Tuesday, August 28, 2007

UK Drug policy 1997-2007 - The evidence un-spun

As part of Transform's response to the drug strategy consultation process we have produced a detailed briefing on the evidence of policy effectiveness over the last ten years, featuring, for each of the four key target areas, the Government's claims, followed by a Transform reality check and commentary. There is a great deal wrong with the drug strategy consultation:

  • Its content (no policies - and certainly no policy options- are proposed to 'consult' on)
  • Its format (not enough room to answer questions, no facility to make external submissions, limited questions etc).
  • The process by which it is being undertaken (the public are being asked to comment on cannabis reclassification - a scientific harm evaluation that ACMD are resonsible for, responses are being 'collated' in non-transparent ways by a private company).
(Note: As well as preparing our own response, Transform have complained about the problems with the consultation to various relevant Government bodies. There is at least one effort underway to have the consultation subject to a Judicial Review. News of these efforts will be posted on the blog)

The consultation document is so bad that various civil servants we have spoken to over the past year had cause to warn us not to get our hopes up. It was suggested that 'Whatever your expectations - lower them'. And, unusually for a Home Office drugs publication, this one didn't dissapoint.

Of the document's many problems, one of the most obvious is the fact that it presents an absurdly positive view of the past ten years 'success', as viewed through the rose tinted spectacles of Home Office spin, cherry picking, and statistical sleight of hand. At the end of its forensic deconstruction of the Government claims the briefing concludes:
"It is imperative that the debate on the future of UK drug policy not be clouded by statistical misrepresentations and spin that dresses up failure as success. This is in no one's interest and will lead to the perpetuation of failure rather than meaningful engagement with evidence of what works and a rational and honest debate about the future direction of UK drug policy."


Anonymous said...

i wonder why mr brown an un elected prime minister is waging this war against cannabis surely he should be waging war on class a drugs or even waging war on internal govermental spin lies misrepresentation of the facts i have smoked cannabis for 25 years with no ill effect i recomend you watch a video all about why goverments want to keep cannabis illegal and the lies used through the years how many more official truths will there be. refer madness 1940s smoke this and you turn into a murderer and a new official truth every year since the first bucket of lies how about clasifying alcohol and nicotine both destructive and difficult to give up both highly addictive

Anonymous said...

the movie mentioned is called grass look it up to find the truth