EWAN Hoyle is right to rail at our politicians' failure to properly address the ruin and destruction caused by drugs (Letters, July 8).

He should do so not because they have failed to engage in debate but because they have refused to allocate the resources required to meet the challenges presented by widescale drug abuse.

Compared with the many tens of billions of pounds spent on nuclear weapons and on foreign wars, the sum spent on providing local communities with the means to minimise the social conditions which so often lead to drug abuse and to provide real, lasting support for those who have fallen victim is pitiful.

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The Government, nonetheless, is right to resist the call to establish a legal and regulated drug market. In principle, it is always wrong to enact a policy which will directly destroy and take away lives. Also, from a pragmatic point of view, such a policy could never work. The criminal drug barons would fight back by selling to a wider spectrum of client-victims, offering wares manufactured out of cheap, adulterated and increasingly toxic forms of drugs.

Conversely, the Government will be obliged to go to great lengths and expense to open and run laboratories and provide secure transport of goods to a large number of approved outlets, using at all times high- grade and expensive chemical ingredients.

The Government is faced with large numbers of the population addicted to tobacco and dependent on alcohol, with all that entails. Such drugs are legal because the Government recognises the futility of trying to ban such drugs through legislation.

The US experiment with Prohibition has much to teach us. This understanding has led to the existing legal status of tobacco and alcohol and, more importantly, the educational drive (greatly under-funded) to minimise the consumption of these drugs.

So-called recreational drugs should remain illegal as to do otherwise would undermine our efforts to reduce all forms of drug abuse, including tobacco and alcohol. It would also allow politicians to overlook, ignore or even deny the very real social and economic ailments which in so many cases leads to drug taking in the first place.

Christopher Gilfedder,

91 Langbar Crescent.