500 experts urge Home Office to take ‘public health approach’ to drugs

500 experts urge Home Office to take ‘public health approach’ to drugs
Cannabis Health News

An open letter urging the UK government to reconsider its proposals for harsher drug penalties, has been signed by 500 public health and criminal justice experts.  Leading public bodies including the Faculty of Public Health, Police Foundation and the British Medical Association, have expressed ‘serious concerns’ over proposals set out by the Home Office earlier this year to introduce tougher penalties for minor drug offences. The ‘Swift, Certain, Tough: New Consequences for Drug Possession’ white paper, released in July 2022, sets out the government’s proposals for a three-tier framework for drug possession offences, including cannabis. Focusing on what it describes as ‘so-called recreational users’, the approach could see repeat offenders risk having their driving licence or passport confiscated by law enforcement.  In an open letter UK drug reform organisations, Release, and Transform Drug Policy have condemned the proposals which they say go against an ‘overwhelming body of evidence’ and would ‘exacerbate a range of social and health harms’ by criminalising some of the most vulnerable people in society.  “The Home Office’s own research has stated that the £1.6 billion a year spent on drug law enforcement has little impact on drug availability,” the letter states. “Punishment and criminalisation of people who use drugs has repeatedly been shown to undermine health and life opportunities of the most vulnerable individuals and communities, fuelling stigma and discrimination, and creating obstacles to proven health and social interventions.” It also highlights how an increase in punitive policing targeting those who use drugs would require a ‘scaling up’ of policing, including stop and searches which disproportionately impact marginalised and ethnic minority communities, particularly Black people.  The letter adds: “These proposals will further undermine trust in law enforcement and already-strained community police relations.” A public health approach to drugs Instead, the organisation’s urge ministers to develop a…

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Source : 500 experts urge Home Office to take ‘public health approach’ to drugs

reposted by Cannabis News World

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