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Drugs Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 9th November 2001.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 9:33 am, 9th November 2001

The House welcomes this debate, because it is sensible to hold it while the Home Affairs Committee is carrying out its work.

I do not want to press the Minister to move other than gradually, but are the Government prepared to recognise that policy to date has been a total failure? We have had some of the harshest policies for drugs misuse in Europe, but drugs use has increased more and is at a higher level than almost anywhere else in Europe. Although it is true to say that no other countries have legalised drugs, they are increasingly decriminalising them. If we spend far more on prevention than we do on the criminal regime and do far more to help addicts than to punish them, we might have a far more comprehensive approach than the Home Secretary's rather limited response so far.