Submitted by Bristol Drug Action Team
Please find below responses collated by the
Bristol Drug Action Team from the different agencies and providers
associated with us. They do differ in opinion, which illustrates
the diverse nature of peoples views and highlights the difficulties
inherent in considering any drug laws.
2. No. There are limited resources available,
this generates insular attitudes vis-á-vis information
sharing and funding bids. There is limited acceptance of the skills
available in local communities to help resolve lots of problems.
3. No. General prohibition and the outlawing
of all drug use clearly have not reduced the use of these substances.
Instead it has criminalised this activity resulting in more harm
being caused to the individual and to the community for two main
reasons: (1) it can give a criminal record to even casual users
of "soft drugs", and (2) it drives the exchange of drugs
into the arms of organised crime.
4. Not for most stakeholders. The people
who have benefited most from the current policy are the criminals
who make huge profits from supply. The current policy makes no
logical sense; self-harm, attempted suicide, compulsive gambling
and alcoholism are all perfectly legal yet the use of a number
of drugs is not. I believe the laws should attend to the way people
behave towards each other, not on the contents of their pockets
or bloodstreams; harm to self should not be a crime, harm to others
5. The Government has good ideas such as
investing in treatment, but there must be a more consistent approach
as in America where treatment really is treatment. Criminal Justice
initiatives in the UK are likely to fail unless good quality effective
treatment is applied.
6. Speaking from a drug education perspective
things aren't working because:
There isn't a clear understanding
by UKADCU of the complexities of drug education and how it relates
to the National Healthy Schools Standard and the Personal, Social
and Health Education curriculum. The national targets are unrealistic
and too simplistic. The questions asked on the templates reflect
very little, if any understanding, of the difficulties involved
with the enormous process of training and informing teachers.
Money is coming down in many forms
and with little time guarantee and this makes the longer vision
very difficult to hold on to.
2. Dealers would have a field day. They
would create more drugs and probably advertise. "That's the
legal gearthis is the real stuff".
3. Difficult to say if availability is greater,
as it is likely to be, would demand increase, as this may depend
on what drugs we mean. But overall it might mean an increase in
the use of drugs at least in the shorter term.
4. In the initial stages (3-5 yrs) of decriminalisation
I would expect to see an increase in availability and demand,
although most users do not experience problems with availability
now. Following an initial surge in use demand would then diminish
below it's current levelssee the Dutch experience for evidence.
5. Decriminalisation will greatly increase
availability and demand.
2. No change. Chaotic individuals are prepared
to use anythingharmless or not.
3. This could be a big beneficiary as the
purity of drugs consumed could be more easily regulated.
4. Mortality rates will be proportional
to use, as above, unless decriminalisation is extended to legalisation
in which case deaths due to contaminants will fall dramatically.
5. Increase in availability = increase in
consumption = increase in deaths.
2. see (a).
3. Likewise crime is likely to reduce as
the purchase and consumption of drugs will not be an offence,
and more importantly people are less likely to have to commit
crime in order to obtain drugs.
4. Crime is directly proportional to price.
Decriminalisation would lower price and therefore crime. The current
prohibitionary policy is a very significant contributory factor
to drug related crime. The current policy creates, encourages
and sustains criminality.
5. Increase, new and more dangerous drugs
will be developed, crime will take on different directions.
1. No. Increase policing of known drug dealing
and heavy use. Maintain push to ensure everyone knows the downside
of drug and alcohol misuse. Continue increase in investment in
treatment and prevention services.
2. Really get to grips with poverty, deprivation
and in particular personal abuse. Until then decriminalisation
is a wasted opportunity.
3. Some attempt to take drug use away from
criminal activity has to be considered, as we can't go on spending
millions on treating the symptoms not the cause, particularly
as it seems to be so ineffective.
4. In my view decriminalisation is essential,
and there is no practical or just alternative.
5. No. Invest in effective residential rehabilitation