Monday, 19 October 2015

Psychoactive Substance Bill - Commons Second Reading - 19th October 2015

Psychoactive Substance Bill

Commons Second Reading - 19th October 2015 

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Ironically on the same day that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has shaped much of global drug policy for decades, call on governments around the world to decriminalise drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs the UK has the Psychoactive Substances Bill due for its Second Reading in the House of Commons today: Link HERE

If this bill passes it will cause more health issues than any it attempts to resolve:

  • The Irish 2010 blanket ban closed down most of the ‘head shops’, but the market simply moved to criminal underworld and online. 
  • Psychoactive Substance use in Ireland has increased from 16% in 2011 to 22% in 2014, with use amongst young people (16-24) the highest in the EU. 
  • A third of young people say obtaining previously legal Psychoactive Substances within 24hrs is ‘easy’
  • Poland’s blanket ban temporarily decreased ‘legal high related poisonings’.
  • Previously legal Psychoactive Substances remain available via international online markets
  • 3 years later poisoning reports are above pre-ban levels
UPDATE 23rd Oct: Home Affairs Select Committee Findings just published:HERE
I wonder if the Government will read, listen and respond!

I listened to the evidence given by Mike Penning at the Home Affairs Select Committee a couple of weeks ago on Psychoactive Substances:
Firstly the deaths, as reported by the government, linked to these substances was 69 in 2014, but a closer look at those deaths shows that in 68 of those cases there were illegal drugs in their systems as well so is not an honest way of presenting those statistics.
You can find Professor David Nutt's analysis on these figures as reported in the Guardian HERE! 
Secondly, He made a number of references to the Irish implementation and repeated how concerned the government are that people are dying and being harmed by the use of these substances, however he does not seem to be aware of what is actually happening in both Ireland and Poland who have also introduced a similar bill. The UK’s Psychoactive Substances Bill is not based on any proper assessment of those countries’ blanket bans implemented some years ago and for which there is good information already available:
Source documents and a great summary from Transform, HERE

According to these recent experiences this bill is causing more harm and more deaths in both Poland and Ireland since its introduction.
If our government really do care about reducing the harms being done by these substances, then they need to review these reports and stop this dangerous bill, else they will be causing yet more more harm.

Jon Liebling – Political Director of United Patients Alliance
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