Tuesday, 16th October 2012
UK: A Fresh Approach to Drugs: the final report of the UK Drug Policy Commission
Source: UK Drug Policy Commission
From the Executive Summary:
Contrary to popular opinion, levels of drug use have actually been declining in the UK over recent years. Injecting drug use, and the numbers with heroin and crack problems, have recently started to decrease in England. This has been driven by a fall in numbers in the younger age groups using heroin. Cannabis is still the most commonly used drug, yet its use has also been declining for several years. Overall stimulant use has remained steady although the drugs in fashion may change. Yet despite these encouraging falls in numbers, a higher proportion of people in the UK appear to consume drugs than in many other countries.
At the moment, drug policy in the UK is based on taking measures to reduce the supply and demand for drugs, and increasing the rates of recovery of those dependent on drugs. There have been some important successes. For example, rates of HIV among injecting drug users are amongst the lowest in the world thanks to harm reduction approaches, such as needle and syringe exchanges. The number of people receiving treatment for drug problems has also steadily increased.
Yet there are policies where there is very little evidence that they work or they have been cost-effective. This is not to say that they do not work, but that we do not have sufficient information to make an informed judgement. Some policies also end up having counter-productive effects. For example, sending drug users to prison without appropriate support either inside or on their release, may lead to a higher risk of death, reduced risk of recovery because their treatment is disrupted or they have nowhere suitable to live afterwards, as well as the impact on their families.
+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 1.6 MB)
By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
Adrian can be reached at email@example.com
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