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

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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