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Drugs report looks destined to languish on ministers’ shelves

10 December 2012

8:56 AM

10 December 2012

8:56 AM

The Home Affairs Select Committee spent a year on its drugs inquiry, and its hefty report is finally published today. During the inquiry, MPs heard from charities, ministers, and Russell Brand, who called committee member Michael Ellis his ‘mate’ during evidence.

But the committee members haven’t had such a matey response from ministers. The Home Office has already made clear that it doesn’t believe the ‘Drugs: Breaking the Cycle’ report’s central recommendations need to be enacted. The committee wanted a Royal Commission to ‘consider the best ways of tackling drugs policy in an increasingly globalised world’. It also suggested that decriminalisation ‘merits significantly closer consideration’, the idea that has unsurprisingly received the most attention in the press this morning.

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The Home Office isn’t just questioning those ideas: its minister, Jeremy Browne, made it clear he doubted the underlying assumption in the report that the department’s drugs policy is currently failing. Appearing a few minutes ago on the Today programme, he said:

‘It is not true to say that we are making no progress on drugs. There have been dramatic falls in the amounts of drug consumption and the harm caused by drugs… The average age of heroin addicts because fewer young people are coming on stream… We have a growing problem with the drugs that are legal… and we have a diminishing problem with the drugs that are illegal.’

Browne was careful to praise the report repeatedly during his interview on the Today programme, saying ‘it’s a responsible and thoughtful and thought-provoking report’, but its clear that it will be sitting thoughtfully on his shelf in the Home Office, rather than sparking any action that comes anywhere close to a Royal Commission.

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  • Skiptheburntkangaroo

    What are the figures for people committing violent crimes whilst stoned? Does anyone know?

  • http://twitter.com/NiceTeaParty NiceTeaParty

    And yet again the call goes up. Legalise the Spliff.

    More often than not from the 70s generation who came of age and entered the chattering classes when, well, what went on in the Cannabis smoke filled Green Rooms stayed in the Green Rooms.

    And so demands for a Royal Commission. To teach us all the obvious.

    That Dope today ain’t like Dope back then – less aphrodisiac of the age of Aquarius and more High Powered fast track to schizophrenia and beyond.

    That taking a line today ain’t like it used to be – less recreational drug of choice for the bankers and barristers and more bloody than a blood splattered diamond from the bloodiest of conflict zones.

    That while some seem to be able to puff and snort their way around the race track of life others are thrown into the gutter of human depravity.

    So by all means be creative. Offer better rehab. Offer ‘get out of jail if..’ cards. Offer clear alternatives to criminalisation.

    But never forget that the 60s, 70s and even 80s were a far gentler age with a far gentler kind of drug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clever.jake.5 Clever Jake

    There has been several drug UK government enquiries that have said to either legalise or decriminalise drugs and the government is yet again ignoring these reports in a dictator type fashion similar to Mugabe’s rule of law. So it’s the same old story with the police arresting good decent plebs who want to get high whilst rich people, celebrities and MP’s can consume all the drugs they want to and not go to jail. David Cameron and Boris Johnson used cocaine for several years and because they are not plebs they never had to encounter the wrath of the law. It,s no wonder that they are ignoring this new enquiry since they must want to keep all the ‘high’ grade drugs for themselves and to make sure that that plebs don’t get their grubby little hands on them.

  • andagain

    Browne was careful to praise the report repeatedly during his interview
    on the Today programme, saying ‘it’s a responsible and thoughtful and
    thought-provoking report’

    So they are going to ignore it completely, then?

  • hmmmmm

    Wow – a Minister burying his head in the sand – what a shock.

  • paranormal-palace

    they are lying when they say drug consumption is down, perhaps there are fewer heroin addicts now that 20 yrs ago, but when it comes to cannabis, the local gangs are growing it here in the UK everywhere, no need to import anymore , therefore consumption has gone up dramatically, despite the governments efforts, also the black market created by illegal cannabis is adding to gun crime and public health risks due to contaminants, add to that the tax payers money for policing that doesn’t work, and jailing costs money,
    then the knock on effects of people with criminal records can’t get a job etc etc.
    This Government makes me want to puke

    • Colonel Mustard

      There is no gun crime. Mr Blair and his fellow travellers banned the ownership of handguns in Britain so there cannot be any gun crime.

      • paranormal-palace

        hahahaha sarcasm right ?
        here In Liverpool we have almost 2 a week

    • David Lindsay

      Always reverse the statistic. For example, if one in five secondary school pupils is using illegal drugs, then that means that four out of five are not doing so. Just as two thirds were not doing so 10 years ago, when one third was. Illegal drug use has never been normal, and it is becoming more and more abnormal all the time.

      There has never been a War On Drugs. For 40 years now, there has been no serious attempt whatever to enforce this country’s drug laws. It is very high time, so to speak, that there were. That is obviously what most of the rising generation wants, or at the very least would have no reason to fear. Therefore, the ageing yuppies and the aged hippies had better prepare themselves for it.

      Of course, such a war can only be waged on solidly anti-capitalist principles: the State is under an absolute moral obligation to ensure that there is no “free” market in drugs, any more than is, say, prostitution; the oft-cited figure of one man in 20 “using a sexual service”, or whatever we are supposed to call it, leaves 19 out of 20 who are not doing so. Based on the figure for drugs, the smaller number will fall, not rise, over the coming decade. Always reverse the statistic.

      • paranormal-palace

        “There has never been a War On Drugs. For 40 years now, there has been no serious attempt whatever to enforce this country’s drug laws. It is very high time, so to speak, that there were.”

        Medicinal or recreational use of cannabis should not be a crime in the first place is the point you seem to have missed.

        “Illegal drug use has never been normal, and it is becoming more and more abnormal all the time.”

        Cannabis has been used for thousands of years, and is considered normal until somebody makes it illegal then it’s demonised ?

        “the State is under an absolute moral obligation to ensure that there is no “free” market in drugs”

        Which is why it should be taxed and controlled.

        Goodness only knows where your statistics come from, but it’s pretty obvious as I stated in the previous post, that cannabis is now grown locally in the UK en masse, don’t you read the papers ?
        So it doesn’t take a genius to work out more people are using it than before when it was illegally imported.
        The gangsters are making cash now that the government should be making for us to spend on important things like education , medicine etc etc, cannabis would be a great source of tax.
        I cannot think of one reason why criminal activity is drawn towards cannabis other than that it is illegal.
        If it were dangerous and harmful like tobacco or alcohol, then why is Glaxo and Smithkline making it artificially to treat MS patients ?

        • David Lindsay

          “Medicinal or recreational use of cannabis should not be a crime in the first place is the point you seem to have missed.”

          No, it is a point with which I happen not to agree.

          “Cannabis has been used for thousands of years, and is considered normal until somebody makes it illegal then it’s demonised?”

          No.

          “Goodness only knows where your statistics come from”

          This Report’s proponents on Radio Four.

          “why is Glaxo and Smithkline making it artificially to treat MS patients?”

          An active ingredient would be identifiable, and that ought to be isolated and utilised. You don’t just eat bark for a headache. Well, perhaps you do. But we normal people do not. Just as normal people do not take illegal drugs. That is a fact.

          • paranormal-palace

            “so that you have no idea how to cope with any other reaction to your whims.”
            In this particular case my reaction is to laugh, you have zero right to have an opinion about “my whims” let alone a say in what they may be, as long as they don’t affect you.

            • David Lindsay

              They most certainly do. The affect society as a whole. Which has a right to be protected from them. If you will, a right to be protected from you.

              • paranormal-palace

                I wish my whims did affect society, sadly they don’t, I don’t have many actually, one of them is not being dictated to, it’s not why my dad fought Rommel you know, perhaps you would be more comfortable living in the United Arab Emirates

                • David Lindsay

                  My father was at El Alamein, so don’t even think about it.

                  Cannabis use is endemic in the Gulf. You are the one who would be happier there than here. In fact, Dubai is very much the city for you.

                • paranormal-palace

                  British man facing death penalty in Abu Dhabi

                  A British man has been sentenced to death in Abu Dhabi after being caught selling cannabis worth just £250 to an undercover policeman.

                  By Suzanne Fenton in Dubai and Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent

                  8:16PM BST 26 Jun 2012

                  beginning to think your either just really dumb or a troll ?
                  Your’e being summarily spanked in every way in this debate yet keep coming back for more, what a riot you must be at parties.

                • David Lindsay

                  On the contrary, every time that you say anything, you prove my point: that those who engage the extremely, and increasingly, uncommon antisocial criminality that is illegal drug use have been allowed to monopolise this debate over two generations, and can respond with nothing but hysterical abuse when confronted with any opinion other than their own, their own having been formed in brains affected by illegal drug use.

                • paranormal-palace

                  haven’t seen any hysterical abuse, I’m honestly really not sure if your stupid or a troll, it has to be one, no normal person thinks like that, or maybe you’re a drug dealer ? I mean that would explain why you want to keep them illegal.

                • David Lindsay

                  We are the normal people. You are not. That is just a fact.

                • paranormal-palace

                  ahaa got it..just troll

                • David Lindsay

                  Keep telling yourself that, luv.

                  Even David Cameron, who supported the decriminalisation of cannabis 10 years ago when he was on the Home Affairs Select Committee, now sees things our way.

                  It really is fascinating that you sincerely believe anyone who does not take the uncritically pro-drugs line must just be doing it for effect. My point is proved yet again: you people have had a complete monopoly on this debate for decades on end, to the point of honestly assuming that yours is the only opinion on drugs. Not even the only acceptable opinion. The only opinion that really exists.

                • paranormal-palace

                  and finally, if the thumbs up are anything to go bye, you lost this debate before you even made your first post.

  • Colonel Mustard

    The government could save a lot of public money by not commissioning any reports or enquiries on the basis that they will produce recommendations which it either does or does not want to hear. The output won’t change the preferred and often pre-determined course of action so don’t waste taxpayers money on a pointless exercise.

    The same for “consultations” which are often just fig leaves.

  • Jon Harris

    Here is a problem with decimalising marijuana. If more people smoke joints, tobacco consumption and smoking will go up.

    • hmmmm

      yeah but if they decriminalise it rather than decimalise it what will that do?

    • El_Sid

      But people will consume less if they buy tenths rather than eighths.

      • http://twitter.com/ianwalkeruk Ian Walker

        First you decimalised the coinage, and now you want to decimalise the pot? How will our kids learn mental arithmetic?

    • Daniel Maris

      Decimalising? What are you on? 🙂

  • Daniel Maris

    I would surprised to be told on the radio today that drug use among young people had declined from something like 33% to 20%. Anyone know the story behind that? Are we talking funny figures?

    • Andrew SW18

      Anyone who believes any ministerial figures at any time is clearly taking substance of the very highest quality.

      • Daniel Maris

        Is Radio 4 habit-forming? 🙂 A friend of mine’s being doing “Naughtie” and “Humphries” for a few months and he seems fine. He says I ought to try it.

    • David Lindsay

      Why were you surprised?

  • NorthernGrouse

    Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them…

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