Review of drugs policy announced

Image credit: Wikimedia user Bogdan

The Home Affairs Committee yesterday issued a call for written evidence as part of a review of the government’s current drug strategy.

The committee, chaired by Labour MP Keith Vaz and with Dr Julian Huppert representing the Liberal Democrats, issued a statement declaring their intention to undertake a comprehensive review of the drug strategy in early 2012.

Among the criteria listed for consideration are:

  • The extent to which the Government’s 2010 drug strategy is a ‘fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights’
  • The criteria used by the Government to measure the efficacy of its drug policies
  • The independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the government
  • Whether detailed consideration ought to be given to alternative ways of tackling the drugs dilemma

This may be the largest reevaluation of government drug policy since the Home Affairs Committee’s 2002 report ‘The Government’s Drugs Policy: Is It Working?’, which concluded that policies based “wholly or mainly on enforcement” are unlikely to succeed.

Reporting on the statement, BBC Home Editor Mark Easton notes that “[w]hile the coalition government and the official opposition have shown no interest in opening up a debate on drugs reform … the public are beginning to ask questions.”

At the Liberal Democrat Conference in September, delegates overwhelmingly backed a motion moved by Ewan Hoyle to make it party policy to set up a panel to investigate the decriminalisation of drug use.

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