A senior police officer who called for illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine to be made available to addicts is standing by his comments, despite the policing minister telling the House of Commons that his comments were wrong. Chief Constable Mike Barton has refused to stand down over the comments he made and, instead, has said that he is hoping to have a ‘grown-up debate’ about them. He has also commented on his disappointment over broken promises made by the Coalition regarding minimum unit pricing on alcohol.
Current Policies Not Working
When asked if he thought current drugs policies were working, Barton said he was not sure. He told of how he believes that making the illegal drugs available to addicts on the NHS will enable police to take the power away from drugs gangs. He said that the police are committed to making the country safer and, in doing so, will continue to target drug dealers and secure long prison sentences for them. However, he also said that even after months of undercover operations, the drugs supply is only ever strangled for hours at a time.
Barton is of the view that criminalising drugs has given billions of pounds to drug gangs in much the same way that prohibition in the US during the 1920s allowed for the rise of the mafia, and Al Capone in particular.
Barton feels that the best way to tackle drug problems is to provide support to the addicts and their families. He said, “It does not help if we criminalise these people – addiction is a health issue.”
He was quick to praise police commissioner Ron Higg for his work in improving the way that police officers interact with drug addicts. However, he was unhappy with the change in proposals announced by the Government concerning the minimum pricing on alcohol units. Despite promising to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol, ministers instead introduced a ban on selling alcohol below cost price. Barton was keen to point out the alcohol abuse is another major problem in the UK and leads to anti-social behaviour and alcohol related crimes that the police have to deal with on a daily basis.
A Government source said, “We are taking action to tackle cheap and harmful alcohol such as banning the lowest priced drinks.”
Tackling Addiction Head On
Barton is right in his view that addiction needs to be treated rather than punished. By tackling the criminals who are dealing in drugs instead of criminalising those who have no control over their addiction, may help to reduce crime figures.
The problem with addiction is that it can take over a person’s life to such an extent that he or she will do absolutely anything to get the substance they crave. Some addicts have such powerful cravings for drugs or alcohol that they can think of nothing other than how they will get their next fix. They often resort to criminal activity when they do not have access to funds for their habit.
Help is Available
Addiction is something that affects people from all over the UK. It is not just substance addiction but also addiction to activities such as sex, gambling and even shopping. It is an illness that needs to be treated; thankfully, there are organisations based all over the country from which those suffering with addiction can get the help they need.
Addiction Helper is a referral service with access to treatment providers all over the UK. We have a team of fully trained staff waiting to take your call and offer support and advice when it comes to getting you the most suitable treatment. Addiction politics is a problematic topic, but we can assist you with understanding everything about it.
Source: Chronicle Live