Members of the Lords, including a brain physiology expert and former chief inspector of prisons, debated drugs policy yesterday (Thursday 17 October).
The debate focused on two reports: House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee 'Drugs: Breaking the Cycle' and the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform. The context and roots of drugs policy and different national approaches taken were set out by members.
Members thought that reform of policy needed to be explored and the aim of policy should be to reduce addiction and harm: there were different views about how this can be achieved.
Members raised the criminality of drugs and whether approaches that criminalise addicts and dealers are motivated by morality or research. Many argued that punishment and criminalisation was contrary to dealing effectively with the problem. Others said decriminalisation would not be effective and highlighted the work of various agencies tackling drugs cases. The physical and neurological effects of some drugs were also highlighted.