DrugScope has today responded to the publication of the UK Drug Policy Commission’s (UKDPC) report, A fresh approach to drugs.
Martin Barnes, DrugScope’s Chief Executive, said:
“Over the past six years, the UKDPC has made a major contribution to the drug debate in this country and has consistently underlined the importance of policy development that is firmly rooted in the evidence of ‘what works’, rather than being buffeted by ideological and political arguments.
“Today’s publication represents the culmination of the Commission’s impressive work and DrugScope would endorse many of the report’s recommendations. We particularly welcome the emphasis on addressing the stigma faced by people who experience drug dependency, the provision of better support for families and the need to tackle some of the more structural, upstream issues that can contribute to the development of serious drug problems – issues which could easily become more entrenched in the current economic climate.
“Clearly, there are a number of recommendations, particularly concerning elements of law reform that are more challenging. But, as the report itself points out, serious public debate on this issue has been severely lacking, as the matter is too often dominated by seemingly polarised or entrenched positions.
“DrugScope supports a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act including the use of civil rather than criminal sanctions for personal possession of some drugs. Whatever one’s view on the individual recommendations, however, it is vital that we find a way to break the impasse. The media and our politicians have an important role to play in shaping this debate, which should not be reduced to a black and white adversarial argument. Progress in this highly emotive and politicised arena will occur when policymakers and politicians can more openly express their views without fear of opprobrium.”