Lords to debate EU Drugs Strategy Report

17 July 2012

On Thursday 19 July, peers including the Chair of the National Treatment Agency for Substance misuse, a former Police Chief Superintendent and the former Chief Inspector for Prisons in England and Wales will debate the report published by the Lords EU Home Affairs, Health and Education Sub-Committee on the EU Drugs Strategy.

Published in March 2012,   The EU Drugs Strategy Report called for the EU to introduce a better focused drugs strategy for 2013-2020, with more emphasis on harm reduction, better, more comparable statistics, more research, and more aid to help developing countries to diversify away from drug production. The Committee also again urged the UK Government to ratify the Council of Europe’s money laundering Convention.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench), Committee Chairman, who will open the debate, said:

“We were struck by the poverty and paucity of the public debate about drugs. We called for a major Europe-wide debate about drugs policy before the new strategy is adopted.

“While Member States should retain primary responsibility for their drugs policies, the EU also has an important part to play and it can work with Member States to use the adoption of the new strategy as an opportunity to make progress on important issues such as co-ordinating the fight against drug trafficking, improving the collection, analysis, evaluation and distribution of information and the EU’s public health obligations.

“The Committee believes that the creation of a new drugs strategy, covering the period from 2013 to 2020, provides the perfect platform for a wider and better informed public debate on different Member States’ drugs policies and approaches. In this way, we can ensure that the EU’s performance in reducing both the supply and demand for drugs makes substantive progress, while also informing and protecting Europe’s citizens.” 

Other Members also scheduled to speak include:

• Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour), Chair of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse;
• Lord Judd (Labour) and Lord Avebury (Liberal Democrat), Members of the Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee;
• Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate (Labour), Committee Member and former Police Chief Superintendent; and
• Lord Ramsbotham (Crossbench), former Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales.

Lord Howarth of Newport (Labour), Baroness Hamwee (Liberal Democrat), Lord Cobbold (Crossbench), Lord Teveson (Liberal Democrat), Lord Liddle (Labour) and Lord Maclennan of Rogart (Liberal Democrat) are also expected to take part in the debate.

Lord Henley (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the Government.

Image: istockphoto

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