Star opinion on drug rape

SOCIETY has a very curious attitude to recreational drugs.Some we regard as pleasurable and sometimes as a bit of a joke when too many are concerned.

SOCIETY has a very curious attitude to recreational drugs.

Some we regard as pleasurable and sometimes as a bit of a joke when too many are concerned.

Others we demonise and criminalise their users - even though they might be incapable of living without the crutch that their addiction gives them.

We've all heard jokes about George in the office who's had one too many at lunchtime and is unable to work in the afternoon.

We've all heard sniggering about the time that nice girl in accounts had one too many alcopops at the Christmas party and passed out on the pavement outside the bar.

That's funny - until George has to go into hospital with liver failure or that nice girl ends up as a rape victim who cannot give police the evidence they need because she can't remember anything about the evening.

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But while we can laugh about alcohol and its effects, you will find few people raising a smile about illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine and the effects they can have on their victims.

Today we are reporting the horrific case of evil drug dealer Paul Dibi who was so outraged when his latest deal fell through that he raped the 14-year-old friend of one of his customers.

It seems surprising that this man was only sentenced to six years' imprisonment - so he could be freed in less than three years - but at least the people of Ipswich and this country should be safe from him as he will be deported as soon as he has served his time.

With this case coming so soon after the horrendous events at the end of 2006, it raises yet more questions about the attitude of society to hard drugs, their users and their dealers.

No one can be in any doubt about the dangers of taking these illegal substances. Heroin and crack cocaine blight lives.

The common feature among all five victims in Ipswich between October and December was that they were all forced on to the streets by their dependency on these drugs.

It's all very well for the government to spend millions on advertising campaigns telling us to talk to Frank about drugs, but the fact is that society needs to take a radical look at how it handles drugs.

Even with illegal hard drugs there are double standards. We know how dangerous heroin can be, yet still there is something glamorous about junkie Pete Doherty and his relationship with supermodel Kate Moss.

And the fact is that much of the most creative music and art of the last 40 years has been produced by people using mind-altering substances.

So what can be done to help those who have started taking these kind of substances? Might it be better to sever the link between the dealers keen to make a fast buck by peddling death and the sad users who cannot live without drugs?

Have we reached a stage where society should consider allowing clinics to dispense heroin to addicts?

The demonising of drugs that we have seen for the last 50 years has not stopped people taking them.

All it has done is give illegal dealers the opportunity to make a lot of money and give them the opportunity to make many people's lives a misery in many different ways.

The sad fact is that with Paul Dibi off the streets someone else has probably already moved in to service his customers.

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