DECRIMINALISING drugs such as heroin could cut fatal overdoses, free the streets from needles and reduce thefts, according to a police chief.
Ron Hogg, the police and crime commissioner for Durham, said the war on drugs has failed and that criminalising drug addicts has been a “destructive force in every conceivable arena.”
He said that the UK’s drug policy denies “overwhelming evidence” and that drug addicts should receive the same help that those addicted to alcohol and gambling receive.
The former assistant chief constable said: “Imagine a world with no heroin on our streets.
“No money for heroin being put in the hands of organised crime.
“No spread of HIV or hepatitis B/C through shared and dirty needles.
“No needles littering our streets. No fatal overdoses.
“No more pressure from organised criminals to remain addicted.
“No more theft or prostitution to feed drug habits. This is what decriminalisation could achieve.”
He said that the “isolation and persecution of addicts is uncivilised, unsuccessful, and too often wholly unaddressed” and said countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain had started to address it.
He also referred to the Randomised Injectable Opiates Treatment Trial in Darlington from 2006-2011 that he says revealed the effectiveness of drug consumption rooms.
This follows on from Durham Constabulary chief constable Mike Barton making the same claim last year when he said decriminalisation was the best way to wrestle power away from criminal gangs.
Mr Barton, who is the national intelligence leader for the Association of Chief Police Officers, suggested that the NHS should provide class-A drugs such as heroin and cocaine to addicts.
He said most criminal gangs raise income through selling drugs, so offering an alternative route of supply to users would cut off the gang’s income stream.
Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton has previously broken ranks to call for class A drugs to be decriminalised and has suggested the NHS could supply drugs to addicts, breaking the monopoly and income stream of criminal gangs.
He compared drugs prohibition to the ban on alcohol in 1920s America that gave rise to Al Capone and the mafia, Barton argued that criminalising the trade in drugs has put billions of pounds into the pockets of criminals.