First and foremost the issue of drugs policy should be treated as a health issue rather than the current policy of the UK Government in making it a criminal justice one.
Every time we lock up a criminal gang and announce to the media that we have seized a large quantity of drugs with a street value of so many millions, what they don’t say is supply was disrupted for an hour or so before another gang claimed the newly available market place. Often these takeovers involve a spate of violence and they are always maintained by violence and the threat of violence.
We can continue to criminalise users, driving them into the hands of unscrupulous dealers while ignoring the atmosphere of fear that they live in. And all we will do is marginalise them, stigmatise them and ostracise them. We have lost the war on drugs.
We need to change our mind set and we need to ensure we are in a position to win the peace.