On Friday 14 July 2017, Ron Hogg, Police Crime and Victims' Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington hosted an international symposium about the future of Drug Policy in the UK.
The symposium featured speakers from around the world, and delegates from a range of sectors: policing, health, prisons, courts, politics, academia and the third sector.
About the event
International experts highlighted the key drug policy issues facing the UK and beyond, and led discussions on how, as a nation, we move from debate to action. Speakers explored the implications of reforming policy away from criminal justice sanctions and towards health-based approaches through measures like prescribing heroin, drug consumption rooms, and decriminalisation or diversion schemes for people caught in possession of drugs.
Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Madame Ruth Dreifuss also talked about the Swiss experience of reform and the global perspective.
A radical call to reform Government policy on drugs was made at the symposium by Ron Hogg. "UK drugs policy has failed and is continuing to fail our communities. It does not reduce the harm caused by drugs" - That is the clear conclusion which Ron draws in ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy'.
‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ focuses on the need to reduce harm, and to focus on improving the health of drug users. Ron added: "The continuing description of drug addicts as criminals rather than people who are unhealthy or sick prevents them from getting well and can consign their family to years of misery.”
Feedback, and Tweets, from the symposium
Follow the Tweets from speakers and delegates posted throughout the event, using hashtag #SaferDrugPolicyUK.
- "Firstly I would like to thank you for putting on the event on Friday. It was an inspiring day and sets the tone moving forward, we have humanity on our side!"
- "It was good! It was stimulating."
- "I've been told the event was superb, and someone else said it was the best she's been to - so congratulations and well done!"
- "This was a fantastic, informative conference with a good range of speakers and some very moving and emotive speakers. Great to see PCC (Ron Hogg) and Chief Constable working so closely together for a better future for those affected by drugs."