Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature War on Drugs

Parents against prohibition: campaigning for drug law reform

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 19 April 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j1876

Rapid Response:

Decriminalisation should not lead to destigmatisation

A public education campaign bordering on scaremongering, and more importantly "social exclusion and social stigmatisation" of the tobacco smokers has contributed to the significant decrease in nicotine addiction.[1].[2].

Where is the evidence for calling for a different approach for dealing with addiction to other drugs?. Unless there is robust evidence to support a different approach, Decriminalisation should not lead to destigmatisation of substance misuse . Better access to addiction treatment and personalised compassionate care does not need destigmatisation at population level. It should be "un-cool" to misuse drugs.

1 Mayor S. Smoke-free zones and higher taxes reduce smoking in young people, US study finds. BMJ 2015;351:h4814. doi:10.1136/bmj.h4814

2 Mayor S. Smokers are more likely to quit as smoking prevalence decreases, study shows. BMJ 2015;350:h3447. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3447

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 April 2017
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust