The UK and Ireland both released their own drug strategies in the last few weeks and it seems as if we’ve reached a fabled position of a ‘tale of two cities’. Regional and national drug strategies are continue to become increasingly varied, but what can we learn from two opposite examples?

The UK government came under heavy criticism for their ‘new’ 2017 Drug Strategy which many believe is a continuation of failed and dangerous policies. In England and Wales, 2015 saw the number of deaths from drug misuse increase by 10.3 per cent to 2,479. Deaths involving heroin, which is involved in around half the deaths, more than doubled from 2012 to 2015.

‘The social and economic cost of drug supply in England and Wales is estimated to be £10.7 billion a year – just over half of which (£6 billion) is attributed to drug-related acquisitive crime (e.g. burglary, robbery, shoplifting).’

The many critics point out that there is very little that can be classed as ‘new’ in the latest drug strategy. Following the release of the document a debate was held in the House of Commonswhere MPs from all sides of the house added their comments over the course of a six hour session. The mood mainly reflected the frustration that many feel towards the UK’s anchored drug policy in terms of ‘prevention’ and ‘enforcement’.

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