The Government needs to reform drugs policy as deaths from substance misuse continue to rise, says Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg.
Speaking in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day, Ron pointed to an increase in deaths due to drug misuse: the highest mortality rate was seen in the North East, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million population, a 7.5% increase from 2016, compared to 42.7 deaths per million population in England.
Hogg added “This is the human cost of a drug policy that isn’t working. Drug users should be able to seek medical treatment without fear of being criminalised.
“I continue to call on the Government to carry out a fundamental review of the current UK drug policy, as it urgently needs to do more to save lives and reduce drug related-harm.”
“We need more investment in services to support people to recover from drug addiction. Cutting funding for treatment services creates a false economy, because the cost of people remaining addicted to drugs will fall elsewhere on public services.
“I am therefore deeply concerned that the Government intends to cut funding for Public Health, with over £8m due to be removed from budgets in my area by 2020”.
Last year, Hogg published a detailed manifesto, Towards a Safer Drugs Policy, which includes six key proposals for drug policy reform aimed at reducing the harm and deaths caused by drugs.