“The time has come for a new approach, where we recognize that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support – not criminals in need of punishment,” said RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer.
It’s important to note that the experts behind this call believe that those who produce and sell drugs should still be prosecuted, but users – and particularly those suffering from addiction and other drug abuse disorder – should not. Instead, the authors of the report say more should be done to educate schoolchildren about the true dangers of drugs, and “evidence based” public health services should be offered to drug users.
This is something that appears to be backed by the public, according to a poll commissioned by the RSPH, which found that 56 percent of adults in the UK support the idea of treating rather than punishing drug users in their local area.
One in four people say they would be put off seeking help for a drug problem because they fear the legal repercussions. Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock