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  1. Putting numbers to faces: a new map of substance misuse, homelessness and offending in England

    Sam Thomas
    18 January 2015
    Article

    Statistics can be a limited and limiting way to understand social issues. When we focus on how many people are affected by a problem, or how much the government spends on tackling it, we start to see numbers instead of people. The opposite is also true, though: without statistical evidence, it’s hard to understand the scale of a problem.

  2. Norman Baker: 'Genie is out the bottle' on drug reform

    30 October 2014
    Other news

    Westminster has finally reached a tipping point in the drug debate and radical change is now becoming possible, Norman Baker has said. The Liberal Democrat Home Office minister was speaking to Politics.co.uk after the publication of a government report on international drug laws which found no correlation between the severity of a country's policy and levels of drug use. It is unprecedented for the Home Office to publish a report which casts doubt on its own policy for the last 40 years and many reformers are becoming increasingly confident that it could herald a sea-change in Westminster's view on the issue.

  3. Punitive drug law enforcement failing, says Home Office study

    30 October 2014
    Other news

    There is no evidence that tough enforcement of the drug laws on personal possession leads to lower levels of drug use, according to the UK government’s first evidence-based study. Examining international drug laws, the groundbreaking Home Office document brings to an end 40 years of almost unbroken official political rhetoric that only harsher penalties can tackle the problem caused by the likes of heroin, cocaine or cannabis. It is signed off by the Conservative home secretary, Theresa May, and the Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker. (See also: Government’s drug laws survey was suppressed, Lib Dem minister says)

  4. Drug sentences now make more sense

    19 November 2012
    Other news

    The underlying aim of The Sentencing Council's new guideline for drug offences in England and Wales is to ensure sentences are consistent and the punishment proportionate. The guideline was launched in February 2012 and early results suggest it is beginning to have its desired effect. But achieving that consistency has involved a long process of research and careful testing of the results with judges, lawyers and the general public. (See also: Drugs, crime and punishment)

  5. Drugs and the law: state of confusion

    02 June 2011
    Other news

    Forty years after the introduction of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, more than 2.8 million people report using illicit drugs every year in England and Wales. While cannabis remains overwhelmingly the most popular, this Home Office total also includes 800,000 mainly young adults who put the country at the top of the European league table for powder cocaine use.