William Eichler 23 October 2019

MPs call for ‘decriminalising’ drug possession

MPs call for ‘decriminalising’ drug possession  image

MPs have called for a ‘radical change’ in approach to UK drugs policy as a report warns the rate of drug-related deaths has risen to ‘the scale of a public health emergency’.

A new report from the Health and Social Care Committee argued that the current criminal justice approach to drugs policy is ‘clearly failing’ because the UK has some of the highest drug death rates in Europe, particularly in Scotland.

The committee recommended instead that a health focused and harm reduction approach would benefit those who are using drugs and reduce harm to, and the costs for, their wider communities.

‘Avoidable drug deaths are increasing year on year across the UK but there has been a failure to act on the evidence. Scotland is particularly hard hit with the highest death rate in Europe,’ said Dr Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health and Social Care Committee.

‘A holistic approach centred on improving the health of and reducing the harm faced by drug users, as well as increasing the treatment available, must be a priority going forward.’

The committee called on the Government to consult on the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use from a criminal offence to a civil matter, but stressed this would only be effective if coupled with increased access to harm reduction, support and treatment services for drug addiction.

It also said that responsibility for drugs policy should move from the Home Office to the Department of Health and Social Care.

‘The Government should learn lessons from the international experience, including places like Portugal and Frankfurt,’ said Dr Wollaston.

‘It should consult on the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use from a criminal offence to a civil matter. Decriminalisation alone would not be sufficient. There needs to be a radical upgrade in treatment and holistic care for those who are dependent on drugs and this should begin without delay.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue