I WELCOME the recommendation from the cross-party group of peers that the use and possession of drugs should be decriminalised and the least harmful substances be legalised and sold in licensed shops.

("Call from peers for legalised drug use", The Herald, January 14).

Use of milder drugs is no worse than use of alcohol and abuse of the more serious drugs should be treated as a health problem rather than a criminal one. The present drug policy is failing to help addicts and is doing nothing to reduce the demand for the drugs, which means they will continue to be sold regardless of potential penalties.One would think that when a policy is clearly not working and when there are viable alternatives on offer of success as shown in places like Portugal then it would be obvious to make the change. Yet fear around the subject means that politicians would rather pursue a cruel and counter-productive policy than make beneficial changes.

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Iain Paterson,

2F Killermont View, Glasgow.