Commons will evaluate anti-drugs strategy

    MPs are to launch a major inquiry into the effectiveness of the
    government’s anti-drugs policy.

    The Commons home affairs committee will quiz ministers, civil
    servants and drugs agencies on whether Tackling Drugs to Build A
    Better Britain, the government’s 10-year drugs prevention plan, is
    working. It will also explore whether drug taking should be
    decriminalised, and measure the effectiveness of drugs treatment
    and testing orders.

    Home secretary David Blunkett will be among the first to be
    called before the committee when it begins the investigation in
    October.

    Drugs agencies have welcomed the move. Harry Shapiro, of drugs
    think-tank and charity DrugScope, said the inquiry would be a
    valuable contribution to a more open debate.

    “We have seen evidence that more politicians are ready to take
    on this complex issue and explore the possibilities for change,” he
    said, adding that a mature debate could help re-engage young people
    in the political process.

    Rosie Brocklehurst, of drugs treatment charity AddAction, said
    the organisation would be telling the committee that money was
    needed for drug addiction treatment. “In 1998, only 13 per cent of
    drugs spending was on treatment,” she said. “We need far more
    joined up commissioning at councils among drugs action teams,
    probation officers and police.”

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