Drug Czar application
In July 1997 the British government advertised for an individual to help solve the problems caused by illicit drug use. Some newspaper reports said that the government wanted to take a fresh look at the problem and were looking for someone who really understood drug users' attitudes and cared about their welfare. This prompted me to apply.
The application form stated that the post was for an "Anti-drugs co-ordinator", so I started by saying that I must rephrase the job title to "Co-ordinator of efforts to reduce harm through drug use".
I stressed the importance of always telling the whole truth about drug useage rather than just the negative aspects, and to maintain a sense of proportion by always comparing the qualities of illicit drugs - such as risk of death, potential for addiction, neurotoxicity and social effects - with legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.
I pointed out that while users dismiss government 'education' programmes as hype, my own information on ecstasy is regarded with respect because it accepts the benefits as well as the negative consequences.
In response, I was sent a single letter combining acknowledgement and rejection of my application.
Nicholas Saunders, October 1997