12.5% of Police Forces in England and Wales have moved away from criminalising drug use, trialling new approaches to reducing drug harms

New research shows at least eight Police Forces in England and Wales are presently implementing or developing drug diversion programmes, moving away from criminalisation and instead taking a more public health orientated approach to drugs. The research by the Conservative Drug Police Reform Group (CDPRG) will be unveiled at the Conservative Party Conference at the CDPRG’s panel discussion event ‘Is Pragmatic Policing Driving Drug Policy Reform?’

The CDPRG’s briefing explores changing policing attitudes to drug offences in the UK and shows that 12.5% of England and Wales’ 40 Police Forces with Police and Crime Commissioners are using or developing programmes which divert drug users into treatment and education services rather than prosecuting them. Durham, Avon and Somerset and Thames Valley Police Forces are currently running drug diversion programmes, whilst similar schemes are being developed in the West Midlands, Dyfed Powys, North Wales, South Wales, and Cleveland. Whilst data on the outcomes of these programmes is still limited at this early stage, Jason Kew of Thames Valley Police reported an 80% success rate on diversion courses at an oral evidence session on drug policing at the APPG on Drug Policy Reform in May, 2019.

New Research Shows Cannabis Consumed ‘Blindfolded’ by Most Users - Few Know the Strain or Potency of What They Buy

For most people using cannabis their experience is akin going into a bar blindfolded, as the majority have no knowledge of the strains they’re consuming and the impact of the varying levels of compounds, a major new report from the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group finds.

The research found a real lack of education and awareness regarding two of the key components in cannabis, THC and CBD, and their effects. Different strains of cannabis contain varying levels of THC, CBD and other compounds, and these levels considerably impact the effect of cannabis when consumed. Yet 42% said that they didn’t know that THC is the key component that causes a ‘high’, while 55% didn’t know that cannabis with high THC and low levels of CBD seem to be more addictive and have worse effects on memory.

CDPRG and YouGov Poll show overwhelming public backing for medicinal cannabis. Also growing support for new thinking on drugs policy.

A major new survey commissioned by the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG) demonstrates powerful public support for making medical cannabis legally available to patients who could safely benefit from it. It also indicates a clear and growing appetite overall for a new approach to drug policy in the UK.

Altogether 77% of those questioned by YouGov supported legalisation of cannabis-based medicines, while 76% responded that that they would personally consider using a cannabis-based medicine to treat a condition where there was strong evidence of benefit.

Conservative Drugs Policy Reform Group Launches To Promote “Full and Transparent” Debate On Drug Policy Reform

The Conservative Drugs Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), chaired by Crispin Blunt MP and supported by a number of Conservative MPs, launches today (June 27) as a unique policy forum promoting fully informed, evidence-based debate around drug policy reform.

Under CEO Rob Wilson, a former Conservative MP and Minister for Civil Society from 2014 -2017, CDPRG is committed to examining the evidence for change after half a century of prohibition which has failed either to deliver better outcomes for society or to improve life chances.

CDPRG is not committed to and will not advocate any specific outcome of the debate it promotes. However, in exploring the evidence from the UK and worldwide, it will challenge the basis for the current UK policies, asking its advocates to justify the outcomes against current medical and scientific knowledge and in terms of health and law enforcement.