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NCJ Number: 221431 Find in a Library
Title: Challenge to UK Drug Policy
Journal: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy  Volume:14  Issue:6  Dated:December 2007  Pages:559-571
Author(s): Neil McKeganey
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 13
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper reviews and critiques recent influential reports in the United Kingdom that propose changing drug policy from a focus on prevention and enforcement to harm-reduction.
Abstract: Reports from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the United Kingdom Drug Policy Commission both recommend a shift in drug policy from a focus on treatment, prevention, and education to reducing drug-related harm. One of the recommendations for achieving harm reduction is prescribing heroin as a means of relieving the most chaotic and dependent users from the need to buy their supplies from criminal sources. This is viewed as a way of minimizing the suffering of dependent users and keeping them off the street and out of prison. The reports also encourage the creation and expansion of safe injecting rooms or drug-consumption rooms, where drug users can consume their black-market drugs under some level of medical supervision. There is no consensus among drug abuse researchers, however, that such methods can reduce population-level harms of drug use. There is also the concern that any liberalization of drug laws, which would be required if the recommended harm-reduction proposals are to be implemented, would be a step toward a policy of drug legalization and increase the number of people experimenting with some form of currently illegal drugs. These concerns caution against any major change in the balance and direction of current drug policy. In fact, the harm-reduction emphasis would suggest the adoption of increasingly restrictive policies for the two drugs causing the most harm, i.e., alcohol and tobacco. 30 references
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Foreign drug law enforcement; Heroin; Heroin maintenance; Needle/syringe exchange programs
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