Synthetic Cannabinoids: Reclassification — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield 9:30 am, 6th November 2018

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention: he is absolutely right. In the wake of an Adjournment debate that I held in July, 20 police and crime commissioners wrote to this Minister about the issue, stressing exactly what I am saying this morning: unless these drugs are taken seriously and prioritised by police forces in the way class A drugs are, the police will continue to struggle to deal with them at local level.

The point of reclassification is not to criminalise vulnerable users, but to prevent those users from being exploited by drug dealers and to get them the help that they need. The health Green Paper, announced only yesterday in an initial policy paper entitled “Prevention is better than cure”, is a welcome development. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said, focusing on the responsibilities of patients is not about penalising people, but about helping them to make better choices.