1. Alfa

    The first response to underage use of drugs should be drug education
    and assessment, then proper treatment if there was a drug problem, the
    Green Party said today.

    Green MP Nandor Tanczos and Sue Kedgley today released the party's
    drug law reform policy, which would rewrite the various laws covering
    drug use - from tobacco and alcohol through to drugs currently
    classified "A", such as methamphetamine - into one piece of

    The Green Party has written a draft Controlled Drugs Policy as an
    alternative to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    "At present we have the Sale of Liquor Act, Smokefree Environments
    Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act, and others. It's a hell of a mess," Mr
    Tanczos said in a statement.

    "It would be better to have one consistent law that included all
    psychoactive drugs from tobacco to cannabis to codeine but treats them
    differently according to the scientific evidence."

    Under Green policy, it would still be illegal to possess or sell drugs
    such as methamphetamine. Others, such as alcohol, would be banned for
    anyone under 18 with advertising restrictions and consumer warnings.

    Mr Tanczos said a group of experts - rather than politicians - would
    decide the classification of different drugs and there would be a
    focus on treatment.

    "The first response to, for example, underage use of any drug should
    be some basic drug education and assessment and if there is a drug
    problem, proper treatment. At the moment the law is silent and so some
    young people get a slap on the hand, others get expelled from school,
    while others get a criminal conviction," he said.

    Ms Kedgley, the party's health spokeswoman, said a new approach was
    urgently needed that recognised all drugs could cause serious
    physical, mental and social harm if these were misused or overused.

    "We need an integrated approach to all drugs and a consistent approach
    to reducing their harm through treatment and education - whether they
    are prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco or cannabis," she said in the
    joint statement.


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