by Larry Smith
Last week's article on the baggage handler controversy drew calls from some readers for the legalisation of drugs - which may not be as crazy as it first sounds.
Today's moralistic attitude towards drug use developed in the late 19th century, when religious reformers pushed for a law enforcement approach to what previously had been a matter of personal choice.
These crusaders were able to criminalise the possession of opium and its derivatives morphine and heroin, as well as cocaine, around the time of the First World War, with cannabis following soon after.
Before then opiates were freely available in Western societies, both on their own and as an unregulated ingredient in tonics and medicines. Morphine was a popular painkiller, heroin was produced by Bayer in 1895 as a "safe" cough remedy, and cocaine was an early ingredient in Coca Cola.