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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 12:32 GMT
Brunstrom drugs views 'dangerous'
Richard Brunstrom
Richard Brunstrom acknowledges his is a minority view
An MP has attacked "very dangerous" claims by North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom that ecstasy is safer than aspirin.

The chief constable also predicted the "inevitable" legalisation of all drugs within the next decade.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said Mr Brunstrom had "extraordinary" opinions and an "obsession" with publicity.

But Mr Brunstrom was backed by police authority member Terry Renshaw, who said his views were based on research.

Mr Bryant said: "I think these are very dangerous views. Ecstasy is not a safe drug and the people who sell ecstasy to youngsters in the Rhondda also sell heroin and the whole shooting range of drugs.

"Drugs have been one of the major challenges that the Rhondda has had to face since the mines [closed]."

Minority view

He went on: "When you start buying [drugs] from somebody the whole sweetie counter is available to you. And we need to do more to disrupt the supply chain."

Chris Bryant
Chris Bryant says drugs have blighted his Rhondda constituency

Mr Brunstrom, who has campaigned for drugs like heroin to be made legal, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme how he believed a move towards decriminalisation was "10 years away".

The chief constable said repealing the Misuse of Drugs Act would destroy a major source of organised crime.

Mr Brunstrom, who acknowledged that his was a minority view, also said he thought ecstasy was safer than aspirin.

He said: "If you look at the government's own research into deaths you'll find that ecstasy, by comparison to many other substances - legal and illegal - is comparably a safe substance."

Drug law reform

But Mr Bryant said he believed "all drugs are dangerous" and the long-term side effects of certain drugs, such as cannabis, were only now coming to light.

He said he thought Mr Brunstrom, whose tough stance on speeding drivers is also widely reported, was "obsessed with his own publicity".

A spokesman for DrugScope, the UK's leading independent centre of expertise on drugs, said it believed the legalisation of drugs within the next decade was unlikely.

"Neither the current government nor the leaders of the other parties show any inclination towards drug law reform in the near future," he said.

"And in fact this government has already suggested its desire and its looking closely at reclassifying cannabis from class C to B."

Flintshire councillor and North Wales Police Authority member Terry Renshaw said Mr Brunstrom had his full support.

Mr Renshaw said everyone who referred to Mr Brunstrom as the "mad mullah from Colwyn Bay" should read documents on drugs legalisation he presented to the police authority.

He said while anyone using illegal drugs was criminalised, people were still allowed to buy alcohol and cigarettes, and refusing to examine the issue was "ostrich syndrome".

He said that while North Wales Police were very pro-active in fighting illegal drugs use, he felt it was a waste of resources, with the more drugs taken off the streets, the more that arrived.

Hear Mr Brunstrom argue for a society where drugs are legal

Chief constable zapped by Taser
05 Sep 07 |  North East Wales


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