Tag Archives: legalisation

Norman Lamb: ‘It is ridiculous that we still put people in prison for personal drugs use’

Norman Lamb spoke last night in Newbury at a panel discussion on drugs misuse and our current drug laws.

Norman said that he has thought through the “drugs danger” and whether it should receive a criminal response or a health response. He said he has concluded that there should be a health response. He alluded to John Stuart Mill’s ‘self-regarding acts’, where the state shouldn’t interfere and ‘other-regarding acts’ where some state intervention may be justified. He said that it is wrong to criminalise those suffering mental ill health who resort to drugs because of their condition. It is “ridiculous”, Norman asserted, that we still put people in prison for personal drugs use.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: the lone maverick won’t change drugs policy. An army of moderates might.

As a passionate advocate of drugs policy reform, I was very excited on Wednesday evening about the prospect of a former drugs and defence minister coming out in favour of regulated drug supply. I thought someone with such experience could blow the debate wide open, and we could really start getting to grips with the issue as a nation. Sadly the debate that resulted was again loose and ill-defined. Was he talking about legalisation of all drugs, decriminalisation, prescription of heroin to addicts? Because the debate was poorly defined, it was allowed to spin out into sensationalism and I quickly got the sense that this wasn’t going to be the breakthrough I had hoped.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that drug policy reform is not going to happen soon if we are going to continue this trickling pattern of lone mavericks each proclaiming different varieties of the sensible, progressive message. What we need instead is for all these mavericks to get together with respected stakeholders and work to produce ONE message, one set of policies which can be held up as the first step. Reformers need to engage with other lobby groups outwith the major political parties whose activities aren’t closely monitored by the Daily Mail for any sign of intelligent (and therefore reprehensible) thought. We need to engage children’s charities and talk through how best reform can tackle issues of child neglect and abuse. We need to talk to police associations about how best to reduce serious organised crime and petty thefts. We should talk to retailers about the potential to massively reduce shoplifting. We should invite the teacher’s unions in to talk about how we close off criminal career opportunities for disadvantaged children and help them engage in education as their best means of advancement. Mental health charities can make vital inputs into breaking the links between depression and addiction or between cannabis and psychosis. The list of sensible influential groups who can contribute to the development of and subsequently support a single message of moderate reform could go on and on.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 20 Comments
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Recent Comments

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