Psychologist Bristol, England

Mr President

I have a dream.

I have a dream that one day we shall look back on today’s society with the same abhorrence with which we now view Victorian child labour, the oppression of women, and the evils of slavery.

We shall look back with horror on terrorist attacks, street crime out of control, and violence marring everyone’s lives—to a time when neither police nor the law were respected, and half our children were criminals before they even left school. And we shall wonder why so few people were prepared to stand up and shout "Enough."

In my dream I can walk down any street in Bristol, Boston, Bogotá or Bombay and no one will steal my phone to get their next fix. No heroin–dazed beggar will plead for my change. No crack-crazed youth will kill me for my credit card. And why? Because in my dream they, like me, can walk down that street and buy any drug they like.

Cannabis and ecstasy, heroin and cocaine, LSD and aspirin, will all be sold – clean, legal, properly packaged in precise doses, with appropriate warnings and proper regulation. Tax revenue will be more than enough to treat addicts and to guide problem users. Scientists will be free to research the effects of any drug without fear. Children will be given true advice, and real drugs education that teaches wise drug use, not ignorant abuse. And global terrorism will have disappeared for lack of funds.

Our prisons will have room to spare. No one will be there for wanting the freedom to control their own mind. And no one will be there because gangs have lured or threatened them into a life of dealing and violence. Police will once more earn the respect of the majority whose lives they work to protect.

In my dream, the peasants of Afghanistan will work their poppy fields for legal wages, the farmers of South America will labour free of the fear of the drug barons, and the profits of world trade will not be siphoned off by the criminals but returned to the people who earned them.

Mr President, it is the United States of America who long ago brought the evil of prohibition upon the world, and still holds the power to prevent the rest of us from seeking freedom from prohibition. Mr President, you could win the war on terrorism, not by fighting, but by refusing to fight the war on drugs.

As your prospective scientific advisor on issues of mind and consciousness, I know that there is no more pressing issue than the problem of drugs. I urge you to act now to free us all.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Susan Blackmore
Bristol, England
Author of Dying to Live, The Meme Machine, and Consciousness: An Introduction.