I am pleased to see that the Lib Dems have finally come to the long overdue conclusion that the ‘war on drugs’ is failing.
I have long believed that the war on drugs has never been a war on drugs. For the most part, it has been a war on drug users and, furthermore, only a certain type of user.
Those punished for drug use are most often experiencing some kind of hardship be it poverty, mental health issues or social deprivation. Yet our current solution is to lock them in a cell and hope for the best. This is a baffling ‘solution’, given that in 38% of prisoners in 2013 reported using drugs whilst in prison.
The Lib Dems wish to decriminalise drug use, and this is right, but we need to be bolder. It is time to reform drug policy and treat drug addiction as a health matter; refocusing our efforts on providing the full range of accessible, comprehensive treatment based solutions including supervised injection sites.
Criminalising drug use does nothing but exacerbate the stigma associated with drugs, prevent people from accessing help and put serious, unnecessary strain on our criminal justice system. To get to the heart of the issue it is time for a new approach that is based on evidence, not rhetoric.
The Scottish Green Party believes that Scotland can be a just nation. You can read more of our policies on justice and equality in our new mini-manifesto.