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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Should Drugs Be Decriminalised?

Decriminalisation of drugs would mean that criminal penalties such as prison sentences would not be given for personal use of some drugs that are currently illegal (and that personal drug use would instead be regulated but not criminalised). Would this be a good thing?

I don't know the definitive answer to this question, but what I do believe is that this debate should focus on the likely practical effects of decriminilisation - Would it help reduce drug related crime? Would it increase the prospects of people who are drug dependent breaking their dependencies? Would it have potential health benefits?

You may think that these are obvious questions to ask and yet the debate about illegal drug use is often polarised into moral preconceptions about the effects of decriminalisation without a calm assessment of the evidence.

Those who demand tougher sentences for drug use usually claim that this will act as a deterrent and reduce the amount of illegal drug use in society. Is this so? Click on the link below to read a BBC article about a recent Home Office Report comparing the UK's approach to drug use with that of 13 other countries:

Do Tough Sentences Reduce Drug Use?

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