Independent body calls for a change in drug policies

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 18 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7044
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

A UK independent advisory body has called for a change in the law so that the possession of small amounts of controlled drugs would be a civil rather than a criminal offence.

The UK Drug Policy Commission report, A fresh approach to drugs, says that much of the £3bn (€3.7bn; $4.8bn) the UK spends annually on tackling illegal drug use may be wasted as it is not based on evidence. The six year study calls for a new body to be established to coordinate research and ensure that politicians and practitioners are aware of the evidence of what works. It says that drug policies should come under rigorous and continual scrutiny to ensure that they provide value for money.

The commission, made up of leading scientists, police officers and academics, says that the current ABC classification system for drugs has substantial weaknesses and for many people has lost credibility. It calls for a wholesale review of the Misuse of Drugs Act and for decisions about drug classification to be taken by an …

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