CELEBRITIES CAMPAIGN FOR REVIEW OF DRUG LAWS
Leading QC’s, three former Chief Constables, academics, politicians and high profile celebrities have today sent an open letter to the Coalition Government calling for an immediate and transparent review of current drug policy with a view to decriminalising possession of all drugs. The letter, supported by Dame Judi Dench; Sting; Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC; and Julie Christie among others, was organised by the national charity Release and is the first step in the organisation’s new campaign: Drugs – It’s Time for Better Laws.
The launch of this UK campaign coincides with the report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy which will be released in New York later today. The Commission, which includes Kofi Annan and Richard Branson, states that ‘that the global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world’ and recommends the ‘end [of] the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others’.
Release’s campaign aims to highlight the immediate need for a review of the UK’s current drug policy. Sting, who is supporting the campaign, states: ‘Giving young people criminal records for minor drug possession serves little purpose - it is time to think of more imaginative ways of addressing drug use in our society.’ Niamh Eastwood, Deputy Director at Release, advised: ‘As a provider of legal services to the public for over forty years Release sees first-hand how the current system causes significant damage to individuals without protecting communities. Nearly, 80,000 people last year were convicted or cautioned for drug offences – this is a waste of resources both in terms of the cost to the public purse and the restrictions on people’s futures in regards to employment and education’. The campaign will encourage the public to support the campaign by writing to their MPs calling on them to take a principled stand over the UK’s failed drug policies.
Notes to editors:
1. Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law providing expert advice to the public.
2. The Global Commission on Drug Policy will meet on 02 June 2011 in New York (http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/). A copy of the embargoed report is available on request.
3. Letter and signatories attached.
The following signatories will be available for interviews and comments:
Baroness Molly Meacher
Tom Lloyd (Former Chief Constable Cambridgeshire)
Mike Shiner (TITLE – to be included)