Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat who quit his Home Office job earlier this year claiming it was “like walking through mud”, has released details of proposed drugs policy reforms that he says Home Secretary Theresa May suppressed.
When he left, he said the will “to take forward rational evidence-based policy” had been in “short supply”, referring in particular to a Home Office report published in October, which found “no obvious” link between tough penalties and levels of illegal drug use.
He has now outlined his backing for three suggestions which he said the Home Office had drawn up:
- Treating addicts with prescribed heroin under clinical supervision
- A “Portuguese model” in which those who commit minor drug offences are offered treatment rather than facing criminal charges
- Medicinal use of cannabis for certain conditions.
Mr Baker said the Tories were unwilling to consider these “reasonable, practical and proportionate proposals”.
The Home Office, inevitably, has insisted that the current drugs strategy is working.
This writer disputes that claim in relation to these ideas.
While the proposal for prescribed heroin is not one on which Yr Obdt Srvt feels qualified to comment, the other two possibilities show definite merit. Certainly treatment would be better than locking people up in prison – unless the Tories feel obliged to fill all these private prisons they’ve been permitting, here there and everywhere?
And as for medicinal use of cannabis – why would anybody want to oppose the use of a drug to improve people’s health?
Every day we are learning more reasons to vote against the Conservatives in May.
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