A successful program of drug containment such as the one in Britain, is the best alternative for dealing with the national drug problems, John Buckley, Middlesex Country sheriff, said Monday night.
In an informal address before the Cambridge chapter of the Ripon Society, Buckley said that a "humanitarian approach of not forcing people to live a life of crime and to live outside of society" is preferable to crash programs aimed at eliminating the use of specific drugs.
Buckley praised the British methadone program, instituted in 1968, which treats heroin as a medical problem and said that it has successfully taken "the profit out of the heroin trade" by making the drug available to addicts through government sponsored clinics.
Buckley cited alcohol, barbituates and amphetamine as "our most serious drugs." He said that heroin, "the most notorious of all the drugs, is really the least damaging," If takes in pure doses, whereas the negative effects of three ounces of alcohol can be measured "immediately."
Buckley, who has served as sheriff since 1970, said he became interested in the drug problem because "I'm Irish and the cure of the Irish has always been drunkeness."