We have recently added a new page to the Transform website promoting our call for an Impact Assessment (IA) of drug policy.
An IA would make an independent, non-partisan evaluation of the merits and flaws of existing domestic and international drug policy, and compare them with the costs and benefits of alternatives - including further resourcing for a criminal justice led approach, decriminalising personal possession, or legally regulating production and supply. The outcomes of this evaluation would then point the way to the most effective policies to manage drug production, supply and use.
In 2007 a UK government review concluded that such an evaluation could not be made – a conclusion that the UK Home Affairs Select Committee strongly condemned (in its report March 2010 report on the cocaine trade). The Committee diplomatically declared it “careless” that the Government published its Drugs Strategy in 2008 without having assessed the effectiveness of existing drug policy. Consequently, the Committee said that it
“support[s] calls for a full and independent value-for-money assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and related legislation and policy.”
Since then support for an IA has grown rapidly, with several prominent public figures and organisations calling for an objective review of current drug policy - including the Howard League for Penal Reform, Prof Sir Ian Gilmore and Lord Norton of Louth.
The beauty of this call is that it is policy neutral and therefore can be supported by those who support prohibition, those who are undecided, as well proponents of reform. To his great credit Prof Neil McKeganey has signed up to support an IA.
To find out more about what an IA would involve, and to see who supports it, please visit the new web page here.