiesbut the quest to eliminate drug taking has proved to be search for a chimera Drug taking is here to stay and one way or another we must all learn to live with drugs The issue of young people and drug use has attracted an unprecedented amount of public concern and debate during the 1990s Yet the debate has been simplistic and has become increasingly distorted and ill informed There are clear dangers in the blinkered and sometimes irrational attitudes of the British establishment about youth related issues in particular drugs There is a current tendency to resort to prejudice and stereotype when trying to deal with this issue and this claim the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence ISDD provides a powerful and robust matrix in which these issues are routinely linked The matrix is mirrored in contemporary political discourse and therefore in emergent public policy The young are surrounded by contradictory messages concerning the use of drugs Politicians have condemned their use and yet actively support and encourage the free market enterprise that both creates and feeds off the drug industry In the media drugs have become known as the enemy within yet on television and cinema
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