Drugs legislation is woefully out of date
Fifty years on, does anybody believe that the Misuse of Drugs Act is still fit for purpose? The verdict is not good (page 6). A dramatic failure, punitive (particularly to the most vulnerable in our society), neither fair nor evidence-based, a blunt policing tool that compounds damage… some of the words used in this issue.
So what next? Paul Townsley believes we have a window of opportunity for ‘some radical steps forwards’ (page 8). Carol Black’s latest report is keenly anticipated and there’s an appetite to bring a public health approach to the criminal justice system as well as all corners of society. Our letters from prisoners illustrate why this matters so much (page 16). Responding to our articles about early trauma, they are profoundly revealing. As much as they are a testament to the value of professional support, understanding and connection, they are also a reminder of the pot-luck outcomes of sending someone into the criminal justice system without knowing if the right threads will be picked up and pulled back together.
And a big shout-out to all volunteers (p10-11 and p21) as we celebrate National Volunteers’ Week. Lena’s story shows what can happen when we’re given the right environment in which to thrive – an opportunity which she’s now passing on to others.
Claire Brown, editor