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New Study: Decriminalizing Drugs Would Not Lead to an Increase in Users

Sam Sabzehzar 2012-07-15 0 comments

By Tom Edwards  |  Published in The Sun

A new study finds alcohol to be the gateway drug, not cannabis, shedding light on perhaps why legalizing soft drugs doesn't increase drug usage.

The study – which looks at countries that have already softened drug laws – comes in the same week Justice Secretary Ken Clarke warned Britain is “plainly losing” the war on narcotic use.

In it, places like Portugal and the Netherlands – who already have lighter drug laws than the UK – are claimed not to have seen any significant increase in users or addicts.

Niamh Eastwood from Release, the authors of the report, said: “Pursuing a harsh criminal justice approach does not lead to a reduction in drug use but it does lead to significant harms for individuals.

“As a society we need to question why, in the UK, we are criminalising tens of thousands of mainly young people every year.”

The report also comes after a Sun YouGov poll showed six out of ten Brits want to see drug users escape prosecution and receive better medical treatment instead.

Of course, this type of change only applies to possession and does not amount to full legalisation, as dealers and traffickers would still be hunted and jailed by cops.

But in the Sun poll, 56 per cent of people did say they would like to see the idea of complete legalisation reviewed – along with other policy options.

Most people now also think that crime levels would fall if cannabis was made legal.