BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Hardtalk  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Drugs laws must change
Pauline Holcroft spoke to the BBC's Allan Little
Pauline Holcroft spoke to the BBC's Allan Little
The mother of heroin overdose victim, Rachel Whitear, believes that her daughter may be alive today if Britain adopted a more liberal approach to drugs use similar to that in Holland.

In an interview with BBC HARDtalk Pauline Holcroft spoke to Allan Little about her support of the drugs policy in Amsterdam and how they had managed to break the link between cannabis and hard drugs.

She said: "At least it would save some people from the likelihood of a cannabis dealer offering them something stronger."

"In this country we've got dealers dealing in cannabis because it's illegal but they're also dealing with heroin, ecstasy and crack cocaine."

Treatment

This week the UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced that the government would be downgrading cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug.


In this country we've got dealers dealing in cannabis because it's illegal

Pauline Holcroft
Ms Holcroft said she believed that Britain should also open drop in centres, similar to those in Holland, where addicts can safely take drugs and receive counselling.

"I wouldn't advocate a situation where a heroin addict just literally walks through the door has her fix and walks out." She said.

"If somebody is going to inject heroin surely it is better it is done safely with a substance that you know is medically reasonably ok. It gives counsellors that opportunity, when they come in to try to talk to them, counsel them."

"I know that they won't stop taking it until they want to, but at least they're getting a contact, they're getting an approach and they're injecting under safer circumstances."

Tragedy

Rachel Whitear was a promising student, until she became hooked on heroin. Struggling to wean herself off her addiction she died from an overdose at 21.

Rachel Whitear
Rachel Whitear was a promising, happy student
In May 2000 the body of the former university student was discovered seaside bedsit in Exmouth, Devon, three days after she overdosed. She still had a syringe in her hand.

Mrs Holcroft along with Rachel's stepfather, Mick Holcroft, took the extraordinary decision to publish photographs of her daughter, slumped and lifeless in the hope that it would discourage other youngsters from taking drugs.

Education

In conjunction with Herefordshire County Council they released a video called 'Rachel's Story'. The 22 minute video follows Rachel's decline from happy student to heroin addiction.

In May, Education Secretary, Estelle Morris announced that a copy of the video would be made available to every secondary school in the UK.

Ms Holcroft hopes that publishing the photos and making the video mean that the tragedy of their daughters' death to stop other people dying.

She said: "I feel totally that we are using Rachel's life and death in a positive educational way for other young people.


If we don't try something different it could escalate further

Pauline Holcroft
But she acknowledged that finding the right answer to Britain's drug problem could be difficult - if not impossible

She said: "The whole drugs issue is extremely difficult. It's got to be attacked from many angles. Education, treating the addicts, new legislation. I don't think it's ever going to be seen to be right, but it's not right at the moment.

"If we don't try something different it could escalate further."

You can watch the HARDtalk interview in full at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in BST)
Friday 12 July 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
Friday 12 July 0430, repeated 0930, 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030



HARDtalk with Tim Sebastian is broadcast Mon - Friday on BBC World and BBC News 24
HARDtalk home
About HARDtalk
Tim Sebastian biography
Programme schedules
Contact us
FAQs
RELATED WEBSITES
BBC News 24BBC News 24
The latest news, sport and weather
Links to more Hardtalk stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Hardtalk stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes