Drugs report at-a-glance
By BBC News – 22 May, 2002
Copyright: BBC News
The Commons home affairs select committee has called for a major shake-up of Britain’s drugs laws. Here are the key recommendations in its report.
Cannabis should be reclassified as a class C drug.
Ecstasy should be downgraded to become a class B drug.
Drugs policy should focus on the 250,000 “problem” users, mainly heroin addicts, who spend an average of £13,000 a year in crime money to feed their habit.
Harm reduction, not retribution, should be the main focus of drugs policy – something the government is taking “tentative” steps towards.
A supervised programme of carefully supervised heroin prescription, as happens in the Netherlands and Switzerland, should go on trial.
Safe injection rooms, designed to keep chronic heroin addicts off the streets, should be piloted.
A new offence of “supply for gain” should be created to reflect in penalties the difference between dealing and supplying drugs to friends for their personal use.
Decriminalising possession of drugs for personal use would send out the wrong message.
One day the balance may tip in favour of legalising some currently illegal drugs but the committee does not recommend that move now.
Cocaine should stay as a class A drug but more treatment places must be created.
Government should “substantially” increase its funding for treatment of heroin addicts.
Prescribing diamorphine, rather than methodone, for treating heroin addiction should be properly assessed.
The government should urgently review the laws on how community chemists dispense controlled drugs, like methodone, because of fears of outdated rules.
The last 30 years shows policies wholly or mainly based on enforcing drugs laws are “destined to fail”.
Education programmes should be realistic and preferably delivered by someone with “street credibility”, such as recovered addict.