Drug users 'should face penalties'

By Balzafire · Jul 27, 2010 · ·
  1. Balzafire
    Drug users should face civil sanctions such as fines or the loss of their driving licence instead of criminal penalties, a former government drugs adviser has said.

    Professor David Nutt, who was sacked as the Labour government's top drugs adviser after saying ecstasy was less harmful than alcohol, said simply waging war against users will not work.

    "What we need is a radical new approach that may include the regulated sale of some drugs," he told the Radio Times.

    "Drug use will always be with us, so legal sanctions will continue to fail. Some years ago, Portugal abolished this approach replacing it with civil sanctions such as a fine or suspending your driving licence.

    "This approach, coupled with treatment initiatives, has been going now for 10 years and drug use, drug crime and drug harms have all reduced by about half, with huge savings to society. This should be the way forward in the UK."

    Prof Nutt went on: "Drugs policy has to change if we are to make any impact on the epidemic of drug use and drug-related harms that pervade society today."

    He said the criminal approach to drugs has failed spectacularly but there was a reluctance to change because most politicians were scared of losing votes if they were to tell the truth about the failed drug policy.

    Writing about his dismissal as the Labour government's top drugs advisor last year, Prof Nutt said it was "a bruising experience being beaten up in public by the full weight of the government" but added that it had not changed his mind over drugs policy.

    He said he established the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs to "continue the work of gathering evidence and telling the public the truth about all drugs".

    Prof Nutt added: "There are alternatives to the failed prohibition law enforcement approach. Many are already evidence-based and others worth testing."

    (UKPA) 07/26/2010

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  1. Smeg
    Professor Nutt was politically flogged by a crowd-pleasing government who took exception to a reputable scientist actually daring to speak (evidence based) truth. They employed him in the belief that he'd just stand there like a nodding mascot agreeing with "policy".
    In retrospect (and at the time to many including SWIM) he has, and had integrity.
    His saying "What we need is a radical new approach that may include the regulated sale of some drugs," is a step forward. Comparatively refreshing despite the "civil sanctions".
    Fact based rebellion can be such a slow process in these islands.
  2. corvardus
    This is a sly move from Nutt. He's giving a nod to the tough on drugs crowd by saying that there will be still punishment for drug use but the criminal sanctions would be used for those that deserve it (i.e. The traffickers).

    If they are still punished then it's still good in some people's eyes. Whether in reality these civil sanctions are severe enough to be still considered a punishment in practice has yet to be seen.
  3. Smeg
    He does indeed seem to be becoming more of a politico as evidenced by his standing on both sides of the fence simultaneously. Just imagine the staring competition the Nutts would have.
    Who'd blink first? Perhaps that would be done in tandem too. Stalemate?
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