See my letter in The Herald or read it here. The “War on Drugs” isn’t a war, it’s big business. Few politicians have the courage to acknowledge this, and none of them is in Scotland.

I know little of Afghanistan other than general knowledge and a passing awareness of current affairs. But this I know: Afghanistan will know no peace until the “War on Drugs” is ended.

President Nixon’s infamous 1971 declaration that “drugs” (a word of so many contexts and applications that it’s almost useless) were public enemy no. 1 safely delivered the trade to the criminal fraternity.

Well over 90% of opiates on European streets originate in Afghanistan. Where do you think the Taliban’s finances come from? The damage is done in drug-related deaths in Scotland and the price of mopping up is paid by the public purse.

The “war” is better understood as an industry that gives and gives to its high-level participants in supply, transit, and delivery. Privatised prisons in USA and elsewhere have an unhealthy coincidence of interest in keeping the trade illegal. Producers, carriers and users are hapless cogs in the machine that spews out the dollars for the overlords.

Compliant and complacent political leaders around the world find the illegal status convenient in attaching illegal drug use to inconvenient minorities in order to harass and isolate them.

 “Drugs” are seductive and available. You might as well prohibit sex as prohibit “drugs”. Neither will go away. Neither is appropriately addressed by law enforcement. Both need and deserve health education, harm reduction and rehabilitation. Only one of them is treated this way.

Afghanistan and the streets of Scotland are directly linked. And a major contribution to the betterment of both would be bringing the “War on Drugs” to an end.