harm reduction

A more sophisticated approach to drugs is needed to tackle gang violence effectively

Rob Wilson, CEO

With everything else going on in politics and the world at the moment, an article in The Times entitled 'Criminal Gangs "Better Funded Than the Police"' may have passed people by. For those of us on the centre right of politics it should serve as a wake up call, an eye-opener to the evidence about what is happening on our streets now...today!

Young offenders, according to Jackie Sebire, Deputy Assistant of the National Police Chiefs' Council, no longer care about the consequences of committing violent crimes because criminal gangs are better funded than the police. She points out that drug users in Bedfordshire spend almost as much on cocaine and cannabis alone as the force's £113 million budget. Not long ago the Home Affairs Select Committee also pointed to the Police being behind the criminal gangs in terms of the use of technology and other state of the art equipment.

Can Drug Consumption Rooms Reduce Drug-related Harms in the UK?

Euan Hunt

With increasing use in Europe and recent discussion in the UK, it’s useful to explore what Drug Consumption Rooms really are and their impact.

Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs), also known as “Overdose Prevention Centres” and more pejoratively as “shooting galleries” are healthcare facilities, usually run by charities or the state, where healthcare professionals supervise drug users to consume drugs in a safe environment. They provide safe and sterile paraphernalia (the biggest emphasis is placed on needles but smoking and inhalants can be tended to as well). As well as preventing overdoses, DCRs aim to reduce drug use in public and improve public amenity in areas surrounding urban drug markets. For example, in Barcelona, the number of unsafely disposed syringes being collected was at a monthly average of over 13,000 in 2004 which fell to around 3,000 in 2012 (Vecino et al., 2013). They also help addicts connect with addiction treatment and other support. Over half of them are open on a daily basis and are open for an average of eight hours a day.

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.