Top UK Doctor Calls For Drug Decriminalization

A leading doctor has advised the Government to consider decriminalising drugs as he thinks the blanket ban has failed to cut crime or improve health.

The call comes as chief police officers report a doubling in cases of homegrown cannabis.

A report by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said the amount of cannabis being grown in the UK is at its highest ever level.

Commander Allan Gibson, Acpo’s lead on tackling cannabis cultivation, told Sky News pressure must remain on drug growers.

“This is organised crime, it’s getting invovled in what they see is lucrative business,” he said.

“We need to make sure the risks to them are great – that they’re being found out and they’re crops are being taken away from them, but also the risk of going to prison and having their assets taken away from them.”

But Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, said drug laws should be “reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use”.

He told Sky News: “The problem is that this policy we have had for 40 years of saying that we do not want drugs in society just isn’t working.

“We cannot stop production from overseas and we cannot stop importation, but we can start treating heroin addiction as a medical condition.

“We see people in hospitals every day who are suffering not from heroin but from dirty needles, from impure supplies of the drug.

“There has been some really successful projects providing, not every addict, but the hard end of the spectrum – so to speak – with clean heroin under controlled conditions.

“It improves health, it gets them off of heroin and it stops the crime, it stops them stealing to feed the habit.”

Sir Ian conceded decriminalisation was a “difficult word” but added he was in favour of looking at a regulatory framework for illicit drugs rather than blanket prohibition.

Similar calls for reform of the UK’s drugs laws last month were criticised by some politicians and campaigners.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said the legalisation of drugs “would simply create the mistaken impression that these substances are not harmful, when in fact this is far from the truth”.

Sir Ian said: “I don’t think anybody thinks heroin is not harmful – far from it.”

The doctor added that evidence showed decriminalising heroin or other drugs “doesn’t increase the number of drug users”.

The aim was one of “helping people with addiction problems, rather than putting them in prison”.

Nicholas Green QC, chairman of the UK Bar Council, said: “A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences.

“It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health.

“All this can be achieved without any overall increase in drug usage. If this is so, then it would be rational to follow suit.”

The Acpo report found in just two years, the number of homegrown cannabis production bases has doubled.

They were most common in urban areas such asManchesterBirmingham andLondon – but West Yorkshire is where the most factories have been found.

Figures for 2009/10 showed 896 illegal commercial growing sites were found in the West Yorkshire Police area, compared to 368 in 2007/08.

The Acop report suggests the reasons behind the surge are twofold.

Firstly, more organised gangs are opening up new premises and secondly, there is better police detection.

Ordinary-looking homes are used by criminals, but research also shows industrial and commercial premises along with farm buildings are now being used to grow cannabis.

The drug was reclassified from class C to class B in 2009, the publicity led to better awareness in communities and in turn led to police receiving more intelligence from the public.

Commander Gibson said: “There’s no complacency here. We recognise it’s now spread to all force areas in the United Kingdom.

“We’re going to keep our foot on the pedal and we’re going to make sure we gather the best intelligence.

“We want to make sure we not just closing down the gardeners but the people behind them.

“We’re getting better at covert operations targetting them so they need to realise they are not safe in this business.”

Last month, former drugs adviser Professor David Nutt said the UK needed a radical new approach to drugs laws, which may include the regulated sale of some substances.

He added that he believed the criminal approach to drugs has failed spectacularly.

However, there was a reluctance to change because most politicians were scared of losing votes if they were to tell the truth about the failed drug policy.

Professor Nutt was fired by the Labour government after saying ecstasy was less harmful than alcohol.

Home Office spokesman said: “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.

“The Government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach.

“Our priorities are clear: we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good.”

– Article from Sky News.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. Interested Observer on

    They’re not mis-spelled if you live in any country which speaks the Queen’s english. I know you Americans like to think you speak for everybody but you don’t. This article is about the UK so the spelling is appropriate. Sorry to be as pedantic as you but it had to be said.

  2. Anonymous on

    These kind of idiots who post, these kind of articles.
    About “ever so close to legalization”
    But these pretty little buds, are just no cigar BUDDY! or a joint.

    This topic is just to get peoples hopes up.
    Your better off, buying a camcorder. Riding every bus or subway train.
    And record people in a rut about to argue.
    Or hard drugs being sold on the street cops fail to reconize.
    Yet they always have a marijuana bust, while cocaine is being sold in every city.

    The way to get your idea farthest, is to go to every pond.
    Record the dirty ponds, no one takes care of.
    Where fish are dead floating.
    Kind of like whats happening to this world being fliped upside down many different ways by this awful world.

    Peace
    I thought the U.S. Army said, everyone be aggressive and throw peace out the window.

  3. Anonymous on

    The drug stores sell more meth than meth dealers. Almost every cold medication is made of the ingredients for crystal meth, one of the most dangerous and illegal with harsh penalties. The law sells you meth for your cold!!! DOn’t compare because if you eat double dose cold pills you get pretty wired. But smoking one to clear up your sinus and relax, loosen your phlegm, gain some appetite to process food that HEALS you is not allowed by this PUPPET and most of the worlds puppets of Adam & Eve’s guilt trip!!!!! Suppress your appetite with cold pills, which is a Catch 22, food heals, cold pills starve you!!
    The only forbidden fruit is Harpers dirty ass that he let the priest rape! Advertise Crank next to Liquor Harper you PUPPET, your on a set of strings which will be cut when you pass away.

  4. Anonymous on

    Cyborgs, more like back pain advertisements showing a puppet with strings and a needle in the spine, these are advertisements and they have no problem showing the patient as a puppet on a string, a marionette. A slave of the current drug laws. Pharmaceutical Co’s just love it. We also get alcohol advertisements almost every commercial break on some channels. But if I complain, I will be told I watch too much TV. Too bad Harper puts on make-up to show his face on the same thing! The drug store is usually built next to the liquor store. Lets advertise to the passers by that liquor & chemicals is a good combo. Fuck the LAW’s cannabis demonizing addiction. Go suck your priests cock Harper, and your kids! They can try some meth or crack. Tell them what that is!

  5. Anonymous on

    I love this site but organized is spelled with a “z” not “s”

    As is decriminalized.

    Please begin to use the letter “z”

    Otherwise, keep up the good work!

  6. Anonymous on

    Thank you Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Nicholas Green, QC, chairman of the UK Bar Council.

  7. Anonymous on

    Some pretty ignorant comments, how much the law wants to keep it considered dangerous, the drug, the growing conditions, the product…??? What the F is Heroin taking over the topic through half this article? You know, JOdie and Marc running this site might need to know they are obsessed with propaganda after all this and you just realize you’re helping the negativity, is this a good thing, to show the truth, or will this set us all up for a torture session for being a criminal because of cannabis???? Go suck your doctors prescription of potentially fatal addictive synthetics to your prostate cancer pills Harper!!!!!! Because you are a robot? Is that your goal, to make cyborgs with fake cell structure from plastic pills??? Go drink some paint thinner, oh, we can, buy that and the same thing at the liquor store. Dirty needles are for dirty people, if you like AIDS, then at least one population control tactic is working..???

  8. PeyotePal on

    What receives more votes? Being tough on crime OR being lax on drugs?

    Politicians don’t go for these kinds of facts. It can only lose them votes.

    I hate the people that run our countries. Hypocritical is right …

    1) Ask a politician why POT is illegal …
    2) The politician will say ‘because it is harmful’
    3) Then ask the politician for the proof
    4) The politician will inevitably say “I can’t provide irrefutable test evidence because pot is illegal”

    Honest-to-goodness researchers can’t do valid testing on this because law makers that are stuck in the mud, only because they (the politicians and law makers) can’t evolve their way of thinking.

    It is literally the Dark Ages that we live in. We simply do not realize it.

  9. Paul Goodman on

    I notice whenever they discuss the negatives of cannabis, alcohol is never mentioned. The time for change is now. Are you listening Harper!