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Health organisations call for the legalisation of drugs

16 June 2016

Health organisations call for the legalisation of drugs

The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health have asked for the possession and use of any illegal drug to be decriminalised in the UK.

They said that the government's approach to drugs policy had failed and they should instead be focusing on education and treatments.
The Home Office defended its record, saying drug misuse had declined over the past 10 years.

The report, called Taking A New Line On Drugs, said criminal charges were not enough to deter people from using illegal drugs and could act as a barrier for the addict to ask for help.

A “sea change in approach” was asked for and that the UK should look to the Portuguese government for their approach. If someone was caught with the drug, treatments and support would be offered instead of a jail sentence.

Royal Society for Public Health chief executive Shirley Cramer 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.

"On many levels, in terms of the public's health, the 'war on drugs' has failed.

"The time has come for a new approach, where we recognise that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support - not criminals in need of punishment."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK's approach on drugs remains clear - we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery.

"At the same time, we have to stop the supply of illegal drugs and tackle the organised crime behind the drugs trade."

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