Cameron rejects drugs review
David Cameron has rejected a royal commission review to consider decriminalising illegal drugs.In response to the report by the home affairs select committee, David Cameron said the current policy was working in Britain.
The committee highlighted Portugal’s approach, where people found with drugs are not always prosecuted. It also asked ministers to monitor cannabis legalisation elsewhere.
“Drugs use is coming down, the emphasis on treatment is absolutely right, and we need to continue with that to make sure we can really make a difference, ” Mr Cameron said.
“Also, we need to do more to keep drugs out of our prisons. These are the government’s priorities and I think we should continue with that rather than have some very, very long-term royal commission.”
A royal commission is a public inquiry created by the head of state into a defined subject and overseen by a commissioner who has quasi-judicial powers.
However, there is concern over the growth and prevalence of “legal highs”, some of which are banned, amid a recorded rise in deaths linked to their use.
The committee stopped short of supporting a relaxation of legal sanctions for drug use, as suggested by experts at the UK Drug Policy Commission in October, but it does call on ministers to look in detail at the idea.
In its wide ranging report, the cross-party home affairs committee said MPs had visited Portugal as part of attempts to understand different systems of decriminalisation which were being used around the world to manage the harm of drugs, rather than just hand out penalties for their use.
Portugal has not legalised drugs but it has a system of not imposing criminal penalties on drug users who enter into special programmes designed to end their habits.
“We were impressed by what we saw of the Portuguese depenalised system,” said the MPs. “It had clearly reduced public concern about drug use in that country and was supported by all political parties and the police. The current political debate in Portugal is about how treatment is funded… not about depenalisation itself.”
“Although it is not certain that the Portuguese experience could be replicated in the UK, given societal differences, we believe this is a model that merits significantly closer consideration.”
The committee urged ministers to monitor the effect of plans for cannabis legalisation in the US states of Colorado and Washington and in Uruguay,
The MPs said that, although drug use was falling, the impact of their use still cost billions and there were questions over whether the international strategy was working.
They said the time was right for a “fundamental review of all UK drugs policy in the international context” and recommended a royal commission be set up with an end-date of 2015.
Health Direct has for a long time noted the costly failure that is the current policy on drugs. On August 02, 2006 in Risks of taking drugs compared- Scientific review of dangers of drugtaking- Drugs, the real deal we reproduced the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society.
It was devised by government advisers – then ignored by ministers because of its controversial findings. The analysis was carried out by David Nutt, the then senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and Colin Blakemore, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council.
Tags: Conservatives, David Cameron, drugs classification, Health Direct, preventable crisis, Risk of Drugs