Home Affairs Committee Launches New Inquiry Into Drugs

    From the www.parliament.uk website

    29th November 2011

    Call for written evidence


    The Committee will undertake a comprehensive review of drugs policy in the new year. The Committee will examine the effectiveness of the Government’s 2010 drugs strategy and the UK Government’s contribution to global efforts to reduce the supply and demand of illicit drugs. Specifically, the Committee will consider:

    • The extent to which the Government’s 2010 drug strategy is a ‘fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights’ in line with the recent recommendation by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
    • The criteria used by the Government to measure the efficacy of its drug policies
    • The independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the government
    • Whether drug-related policing and expenditure is likely to decrease in line with police budgets and what impact this may have
    • The cost effectiveness of different policies to reduce drug usage
    • The extent to which public health considerations should play a leading role in developing drugs policy
    • The relationship between drug and alcohol abuse
    • The comparative harm and cost of legal and illegal drugs
    • The impact of the transfer of functions of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to Public Health England and how this will affect the provision of treatment
    • The availability of ‘legal highs’ and the challenges associated with adapting the legal framework to deal with new substances
    • The links between drugs, organised crime and terrorism
    • Whether the UK is supporting its global partners effectively and what changes may occur with the introduction of the national crime agency
    • Whether detailed consideration ought to be given to alternative ways of tackling the drugs dilemma, as recommended by the Select Committee in 2002 (The Government’s Drugs Policy: Is It Working?, HC 318, 2001–02) and the Justice Committee’s 2010 Report on justice reinvestment (Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment, HC 94, 2009–10).”

    Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Tuesday 10 January 2012. Submissions should be no longer than 2,500 words. Further advice on making a submission can be found below.

    Oral evidence sessions will be held in early 2012: further announcements will be made in due course.


    I think that this a hugely significant  move, particularly the reference to the Global Commission on Drug Policy as the very first item.

    It proves that all the campaigning has had an effect, that we were not wasting our time.   Everyone who has worked on and supported the CLEAR campaign deserves their share of credit for this, as do all the other drug law reform organisations.

    This is the way that change happens.  If the committee comes out with the right sort of recommendations it will give the government the opportunity to change course and save face.  That is what matters to our political leaders more than anything else.

    Naturally, I shall prepare a submission from CLEAR and I very much hope to be able to give evidence.

    We are making progress!

    • http://twitter.com/defendants A quiet man

      what will stop the government from just leaving any recommendations to gather dust ? thats what they have always done in the past 

    • http://twitter.com/Smokyfrog Paul Nagle

      It’s good to keep trying. I mean, once upon a time people were persecuted for being gay and that took a long time to fix. I wonder if future politicians will apologise to those locked up for doing no other harm than getting high? 
      In the meantime, a government spokesman puts his fingers in his ears and goes “la la la laaaaaaaaa”…

    • Anonymous

      Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Tuesday 10 January 2012. Submissions should be no longer than 2,500 words. Further advice on making a submission can be found below.

      I’m positive that many of us as individuals would also like to contribute something.

    • Anonymous

      Paul, you comparison is oft quoted, and I just saw this which is relevant to both Cannabis and Homosexual persecution – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15963387

      “”It is a bit like slavery,” one of my lunch-partners said. “The arguments for reform were won decades before it actually happened.”

      We’ve won the argument, now we need to get that into the public’s eye and mind. When voters realise the truth, things will change. Most of the politicians in private would tell you that prohibition has not and does not work.. but due to several.. ‘newspapers’ that is almost political suicide. Having another report just makes it that much easier to at least start the discussion.

      As a side note, the bottom point quotes the report that Cameron himself co-signed in 2002 in which it lobbies for a broader discussion to include decriminalisation and legalisation…

    • Cshaws

      >>>>”The independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the government”  –  that one worries me because, to me, that’s the most important one of all. Who is making that decision and whose expert advice are they judging.  CLEAR should demand that ‘living proof’ , as Des puts it, should be allowed to be offered up as ‘expert advice’ in addition to the scientists, statisticians and armchair dignitaries.  Real cases must be presented otherwise what is the quality being measured against?. 

    • Christopher

      Worth making a submission Peter, of course they come up with any sensible recommendations, it will be ignored. Cameron himself was on that same committee and endorsed a report it gave years back arguing for reform of our drug laws. Of course Cameron now does as he’s told like the puppet he is.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think individual cases are looked at.

    • http://twitter.com/jarfino Martin Wadeson

      “Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Tuesday 10 January 2012.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sneek-Ydeef/100002097546865 Sneek Ydeef

      Yes this is a stepping stone, a very significant one too.. As long as we get our time to shine!!! ;-)

    • Anonymous

      “Please bear in mind that the Committee is not able to investigate individual cases.”
      Not sure I understand the difference.

    • Anonymous

      I think  medical use is the thin end of the wedge that keeps the door open.The pain in their side that will not go away.We have the moral high ground and science backs us up.The U.S govt has deliberately blocked research in to P.T.S.D. “CANNABIS”  for years “America sneezes we catch a cold” they will have to change first . 

    • Cshaws

      maozzie – Portugal, switzerland, spain, holland etc belong to the same community as us i.e. europe.  They didn’t wait for the yanks to change and neither should we.  

    • Anonymous

      Your wright we are part of europe but look at what German chancellor angela merkel said “cannabis can lead to severe dependency” whilst “alcohol  tobacco” does not “load of shit ” Economically strongest power in europe with a lot of influence plus our “special relationship”with U.S.A.” they lead we follow”.It will take a strong political leader to stand up against the political influence of America .  

    • M. osborne.

      Your right but look at what German chancellor angela merkel said cannabis can lead to severe dependency whilst tobacco alcohol does not.”Load of shit” Economically strongest power in europ with alot of influence plis our “special relationship” with U.S.A.they lead we follow it will take a strong political leader in this country to stand up against the political influence of America. 

    • Anonymous

      If you need to edit your original post, say for spelling or grammar, then use the ‘edit’ button at the bottom right of your post.I use it often…!

      I still agree with you 100%.

    • M. osborne.

      Busted!I knew someone would work out my mistake.I’ve never really used computers much before and I’m like a kid with a new toy!Thanks for the tip but I bet I’ll make a few more.Think I need to go and medicate more and stop playing with my new toy! 

    • Anonymous

      No worries my friend.I am not 100% with pc’s either, I self taught myself a fair amount and had a lot of help from my nephew and other members of my family.
      Happy medicating…(I hope)

    • Chris Haxton

      Hopefully this makes for a great 420 day next year!

    • Blaine

      If this doesn’t incite some change there must be something seriously wrong with our government (hhhhhmmmm, like that isn’t already the case!). Most of the bullet points they list are can be answered with a HUGE body of peer reviewed, scientific evidence from around the world. One can only hope that they finally stop kowtowing to the Daily Mail, grow a pair and actually start talking honestly about this subject.

      This enquiry, if handled correctly, could yield worldwide changes. As much as we are led by the US, I think our ‘special relationship’ with them would lead to high level discussions over there if we were to change our laws in any way.

      This enquiry might also get the general public to realise that alcohol and tobacco are themselves drugs; drugs that are in fact incredibly dangerous in their own right. Maybe they will finally start to listen to AMCD now! BRING BACK PROF. NUTT!!!KEEP UP THE PRESSURE PEOPLE! We might be on the home straight here, but we need to ensure there is no let-up in the pressure the government is currently under from anti-prohibitionists. The thing we all have to remember is that if/when the government do finally change the laws in a positive way they will essentially be admitting they were wrong…. no one likes doing that, least of all politicians. They will essentially be admitting they’ve been wasting millions (neh, billions) and gifting it to criminals. That will not be an easy thing to do, but they are actually very clever people (believe it or not!) and this investigation could give them the correct channels to do it without causing too much of a furore. 

      I’ll be interested in reading your submission Peter!