Police boss urges drug laws rethink
Decriminalising drugs such as heroin could lead to a world without fatal overdoses, the streets free from needles and no theft to feed addictions, a police chief has claimed.
Ron Hogg, the police and crime commissioner for Durham, said the war on drugs has failed and that criminalising drug addicts has been a "destructive force in every conceivable arena".
He said that the UK's drug policy denies "overwhelming evidence" and that drug addicts should receive the same help that those addicted to alcohol and gambling receive.
Writing in the Northern Echo, the former assistant chief constable said: "Imagine a world with no heroin on our streets. No money for heroin being put in the hands of organised crime. No spread of HIV or hepatitis B/C through shared and dirty needles.
"No needles littering our streets. No fatal overdoses. No more pressure from organised criminals to remain addicted. No more theft or prostitution to feed drug habits. This is what decriminalisation could achieve."
He said that the "isolation and persecution of addicts is uncivilised, unsuccessful, and too often wholly unaddressed" and said countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain had started to address it.
He also referred to the Randomised Injectable Opiates Treatment Trial in Darlington from 2006-2011 that he says revealed the effectiveness of drug consumption rooms.
This follows on from Durham Constabulary chief constable Mike Barton making the same claim last year when he said decriminalisation was the best way to wrestle power away from criminal gangs.
Mr Barton, who is the national intelligence leader for the Association of Chief Police Officers, suggested that the NHS should provide class-A drugs such as heroin and cocaine to addicts.
He said most criminal gangs raise income through selling drugs, so offering an alternative route of supply to users would cut off the gang's income stream.