DANNY Kushlick set up the Transform Drug Policy Unit 10 years ago to give a voice to those who believe prohibition of drugs does more to compound the problems they bring than solve them.
He said: "As a drugs worker I found heavy users' problems were created or compounded by the fact drugs were illegal.
"I began to ask some fairly naive questions to try to establish what evidence supported prohibition, and I discovered the laws are based on no evidence whatsoever -- just history.
"The criminalisation of drugs, which makes addiction a matter for the criminal justice system rather than the health service, has had the same results as the prohibition of alcohol -- only a thousand times worse."
Mr Kushlick said surveys reveal around half of those questioned think legalising drugs would reduce crime, but only one in 10 would support such a move.
He said: "There's an intellectual understanding that it's the right thing to do, but there isn't the willingness to take a stand."
Transform is supported by a diverse range of people including Edward Ellison, former operational head of Scotland Yard drugs squad, and TV personality Jonathan Ross, who has called for "a more honest, rational and compassionate approach to the drug problem".
Mr Kushlick said the group was firmly behind the stance put forward by Mr Lloyd and former News reporter Fulton Gillespie, whose son Scott died at the age of 33 after taking heroin contaminated with a toxic substance.
Both have called for a radical re-think on drugs policy - with Mr Gillespie arguing legalisation is the only way to prevent tragic deaths such as his son's.
Mr Kushlick said: "The criminal justice approach has been counterproductive and the Government needs to regain control of the drug market by bringing it within an appropriate legal regulatory framework.
"Only by doing this can we eliminate the harms created by illegal markets, and minimise the harms created by the drugs themselves.
"The reality is that the problems created by prohibition go far beyond the property crime committed by addicts or even the violence perpetrated by local drug gangs.
"It is countries like Colombia and Afghanistan that experience the most disastrous impacts of prohibition's failure.
"In these and other key drug producer and transit countries, vast illegal profits are fuelling conflict and corruption on an unimaginable scale, pushing these countries further towards social chaos and economic collapse.
"Drug prohibition has been a disaster from Kabul to Cambridge and Bogota to Brixton.
"This is an issue that affects us all, and we can all do something to help move this debate forward to find real solutions to this seemingly intractable problem."
Mr Kushlick said, after a decade pushing for change to be seriously and rationally considered, he was beginning to believe it was possible.
He said: "There is change in the air, with ever more high profile politicians and public figures willing to look at this issue afresh, just as Fulton Gillespie and Tom Lloyd have done.
"The Liberal Democrats and even David Cameron have challenged the status quo.
"The addiction of the current Government to prohibition and its increasingly hollow sounding 'tough on drugs' sound bites constitute a major part of the 'drug problem'.
"Write to your MP and let them know what you think -- become a part of the solution."
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