In the political world, drug classification is an issue that is highly contested with many differing opinions regarding how drugs should be classified and the factors that should determine their classifications. Unfortunately, this is often determined by media spin and cowardly politicians not wanting to look ‘soft’ on drugs.
However, a 2019 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy called for classifications to be based on one criterion: a scientific assessment of harm.
I recently raised this issue with the Home Secretary in a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to review the classification of drugs following the June 2019 recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy”.
To which I received the response: “The Government has considered the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s report of June 2019. We keep drug control under constant review and work in consultation with our independent experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), to consider any new evidence of misuse and harms. Following any advice or recommendation from the ACMD, the Government will act to classify substances in the appropriate way, based on an assessment of harm or potential harms”.
It is very disappointing to read that the Government is continuing its inaction on drug classification, with the process remaining politically motivated rather than scientifically motivated.
I would like to see the day when the Government pursues a science-based approach to drug policy, so that our society can properly safeguard individuals from dangerous drugs whilst reaping the benefits of drugs which are currently off-limits for political purposes. This should start with reforming the drug classification system and opening-up the opportunities for scientists to study currently proscribed drugs.
I would also like to see some real changes being made in terms of the policies that are used to classify drugs. I firmly believe that these assessments should reflect harm based wholly on science. I will continue to try to shed light on this matter and push for the Government to take action.