Legalising drugs ‘a good thing’, says Manchester pub and club boss after Warehouse Project death

Exclusive by Marios Papaloizou

The decriminalisation and control of drugs in the UK would be ‘better than the current situation’, according to the Chair of the Manchester Pub and Club Network.

After the tragic death of Nick Bonnie, who is believed to have taken ‘contaminated ecstasy’ at the Warehouse Project, the venue announced a new trial of on-the-spot drug testing.

Speaking after the announcement Haydn Pope told MM that if legislation could control what went into drugs then clubbers would be much safer.

“I think it would be better than the current situation obviously because if it saves people’s lives and it saves the NHS money through the people being constantly taken into A&E at whatever time of the morning then obviously it can only be a good thing,” he said.

“Anything that helps we would fully support.

“I know there’s an argument for legalising or decriminalising whatever term they’re using and whether that means instead of buying it from the underworld you can pop down the local Spar and pick it up I don’t know what level they’re going to go to,” he said.

“Would that mean it was regulated, would that mean it was pre-tested and safe? Yes.

“But then we have issues with alcohol and people abuse alcohol so even if it was decriminalised it wouldn’t stop people abusing it.”

While Mr Pope admitted that legislation changes could reduce the risks of drug use he emphasised that the primary goal of any initiative should be education.

“We need to get the message out to these people that drugs are for mugs,” he said.

“My advice is don’t do it. If you are going to do it at least know where you’re getting the stuff from and know what’s in it.

“We have to get the message across for alcohol as well as for drugs that there is not enough personal responsibility.”

Mr Pope believes that clubs are doing all they can to curb drug use and that the police and public need to step up and do their bit.

“Personally I think the police’s attitude of they don’t arrest people anymore who are using it [drugs] for personal use, I personally would change that,” he said.

“I think that by peer pressure and a level of personal responsibility we can eradicate it. The clubs are doing all they can.

“But if you’re going to take it you’re going to take it either before you go into the club or you’re going to sneak it in down your sock, down your pants etc.

“We’re doing all we can. It’s now down to the public to do their bit.

Picture courtesy of Philippa Willitts, with thanks.

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