As we all know, and I've commented on before, politicians rarely talk sense about drugs. In the wake of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishing their first report last week on UK drug policy, I think I heard Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg say something sensible. He said the war on drugs had been lost and it was time to review strategy - a view that I entirely support.
"If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year, your enemies are making billions in profit, constantly throwing new weapons at you and targeting more young people, you'd have to say you are losing and it's time to do something different. I'm anti-drugs - it's for that reason I'm pro-reform."
He went on to fully endorse the Home Affairs Committee call for an urgent Royal Commission on drug policy, only to be quickly shot down by Prime Minister David Cameron. Typically he says that current policies are working and that we don't need a Royal Commission.
Sadly there is a long-established tradition in this country of politicians sounding relatively sensible on drug policy in opposition, only to go all tough-sounding when in government and pretend the situation is improving.
The fact is the whole situation is far from rosy. Yes heroin use is falling, especially amongst young people, but we have no idea why. More people than ever, especially in prison, are being 'parked' on methadone for years just as a way of trying to keep prisoners off illegal substances. There is absolutely no way of stopping drugs getting into prison, not least due to the huge sums of money to be made by corrupt prison officers.
Just to put the tin hat on the whole sorry state of affairs, I'm repeatedly told by clients that weaning off methadone is much harder than heroin and in fact deaths from methadone overdose in the community now far exceed those for heroin use. So, in effect, more people are dying of the cure than the disease.
I find him a hugely irritating politician, but in this instance Nick, you are indeed talking sense. It's just such a shame that I doubt you have a long term political future. The awful thought occurs to me that the two just might be linked. Such is our democracy here in the UK.