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  1. ITV Report

Former undercover officer on why police should 'declare peace' in war on drugs

A former undercover policeman has told ITV News why he believes there is "no policing solution" to reducing illegal drug use in Britain.

Neil Woods said the only way to "win this war" is by declaring a peace since the "whole criminal market only exists because of prohibition."

His response comes as a mother who has lost her son to ecstasy expressed scepticism towards any "situation where there is no criminal option".

Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, who is against regulation, lost her son, Daniel, in 2014 after he took MDMA at a rave.

Speaking to ITV News, she said: "Clearly the situation at the moment isn't solving the issues that it needs to and young people and not-so-young people are coming to harm far too often.

"But I think it needs a multilayered approach and the response we've made is to set up a drug and education charity... just to make sure that young people are equipped to face the choices that come their way."

While Woods agreed with her about increasing education around drug use, he also argued that having a regulated product would "take the power away from organised crime."

He said: "We're only going to win this war by declaring a peace...the whole criminal market only exists because of prohibition, because we've banned these products.

"And there is no policing solution to drugs.

"Yes we need education but without having any government control to what's in the product, we don't know what we're educating about.

In 2016 there were 2,593 registered deaths in England and Wales related to drug misuse.

This is an increase of 5% on 2015 and 58% higher than 2006, and is currently at its highest level since comparable records began in 1993.