The Committee will undertake a comprehensive review of drugs policy in the new year. The Committee will examine the effectiveness of the Government's 2010 drugs strategy and the UK Government's contribution to global efforts to reduce the supply and demand of illicit drugs. Specifically, the Committee will consider:
The extent to which the Government's 2010 drug strategy is a 'fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights' in line with the recent recommendation by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
The criteria used by the Government to measure the efficacy of its drug policies
The independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the government
Whether drug-related policing and expenditure is likely to decrease in line with police budgets and what impact this may have
The cost effectiveness of different policies to reduce drug usage
The extent to which public health considerations should play a leading role in developing drugs policy
The relationship between drug and alcohol abuse
The comparative harm and cost of legal and illegal drugs
The impact of the transfer of functions of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to Public Health England and how this will affect the provision of treatment
The availability of 'legal highs' and the challenges associated with adapting the legal framework to deal with new substances
The links between drugs, organised crime and terrorism
Whether the UK is supporting its global partners effectively and what changes may occur with the introduction of the national crime agency
Whether detailed consideration ought to be given to alternative ways of tackling the drugs dilemma, as recommended by the Select Committee in 2002 (The Government's Drugs Policy: Is It Working?, HC 318, 2001-02) and the Justice Committee's 2010 Report on justice reinvestment (Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment, HC 94, 2009-10)."
Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Tuesday 10 January 2012. Submissions should be no longer than 2,500 words. Further advice on making a submission can be found below.
Oral evidence sessions will be held in early 2012: further announcements will be made in due course.
I think that this a hugely significant move, particularly the reference to the Global Commission on Drug Policy as the very first item.
It proves that all the campaigning has had an effect, that we were not wasting our time. Everyone who has worked on and supported the CLEAR campaign deserves their share of credit for this, as do all the other drug law reform organisations.
This is the way that change happens. If the committee comes out with the right sort of recommendations it will give the government the opportunity to change course and save face. That is what matters to our political leaders more than anything else.
Naturally, I shall prepare a submission from CLEAR and I very much hope to be able to give evidence.