UK drug strategy has 'limited impact'

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The government's drug policy has had a limited impact on drug use the in the UK, according to a new report.

A study commissioned for the launch of the independent UK Drug Policy Commission, made up of 12 experts recruited through drug, police and medical sectors, has said the UK has the highest level of problem drug use in Europe.

Funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the commission is chaired by Dame Ruth Runciman who said that not enough is known about which parts of government drug policy work.

"At the outset of our three-year work programme UKDPC is agreed upon one thing - we currently do not know enough about which elements of drug policy work, why they work and where they work well," she said.

The report is expected to say that "despite successive governments' attempts to control the demand for and supply of illegal drugs, drug policy appears to have had minimal impact on the overall level of use in the UK."

The report was written by experts Professor Peter Reuter from Maryland University and Alex Stevens, from Kent University.

Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said that "unparalleled sums" had been spent on drug policy and the government was proud of its record.

"We are determined to continue tackling drug misuse through enforcement, education, early intervention and treatment," he said.

"We have spent unparalleled sums on our drug strategy which has been vindicated by record numbers of people in drug treatment and significant falls in drug misuse and drug related crime. We are proud of our record and intend to build on our success."

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