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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Legalise hard drugs, says comic
Ben Elton
Elton said the situation was like prohibition in the US
Comedian Ben Elton has made a controversial call on the government to legalise hard drugs.

Crime would be cut if Class A drugs like heroin, crack and cocaine were legally available, he said.


It is now a self-evident fact that criminalisation hasn't worked

Ben Elton
The comic and author, known for his political views, said the current situation only fed organised crime, comparing it to alcohol prohibition in the United States in the 1920s, which was a "complete failure", he said.

"I firmly believe that hugely radical solutions are now required. It's about legalisation not de-criminalisation," he said on ITV1 show That's Esther.

"I think we need to get the police, the government and the emergency services in front of the criminals, not behind the criminals.

"It is now a self-evident fact that criminalisation hasn't worked. All it has presented us with is organised crime."

High Society by Ben Elton
Elton's next book is about drugs
He said US prohibition was the "absolute gleaming social experiment of the 20th Century".

"People didn't stop drinking, they just bought their drink from criminals. They bought bad booze that made them blind," he said.

"When they finally repealed it America was left with the most efficient and far-reaching organised criminal organisations that the world has ever known."

Elton began his career as a radical comic, but has recently found a place in the UK's cultural establishment, and recently co-hosted the Queen's Jubilee rock concert at Buckingham Palace.

He has also written a number of hit novels, including Popcorn and Inconceivable, as well as writing the Queen musical We Will Rock You and The Beautiful Game with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

His new novel, High Society, is set in a world where the war on drugs has been lost.


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08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
22 Apr 02 | Politics
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