William Hague calls for drugs to be decriminalised in the UK
Drugs are still a dominant issue in society, but could decriminalising them be the answer?
The announcement last week of record deaths relating to drug addiction has put the war on drugs front and centre in the minds of British citizens. Figures show that for the eighth year in a row, numbers of drug-related deaths have continued to climb unchecked. Now, along with a vast majority of the general public, former Leader of the Conservative Party William Hague has called for drugs to be decriminalised.
Decriminalising drugs is the only way forward. Instead of pointlessly talking tough, we should follow Portugal in treating addiction primarily as a health problem. Read my latest @thetimes column here: https://t.co/1CA4EXe8g2
— William Hague (@WilliamJHague) August 10, 2021
"Governments take their eyes off this ball because they do not know what to do with it — it is easier left out of sight," he writes in The Times.
He continues: "The annual deaths represent tens of thousands more people trapped in addiction and heading for the same fate. The victims match closely with child poverty and areas of deprivation."
Hague continues with a series of harsh truths, outlining that despite best efforts, the supply and demand for narcotics is still very much present in UK culture. "15 per cent of those actually in prison test positive in random drug tests," he says, while also going so far as to say the Pandemic has not hindered the illegal operation.
I agree with William Hague https://t.co/L0Z4EpjHz0
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) August 10, 2021
But then Hague discusses a 'bolder approach' that would include decriminalising drugs. He cites Portugal as an example, where since 2001 they have shifted the focus from drugs being a criminal issue to a health issue.
"By 2010, the number of drug offenders sent to criminal courts had halved," he says.
William Hague joins the long list of figures who are prepared to admit the war on drugs has failed once they have left front-line politics. pic.twitter.com/yKQYSNCF5m
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) August 10, 2021
Social movements in the UK have suggested that taking drug distribution and sale away from criminal organisations would not only slash crime rates but also add another revenue stream to aid our recovering economy.
In Colorado, where weed has been legal since 2012, the sale of marijuana topped $1.2 billion in 2018, with the state pulling in about $270 million in taxes. By comparison, the state took only $45 million in taxes from the sale of alcohol. A report by Leafly showed that in 2020 alone, the weed industry in American created 77,000 jobs.
But the war on drugs in the UK is a complicated one because many have preconceived ideas of drug use. Though hallucinogenic agents are often associated with raves and glassed eyed teenagers, active ingredients like psilocybin and psilocybin have been shown in some studies to assist in concentration, anxiety, depression, motivation, dementia, and even cancer treatment.
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