Health bodies call for drugs to be decriminalised

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Two leading public health organisations have called for the possession and personal use of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised in the UK.

The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health said the government’s approach to drugs policy had failed.

There should be a greater focus on treatment and education, they added.

The Home Office defended its record, saying drug misuse had declined over the past 10 years.

The report, called Taking A New Line On Drugs, said criminal sanctions failed to deter illegal drug use, undermined people’s life chances and could act as a barrier to addicts coming forward for help.

It called for a “sea change in approach” and said the UK should adopt the Portuguese system under which people caught using drugs were offered treatment and support rather than being punished.

However, dealers and suppliers would still be prosecuted.

‘New approach’

The report also suggested that drugs education be made mandatory, and that responsibility for drugs policy be moved from the Home Office to the Department of Health.

Health bodies call for drugs to be decriminalised

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