Decriminalising drugs such as heroin could lead to a world without fatal overdoses, the streets free from needles and no theft to feed addictions, according to Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Ron Hogg says the war on drugs has failed and that criminalising drug addicts has been a "destructive force in every conceivable arena".
He said the UK's drug policy denies "overwhelming evidence" and that drug addicts should receive the same help that those addicted to alcohol and gambling receive.
Ron Hogg, who previously backed the trial of a drugs room in Darlington where addicts could take drugs in safety, says the "isolation and persecution of addicts is uncivilised, unsuccessful, and too often wholly unaddressed". He says countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain had started to address it.
Last year Durham chief constable Mike Barton made the same claim when he said decriminalisation was the best way to wrestle power away from criminal gangs.