By Sam Ord
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2784

New Tory drug policies won’t smoke out rich

Issue 2784

The houses of parliament have a drug problem

The government’s new drug strategy for England and Wales is a sham.

The plan claims that it will completely overhaul the drug recovery and treatment system.

But it will still largely target poorer people and let the rich off the hook.

The Tories say some £300 million will be invested into drug ­treatment and diversion in a bid to reduce the number of jailed users and turn them to healthcare.

But it’s all built on a plan of harsher punishments for drug users.

Boris Johnson told the Sun newspaper, “We need to look at new ways of penalising them. Things that will actually interfere with their lives.

“So we will look at taking away their passports and driving licences.”

Treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one
Treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one
  Read More

Powers

The Tories are also ­looking to add even more powers into the police bill presently going through parliament.

Niamh Eastwood, the Executive Director of the think tank, Release said, “The focus on more punitive sentences for people who supply drugs is a continuation of a tired tough-on-drugs narrative, one that we have had in Britain for decades.

“This failed policy will do little to address the high rates of drug-related deaths, which over the last decade have increased year on year, with some of the highest rates in Europe.”

She added, “Britain is going backwards, embracing a Richard Nixon-style ‘war on drugs’ approach.”

Legalised

Many drug reform activists point to more progressive approaches such as Canada and US states which have recently legalised recreational cannabis.

But Johnson denounced a change in Scotland where prosecutors can refer people accused of drugs offences for “diversion”.

The Tories said this amounted to “de facto decriminalisation”—which if it were true would be a small step forward.

It is yet to be seen if these new measures will be extended to those in Parliament as drug detection wipes found remnants of cocaine in 11 out of 12 toilets in the building.

Crackdown

And will the crackdown include the numerous Tories who have admitted to taking drugs?

Drug abuse is a health issue, not a crime.

People should be given information and if necessary proper support and medical treatment to recover from addiction.

Presently policies are dominated by class inequality and racism.

Black people are still far more likely to be arrested and convicted over drug charges than white people and face much harsher sentences.

Alcohol companies receive backing and cooperation from the government.

The hypocritical Tories should stop cutting drug and alcohol services for those in need.


The gender pay gap is still wide open

Government policies have not improved the gender pay gap, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Its new report has found that working age women in Britain earned 40 percent less a week than men in 2019.

This is largely because women are nearly 10 percent less likely to be in paid work, do eight fewer hours of work a week than men, and earn 19 percent less per hour on average than men.

Women also do 1.8 hours more unpaid work daily than men.

From the mid-1990s women have moved from being 5 percent less likely to 5 percent more likely to have a degree than men.

But male graduates still earn 23 percent more than females.

Monica Costa-Dias, deputy research director at the IFS and an author of the report, said, “Huge gender gaps remain across employment, working hours and wages.

After accounting for the rapid improvement in women’s education, there has been almost no progress on gender gaps in paid work over the past quarter century.”

Isabel Ringrose

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