Nick Clegg has responded to the Home Affairs Select Committee report on drug policy, sharply disagreeing with David Cameron about the need to consider reform.
He seems to reiterate a view that Ken Clarke gave the committee, that the ‘war on drugs’ is not being won. Clegg says:
“After all, this is a war, the war on drugs, in which over 2,000 people are losing their lives in Britain every year, in which one in five 11-15 year olds in this country now say they’re trying drugs, where young people now are telling us that it’s easier to get hold of drugs than it is to get hold of alcohol or tobacco”
As we said when Ken Clarke made very similar points what these statistics miss is the historical context, and oddly they are also slightly out of date.
The last SDD report found:
Around one in six (17 per cent) 11 to 15-year-olds surveyed in 2011 said they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 2001, when 29 per cent of pupils in the same age range reported that they had.
While the number of deaths caused by drugs has also seen falls in recent years, with the annual report on drug deaths from earlier this year telling us:
There were 1,883 notifications of drug-related deaths occurring in 2010 in the UK and Islands. This represents a decrease of 299 (13.7%) over the same reporting period in 2009.
That said our position compared to other European countries is dire as you’ll see from the following presentation.