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.’

A commitment to civil debate image

A commitment to civil debate

Cllr Arooj Shah has been the target of recent threats and harassment. Leaders from all parties in Oldham have now come together to add their signature to a ‘politics, not personalities’ pledge, she explains.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Human Resources Adviser

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum
Principal Human Resources Adviser - 1 year Fixed Term ContractRoyal Greenwich is ambitious in its commitment to residents and to service delivery. We' England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Network Architect

Camden London Borough Council
Competitive Salary
The job holder will require a good understanding of security & connectivity practices in the context of Cloud services preferably Microsoft Azure. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Transport Development Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£39,880 - £43,857 per annum
A flexible working offer that allows you to have a true work/life balance. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Recycling Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952 - £48,663
The position sits within the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA’s) Strategy and Services team, managing... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Traffic Management Officer - Carlisle

Cumbria County Council
£31.346 - £32.234
This role involves working within the traffic team liaising with members of the public and councillors agreeing and... Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County 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