Cycling enthusiasts are all over the place these days… donning their questionable lycra outfits at ungodly hours to fly through the standstill rush-hour traffic, saturating our cities with bright neon colours and flashing lights. Maybe some people don’t really get the appeal… but to many, cycling is fun, it makes them happy, and it benefits their lives in loads of ways.
It’s not without its risks of course, but so are many things in life. We get around those risks by wearing helmets, lights and fluorescent jackets. The government builds us cycle paths and spends money on education and awareness. Overall it’s a pretty good system; people understand the risks and work hard to minimise them. And people have a great time cycling.
Let’s say the government becomes unhappy with the numbers of cycling-related injuries and deaths. They respond by increasing their campaigns of safety-awareness, introducing new regulations to keep cyclists safe on the roads, and build better, safer cycle paths. Maybe they even pedestrianise city centres! I think most people agree that this is a pretty rational reaction.
For several months now, our conservative government has been hustling the ‘New Psychoactive Substances’ Bill through parliament and into law. Widely condemned as one of the worst laws ever seen, the NPS act is hateful, illogical, poorly worded and has the potential to make us all criminals. Quite simply, from May 26th, we will see an increase in drug-related suffering and death in the UK.
The NPS act will ensure more drug-related incarcerations
The reason for this law coming into being is a national hysteria surrounding ‘legal highs’. Your average pensioner hates seeing teenagers getting high and not being punished for it, and wants to see legal high vendors kicked out of their towns. The conservatives, hopping on this bandwagon, have brought out reams of misleading and false statistics about legal high-related deaths. Countless voters have been riled up by the media, seeing images of innocent teens on front pages, hospitalised and killed by drugs that have slipped through the legislative cracks.
In fact, deaths from legal highs are tiny, around a dozen per year, accounting for a tiny percentage of frequent legal high users (around 10% of UK youth use legal highs). Compare this to alcohol users, where we would expect one million alcohol-related hospitalisations every year. But tightening alcohol legislation doesn’t win votes. Portraying innocent teens being preyed upon by wily drug dealers wins votes.