Jack Straw: Drug report ‘needs attention’
FORMER Labour Home Secretary and Blackburn MP Jack Straw has said the government must give “serious consideration” to a new report calling for a relaxation of some drug laws and a greater emphasis on tackling dealers and treating addicts.
However, he believes the suggestions by a committee of MPs will not require major change to existing practices.
His view is backed by Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle.
The House of Commons home affairs committee yesterday called for a royal commission to consider the decriminalising of illegal drugs - which was immediately ruled out by Prime Minister David Cameron.The committee has called for tougher action on drug dealers and more emphasis on treatment for addicts. It also expressed concern over the growth of legal highs abuse and prescription drugs addiction.
Mr Straw, while stopping short of backing the call for a Royal Commission, said the report deserved serious government consideration.
“I doubt it will make much difference to current policy where people caught in possession of small amounts of drugs, are normally informally warned or cautioned for a first offence rather than prosecuted.
Mr Birtwistle said: “I see no reason to change our drug laws at the moment. They are working.
The committee is right that we need to crackdown harder on dealers and keep up the emphasis on treatment.
“Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I hope the government look very carefully at this report and any new evidence on the issue.”
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