This week, the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR) published a report on tackling drug-related harm. As the most common infection among people who inject drugs, hepatitis C is a major driver of health harms and inequalities in the UK.
Following over a year of research and interviews with more than 700 people, the LCDPR recommended the following:
Support an explicitly public health-based approach to drug use, moving away from a punishment-based model.
Support the expansion of harm reduction measures that aim to reduce drug-related deaths.
Invest in treatment and recovery services that help people overcome addiction.
Expand research programmes into medicines derived from controlled drugs and review drug scheduling.
Back police schemes that divert people found in personal possession of drugs out of the criminal justice system.
Invest in schemes and services to address the social circumstances that lead young people to become involved in illegal drug markets.
Engage seriously with worldwide discussions around the regulation of currently illegal drug markets, including drawing upon the evidence base from North and Latin American countries to explore the potential of regulating the cannabis market in the UK.
You can read the full report here.
Our Chief Executive Rachel Halford said: “The Hepatitis C Trust has long advocated for drug use to be addressed on a public health basis, rather than by criminalising and demonising people using a punishment-based model. It is encouraging to see this being taken up in the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform’s latest report.
“As political momentum grows around the need for proper interventions to reduce the harms associated with drug use – which includes disease transmission and risk of overdosing – it is essential that drug treatment services are adequately funded to deliver these. Enabling some of the most marginalised people in our society to access the necessary care and support they need is a moral imperative. I hope the Labour Party will take on the recommendations set out in this report and that the Government will commit to working on a cross-party basis to adopt a health-based approach to drug policy.”