By Rebecca Askew, Ben Griffiths and Melissa Bone / Drug Policy Voices UK
Drug Policy Voices is a UK-based project designed to integrate the voices and experiences of people who use drugs into debates about drug policy reform. An online survey was conducted in 2020 to understand opinions connected to drug use and drug policy. We used a blended values approach combining Moral Foundations Theory (Haidt and Joseph, 2004; Haidt and Graham, 2007) and MacCoun and Reuter's (2001) four philosophical positions that underpin the drug policy. This paper asks, what values do people who use drugs hold surrounding drug use and drug policy, and what factors predict these values?
The Drug Policy Voices survey has identified collective values and ideology connected to lived experience that illustrate a clear goal conflict with prohibitionist ideology. People who use drugs have valuable contributions to make to the policy reform debate, but we must acknowledge that opinions are not formed through drug-related experiences alone. The findings of this research highlight the importance of emphasising the person who uses drugs within participatory approaches.