Drug Policy

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Background
Drug Policy within the United Kingdom has been a highly controversial cross-cutting issue, encompassing all types of policy areas predominately Health and Justice departments. The current drug policy within the United Kingdom is dealt with from a criminal justice perspective by the Home Office and are dealt with under the Misuse of Drug Act (MDA) 1971. Currently under the MDA, both possession and supplying are dealt with as criminal offences. These controlled substances are categorised under three classes, A, B, and C. Class A is the most severe carrying a maximum possession sentence of seven years and lifetime imprisonment for supplying. Class C being the least severe with maximum sentence for possession of two years and fourteen
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The current system may lead to the lowering of drug usage however drug deaths are at an all-time high with the morality rate of 43.8 per million population with heroin and morphine death doubled since 2012, as recorded in a report by the Office for National Statistics(ONS). Public Policy Professor Wayne Parsons notes that after the 1997 UK General Election, much was made of evidence-based policy making (EBPM) by the Blair Administration, mentioned within a white paper called ‘Modernising Government’. Drug policy is a key policy area in which EBPM has not applied, the current policy aims to eradicate drug usage to reduce harm from drug usage. The evidence suggests that the policy is not working and we should adapt a different policy towards drug which reduced overall harm from drug usage in an age of …show more content…
Due to this in relation to the problems, this report’s policy goals it hopes to achieve is harm reduction. As noted by leading drug researcher Alison Ritter, harm reduction can be defined as a policy option and a group of different drug interventions. In terms of policy option, harm reduction typically means accepting usage of drugs and using a health framework to help people who need help. In contrast to current drug policy, harm reduction does not target lowering of drugs. This report identifies that the main goal of government drug policy should be harm reduction in terms of the individual and society. To do this we need to pursue a health based approach rather than a criminal justice approach. This position is advocated by after several decades fighting the ‘war on drugs’ we have not achieved government goal of elimination of drug usage. Peter Reuter acknowledges this is not a great position and we should focus on the harm reduction strategies that shall be laid out.
In terms of the secondary goal of overcrowding of prisons and due to the nature of the current austerity, we should aim to save money by finding ways to cut expenditure spent on dealing with the ‘War on Drugs’. The amount of money spent on the enforcement of Class A prohibition is estimated to be £15.3 billion in 2003/04 by Transform, a drug focused interest group. The money on spent

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