As 21 year old clubber dies and two more end up in hospital after suspected dodgy drugs, isn’t it time to accept that the war on drugs has been a miserable failure?

Update – since this post was published, I have been reliably informed that the “blue Tesla” pills circulating in Bristol are highly unlikely to be involved in what happened over the weekend. I also understand it’s now a police matter. In the interests of accuracy, I have therefore removed that paragraph entirely.


Sad news came in over the weekend from The Cause, a club based in Tottenham. A 21-year old man has died and two others are in hospital after consuming drugs. I send my condolences to the family and friends of the deceased man, who surely must be going through a horrid time.

Now, there was a time where I would have taken a hard line on this – possibly even cruel. But if you’d asked me many years ago for my thoughts on this, it would have very much been good riddance. They chose to experiment with these potentially dangerous drugs, so they have to take the consequences, right? And if they die, that’s their choice, isn’t it?

I used to take an extremely harsh view on illegal drugs. Time was I thought taking anything like that was the height of stupidity – and I never understood why you needed to take drugs to enjoy music. But over the past few years, my views have mellowed. I was coming from a position of extreme ignorance.

I honestly believe the time has come to look at making drugs legal. This would immediately put the drug dealers out of business and allow the products in question to be made to safer standards. Instead of cocaine being mixed up with anything they can get their hands on to bulk it up, it would be sent to factories – safety checks could take place, ensuring each line is the same strength as another.

Safe spaces could be set up for people to consume such products, and help administered quickly if things are heading in the wrong direction. This would also mean those less comfortable being around someone on drugs wouldn’t be put in a difficult position – I certainly wouldn’t want someone off their head on something approaching me in the street, for example.

And the government could even put a tax on it. Given how tight public finances are reported to be now – even by normal standards – I’m surprised no one in government has ever considered it. But will it happen?

Almost certainly not. The UK debate on drugs has been dominated for decades by right-wing politicians who espouse “lock them up” rhetoric – under the bizarre impression that prisons should serve as dustbins for social problems. They’re usually backed up by the likes of the Daily Mail, ready to pour scorn on anyone who tries to suggest the system we’ve been using for decades hasn’t worked.

And I don’t quite know what it’ll take to get this debate moving on. No number of deaths seems to do it…