The public on drugs…

YouGov have published the results of an opinion poll they conducted on behalf of the Sun asking people about their views on drug policy.

Has drug policy been working?

Interestingly younger people are more likely to feel that the government’s policy has been reducing drug use than older age groups – 21% of 18-24 year olds said they felt the policy had been going well compared to 11% of 40-59 year olds and 13% of those over 60.

Also of interest are the different reaction of different regions with Londoners being much more likely to think the policy has been working (18%) to those in Scotland (7%).

Cannabis lawIn terms of what to do about controlling cannabis (and other ‘soft’ drugs) the public seem split with just under half (43%) favouring the current position and the other half (49%) favouring either decriminalisation or legalisation.  Since YouGov last asked these questions in June there seems to have been a move away from the current regime and a slight increase in those favouring decriminalisation.

In terms of ‘hard’ drugs such as heroin and cocaine the mood seems to have gone the other way with an increase in those saying they favour the current criminal penalties for possession, up from 79% to 83%.

A Royal CommissionThe poll then turns to the main recommendation made by the Home Affairs Select Committee, that the government set up a Royal Commission to consider different drug policy options.  The public seem well disposed to the idea of doing this by a 3:1 margin, but there are some interesting differences when looked at by age group.  It is younger people who are much less likely to offer support for a Royal Commission, but it appears that this may be because they are less certain of what a commission might be able to achieve.

Another aspect of this poll may explain why politicians are responding in the ways that we have seen to the idea of a commission.  The poll finds that Conservative voters are much less likely to support a Royal Commission (59%) compared with their Lib Dem counterparts (75%), with Labour’s supporters in between (62%).

The final questions are about introducing a regulatory regime similar to Portugal’s and here it appears that support is waning, both in terms of limited trails (down from 60% to 54%) or adopting the same approach across the whole country (down from 46% to 40%).

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