Evidence piles up for change in drug laws
LEADING public health experts from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) have backed calls for a decriminalisation of drugs.
A new co-authored report by the groups, entitled ‘Taking a New Line on Drugs’, argues that possession of illegal substances should no longer be dealt with by police and the court system.
The report fits with movements in Latin America and Portugal towards decriminalisation of drugs, and treating addiction as a health issue rather than a legal one.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “For too long, UK and global drugs strategies have pursued reductions in drug use as an end in itself, failing to recognise that harsh criminal sanctions have pushed vulnerable people in need of treatment to the margins of society, driving up harm to health and wellbeing even as overall use falls.”
“For too long, UK and global drugs strategies have pursued reductions in drug use as an end in itself, failing to recognise that harsh criminal sanctions have pushed vulnerable people.” Shirley Cramer
Professor John Middleton, president of the FPH, added: “Criminalisation and incarceration for minor, non-violent offences worsen problems linked to illicit drug use, such as social inequality, violence and infection. Possession and use should be decriminalised and health approaches prioritised.”
An accompanying poll of over 2,000 people found that 56 per cent agreed that drug users should be referred for treatment instead of facing charges.
Last August drug deaths in Scotland hit a record high of 613.
The Scottish Greens and Liberal Democrats support decriminalisation.
Former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and current SNP MP Ronnie Cowan have also supported moves for drugs reform.
Cowan linked the war on drugs to continuing poverty, violence, and unnecessary deaths.
Picture courtesy of Bradadozier
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