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Nick Clegg almost gets it right on drug policy

Nick Clegg almost gets it right on drug policy

Aleksandar Kokovic is an advocate for Young Voices.

August 31, 2014, 11:02am

Earlier this month, speaking to The Sun newspaper, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg made a bold statement on Britain’s drug policy: “At the moment, we are doing an utterly senseless thing — chucking the people who need treatment behind bars so they simply become even more vulnerable to the criminal gangs who exploited them in the first place.” Meanwhile, his fellow Liberal Democrats have vowed to scrap prison sentences for possession in its 2015 general election platform — a move that drug reformers will surely appreciate.

The tax waste and discriminatory nature of drug-related arrests have been well known for years now, but what is most disappointing is that the so-called War on Drugs has woefully failed at accomplishing its goal of decreasing omnipresence of narcotics in society. Study after study agrees that the purity and availability of all most popular drugs have either risen or remained stable while prices have significantly fallen. In Europe, for example, the average price of opiates and cocaine decreased respectively by 74 per cent and 51 per cent between 1990 and 2010. One in 11 adults in the United Kingdom have taken illicit substances in the past year in the UK, and the number jumps to 18.4 percent for the age group 16 to 24. More than one-third of Brits has taken drugs at least once in their lifetime with significant increases in the use of LSD and Ketamine in the previous year.

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