(Working for healthier drug policies)
We are gravely concerned
about the current direction of British drug policy. We call on the government
to take action in the following areas:
THE MOVE AWAY
FROM PUBLIC HEALTH TOWARDS CRIME-REDUCTION
Move the drug strategy back towards public health and away from a coercive
'criminal justice' agenda justified by selective use of weak evidence.
The UK's public health approach is seen as a model of good practice around
the world. Scarce resources would be better used in improving the existing,
stretched treatment services for people with drug problems who often face
long waiting lists. The present policy increasingly creates an incentive
to commit crime in order to gain access to treatment and social care services.
Improve services to prevent and treat blood-borne viruses among people
who inject. Develop a national strategy for the prevention and management
of hepatitis C - a public health emergency. Maintain existing HIV prevention
services and build substantially on the current, commendable efforts to
provide hepatitis B vaccination.
Create a positive climate in which young people's need for information
and concerns about drug-taking can be addressed. Complement existing efforts
to provide effective primary prevention work by increasingsupport for
programmes that help reduce the harms among the many young people who
We call for a Royal Commission regarding the laws controlling drugs to
ensure that they are regulated in a way that minimises the harm they can
cause. The quick dismissal of Lady Runciman's recent recommendations reinforces
our concern that drug policy is increasingly driven by the need for headlines
rather than being based on evidence and advice from specialists in the
Address problems concerning the legal context in which care and treatment
is provided in order to provide proper protection for people who work
with this socially excluded group.
NO AMERICAN DRUG
Reject a politically-expedient, economically-costly American-style 'drug
war' that increases the harm to our communities. By making exaggerated
claims about drugs and crime and scapegoating drug users the government
increases their social exclusion and contradicts its other commendable
efforts to promote the inclusion of marginalized groups.