The war on drugs is a civil war and it's time to call a halt, writes Kenny MacAskill MSP
Our Director Richard Garside was one of more than 80 individuals and organisations who signed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for a review of the United Kingdom's approach to illegal drugs.
The letter was organised by drugs charity Release and published yesterday as part of the Global Day of Action, to raise awareness of the harms caused by the war on drugs. It points out that in the past 15 years, over 1.5 million people have been criminalised in the UK for drugs possession.
The number of deaths due to so-called legal highs has been misrepresented, according to Professor David Nutt, chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.
Writing in The Lancet with long-term collaborator Dr Les King, the former government drugs adviser claims that 'twice as many people die every day as a result of alcohol than die in a whole year as a result of legal highs'.
As part of our Justice Matters initiative we are challenging people to think about a criminal justice practice, policy or institution to abolish or abstain from. It can be conventional or unconventional – the choice is up to you. The challenge isn’t just about abolishing something. We are keen to build alternatives – so we want to encourage people to put forward ideas for something positive.
Alcohol probably poses the biggest drugs harm challenge today, according to a new briefing from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. In Estimating drug harms: a risky business, Professor David Nutt, of Imperial College London argues that the relative harms of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are greater than those of a number of illegal drugs, including cannabis, LSD and ecstasy.
The report evaluates the criminal justice record of the Conservative-led coalition since it was formed after the May 2010 election. It examines its overall promises and performance, and focuses on some key topics of penal policy, assessing the heralded 'rehabilitation revolution', marketisation and drug control.