Jeremy Browne sets off on global drugs policy research tour

Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne is in Portugal this week. As reported in the Guardian, he has embarked on a tour that will take him to Denmark, Sweden and the US to investigate different drugs policies before reporting his conclusions at the end of the year.

He is quoted as saying:

I’m proud of the UK’s drug policy and there are strong signs our approach is working. Illegal drug use is at its lowest level since records began and far more people are leaving treatment free from dependency than ever before.

But I’m not complacent. The UK cannot deal with this issue in isolation – my counterparts around the world are grappling with the same challenge of addressing the misery drugs inflict on individuals and communities and the considerable damage done globally by drug traffickers. I’m keeping an open mind about what lessons we can learn.

The Guardian gives a good round up of the drugs policies in operation on the stops on Jeremy’s tour, from Portugal’s decriminalisation to Sweden’s zero tolerance and Denmark’s regulated rooms where addicts can inject themselves.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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3 Comments

  • jenny barnes 15th May '13 - 3:13pm

    I’d like to understand his explanation of how the UK’s drugs policy is in any sense liberal or coherent.
    Alcohol & tobacco ok, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin not? Why? Legalise and tax the lot.
    We have the evidence; USA’s experience of alcohol prohibition.

  • From the guardian article:

    “Sweden
    Has the toughest zero-tolerance approach to illicit drug use in western Europe. It has been widely praised by Conservative politicians and by advocates of the “war on drugs” for its low levels of illicit drug use, especially cannabis. … Sweden is unusual in making drug use itself a criminal offence in 1988 “in order to signal a powerful repudiation by the community of all dealings with drugs.
    Denmark
    Copenhagen is filled at weekends with Swedes taking advantage of the fact that cannabis is easier to buy there and alcohol is cheaper. “

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