Forbidden fruit

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Richard Lucas appears to be arguing that the legal prohibition of drugs is justified on moral grounds (Letters, 29 December).

Whilst that might be true, I would argue that it is far better to encourage society to adopt the morals that Mr Lucas is espousing without going to the length of adding the force of law.

There is now a moral incentive not to smoke and there is a similar pressure against driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The reduction in levels of smoking has nothing to do with banning youngsters from 
buying cigarettes, but rather a moral judgment which views 
tobacco as being harmful to health and to be avoided.

A similar mindset should be encouraged with regard to drugs. Legally prohibiting drugs simply gives them the status of a forbidden fruit which counteracts any moral imperative not to use drugs.

The experience with prohibition in the USA shows how 
counter-productive these measures were.

Similarly, banning youngsters from smoking has just created a ready market in school playgrounds for cigarettes. 
Fortunately that market is no longer as buoyant as it was 20 years ago due to moral pressure against smoking.

I suspect, however, that the present black market in drugs is still primarily fueled by the fact that such drugs are illegal.

Sandy Gemmill

Warriston Gardens

Edinburgh