Embargo Mon 12 Feb 2018, 9am
Police and Crime Commissioner's New Health-led Approach to Drugs Will Save Lives and Reduce Crime
Today, Transform Drug Policy Foundation and the Anyone’s Child project welcomed the announcement of a new, health-led approach to drugs in the West Midlands. Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson published eight recommendations to help address the failure of drug policy in his region. Failures that have led to rising drug-related crime and health harms - including rapidly rising overdose deaths - increasing the strain on already overstretched police, council and NHS services.
Rose Humphries, of the Anyone’s Child Project, who spoke at the West Midlands PCC’s recent drugs summit about losing two sons to heroin overdoses, said: “I thank Commissioner Jamieson for these thoughtful recommendations. I fully support them. Bitter experience has taught me that current drugs policy didn’t protect my children, and it won’t protect yours. If their drug use had been treated as a health issue instead of a criminal one, Jake and Roland would probably be alive today.”
The recommendations include:
1) Diversion: A formal scheme to divert people who use drugs away from the criminal justice system into appropriate treatment.
2) A Regional Drug Interventions Programme: To join up Community Safety Partnerships, West Midlands Police and Public Health drug-related funding, increasing coordination and efficiency.
3) Heroin Assisted Treatment: Prescribe heroin in a medical setting to people
suffering from dependence. proven to improve health, take the market away from organised criminals and reduce crime that funds drug use.
4) Drugs Early Warning Programme: To make the public, outreach workers and
medics aware of emerging drugs and reduce deaths.
5) Safety testing of drugs in night time districts or festivals: To reduce deaths, increase awareness of dangers, and intelligence on drugs in circulation.
6) Expand naloxone provision: Train and equip first responders and make naloxone available where overdose risks are higher, e.g. bail hostels.
7) Consider Drug Consumption Rooms: clinical spaces where people who use drugs can access clean equipment, medical support and treatment services, while taking injecting and needle litter off the streets.
8) Take money from organised criminals through confiscation to improve drug services
Martin Powell of Transform said: “Our failed approach to drugs cannot be allowed to continue. Drug deaths are at a record high, while young people’s drug use has risen from 15 to 24% in three years. We welcome the PCC’s recommendations, they are a sensible, real-world response to drug use and supply in the West Midlands, that we hope everyone will get behind. The benefits will be huge: crimes committed to fund drug use will fall, as will profits for organised crime gangs, while overdoses, HIV infections, and ambulance call-outs will be cut. These measures will protect communities and individuals, while releasing resources for police and the NHS to spend on key priorities.”
Martin Powell, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, email@example.com 07875679301
Danny Kushlick, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org 07970174747
1. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK and Mexico based think tank campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs www.tdpf.org.uk
2. Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is an international network of families whose lives have been wrecked by current drug laws and are now campaigning to change them. http://anyoneschild.org/
3. The full set of recommendations will be available for download from Monday 12th Feb here: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/
4. For an embargoed copy of the PCC Recommendations please contact the PCC’s office: Office hours media enquiries (for journalists only) 0121 626 5599 or 0121 626 5442. Out-of-hours emergency media enquiries 07721638856