Drug services ‘face crisis’ if law changes

Proposed changes to legislation could result in the managers of
services for drug users being prosecuted and services being closed,
the voluntary sector has warned.

Under the Criminal Justice Bill, dealing or intent to deal class C
drugs, soon to include cannabis as well as tranquillisers, could
result in a maximum sentence of 14 years, up from five.

This could result in the arrest and imprisonment of any manager who
knew a substance was changing hands on their premises.

The Antisocial Behaviour Bill, meanwhile, may allow for the closure
of premises where class B and C drugs are used, rather than just
class A substances.

Social care charity Turning Point wants clearer guidance on the
issue. Policy officer Gary Hayes said: “We’re concerned about
[powers] extending to class B and C drugs, although we support it
with regard to crack houses as they can cause problems for

Plans to make it an offence to allow the administration or use of
all controlled drugs on all premises by amending the Misuse of
Drugs Act 1971 were dropped in March after protests from
homelessness charities (news, page 10, 27 March).

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