Submitted by the BAC (Burton Addiction
The BAC is an Intensive Rehabilitation Centre
for individuals who are dependent upon alcohol and drugs. Collectively
the Multi Disciplinary Team have over ninety years of experience
in this fieldsome members of the team have personal experience
of substance misuse. Service users have also contributed to this
memorandum, a number of which are on Drug Testing and Treatment
Orders, their feedback is included in this memo.
1. DOES THE
NOThe Policy is far too lenient, there
appears to be little deterrent in place. We know crime, and now
terrorism funds drug use yet most of our drug squads have been
disbanded or significantly reduced.
Confiscation powers appear to be very limited
and a minefield of red tape. Drug dealing offers rewards and for
many a life of luxurywhich many young users aspire to,
too often I hear clients remark "doing time isn't so bad
if I keep my head down, I even get a colour TV in my cell".
We have to take the attraction awaywe can only do this
by having deterrents, achievable confiscation powers and heavy
custodial sentences in place.
What would be the effect of decriminalisation
1. The availability of and demand for drugs.
2. Drug-related deaths, and
The effects of decriminalisation would be enormous.
What concerns me greatly is the whole subject of the Drugs Policy,
now appears to be viewed in terms of crime reduction first and
foremost. Yes, drugs have a high impact on crime, but it also
has a huge impact on health, physical, mental, psychologicalnot
to mention other consequences to society as a whole, education,
employment dependence on the State and is the result of the breakdown
of many family units.
The availability and demand would increase,
we already have huge problems and a heavy financial burden on
our Public Services, not to mention society, from other legal
substances, alcohol and tobacco. Would you now legalise tobacco
knowing the serious health risks, is it not the duty of our Government
to advise and protect society, if so, if we decriminalised, knowing
that drugs are harmful and dangerous on all aspects of life and
for thousands result in dependency, what message would you be
sending out. It's OK, health will suffer, unemployment will rise,
family units will break down and Social Security Benefits will
hit an all time highbut crime may be reduced.
The demand would obviously increasebecause
of the nature of substances in question and the pharmacology of
the drugsdependency for most is inevitable, and this results
in more treatment, rehabs, and many other services, because we
would be saying it's OK.
Smoking a cigarette at school behind the bike
shed would become heroin or cannabiswe already have problems
and low achievement rates in our education system. How can you
educate pupils under the influence of chemicals, not to mention
the impact on absenteeism and Health and Safety in the work place.
People who are dependent misuse drugs to excesslegalising
drugs will not decrease this, in fact it will increase. Overdoses
are not just because of different strengths and quality of street
drugsmost are due to poly drug use, where individuals will
use their drug of choice and further drugs on top of that, which
is what puts them at risk of respiratory depressionPsychosis.
Even now we have needle exchanges, people are still using dirty
needles and paraphernalia.
The majority of drug users who end up in treatment
services are unemployed and on State Benefitsfor everythingtheir
whole daily routine is centred around their next score. Clients
are using £200 upwards to achieve the desired effect, how
will they fund this and you could never safety prescribe these
Will General Practitioners be happy to prescribe
dangerous drugs knowing a huge percentage will use other drugs
and/or alcohol on top. There will always be an illicit market
for what you can't get on prescription, at a cost that the average
wage will not cover, let alone benefits. To believe decriminalisation
will reduce crime is naive and foolish.
The practical alternatives are to remove the
(a) More hard hitting publicity and education
on the dangers and consequences.
(b) An active Drug Squad.
(c) Longer Prison sentences.
(d) Confiscation powers that are achievable
(e) More funding for effective treatment