Drugs and the Law
In recent years, policy on drug abuse has become increasingly stringent with more severe punishments for both possession and distribution of illegal substances. Today being in possession of drugs can imply a hefty fine as well as a custodial sentence while supplying drugs could lead to life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Drug dependency is a serious issue in Britain today; the consequences of drug abuse are far-reaching, and have profound economic, social and political implications. A multi-faceted approach to reducing the consumption of drugs has therefore been launched by the Government. The Government’s Drug Strategy has four principal aims to reduce the problems caused by abuse of illegal substances in the U.K.
Making the Community Safer
The first aim of the Drug Strategy is the protection of communities; this is achieved by reducing the availability of drugs by clamping down on dealers, issuing more severe punishments for both possession and dealing and gaining intelligence relating to local drug supply. Research suggests that most people have at some point in their lives, been offered drugs confirming that drugs are far too available on British streets. In addition to this, the Government is increasing police presence on the streets in order to reduce drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour and to ensure people feel safe in their own communities. Police are encouraged to liaise with community representatives in order to address problems specific to each community as well as national issues.
Friends and Family
The Drug Strategy also aims targets those affected by drug misuse, particularly family members or children by ensuring their safety and offering free advice and counselling services. Social Services monitor children who may be affected by drugs closely and acts to ensure children are cared for and safe at all times. Support groups are often available for friends and family members who are struggling to cope with a loved one’s dependency and counselling can be arranged through the local GP.
Treatment, recovery and rehabilitation are also areas of significant Government interest and new approaches to treating addicts and helping them to get back into society are developed and researched continuously. Once recovered, it can be difficult to integrate back into society so help with practical matters such as housing, finding employment and even exploring options such as new hobbies and activities is offered by Local Authorities and Citizen’s Advice services.
Education is the final objective of the Drug Strategy, as the Government step-up the intensity of the fight against drug abuse with high-profile advertising campaigns, classes and talks at school, awareness days and community information programmes. Making people aware of the dangers associated with drug dependency at an early age can be instrumental to reducing the rate of drug use. Taking drugs sometimes has kudos amongst groups of young people who are often subjected to video games and films that sometimes glamorise drug use; changing the perception of drug use could therefore prove to be an essential component in succeeding in the mission to reduce drug use. In addition to this, schemes aiming to involve young people in the community and keep them off the streets by channelling their energy into work, training or hobbies such as sports, could have a significant impact on the pattern of drug use in the future.