For half a century the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 has dominated ill-conceived approaches to the prohibition of drugs and the criminalisation of many offenders. Wilful blindness to scientific facts has distorted the dispensation of justice, prevented lifesaving investigation, sidelined critics and thwarted advocates of politically inconvenient drugs law reform.
This once in an epoch review by experts from a range of disciplines, Drug Science and British Drug Policy shows how lawmakers and the media have ignored the scientific evidence to sustain badly founded rhetoric in favour of blanket bans, punishment and the marginalisation of opponents. Countless individuals (including the vulnerable, deprived, addicted and mentally ill) have therefore suffered unnecessarily.
This, the most comprehensive critique of the 1971 Act yet, rests on the combined learning of leading medical, scientific, psychiatric, academic, legal, drug safety and other specialists to provide sound reasons to re-think half a century of bad law.
A thorough examination of the 1971 Act which challenges long outmoded ideas. Demonstrating political and media distortions the book calls for fresh thinking and urgent reform. Drug Science and British Drug Policy is first-rate, in-depth and highly informed.
‘Excellent… the most comprehensive critique of the 1971 Act to date’– The Barrister.
‘It is time to see the MDA 1971 for what it is: a bad law that has the opposite effect to that intended. The so-called war on drugs is lost. It could never be won. Let us replace this knee-jerk law with something rational, something evidence-based, something more humane.’— Rt Hon Norman Baker (From the Foreword).
About the editors
Ilana Crome Is Professor Emeritus of Addiction Psychiatry, Keele University. She has contributed widely to research, training and policy on addiction and substance use and is an editor of major textbooks in this field. Professor David Nutt is founder of Drug Science UK and the author of over 500 papers and 35 books around the topic. Alex Stevens is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Kent and has worked on issues of drugs, crime and public health in the voluntary sector, as a researcher and as an adviser to the UK Government. The editors are supported by 25 experts of considerable standing in the field of drug policy, education and research.
About the author of the Foreword
The Rt Hon Norman Baker was Crime Prevention Minister (2013) and author of the Home Office report ‘Drugs: International Comparators’ (2014).