Top Doctor in Britain Calls for Decriminalization of Drugs
Sir Ian Gilmore, the outgoing President of Britain's Royal College of Physicians has called for the decriminalization of drug use in a parting e-mail to the organizations 25,000 members. He said decriminalization has the potential to both reduce crime and improve health.
He endorsed a recent article in the British Medical Journal by Stephen Rolles, from the think tank Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which argued that the policy of prohibition had harmed public health, encouraged organised crime and fuelled corruption. Sir Ian told the BBC: "Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success.
He also endorsed the views of the UK Bar Council Chair, Nicholas Green QC, who called for decriminalization last year:
In his recent report to the Bar Council, Mr Green said there was growing evidence that decriminalising personal use could free up police resources, reduce crime and improve public health....This could drastically reduce crime and improve health," [Green] wrote.
...With a prime minister and deputy prime minister both long-standing supporters of alternatives to the war on drugs, at the very least the government must initiate an impact assessment comparing prohibition with decriminalisation and strict legal regulation."
The British Government disagrees. A spokesman for the Home Office responds:
"The government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach. Our priorities are clear; we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder and help addicts come off drugs for good."
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