The use of drugs is embedded in the human experience – both now and historically – yet it's arguably one of the most socially controversial human habits. In the UK, controlling drug use has become a key policy issue for every government since the 1960s.
However, there is a growing consensus that the current approach has failed, with the Home Office's own evidence demonstrating intense criminalisation of drug use and a crackdown on those that grow or distribute drugs is not reducing drug use nor addressing the harms that the criminal market creates. In fact, it is making things worse.
That is why we’re incredibly concerned by the Home Secretary’s previous comments on drugs. Not only has Suella Braverman continued her predecessor’s vendetta against “middle-class” recreational drug users, but she has apparently also gone further by supporting the reclassification of cannabis from a class B to a class A drug (via The Sunday Times). While No. 10 Downing St has since distanced itself from these reports, it's still concerning that the laws around drug use in the UK show little sign of reform.
Here, we explain why the UK's criminalisation of drug use will most likely increase harm for those already stigmatised within society, including women who are particularly vulnerable to tough drug policies.