Health Technology News

Home Office: Drugs must remain illegal to ‘protect society’

Read Time:2 Minute, 28 Second

Government clashes with one of England’s leading police officers who says Class A drugs should be decriminalised

Charlie Cooper

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Drugs are dangerous and must remain illegal to “protect society” the Government has insisted, after one of England’s leading police officers called for Class A drugs to be decriminalised.

Mike Barton, chief constable of Durham police, said that drugs could be made available to addicts through the NHS, in a controlled supply system that would cut off the income streams of criminal gangs.

His intervention adds weight to growing calls for an overhaul of UK drug policy. Leading figures in health, including England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, have called for drug addiction to be viewed primarily as a medical, not a criminal, problem. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the influential Home Affairs Select Committee have both backed calls for a Royal Commission to look at options for reform.

However, a Home Office spokesman emphasised the dangers of illicit drug use and said that the current approach had seen a decline in drug use.

Writing in The Observer, Mr Barton, who is the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) Intelligence lead, said that drug addicts “need to be treated, cared for and encouraged to break the cycle of addiction. They do not need to be criminalised.”

“If an addict were able to access drugs via the NHS or some similar organisation, then they would not have to go out and buy illegal drugs,” he said. Those who encouraged others to take drugs by selling them should still be “tackled” as criminals, he said.

ACPO have distanced themselves from Mr Barton’s comments. Andy Bliss, chief constable of Hertfordshire police and ACPO’s lead on drug-related crime said that questions over drug legislation were “matters for parliament to decide” and appeared to urge caution over the message any softening of drug policy would send.

“Government policy on drugs enforcement is very clear and unambiguous and our job as police officers is to enforce the law…” he said. “We need in particular to be very thoughtful about setting clear boundaries, especially for young people, in relation to drugs, their misuse and criminal activity surrounding them.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Drugs are illegal because they are dangerous – they destroy lives and blight communities…The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear, we must help individuals who are dependent by treatment, while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply and tackling the organised crime that is associated with the drugs trade.”

However the drugs policy reform group Transform Drug Policy Foundation welcomed Mr Barton’s comments. “We are delighted to see a serving chief constable who is willing to stand up and tell the truth – prohibition doesn’t work,” said the group’s founder Danny Kushlick.

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

One thought on “Home Office: Drugs must remain illegal to ‘protect society’

  1. There appears to be a dichotomy between the way that the Police and Home Office think when attempting to combat the ever-growing problem of class ‘A’ drug addiction in Britain, now the ‘official’ European drug capital of the EU.

    For the outcry today to decriminalise all class ‘A’ drugs by the chief constable of Durham Police has both credence and hypocrisy mixed together when we look at the police and the Home Office’s past record on this issue. Treatment is definitely the only way forward to reduce the problem significantly, but where the present regimes of ‘maintenance’ and treatment are just not working effectively enough to stop the dire addition rise in the UK. But where both senior police officers in England, Scotland and Wales together with the Home Office have totally shunned the introduction into the UK of the Vietnamese ‘cure’ for class ‘A’ drug addiction even though this humane treatment has also no ‘cold turkey’ – no other treatment in the world has this prerequisite benefit to get hard addicts off drugs and why it is so successful in Vietnam. Indeed now this scientifically produced curative treatment is rapidly taking over in Vietnam within their NHS from methadone et al as more and more drug addicts are cured by the week with no side effects as the medication is from non-addictive plant extracts that is now synthesised in modern pharmaceutical capsules. But what seems to be the situation in the UK is that the police and Home Office are hand in glove here and where the powerful pharmaceutical companies do not want this cure to be introduced into Britain as they know that it will clearly affect their bottom-line. On the one hand they make public outcries but on the other they ignore the treatment that can literally cure and solve the problem to a great extent. But added to this, top government ministers in both the present government and the last government know of this ‘unique’ treatment but where they have denied access for the people of Britain. Why politically have they done this is the big question as crime and human suffering would be dramatically reduced overnight? The only answer must be that the giant pharmaceutical groups are pulling the strings but which causes great harm to the British people.

    Dr David Hill
    Chief Executive
    World Innovation Foundation

    Ps. You might respectfully visit also for an insight of what is going on behind the scenes. You might then realise that things are not as they seem.