Updated in July 2017
On 18 July 2017 I spoke in a parliamentary debate about drugs policy. This followed publication of the government’s new Drug strategy 2017, which sets out a number of new actions to prevent the harm caused by drug misuse.
I voiced criticisms of several aspects of the government's approach, and you'll find my full speech in a blog post on this website.
Posted February 2016
I believe that politicians should strongly consider a new approach to drug laws – one which is evidence-based and which minimises harm and unnecessary criminalisation.
The arguments made by experts in the fields of criminal justice, pharmacology and drug rehabilitation should not be ignored.
I believe there should now be an all-encompassing inquiry into drug laws and the possibility of reform – and that the Government should accept what is recommended.
Public opinion is increasingly shifting to a view that the current situation is unacceptable, and around the world legislative reform is providing examples for our nation to consider.
Drug use can never be eradicated: the last eighty or so years of the War on Drugs has demonstrated that fairly clearly. There is a strong case to be made that legislative reform could produce circumstances where drug use is safer; where those who develop health problems have the support they need to recover; where organised crime is denied its main source of funding; and where criminalisation does not destroy opportunities for vulnerable people.