Insights from the UK and beyond
How should Britain prosecute its drugs strategy?
Britain’s drug strategy is under the spotlight following the UK Drug Policy Commission’s (UKDPC) recommendation that there is too much energy spent on arresting drug dealers and not enough on reducing harm to communities.
Latest figures show that nearly 90,000 people were arrested in England and Wales for drug offences, with over one billion pounds spent on law enforcement, with £17.6 billion the estimated cost of the UK drug markets.
The report questions whether it is worth arresting a drug dealer if a more violent individual replaces him.
“Drug law enforcement is clearly not limited to the traditional role of arresting as many dealers as possible in anticipation of reducing supply,” said UKDPC chief executive Roger Howard.
“Drug markets will inevitably remain, and some enforcement agencies are beginning to prioritise their resources and efforts to curb the most harmful aspect of these.
“But to do this means having a much bigger picture of the harms being created and much better evaluation of the real impact and value for money of enforcement.”
What do you think of the UKDPC’s recommendations? Is the UK’s drug enforcement policy clever and nimble enough? Or is there a danger of the police going “softly, softly” on drug dealers by pursuing more innovative approaches?