Celebrities sign letter calling for drug law change

 
Russell Brand Russell Brand is among the celebrities who have signed the letter

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More than 90 celebrities, politicians, lawyers and health experts have written a letter to the prime minister calling for a review of the government's policy on illegal drugs.

The group includes musician Sting, Sir Richard Branson and author Will Self.

They want a change in the law so drug possession is no longer a crime.

The call comes as part of a global day of action against the so-called "war on drugs" and protests are planned to take place in 100 cities on Thursday.

The signatories of the letter to David Cameron also include groups involved in law enforcement, such as the Prison Governors Association and the National Black Police Association.

'Drug policy reform'

Comedian Russell Brand and the barrister Michael Mansfield QC are among those who have signed the letter, which was drafted by the drug charity, Release.

Protests were planned in several cities including Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City and Rome.

In London there was a public gathering on Thursday morning in Parliament Square.

"The global day of action is a public show of force for drug policy reform", said Ann Fordham, who is executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, which focuses on issues related to drug production, trafficking and use.

"The tide is turning and governments need to urgently fix their drug policies and repair the damage that has been done," she said.

The letter says the use of legal sanctions for the possession of drugs in the UK has led to the "unnecessary criminalisation" of more than 1.5 million people in the last 15 years.

The letter goes on to state that evidence from Australia, the Czech Republic and Portugal shows that health problems linked to drugs are "dramatically" reduced when users are given medical support and advice rather than being prosecuted.

 

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 849.

    VAST majority of drug related crime is committed by users (theft/robbery/fraud/burglary etc). Please explain how this will be reduced if drugs become legal (the number of users will undoubtedly increase). The cost can't come down, drugs are cheap at the moment (illegal = no import tax/VAT/business rates/all other business costs). I wish you could have met my son prior to drug use & meet him now.

  • rate this
    -17

    Comment number 662.

    Decriminalising drugs will NOT make them any safer to take, it may reduce the amount of low quality or unsafe drugs available, but it wont do anything to improve the health of those taking them. Drugs ARE a problem, deal with that & dont just give in to those complaining they dont want to be arrested.

  • rate this
    +39

    Comment number 651.

    How many of us come home from work & sit down with a glass of red or beer to chill out after a hard day? Maybe this time of year, sit in the garden with a G&T?
    Why is it so wrong for other people to come home and sit down with a spliff?

  • rate this
    +191

    Comment number 52.

    The prohibition of drugs plainly does not work, we cant even keep drugs out of a controlled environments like prisons so we have no hope with banning them society at large. All the prohibition has achieved is endless violence and misery.
    Dug addition should treated as a medical problem.

  • rate this
    +112

    Comment number 35.

    Brand has not drank or taken drugs in years and advocates help for addicts- not so he can take them. I believe marijuana should be legalised (it's also a very useful plant- medicine...hemp etc.) and other harder drugs should not be legal but if found in possession you should go to mandatory rehab/counselling. However selling should still be illegal. Make dispensaries and tax it!

 

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