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Drugs: facing facts: the report of the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy

Author:
RSA COMMISSION IN ILLEGAL DRUGS, COMMUNITIES AND PUBLIC POLICY
Publisher:
RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy
Publication year:
2007
Pagination:
335p.
Place of publication:
London

The government's current drug strategy seeks to tackle drug abuse first and foremost as a means of reducing crime. Treatment is most easily accessed through the criminal justice system, and the success of the strategy is measured more in terms of crime reduction than by the more general criterion of 'harm reduction' - harm to drugs users and their families as well as harm to communities, the economy and the taxpayer. Problematic drug use is a medical and social problem as well as a problem for the criminal justice system. Thousands of people in different areas of government, local government, the voluntary and the private sector are working to reduce the damage it causes.  In addressing the RSA's manifesto challenge of 'fostering resilient communities', the RSA Commission has explored the idea that some of the solutions to delivering a coherent drugs policy are to be found where the problems are most directly experienced - in communities. Drug use continues to rise - but is all drug use necessarily abuse? Is it a symptom of social decline which we should be seeking to eradicate? Or a fact of life which we simply need to manage? Are public attitudes to drug use really as simple and as hostile as the media say and politicians believe they are? The RSA Commission has examined the 'drugs problem' beyond the bounds of a political context which makes true open-mindedness very difficult. Its report offers some fresh answers to these most intractable questions.

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