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Need for a ‘fresh approach’ to drug policy
  1. Kam Uppell
  1. Correspondence to Kam Uppell; kuppell{at}

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A radical rethink of how the UK's response to drug problems is structured has been proposed in a report by the independent body UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC). The report provides an analysis of the evidence for how policies and interventions could be improved, with recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to address the new and established challenges associated with drug use. ‘Many members of the public, and many politicians, believe that our drug policies are not working. But the debate about how we address the challenges of mind-altering drugs is polarised, with an added emotional and moral aspect that is not seen in most other policy areas’, says the UKDPC.

The report, entitled A Fresh Approach to Drugs: The Final Report of the UK Drug Policy Commission1 says that Britain spends at least £3 billion on tackling the problems caused by use of illicit drugs, and much more on addressing indirect costs, including family breakdown and wider health problems. Although some of Britain's drug policies are supported by evidence (eg, reducing HIV …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.