'DRUGS - TIME FOR BETTER LAWS' is Release's campaign to engage the public around the issue of drug policy. The failure of the current system is clear, it is time to stop criminalising 10,000s of people in the UK every year - it is time for better laws.
On 2 June 2011 Release wrote to the Prime Minister calling for a review of the current drug policies, with a view to decriminalisation of possession for all drugs. This letter has been signed by leading QC's, three former Chief Constables, academics, politicians and high profile celebrities including Sting, Mike Leigh, Julie Christie and Kathy Burke.
We will be publishing a report on the state of decriminalisation around the world early in the New Year. We are also undertaking research into the disproportionate policing and prosecution of drug offences and how it impacts on BME communities, the young and those living in deprivation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN?
At the moment we are asking people to send a copy of the new International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) Drug Policy Guide to their MP.
Release was a founder member of IDPC, a global network of 86 NGOs campaigning for drug policy reform. The guide is an excellent source of basic information about core drug policy issues, that will hope ensure your MP is able to make informed decisions about the UK’s drug policy.
You can email your MP with the guide via our TAKE ACTION page.
If you would like to continue to be involved in the campaign please, there will be more actions you can carry out to support the campaign.
Please feel free to tweet and post to Facebook some of the reasons why:
CRIMINAL RECORDS FOR DRUGS POSSESSION LIMITS EMPLOYMENT EDUCATION TRAVEL
In the last ten years nearly a million people have been convicted or cautioned for drug possession, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was introduced 40 years ago this year meaning that millions of people in the UK have been criminalised. This can be a barrier to employment, education and travel opportunities.
PORTUGAL'S DECRIMINALISATION OF DRUG POSSESSION HAS SEEN LESS YOUNG PEOPLE USING DRUGS
Since the introduction of decriminalisation of drug possession in 2001, Portugal has seen a reduction in the number of young people taking drugs. This can be attributed to other factors but shows no causal link between decriminalisation and levels of drug use.
HARSH LAWS DO NOT REDUCE DRUG USE
The USA has one of the harshest legal systems for addressing drug use and yet has some of the highest drug use per capita on earth.
PORTUGAL'S DECRIMINALISATION OF DRUG POSSESSION HAS SEEN LESS PROBLEMATIC DRUG USE
Since the introduction of decriminalisation of drug possession in 2001, Portugal has seen a reduction in the number of problematic drug users.
CRIMINALISING YOUNG PEOPLE WASTES THEIR POTENTIAL
Last year in England and Wales nearly 30% of all cautions and prosecutions for drug possession were given to young people under the age of 21. This effects their future life opportunities.
DRUG LAWS ARE DISCRIMINATORY BLACK PEOPLE 9 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE STOPPED AND SEARCHED
If you are black in the UK you are 9 times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs.
DRUG LAWS ARE DISCRIMINATORY BLACK PEOPLE 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE ARRESTED
If you are black in the UK you are 6 times more likely to be arrested for drug offences.
DRUG LAWS ARE DISCRIMINATORY BLACK PEOPLE 11 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GO TO JAIL
If you are black in the UK you are 11 times more likely to be sent to prison for drug offences.
If you want to make a donation to support the campaign text DECR13 £ followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70070 or go to donate.