The so-called `War on Drugs`, conducted aggressively by both the United Kingdom and, more prominently, the United States, has been in peril for some time – billions of pounds are spent every year trying to tackle a seemingly intractable problem. Results have been appalling: drug use continues to climb, and as the crackdown increases dealers are forced to supply higher potency stuff – the stronger it is, the less you need being the philosophy.
Finally, though, some good news. The closure of Shoreditch-based nightclub Fabric, an icon of London nightlife, but also notorious for its drug-taking, despite pretty invasive searches which saw bouncers sifting through wallets, pockets and bags trying to root out the stuff. After a number of threats of closure, two drug-related deaths this year on the premises has led Islington Borough Council, in a rather shady backroom meeting with little outside consultation, to revoke the club’s license. Officials tasked with carrying out the UK’s drug policy can breathe a sigh of relief; it is over, drug-taking is no more. Fabric and its fun-loving attendees may have won many battles over the years but it is the government that won the war.
Of course some remnants may remain, and they must be rooted out. To do this all clubs which play electronic based music should be forced to close no later than 2am as late-night finishes tend to encourage drug-taking. A squadron of highly-trained sniffer dogs should be forced onto each and every one of these club’s books, to give those ecstasy-filled crotches a good sniff and, just to make sure, random strip searches should be conducted on anyone showing any signs of over-excitement, or on anyone that the bouncers thinks has `glazed red eyes`, is `staring into space` or `sweating’ to quote the report on Fabric clubbers by the Islington Council. So, ladies and gents, invest in some excellent antiperspirant and maybe a pair of shades. These searches will, of course, be done in private – liberal values must be respected, after all. Finally, these clubs must operate a `lights-on` policy where all dancefloors are heavily illuminated so that security can keep an eye on anyone trying to sneak in a sniff. To those who dismiss these proposals – do you not want to keep London a 24-hour, safe and vibrant city? Of course, whilst the clubs will only be open until 2am, there will be many dangerously unregulated and unsupervised squat raves that will proliferate in order to fill the vacuum.
It is over, drug-taking is no more. Fabric and its fun-loving attendees may have won many battles over the years but it is the government that won the war.
Some have suggested that the recent spate of MDMA deaths (figures show a rise from eight deaths a year to fifty deaths a year) are a result of `superpills` which contain sometimes quadruple the dosage of ordinary pills and that the best way to combat this problem might be to introduce MDMA as a legally obtainable drug, subjecting it to vigorous regulations to ensure high standards of quality and safety in each and every pill. As well as safer drug-taking it would also ease pressure on the public purse by taking money out of the hands of criminals, and putting it into the treasury via tax receipts from sales. Professor David Nutt, the former chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, infamously asserted that the risk of dying from horse-riding is higher than the risk of death from ecstasy use.
But while it is true that recent deaths from ecstasy-use have mostly resulted from either the phenomenon of `superpills` or from other, far more dangerous, substances mixed in to the pills (PMA being a common example), this should be ignored. Instead, the next step of our clearly enlightened drug policy should just be the closure of another one of London’s great nightclubs. XOYO seems to be a popular one and also falls under the remit of the Islington Council. Perhaps it’s time for another backroom meeting?