Report: No link between tough laws and drug use

There is no 'obvious relationship' between tough drug laws and levels of drug use, according to a new report.

There is no ‘obvious relationship’ between tough drug laws and levels of drug use, according to a new report.

The report looked at how 13 countries approached drug use and compared them to the UK.

While the report found drug use was influenced by factors ‘more complex and nuanced than legislation and enforcement alone’, it also noted that there had been a ‘considerable’ improvement in the health of drug users in Portugal since the country decriminalised drug possession in 2001.

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker said the findings should put an end to the ‘mindless rhetoric’ on drugs with a new focus on treatment.

However the Home Office said the outcomes of the study could not be attributed to decriminalisation alone and the government had ‘absolutely no intention of decriminalising drugs’.

A debate on the UK’s drug laws will take place in parliament today, triggered by a petition by Caroline Lucas MP which got close to 135,000 signatures. Any petition that gets more than 100,000 signatures has to be debated by MPs.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

9 Responses to “Report: No link between tough laws and drug use”

  1. uglyfatbloke

    Why would anyone want to change a legal structure that has already failed us utterly for 40 years and more?

  2. swat

    The Report is an ass, and should be binned. Its the sort of Report that would go down well in small minor countries like Denmark, but has absolutely no relevance to Britain a country of 70m people, with responsibilities to the International community, and a leader in democracy and a role model for morality.

  3. Dave Stewart

    A role model for morality? What is moral about locking up an addict in prison where their addiction problems will only get worse instead of treating them?

  4. Guest

    No surprise you dismiss data which doesn’t suit your prejudices.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Meanwhile, Portugal has a proven model, which does not involve legalising…

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    But instead the government are abolishing cautions and issuing criminal records on the police’s say-so on issues like this…

  7. Alan Ji

    Quite so.
    The possibility of criminal records and punishments is required to make some drug abusers accept treatment.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Well, I’m interested in outcomes, which are good.

    And it is acceptable to a significant percentage of the right precisely because it is NOT legalisation.

  9. uglyfatbloke

    If it had n’t been for a desperate desire to suck up to the Daily mail we would have seen the decriminalisation of cannabis (and access to it for those with medical needs) years ago. Instead the gangsters are making millions by growing and selling cannabis which does n’t have a natural balance of chemicals and is a relatively (though still marginal) threat to health. It’s basically no different in principle to the bath-tub gin problems that arose under US prohibition in the 1920s.

Leave a Reply