Three years ago mephedrone was a legal high; sold as plant food. Possibly dangerous, it was a public health issue. Now illegal, it’s a criminal issue, too; a new challenging problem recast as part of an old intractable one. Who gained?

Remove criminality from drug-taking and treat the issue as one of public health instead: it’s the only way, says Hugo Rifkind. Read more

GlaxoSmithKline agreed last month to pay a $3 billion fine for illegally marketing drugs and bribing doctors. More than $150 million of this is expected to be paid to four former GSK executives who shopped the company to US regulators. If that sounds positively medieval, it’s because it is. In 13th century England, citizens were encouraged to take legal action on behalf of the establishment in return for a cut of any fines. The procedure was adopted in the US during the American Civil War in an attempt to curb corruption by suppliers of mangy mules and rotten rations to the Union Army. In Britain, the system was effectively ended in the 1950s. In the US it is estimated to have helped recover more than $27 billion in taxpayers’ money over the last 25 years.

David Wighton looks at the benefits of allowing whistleblowers to take a cut of corporate fines

Chinese drug addicts watch a performance to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at a rehabilitation centre in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Read more: Drug Policy Doesn’t Work


Sneak peek | The changing face of the English gentleman

Mark Hedges, Editor of Country Life, delved into his magazine’s archives to research the changing face of the English gentleman. Some fads, it seems, are cyclical:

In 1900, the new fashion for tattoos among the English and European aristocracy (partridges seemed to be very popular on the tummy) caught on. The discomfort of the process was eased by the injection of a mild solution of cocaine under the skin.

Read the full piece in The Times tomorrow.

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