A Labour government could reportedly consider legalising all drugs if it was recommended by royal commission. 

“There is nothing more important than preserving the life of our citizens,” Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, told The Sunday Times. “Our current approach to drugs is simply not doing that.” 

She said the party would “establish a royal commission to review independently all drugs legislation and policy to address related issues of public health.”


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Labour would then follow its recommendations, if it suggested decriminalising some or all drugs including cocaine or heroin.   

Overdose prevention clinics – state run facilities where users could safely inject themselves – would also be considered, Ms Abbott told the newspaper. 

Portugal, which legalised all drugs in 2001, has since seen a decrease in HIV diagnoses attributed to injecting.

Data compiled by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Policy, showed that 8 per cent of young adults admitted to smoking cannabis over the last year in a 2017 study, while the number rose to 12.3 per cent in the UK.

Meanwhile at 0.4 per cent, the Iberian country has a lower rate of high-risk opioid use among the population than the UK, where 0.8 per cent of people are affected.

Labour MP David Lammy said he was pleased to see his party “commit to an evidence based approach on drug reform”.

He added: “The war on drugs is funding gangs, fuelling crime, giving children easy access on social media and disproportionately criminalising working class young men.”


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In June Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand and commissioner for the Global Commission on Drug Policy Classification of Psychoactive Substances, said the approach to cannabis and heroin across the world showed an irrational response to the issue of drug use.

Writing in The Independent earlier this year, she said: “All legally available medicines have risks and side effects which doctors, authorities, and, ultimately, societies have deemed acceptable on balance with their therapeutic benefits. We need to weigh those differently for non-medical uses, but the acceptable level is certainly not zero – otherwise alcohol, tobacco and caffeine would have been banned long ago.

“We suggest that we develop policies that incentivize people away from the more harmful substances by using medical and consumer safety regulations and other measures outside the criminal justice system. We need a public health approach to all problematic use of psychoactive substances.”