Why Liberals should be concerned about the closure of Fabric

The number one priority of the Liberal Democrats is currently trying to do all we can to keep the UK in the European Union. However, if there is one other campaign that Liberal Democrats across the UK should be rallying behind, it is the fight to try and keep the iconic London club Fabric from closing.

But why? Why is this of vital importance to all liberals across the nation?

The possible ‘targeting’ of Fabric and the disgusting treatment that the club’s owners have received by the authorities is something that every Liberal should be very worried about.

Firstly, it is yet another instance of how the continued war on drugs is ruining this country. No one does more than those involved with dance music culture to try and reduce the risk and harm associated with drugs. From Fabric’s own commitment and success at helping to tackle drug supply, to the sterling work by organisers and charity ‘the Loop’ at this year’s Secret Garden Party festival, where an amnesty for on-site pill testing no doubt managed to save lives and hospital beds.

The blame for any person injured or dying from illegal drug use lies ultimately with the government.

  • Outdated, illogical substance legislation, which ignores science.
  • Preventing people from being properly educated about drugs, and what to look out for or do to mitigate the risks.
  • Allowing substances to be driven underground where they are only available through criminal gangs and are given in uncontrolled doses and contaminated with more dangerous substances.
  • Criminalising users so that they fear to seek help.
  • Deciding that one substance is illegal when another, equally harmful substance isn’t, in the most illiberal, authoritarian policy that panders to powerful lobbyists.

Those are the things that are putting people in danger of drug related deaths, NOT nightclubs.

When you have people in charge who genuinely think that putting a limit on the music’s BPM, will actually prevent drug use, we are in very scary territory. The level of ignorance about these issues from some of those with power is terrifying.

Demonising an industry, a culture, whilst having double standards when it comes to your own is everything that Liberals must fight against. There is every kind of prejudice and classism at the root of this battle, and it must be called out.

This is just the latest big loss in a battle that is stifling entrepreneurship and talent from developing in some of the poorest communities in the UK. If it’s not misapplied drug laws, it’s noise levels and licensing. It’s about time we stood up and stopped this destruction of an entire industry.

Dance music and nightclubs are about love, freedom, openness and creating amazing experiences.
I really hope that many of my fellow Liberal Democrats will join me in speaking out about this and trying to save our nightlife while we still can.

* Elizabeth Adams was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Stratford-on-Avon in 2015 Parliamentary Candidate in Stratford-on-Avon, 2015 and is West Midlands Regional Executive Officer.

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44 Comments

  • Ross Shipman 8th Sep '16 - 11:20am

    Excellent piece of writing Lizzy! I couldn’t agree more.

    It is about time the government woke up and the drug laws caught up with the times.

    #SaveFabric

  • Henry Fisher 8th Sep '16 - 11:26am

    Great piece Lizzy, thanks for writing! Couldn’t agree more. Would be nice to see one of our MPs issue a statement of support.

  • Smell’s fishy. Isn’t this club in Corbyn’s Borough? Which party runs the Council that closed it…?

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Sep '16 - 11:43am

    It’s right to reform drug laws and defend nightclubs, but I am worried the party is going further away from the country’s main concerns and desires. Campaigning for EU membership and against the war on drugs are things that make liberals happy but the public are not too fussed about either and if anything are against the Lib Dem position.

  • Peter Watson 8th Sep '16 - 12:12pm

    “The blame for any person injured or dying from illegal drug use lies ultimately with the government.”
    I would suggest that the blame for any person injured or dying from recreational drug use lies ultimately with the person choosing to consume recreational drugs, whether legally or illegally.

  • Peter Watson. Yes some responsibility lies with the user. But people die from consuming much more dangerous substance that are perfectly legal, such as alcohol and tobacco. People are dying from eating the wrong food. So do we dictate to people what they can and cannot put into their bodies, or do we live in the real world and have policy that actually seeks to educate people and regulate things properly, so that any harm they can do is the least it could be?

  • Barry Snelson 8th Sep '16 - 12:26pm

    “The blame for any person injured or dying from illegal drug use lies ultimately with the government.”

    Well the governments of the Phillipines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, amongst others, are definitely embarked on a programme of reducing death from illegal drug use.

    Any LibDems want to follow their example?

  • paul barker 8th Sep '16 - 12:26pm

    The point is that neither Islington Council nor The Police can do anything about Britains drug laws. In The “War on Drugs” they are both in the position of Red Cross Ambulance crews in a War Zone, dodging incoming fire from both sides & trying to save the wounded.
    If people want to run Night Clubs in Central London then its their responsibility to obey & police The Law as it stands, guard the safety of their clients & keep their noise to themselves. If its impossible to do those things & make money, tough.

  • GP Purnell 8th Sep ’16 – 11:40am…..Smell’s fishy. Isn’t this club in Corbyn’s Borough? Which party runs the Council that closed it…?

    So it’s Corbyn’s fault; “quelle surprise”…..The council had little option in view of the evidence given by the Metropolitan police…Which bit of, “there is a strong possibility that further drug-related deaths will occur.” did you not understand…Imagine the outcry, when further deaths occurred if such advice was ignored.

  • Eddie Sammon. If we’re not campaigning on issues that Liberals want to see change on then what on earth, as a party of Liberals, are we meant to campaign on? If your point is that we need to campaign on jobs, health and immigration, then a.) The EU has a massive impact on those things and so basically it is campaigning on those issues.

    The majority of my friends and family couldn’t give two hoots about ‘politics’ and I can tell you this; if there’s one issue that people get up in arms about that isn’t part of the ‘Westminster bubble’, it’s if their local pub/bar or nightclub is at risk. These places are hubs of the community. Public opinion on drug law is changing. If there’s one movement that we should be at the front of it is this. It is everything we stand for.

  • Paul Barker, but Fabric were keeping within the law. For years they were held up by the police as a shining example for other clubs. Everything about the decision doesn’t make sense based on the evidence.

    What about people who move in next door to bars and pubs that have been parts of the community for years and then complain and get them shut down. The law as it stands is ruining people’s lives and businesses.

    I’m not saying we should just criticise the council and police, you are right this is a government issue. That’s why the Lib Dems should take a stance on it and start putting on proper pressure at national government level. It is the only way we will get change.

  • Ross Shipman 8th Sep '16 - 12:51pm

    To those who are replying with, It’s fabrics fault and nothing to do with the Government.

    Having personally been involved in that scene, , the quality of drugs is certainly at play here – What can Fabric or any other establishment actually do to prevent drug taking in the premises. People will sneak drugs into the venue in their underwear if they wanted.

    While drugs are illegal, you give those illegal drug manufacturers license to create whatever they want and name it whatever they want. By legalising the drugs, you improve quality and reduce the amount of deaths.

    It is a very simple concept and i fear some people are missing the point. The attitude throughout the UK is changing and the fact that the US are legalising cannabis is just the start of things to come – within the next 10 years we will almost certainly follow suit. That will then be followed by the legalisation of other drugs as the war of drugs is a failure and shows how out of touch the current government is.

  • it’s not all about London, you know.

  • I read through some of the committee papers yesterday and formed the opposite view.
    Have a look at: http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=10097#mgDocuments and see for yourself.

    It paints a picture of management who were so resistant to tackling drugs culture at their venue that they’d previously taken the council to court to appeal requirements to check ID through scanners and employ sniffer dogs. Where there were allegations that staff would pass confiscated drugs to their friends. Where none of the actions agreed after 2 fatalities over the summer were being carried out.

    While I’m with the party on decriminalising cannabis, we’re talking MDMA here – a very different proposition.

    In the hope that new management would take over, I’m pretty sure I’d have voted as the committee in Islington did.

  • Alan Jeffs, no it’s not all about London. I’m from the West Midlands, and what is going on with Fabric is relevant to night life and dance culture across the UK.

  • tpfkar, yes the methods were protested against because they were completely proportionate and draconian and as has been stated elsewhere, there is evidence that the sniffer dogs could actually decrease the effectiveness of other search methods.

    MDMA is still safer than tobacco and alcohol. Almost all ecstasy related deaths are due to the fact that MDMA is illegal. It is either that the dose was unknown and therefore too high, that it wasn’t actually MDMA at all (most often PMA), or that the person was not taking the substance safely, (eg, had taken too much too quickly, dehydration, or indeed after the massive misleading campaign about hydration, that they were not dispensing of fluid properly).

    I worked in pharmacy. Every substance ever has side effects and can be dangerous if you take too much. There is no solid scientific basis as to why MDMA and indeed some others should be singled out for criminalisation.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Sep '16 - 2:22pm

    The problem is the public will probably never be liberal when it comes to hard drugs and when Lib Dems start banging the anti-war on drugs drums that is what the public hear.

  • The number one priority of the Liberal Democrats is currently trying to do all we can to keep the UK in the European Union. However, if there is one other campaign that Liberal Democrats across the UK should be rallying behind, it is the fight to try and keep the iconic London club Fabric from closing…..

    “If there is one other campaign, etc……”??????? So ahead of affordable housing, mental health, NHS cut-backs, obesity issues, green energy, etc….

    I suggest that you get a sense of perspective before writing such things…

  • expats, I meant with regard to campaigns that no one else is taking up. All of the parties have stances on housing, health etc etc. This is something where no one else is bothered and it is completely in line with our values.

    As a younger person that rents, has no hope of getting on the housing ladder, worked in community pharmacy, has had to cope with a close family member with a severe mental health issue for years and comes from one of the biggest council estates in Europe, I think my sense of perspective is fine thanks.

  • Eddie Salmon, we can’t compromise on our values just because we think they won’t go down very well, otherwise what’s the point of being involved in politics at all. The public mood on drugs is definitely changing, and it will more so when we have people prepared to go out and loudly and clearly take a stance and show people the evidence.

    There are credible, professional people on our side, people who have been helped by substances for ill health, people who have had family members killed by drugs, who support decriminalisation.

    People are dying unnecessarily because of the failed draconian drug laws, so I am not prepared to shut up about it because Mrs Bucket and co may turn their nose up, and I don’t think the party should either.

  • Glenn Andrews 8th Sep '16 - 3:33pm

    @tpfkar; why on earth would you want to live in a society where in order to have a night out you have to produce scannable ID, be searched and and bothered by dogs? The council are plain out of order if it thinks subjecting citizens to that is OK.

  • Liz Adams

    “What about people who move in next door to bars and pubs that have been parts of the community for years and then complain and get them shut down”

    Sadly there is no accounting for stupidity. You get people who move next to churches that have been ringing bells for centuries but demand they are stopped.

  • This is an absolutely excellent article Elizabeth! Also, very nicely said Glenn.

    Though to add to that, tpfkar – I also read through the documents, and it was quite clear that forcing Fabric to pay for sniffer dogs from a private company, would both undermine efforts to make people safer (as people panic and just take all of their drugs in the queue), and as trials had shown, be ineffective in keeping drugs out of the club to a greater extent than Fabric’s own searching policy anyway.

    The fact is that Fabric employ some of the most stringent searches at any venue, let alone dance club, in the UK. They’ve actually been described as a ‘beacon of best practice’ when it comes to safety. They’ve gone above and beyond in trying to keep drugs out of the venue. But then, considering the police can’t keep drugs out of prisons, or even from entering the country in the first place, why Fabric should be held to some sort of higher standard is beyond me.

    Because its completely futile. Trying to pretend that closing Fabric is going to stop drug use is utterly laughable.

    Whatever anyone’s personal views on drug use, the Liberal Democrats policy is for an evidence based and harm reductive approach to drugs. That’s what it is – and in this instance, there was a very obvious harm reduction approach proposed for Fabric. One which was sadly ignored by those who made the decision to close it.

    An organisation called The Loop have provided drug testing facilities for attendees at 2 UK festivals this summer, and regularly provide one at another major UK dance club in Manchester, called The Warehouse Project. The local police, local authorities, and event organisers, have all allowed them to provide this service in order to promote safer drug use and save lives. Such a scheme has actually been commonplace in parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands for years.

    The deaths that have occurred at Fabric are tragic, for the young people who lost their lives, and for everybody who cared about them.

    But what’s even more tragic is that if Fabric had been allowed to implement harm reduction schemes, like that offered by The Loop, then maybe those lives could have been saved.

    Sadly, the same same hard-line posturing on drugs that has gone on for decades isn’t going to save any lives – and the Liberal Democrats need to be shouting that from the rooftops.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Sep '16 - 4:54pm

    Eddie, no real need to use the word liberal to describe what you mean is a laissez fiare, or libertarian stance, though many prefer to use the latter for a left stance , the former for a rightward one , bth add up to something other than Liberalism !

    Although I agree with Liz on not compromising our values for votes . legalising hard drugs, not saying that is what on here anyone is advocating , is no more compatible with our values than keeping them illegal for evermore !

    Liberalism , as with any decent ideology , is about who possesses power and how is it utilised and for whom. Motive really is everything on these issues. And next , method.

    Stopping a drug ridden culture , and the ruination of lives and locations is a noble motive. Sniffer dogs and the like are unnecessary methods.

    We are NOT a laissez faire or libertarian party . There are at leas two of both of these ideologies , and they are NOT the Liberal Democrats !

  • “The blame for any person injured or dying from illegal drug use lies ultimately with the government.”

    Oh no it’s not. There’s a thing called personal responsibility for one’s own actions.

    Whether the government ought to change policy is quite another matter.

  • David Raw, I have already responded to the same reply given by someone else earlier in the comments. My reply to you is the same as to them: “Yes some responsibility lies with the user. But people die from consuming much more dangerous substance that are perfectly legal, such as alcohol and tobacco. People are dying from eating the wrong food. So do we dictate to people what they can and cannot put into their bodies, or do we live in the real world and have policy that actually seeks to educate people and regulate things properly, so that any harm they can do is the least it could be?”

    A government ultimately gains it’s sovereignty through a social covenant with the people, with the primary responsibility of defence of the realm and keeping citizens safe. This does not give them license to restrict individual freedoms unnecessarily and disproportionately, but it does mean that policy should be aimed at not creating unnecessary danger and giving people sufficient education to have control over their own outcomes. Current government policy on drugs breeds ignorance, fuels substance misuse and creates danger, so yes government policy is to blame for causing deaths. We have had over half a century of failed drug policy. How many more need to die? How much more power and money do we have to give to criminal gangs?

  • @ Liz Adams I don’t think you read my post – or if you did, you didn’t think about it. Read the final sentence and then think about it again.

    As for Alcohol and Tobacco, I don’t consume either, but…. but I don’t need any lessons about the dangers of them having waited 18 months to get a liver transplant because of a genetic condition. I’ve seen the trolleys carrying folk out of the ward who didn’t make it in the middle of the night – and I’ve also seen a wishy washy approach by certain Liberal Democrats towards the evidence based solution of minimum pricing – indeed some have had funding links with distilleries.

  • @David Raw, sorry I didn’t make clear, the last section I wrote was in response to your final sentence. To clarify, I was saying that whilst there is personal responsibility of the individual user, the blame does lie with the government because it is their responsibility to not make doing something even more dangerous than it is naturally. Current drug policy does do that. So whether the government needs to change its policy is linked to whether the government is responsible for deaths caused by drug use, as it’s the policy that is causing more deaths than there would be otherwise.

    I share your sentiments on alcohol and tobacco. My grandad died from lung cancer after having had throat cancer caused by smoking. I just wish that when it came to things like hazardous substance consumption, that policy was evidence based and seen primarily as a health issue.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th Sep '16 - 2:11pm

    Liz, re comments to David

    I do think , as a Liberal , that you are both correct ! David is quite right to emphasise personal responsibility.It , like the rule of law, is undervalued as a tenant of Liberalism from classical through social development of the philosophy and practice.

    Interestingly , and perhaps not surprisingly , it is Liberal parties a little to the right of ours , in other countries, that both share the view of Liz here on drugs and David on responsibility. The problem with societies that emphasise the responsibility of government more than individuals , is they tend to blame government too much for what the individual is also responsible for.

    My issue with Liz above , is , despite genuine merit in the arguments , there is too much putting all the eggs in one basket . We cannot blame the local council mainly and the central government strongly , all at once ,or perhaps shouldn’t as it does not make the impact needed.Yes they are all of a piece at times, but it is the local council who are responsible for this closure.

    The responsibility for drugs at national level ,on cannabis and the like is clear, there is much we can do there and soon. We cannot be so definite on hard drugs overnight. The drugs culture warrants a multi faceted commission not a one sided reaction.

    Similarly , the article does not apportion the responsibility that David correctly brings up, for the nuisance and irritation that is also caused by peoples wholly inconsiderate attitude. It is all very good talking of nightclubs being a place of love , a notion that is debatable in this era , but a bit more love for ones fellow man and woman , when in residential areas , by drunk ,and drug fuelled post night club revellers would be welcome . I live in the quieter part of a city centre , only to have the quiet ruined every so often by screaming ,and shouting ,and vulgarity!

    Tony Blair in his earliest incarnation used to get the balance between personal and government responsibility right. Of course it all went belly up with him, but to reject old or new Labour nonsense , or Conservative intransigence , should not lead to a bleeding heart liberal , laissez faire libertarianism , or call me a Liberal Social Democrat !

    1

  • Stevan Rose 9th Sep '16 - 6:22pm

    This is another of those incredibly complex issues that it looks like there is an easy answer to but in reality there isn’t.

    If you knowingly take illegal drugs, or legal ones and ignore the warnings, the consequences are your responsibility and yours alone. Not the Government or the council or the seller. You know with the illegal ones and cheap fake “legal” ones there is a high risk of dangerous contamination not least because you are buying from mindless criminals who care zero for your health.

    I have some sympathy with decriminalisation of possession and of controlled sale of some drugs but it is incredibly naïve to suppose that this will drive out the criminal drug gangs. Per cigarettes and fakery and illegal sale of imported sub-standard packs, same with fake alcohol, should you create legal outlets there will be a shadow market undercutting the legal one, available 24/7, no age verification, using even greater proportions of dangerous cutting agents and poor quality materials. It will become more ruthless not less as criminal margins diminish. It becomes much harder to prosecute dealers of the dangerous stuff because it becomes a matter of consumer quality standards not evil dealer of death. Fines not time.

    When 10 people have died in this liberalised market using legit or underground supply, whose fault will that be. This time you can say the Government gave the green light, implied it was safe. But it wasn’t. The Government is to blame. So despite a sympathy, a Government must say these drugs are illegal. If you take them, in breach of the law, the consequences are 100% of your own making. The illegal status sends a message that they’re not OK.

    Where I think a Government can move is cannabis for therapeutic use, or growing for personal consumption. I would also decriminalise possession but lock up and throw away the key when it comes to the smuggling and distribution gang leaders. Street level dealers are a difficult category, often victims themselves, so each case on its merits.

    As to this nightclub, venues open, venues close, they are businesses like Woolworths and BHS not social services night care centres.

  • Lorenzo Cherin, very interesting points. I would argue that the ultimate blame regarding the drug law element does lie with the government. The council and police can’t do much about what laws they have to enforce.

    However, in this case there has been evidence suggested that shows there may have been ulterior motives by the council and/or police and that due, proportionate process may not have been followed. Fabric have announced they are appealing the decision in the courts and I hope that all of this evidence is looked into and considered properly.

  • Stevan Rose, I do understand your concerns, and I don’t think anyone believes that changing drug laws would get rid of all criminal gangs overnight. Indeed many of them will be involved in other areas of crime such as trafficking anyway.

    However, we shouldn’t continue with a policy that is giving them more control, money and power.

    The situation you worry of has been shown by evidence to not come to pass. If you haven’t heard of how decriminalisation has worked out in Portugal, can I please direct you to this article, which you may find of interest: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugal-decriminalised-drugs-14-years-ago-and-now-hardly-anyone-dies-from-overdosing-10301780.html

  • Lorenzo Cherin 10th Sep '16 - 1:34am

    Liz

    Thank you to Liz for excellent interaction on this thread , I do not agree with all your stance but respect all of it and agree with some of it , fully.

    And as someone in the performing arts myself, amongst other things, Liz,are you continuing to carry the spear for us , so to speak , in the land of the Bard , the greater proponent of culture and love than nightclubs anywhere ?!

    If your form here is anything to go by , I bet you fight the good fight , well done !

  • I oppose the closure of Fabric.

  • Stevan Rose 10th Sep '16 - 1:40pm

    Liz, I completely agree with the Portuguese approach of decriminalisation of possession but you need to dig a bit deeper. Dealing drugs remains a criminal offence, criminals still control the market. Drugs are not legal but possession is dealt with administratively. There’s a bit of a myth being spun in that article. The majority of possession cases in the UK are dealt with via warning, penalty notice, or caution and do not involve criminal conviction so we already have unofficial decriminalisation in many areas. It is notable that the Portuguese guy who initiated the policy says he can’t identify a causal link with decriminalisation and improvements to overdose rates. The Netherlands with a very liberal policy yet considerably higher deaths. Highest of all in the EU, 5 times the UK rate, is Estonia and the cause is fentanyl. Estonia deems possession for personal use as a misdemeanour, i.e not a criminal offence. The fact that OD deaths in Portugal is 3 per million and in Estonia it is 190+ cannot be attributed to the criminal status of possession as it is decriminalised in both. Do you want fentanyl freely available here?

    The danger you have is in picking data that appears to support your cause and ignoring data that doesn’t. When you look at the relative death rates, the Nordic / Baltic states, generally liberal leaning, have the worst rates. Could be down to integrity of recording even. Maybe it’s cultural or climate related. My suspicion is that Portugal and the Mediterranean countries have a culture of recreational cannabis use which may cause mental health and social problems but not overdose deaths. Where there is much greater use of manufactured stronger hard drugs in Northern Europe that will kill you if taken to excess the death rates will remain higher. With fentanyl the purer it is the more dangerous it is.

    The point I’m trying to make is that there is no simple answer and pointing at Portugal isn’t any more helpful than pointing at Saudi Arabia. Consistent decriminalisation of drugs for personal use is sensible but only saves enforcement money not lives. Education, per tobacco use, and disruption of the supply chain for hard drugs is the only way we will reduce deaths here but to do so would involve huge sums of money.

  • Which figures are you looking at exactly Steven? Drug related deaths in the Netherlands are amongst the lowest in Europe.

  • Liz and others – thanks for replying. Clearly a big difference between what we’d like the law to be and the law that the Councillors have to make their decision against and the just don’t have the ability to ignore the ones they don’t like. How do we get any traction nationally for our policy? Not much point talking about harder drugs when no-one’s listening on softer ones.

    Seems to be conflicting views as to whether the management really were doing a good job at promoting safety, depending on which side of the debate you’re on.

    Have to agree with you on sniffer dogs; I just pointed it out as factual, but agree with commenters like Glenn having thought about it.

  • “Which figures are you looking at exactly Steven? Drug related deaths in the Netherlands are amongst the lowest in Europe”

    There’s a chart in the Independent article Liz pointed at. Difficult to judge exact numbers but clearly Netherlands is several times the Portugal rate.

  • Lorenzo, thank you very much. You can be assured the team and I in Stratford are working very hard!

  • Stevan, the policy that is being worked towards is decriminalisation for users but not for dealers. AI don’t think it’s good enough to just have the chance that in most cases, a user wouldn’t be prosecuted anyway. The fact that there is still a risk does prevent people from coming forwards and seeking help.

    I personally favour an evidence based system, that deals with each substance as appropriate. Therefore a substance such as marijuana, could be legalised and regulated sales through pharmacies, along with health and education policy to accompany. Whereas clearly, substances such as heroin would need a different strategy entirely.

    When I worked in pharmacy, I used to regularly serve addicts using the needle exchange programme, and have supervised buprenorphine prescriptions being taken. Doing something like that really opens your eyes to the fact that in many cases, drug users are actually victims, and no amount of retributive action is going to solve the problem.

    Some of the more recent studies, that show how a users chances of overcoming addiction or having more negative impact from using a drug, are actually more to do with a users social support network rather than based on the substance itself are really fascinating. That’s why drug policy should not be seen as a solely home office issue, Or even just health for that matter. It needs a comprehensive strategy across health, education, DWP and the home office if we are really serious about it.

  • tpfkar, it is difficult for councils and police I appreciate, when they have to act within the current framework of the law. There are serious questions that need answering with regard to the way the investigation into Fabric has been dealt with, and I hope that we get the answers needed when they challenge the decision in court, as they have announced they will. The only problem is that all the while the club is closed they are losing money, which may affect whether it can reopen, even if it turns out that there were problems with the evidence or decision making process.

    As for promoting our policy, I think it just takes people to be willing to talk about it. There are still a lot of people who are broadly supportive of changing drug laws, but who are scared to bring it up in public as they worry that more socially conservative people will not hear of it. The key is to stick to evidence and to point out that we have been pursuing the same policy for decades with nothing getting any better. Again, with credible people speaking out on this issue, such as those who have lost family members to drugs, or who can speak from experience of how certain substances could help medically, we cannot keep brushing the issue under the carpet and ignoring them.

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