New RSPH/FPH report calls for drug use to be decriminalised

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Faculty of Public Health (FPH) have urged the government to consider the idea of decriminalising drug use in the UK.

Calling for the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised, the public health bodies say a broad package of measures should be adopted to move the UK's drugs strategy away from a criminal justice approach towards one based on health protection and harm reduction.

“The Royal Society for Public Health and Faculty of Public Health are calling for the use of illegal drugs to be decriminalised.“

Other recommendations included universal provision of evidence-based drugs education to young people in schools, shifting overall responsibility for drugs strategy from the Home Office to the Department of Health, and employing evidence-based drug harm profiles to inform enforcement priorities and public health messaging.

A poll of more than 2,000 UK adults found that 56 percent agreed drug users in their area should be referred to treatment, rather than charged with a criminal offence, with only 23 percent saying they disagreed.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said the government needs to "recognise that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support - not criminals in need of punishment".

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