Viewpoints

Scotland’s drug statistics are a call to arms for radical reform

Scotland was recently shown to have the highest drug death per capita of any other European country, with the rest of the UK having the fifth-highest.

This figure should be a wake-up call, to both the SNP in Scotland and to the Conservatives in Westminster. This needs to be met with a new, radical approach to tackling drug-related issues. That approach should start with two things. Decriminalisation and legalisation.

It is clear by now that the UK’s war on drugs have failed. Consumption is up, overdoses are up, and our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders. We cannot carry on with the same old policies and attitudes towards drug use. 

Doing What Works in Policing Drugs

former Chief Constable Tom Lloyd

A few years ago I wrote an open letter to Police across the country saying that we should change the way we tackle the harms caused by drugs and the criminal markets that supply them. To be clear, I am not in favour of people harming themselves by taking substances, whether illegally or not.

I do believe we can develop more effective ways to reduce harmful drug use, and the crime and violence associated with drug supply. We need to do what works, not simply what we’ve always done.

It was encouraging to see the announcement earlier this week that North Wales Police Force will not automatically prosecute low level possession offences, but offer users treatment and rehabilitation services. North Wales are joining a number of other Police Forces around the country showing leadership on the drugs issue by moving away from automatic criminalisation of users and taking an alternative, public health-based approach.

My son thrives on cannabis oil - but the draft NICE guidelines entrench the difficulties of getting Eddie the prescription he needs

Viewpoint by Ilmarie Braun

Last week saw both the publication of the draft NICE guidelines and the findings of the NHS Review commissioned by the Heath Secretary Matt Hancock into the barriers families like ours are facing in accessing an NHS prescription for medicinal cannabis products.

Both the guidance and the review shattered the tiny hope I had been clinging on to that either of these documents would make our fight to get my son Eddie a prescription easier. Eddie has severe epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Cannabis oils have drastically reduced Eddie’s seizures and given him much improved quality of life.

Let’s end the harms of cannabis prohibition

Let’s end the harms of cannabis prohibition

Viewpoint by Andrew Boff AM

At heart, I’m a libertarian - I believe that people should be free to make their own choices. But drugs reform is more than this. It’s about safety and protecting people from harm - a harm of government making.

Cannabis is out there and people are using it - to say that criminalisation is working is borderline delusional. The government’s own data shows that 30 per cent of 16 to 59-year olds in England and Wales have smoked cannabis. This is slightly higher for 16 to 24-year olds, at 30.7 per cent, which suggests usage is rising. Much of this will be provided by the black market - drug dealers don’t have age restrictions or product standards.