15 October 2012
THE Green Party has welcomed a report by the UK Drug Policy Commission as a valuable contribution to the debate over the UK’s drug policy.
The UKDPC report, entitled A Fresh Approach to Drugs (1), calls for a new evidence-based approach to drugs policy which would help individuals and their communities recover from the damage caused by drug misuse – and provide better value for money for the taxpayer.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform said:
“The UK Drug Policy Commission is the latest in a line of respected organisations, including the Global Commission on Drug Policy, to call for a major rethink of drugs policy.
“There is growing agreement across the scientific, police and legal professions that we need to move away from prohibition of personal use towards an evidence-based, public health approach.
“Politicians need to recognise the reality that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed and start afresh.
“The government should now undertake an urgent review of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, with a full cost benefit analysis and impact assessment to compare its effectiveness in reducing the societal, economic and health costs of drug misuse with alternative approaches.”
Key recommendations from the report are the reform of how drugs are classified and the setting up of an independent body accountable to Parliament, which has the power to make evidence-based decisions on the control of substances.
The report highlights that the government is currently spending £3 billion a year and sentencing 42,000 people annually under a drugs policy that lacks “sufficient coordination” and is often self-defeating.
However, UKDPC also praised the success of some government policies, including reducing HIV infections with the needle exchange program – an example of the potential value of reforming society’s attitudes towards drugs.
Caroline Lucas continued: “We need a drugs policy based on evidence about what reduces harms, rather than one driven by moral judgments about drug use and drug users.
“Only then can we hope to improve the treatment of addiction, prevent drug-related crime and protect our communities from the worst effects of drug misuse.”
For more information, please contact Zoe Hall (Green Party press office) on 0207 5490 315 and email@example.com, or Melissa Gurumurthy (Parliamentary office) on 0207 219 0221 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) For the full report, A Fresh Approach to Drugs by the UK Drug Policy Commission, visit: http://www.ukdpc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/a-fresh-approach-to-drugs-the-final-report-of-the-uk-drug-policy-commission.pdf
2) For more information about the Green Party, visit: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/