Drug policy think tank Transform have published their reform manifesto for the upcoming UK election.
‘A Manifesto for Drug Policy Reform: Protecting Families, Reducing Crime,’ includes recommendations intended to reduce drug related harms that are inadvertently permitted by current UK policy:
Reform is an inevitable response to the failings of the punitive prohibitionist model of drug control which empowers organised crime, fuels disease, death and violence, endangers young people and families, and shatters communities. In the UK this is most graphically demonstrated by record levels of drug-related deaths three years in a row – now leaving around fifty families bereaved each week.
Transform’s recommendations are as follows:
1 End the criminalisation of people who use drugs
Transform argue that decriminalising the possession of drugs reduces the violence associated with the criminal market, rather than increasing use. See Transform’s report – Decriminalisation of people who use drugs: Reducing harm, improving health, helping the vulnerable and releasing resources.
2 Fully fund proven, cost-effective prevention, treatment and harm reduction – including drug consumption rooms and heroin assisted treatment
The think tank propose the introduction of drug consumption rooms and heroin assisted treatment as crucial harm reduction additions to the likes of methadone prescription and needle exchange programmes.
3 Legalise and strictly regulate cannabis for over 18s
Legal regulation of cannabis would eradicate the criminal market, Transform argue, and would go further to protect young people from associated harms by being placed under governmental control.
4 Review the impacts of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA) and UK drug policy
Transform propose a reevaluation of the MDA, which they believe has both failed in its bid to protect the public from drug related harms, whilst also evading governmental scrutiny in the face of growing evidence in favour of its being overhauled.
5 Reformulate UK drug laws to allow the incremental legal regulation of drugs
For Transform, cannabis regulation is a stepping stone towards the regulation of other drugs. Such measures would, they propose, ‘prioritise health and public safety.’
Transform – based in Bristol – is a charitable think tank that campaigns both in the UK and globally for the legal regulation of drugs.
Calum Armstrong is Staff Writer and Editor at VolteFace. Tweets @vf_calum