Monday, September 26, 2005

Seeing the sense in the Senlis proposal

The Senlis conference in Kabul gets another boost from John Simpson at the BBC. The highlights.
The Senlis Council is making a proposal which is receiving guarded but positive responses from many different governments and organisations. Suppose, it was suggested, the opiates which cause such trouble in the form of heroin were diverted to medical use instead?

The Senlis Council carried out a feasibility study with the help of several universities, and the idea stood up. The plan would be to buy the produce of the poppy-growers, instead of allowing it to go to the big drugs middle-men who operate in Pakistan and Afghanistan itself.

What tends to happen when an idea like this comes along is that people start to point out how far short of perfection it falls, instead of accepting that it might present, say, a 60% improvement on what exists already. Because it isn't a 100% solution, it gets discarded.

The Senlis Council certainly doesn't expect that its big new idea will solve the problem of the heroin trade, but it might do some good. And it will certainly redress the absurd position whereby the world has more heroin, proportionately, than it has morphine.

Not an awful lot of logic has been applied to the drugs trade over the years. It could do with some now.
Really. The Senlis plan certainly makes more sense than plying the same eradication policies that have already failed in the Americas.


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