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Time for a radical new approach to drugs in the UK

Ron Hogg-landscape

Image: PCVC Ron Hogg

A RADICAL call for a safer UK drug policy will be published at an international symposium taking place in Durham today.

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 Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, draws in ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’.

Ron said: “I have assessed the impact and cost of drugs on society, and on individuals. England and Wales has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe. Also, it has the highest rates of heroin use, cocaine use and ecstasy use, whilst research shows that every year Class A drugs cost society £15.4billion. This includes costs to the public, to businesses, to the NHS and to the criminal justice system.”

“I have spoken to too many grieving families who lost their children to drug addiction” Said Ron. “These kinds of devastating incidents have the power to bring about change and we should all care enough to want to help.”

‘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.”

Ron recognises that effective reform will need to be embraced by a range of different organisations, and in particular the Government. ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ sets out six areas for review:

  • Hold a fundamental review of UK Drugs Policy
  • Ensure the approach is firmly based on evidence
  • Support fully funded effective education and intervention
  • Develop effective responses to reduce the harm
  • Promote cost-effective specialist drug treatment and recovery as a proven way to reduce crime and make communities safer
  • Protect the vulnerable by supporting alternatives to the criminalisation of people who use drugs and focus efforts on tackling the organised crime groups

Ron will launch ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ at a major symposium about UK drug policy on Friday 14 July. He will also make it available on his website, at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.

ENDS

Posted on Friday 14th July 2017
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