Britain’s £3bn war on drugs ‘waste of time and harms lives’ says watchdog
Photograph courtesy of Metro News
Britain’s £3billion ‘war on drugs’ is a failure and possession should be decriminalised, according to an independent watchdog.
A ‘wholesale’ review of policy should be carried out by the government or it will continue to waste public money and damage lives, the watchdog’s report on drugs laws says today.
A six-year study by the UK Drug Policy Commission showed most of the billions Britain spends annually tackling illegal drugs is not justified.
For cannabis, the commission suggested that amending the law relating to the growing of it, at least for personal use, might go some way to ‘undermining the commercialisation of production’.
About 42,000 people in England and Wales are sentenced each year for the possession of drugs, with 160,000 people given cannabis cautions, according to the commission.
The commission called for parliament to ‘revisit the level of penalties applied to all drug offences and particularly those concerned with production and supply. However, it stopped short of calling for the decriminalisation or legalisation of most drugs.
Commission chairwoman Dame Ruth Runciman said: ‘We spend billions of pounds every year without being sure of what difference much of it makes.’
The Home Office insisted its approach to tackling drugs is the right one. ‘Drug usage is at it lowest level since records began,’ a spokeswoman said.