Earlier this year, Home Secretary Priti Patel issued a stark warning that police might be instructed to conduct narcotics raids in student residences. A clear attempt at trying to manage the perceived ‘drug problem’ with fear.
Rather than reevaluating their outdated policies, the Conservatives want to divide and dominate by blaming drug users for crimes related to the trade.
The number of people who oppose failing drug policies in favour of public health measures is growing, not least in Bristol, where the local police have essentially decriminalised drug use and the main university focuses on harm reduction rather than punishment.
This has been the case for some time.
Bristol’s progressive approach
Bristol Student Union and Bristol Drugs Project have been working together on a public health campaign called ‘All About Drugs’ for some years now, and Bristol’s progressive approach recognises this, taking a more compassionate and caring approach to the issue.
“Students who approach the university for support with their use of alcohol or other drugs will not be subject to disciplinary actions or referred to the police”, Alison Golden, director of student health, said recently.
It is also true that many police personnel on the front lines are fed up with waging a pointless war on drugs that has done more harm than good in the last 50 years.
Continuation of ‘war on drugs’
The beginning of the ‘drug war’ can be traced back as far as Nixon’s speech in 1971.
Fortunately Bristol University is more progressive than some universities. Some are still operating a harmful and unhelpful policy, but it is certainly clear (especially after Scotland’s recent announcement) that change is in the air.
It is interesting to note that Scotland’s ‘diversion’ of drug users is something that the Home Office has absolutely no power to stop, even with all their harsh words.
So as time goes on and evidence continues to show the correct way forward, our political leaders are becoming more and more irrelevant in real world matters. Particularly when it comes to drugs.