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Should drugs be decriminalised? Yes

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:966
  1. Kailash Chand, general practitioner
  1. Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire OL6 9QH
  1. Kailash.Chand{at}

    Recent government figures suggest that the UK drug treatment programmes have had limited success in rehabilitating drug users, leading to calls for decriminalisation from some parties. Kailash Chand believes that this is the best way to reduce the harm drugs cause, but Joseph Califano thinks not

    There is a way that the UK government could more than halve the prison population, prevent burglaries and prostitution, rip the heart out of organised crime, and free up millions of hours of police time. Yet politicians, terrified of the rightwing press, would never dare to suggest the legalisation, regulation, and control of the drugs market, even though it could save lives and bring an end to the needless criminalisation of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Even downgrading cannabis—a tiny step in the right direction—is now being reconsidered.

    Prohibition drives crime

    Prohibition as a policy has failed. Just look at the US, where hundreds of thousands of people have been …

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