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WHAT'S YOUR POISON? Offer heroin addicts the drug on prescription Decriminalise cannabis Boost the number of rehab places SHOCK REPORT Judge drugs by the damage they do users and others Replace current classifications with a "harm scale Jail those who still go off the rails New report calls for a rethink of drugs laws and says fags and booze can be just as harmful.

Byline: By Magnus Gardham

DRUGS laws are out of date and need to be scrapped, a leading think tank claimed yesterday.

The RSA insist many illicit substances are "harmless" and modern drugs laws with harsh jail terms for possession are "driven by moral panic".

In a report, the group, who advise the Government, outline an overhaul of the laws.

They say theMisuse of Drugs Act should be scrapped in favour of a wider-ranging Misuse of Substances Act. That would mean abandoning the current ABC classifications in favour of an "index of harms".

This would extend the definition of drugs to include alcohol and tobacco, as well as illegal substances the report says have been "demonised".

Controversially, the team behind the two-year study claim addicts should be offered heroin on prescription and "shooting galleries" to inject safely.

Cannabis should be effectively decriminalised, they add.

It's claimed the radical rethink would free police to target gangs bringing drugs into the country.

The study has been hailed as a "watershed" and "wake-up call".

Former Scottish health minister Susan Deacon and top Scotland Yard cop John Yates were among the experts on the commission.

MSP (1) (Management Service Provider or Managed Service Provider) An organization that manages a customer's computer systems and networks which are either located on the customer's premises or at a third-party datacenter.  Deac on said: "It is time to get real and face up to the facts. Simply talking tough on drugs doesn't get results."

As well as replacing classifications with a "harm scale", offering heroin addicts prescriptions, decriminalising cannabis and new restrictions on alcohol and cigarette sales, the proposed overhaul would encourage the jailing of those who still go off the rails.

The number of rehab places would be increased, while there would be drug education for children as young as five.

Drug abuse should be treated as a health and social problem rather than a crime, the RSA said.

The publication of the report sparked a divided reaction.

The Home Office gave a cool response, insisting the current strategy "has been a success and significant progress has been made".

Graeme Pearson is director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) is a national police agency in Scotland responsible for disrupting and dismantling serious organised crime groups; by taking the profit out of such crime and reducing the demand for such products.  and the Association of Chief Police Officers The Association of Chief Police Officers or ACPO is the lead organisation for developing police policy in the United Kingdom (except Scotland in times of national need, for example terrorist attacks, ACPO coordinates the strategic operational response.  in Scotland's lead officer on drugs.

He insisted it was not his experience "that use of illicit substances can be harmless".

But others welcomed the report.

The Metropolitan Police said it reflected their drugs strategy with the "emphasis being placed on harmcaused by the supply and use of illicit drugs".

Martin Barnes, of Drugscope, added: "We support the call for a new legal framework based on relative harms, which includes alcohol and tobacco, while maintaining a distinction between legal and illegal substances." And Steve Rolles, of campaign group Transform, claimed: "This really is a rational response to 30 years of dramatic failure."

Former top cop Tom Wood, who now heads the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action teams, described the report as "a breath of fresh air".

He added: "It is very clearsighted and it gives us a lot of food for thought. I think it has zeroed in on quite a lot of the major issues for Scotland and for the UK."

But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith George Iain Duncan Smith MP (born 9 April 1954), often referred to as IDS, is a British politician. He is Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green. He was leader of the Conservative Party from 12 September 2001 to 6 November 2003.  accused the RSA of being "complacent".

He added: "They have also failed to do their homework by not surveying the views of drug addicts - who want recovery and drug-free lives - not managed dependency on methadone methadone (mĕth`ədōn', –dŏn'), synthetic narcotic similar in effect to morphine. Synthesized in Germany, it came into clinical use after World War II. It is sometimes used as an analgesic and to suppress the cough reflex. ."

Danger list


2 Cocaine

3 Barbiturates

4 Street methadone

5 Alcohol

6 Ketamine ketamine /keta·mine/ (ke´tah-men) a rapid-acting general anesthetic, used as the hydrochloride salt.


7 Tranquillisers

8 Amphetamine amphetamine (ămfĕt`əmēn), any one of a group of drugs that are powerful central nervous system stimulants. Amphetamines have stimulating effects opposite to the effects of depressants such as alcohol, narcotics, and barbiturates.  

9 Tobacco

10 Prescription opiates

11 Cannabis

12 Solvents
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 9, 2007
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