Observer Special Supplement
Boom or bust?
Attitudes towards drugs have relaxed in the past decade, but, asks Mark Kohn, is this liberation or defeatism?
The catch-all 'drugs' describes a wide range of illegal substances on the street. Here's the lowdown on what's easily available across the country, and what effect they could have on you.
how much do children know?
years of altered states
How easy is it to 'score' in Britain today? We gave Martin Deeson a wish list of illegal drugs and sent him shopping in three urban centres and one rural backwater.
what's in the drugs?
Tales of experience
Instead of a doctor's guidance, illegal drug users rely on the first-hand accounts of peers. But some sources are wiser than others, finds Carl Wilkinson.
Can you kick it?
Perhaps. While some experts talk of an addictive personality and others argue addiction is a myth, Caroline, Naomi and Giles tell Martin Bright of their struggle to beat the habit.
Class A capitalists
Illegal drugs sustain a huge global industry, with a highly efficient international supply chain. Faisal Islam reveals who reaps the profits.
Feed your brain
Most people take illegal drugs to get 'high' but some use them to improve their intelligence. Can 'smart drugs' really boost brainpower? Andrew Smith spent a month finding out.
next Big High?
From the archive: Observer highlights
The changing debate
Two countries took the drugs test. Who passed?
David Rose reports from Utrecht on how there is no war on drugs in Holland. They believe this is a social problem, not a criminal one. And all the evidence suggests that their policy works.
dealers think they're untouchable now..."
The policing debate
Drugs bust-up at the Met
Senior officers are at loggerheads, reports Martin Bright - should they pursue users or switch to softly-softly?
there's only one problem. I hate dope
Should the law be changed?
What do we do when the drugs war stops?
Its not just the war on drugs that is failing, says Rowena Young. Drugs treatment fails nine times out of ten too.
Blair 'must scrap failed drug tactics'
laws revolution set for UK
urge major rethink on heroin
drug laws vetoed by Labour
drugs, but tax them too
Hard drugs epidemic: Observer investigation
Opium of the people
In a prosperous Cotswolds village, Kevin can score heroin within minutes. In David Rose's two-part investigation The Observer reveals the true scale of Britain's hard drug epidemic.
society is hooked ... here's how we can fix it
drugs debate: where next?
Drug video's shock tactics 'won't work'
Questions are being asked by drug experts and campaigners: Do the shock tactics help? Or could they even be counter-productive?
Mary Riddell: Every mother's worst nightmare
drug tests don't work
Comedown - the ecstasy fallout
Britain's half-million pill-poppers could face after-effects that last a lifetime. Anthony Browne reports.
of control or just growing up?
can't know the dangers
Business as usual for Afghan drugs
Afghanistan is likely to retain a central role in the global drugs trade, argues Mark Galeotti in this World Today essay. But even a miracle of western statecraft would only lead to Afghanistan's impoverished neighbours seizing a greater share of this lucrative trade.
not only the west that suffers
global battle against drugs risks backfiring