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Experts urge illegal drug rethink

The independent body that analyses drug laws says using illegal drugs is like gambling or eating junk food. After a six-year study it wants the government to rethink its approach.

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Parliament must change drug penalties, report says

The UKDPC called for Parliament "to revisit the level of penalties applied to all drug offences and particularly those concerned with production and supply", but stopped short of calling for the decriminalisation or legalisation of most drugs.

The report, titled A Fresh Approach to Drugs, said:

We do not believe that there is sufficient evidence at the moment to support the case for removing criminal penalties for the major production or supply offences of most drugs.

But the commission said policy makers were failing to deal effectively with drugs - amid the rapid creation of new substances. The report added:

Seeing all drug use as invariably problematic can reduce the cost-effectiveness of policy. Just like with gambling or eating junk food, there are some moderately selfish or risky behaviours that free societies accept will occur and seek to limit to the least damaging manifestations, rather than to prevent entirely. Taking drugs does not always cause problems, but this is rarely acknowledged by policy makers.

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