Cocaine use promoted on BBC Radio 4

The BBC has been heavily criticised for a radio interview which told listeners of the current price of cocaine, but neglected to mention that it is an illegal drug.

Mishal Husain, of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, conducted the interview with Dr Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey.

On the programme, Dr Winstock claimed it was “difficult to have honest conversations saying you can use lots of drugs with relatively low risks, for most people, if you follow some simple strategies”.

No disapproval

He went on to say that telling people not to use dangerous drugs is “not a useful dialogue for people who are making informed decisions to use drugs as a wider lifestyle”.

“You know it’s about a lifestyle choice and we need to help people stay safe with the choices they make”, he added.

Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens expressed his shock at hearing the segment.

Hitchens wrote: “I suddenly realised I was listening to a man giving out the current prices for various kinds of cocaine.”

Illegal

Hitchens said that “at no point” in the interview “did the presenter or anyone else evince any disapproval of illegal drug taking (an activity Dr Winstock assumed to be normal among his listeners) or mention that the drug is illegal”.

Cocaine is a Class A drug, meaning it is illegal to possess or supply it.

The penalty for possession is up to seven years in prison, while supply can result in a life sentence or an unlimited fine.

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