Boris Johnson was the last to be qualified as a preacher about the dangers of using cocaine. Johnson has acknowledged that he had tried it while studying at Oxford. Well, like a lot of his Old Etonian chums, he could afford to, couldn’t he?

This remarkable shift in outlook may have been caused by middle-age. Perhaps a near-death experience from Covid and becoming a dad in middle age.

Boris thought up a great idea to dress up as Line of Duty cop extra in order to launch his new wheeze, a War on Drugs. He is well-known for his inability to resist wearing work clothes, which are often ill-fitting, and ends up looking like Norman Wisdom crossed with Max Wall.

This time, our favourite ‘clown’ chose a black knitted hat and stab-proof vest, to tag along with the Liverpool police as they raided a potential drugs dealer.

Was he sure he could be stabbed?

There’s no-one as hypocritical as a senior government official (especially one in fancy dress) telling us ordinary folk that drugs are the root of all evil.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson observes an early morning Merseyside Police raid on a home in Liverpool as part of 'Operation Toxic' to infiltrate County Lines drug dealings

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister observes a Merseyside Police raid at a Liverpool home as part of Operation Toxic to penetrate County Lines drug deals

It is considered career suicide to admit you had tried them, even though it was a positive experience. Of course, many MP’s have puffed and snorted in their youth, but – according to Boris – they can remember nothing about what happened.

Michael Gove, Minister in charge of Levelling up, says he ‘deeply regrets’ indulging in cocaine over twenty years ago. It is not clear how many MPs actually smoked cannabis, but there are thousands who have.

The Minister for Justice, Dominic Raab has confessed he once smoked a spliff but I’m sure he went straight home and vowed to never do it again. I admit, I was busted by the Chelsea drug squad (who raided the Rolling Stones) when I started in journalism back in the swinging ‘60s – the police even took away my wedding cake and tested it for drugs (finding none) – but I ended up in court, and received a £5 fine for possessing a tiny crumb of hash!

Our politicians have been talking about drugs more than anything else since that time. It’s taken fifty years, but finally countries like Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Portugal as well as 18 US states have backed off from the fruitless War on Drugs and decided not to prosecute recreational cannabis users.

Boris declared his plans to fight drug crime through a raid that could have been taken from The Bill, rather than addressing real problems (like whether legalizing and taxing drugs sales would let the police do more important work than arresting people and bring in millions in taxes). The raid saw uniformed men, dogs and people smashing into doors. Bravo to everyone

Many senior officers in the police force admit that soft drug prohibition was abandoned decades ago. As a result, prosecutions have fallen. With stringent funding cuts and an exhausted force, most police officers in the country decided that there are better things than raiding nightclub toilets or dinner parties. They’re turning a blind eye to possession of small amounts of illegal substances for personal use.

JANET STREET-PORTER: Most senior police chiefs admit the war on soft drugs was lost decades ago

JANET STREET-PORTER: Most senior police chiefs admit the war on soft drugs was lost decades ago

The new £780m drug strategy splits the funding between treatment and crime-fighting. It aims to help addicts by offering hundred of millions for improved rehab services and support, while the police will receive £300 million to fight dealers and County Lines gangs, which entice thousands of young people and children into criminal activity.

The logic is clear – just 300,000 people in England (mostly addicted to heroin and crack), are responsible for an astonishing £20 billion worth of crime a year, as they steal and commit violent acts to fund their habit.

There’s been a huge rise (5,500 last year) in the number of deaths allied to drug use, so helping serious addicts back to health and away from a life of degradation and crime is long-overdue.

Boris wants to focus on another type of recreational user, the middle class who have enough money to go out for dinner or to use drugs. If your phone number is found on the phones of dealers, he wants police to send warnings. Driver licenses and passports could be confiscated if part-time drivers are caught.

It’s ironic, because it turns out the Houses of Parliament are awash with these recreactional druggies, nice middle-class MPs and their young assistants who sneak off to the toilets and subsidised bars for a a quick spliff or a snort between debates and divisions.

A Sunday Times investigation found traces of cocaine in 11 out of 12 place they tested in the buildings in Westminster- certainly more than in any place I’ve worked in the allegedly permissive world of television.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse says it’s ‘not surprising’ as several thousand people work there. However, we shouldn’t expect the same drug usage in Marks and Spencer offices or Nissan. A Tory senior MP has asked the Speaker for police sniffer dogs.

The reason why some people start using drugs for fun and then become addicts (although the word addict is being cancelled in Scotland – the land of Trainspotting – where the government has decreed that they are to be known as people ‘with a problematic substance use’ while the term ‘junkie’ is deemed unhelpful and degrading) is complicated.

You can get it from abuse in childhood, low self-esteem or peer pressure. This can cause severe consequences for addicts and their families (neighbors, relatives, partners).

A Sunday Times investigation found traces of cocaine in 11 out of 12 place they tested in the buildings in Westminster. Policing Minister Kit Malthouse says it¿s ¿not surprising¿ as several thousand people work there

Sunday Times investigations found cocaine in eleven of the 12 places they tested within Westminster buildings. Policing Minister Kit Malthouse says it’s ‘not surprising’ as several thousand people work there

Because successive governments have reduced funding to charities and councils over the last decade, drug and drink addiction is at record highs.

Offering rehab and counselling is to be welcomed, but – like a great many of Boris’ Big Ideas, he hasn’t spelt out how this cash would be allocated.

Residential rehab is not available to many addicts at the moment. Only 2,000 people were offered this treatment in the past year. Around 5,000 addicts were served in day centres, which have a lower success rate.

Any type of addiction can be treated only with therapy, counseling and support. Day release – judging by the people I’ve spoken to – costs more and is not nearly as successful.

Addicts require one-to-1 support every day, which can be costly and has a low long-term success rate. The number of people suffering from depression or mental illnesses has risen since Covid. Resources in the NHS are limited.

The NHS is limited to phone conversations with a counsellor. Face-to-face appointments can take up to six months.

Given that legalising drugs will never be realistic with a Tory government, it’s right that police get more cash to crack down on the estimated 2,000 County Lines drug operators – who deal mostly in crack and heroin – because of their dreadful impact on vulnerable young people, not to mention the resulting rise in knife crime resulting from turf wars.

However, it is absurd to threaten the small group of drug addicts in the middle classes with removing their drivers licenses. Then tell them by text that they are being reprimanded. It is unlikely that it will change anyone’s ways.

Once again, Boris has unveiled a Master Plan that’s full of gaping holes, sketchy ideas and headline-grabbing ideas probably scribbled on the back of an envelope while taking Dilyn the dog for a poo.

Have his friends heard?