chapter  3
17 Pages

The British state’s legal and medical responses to illicit drug use

One of the recurring themes throughout this work is the fact that much of the data surrounding illicit drugs lacks certainty and as a result the illicit drug field is one where policy is based on ‘best guess’ figures. Nevertheless, the British state exhibits concern about the damage illicit drugs do to both individuals and society: witness the opening statement of the most recent policy document:

Drug misuse wastes lives, destroys families and damages communities. It costs taxpayers millions to deal with the health problems caused by drugs and to tackle the crimes such as burglary, car theft, mugging and robbery which are committed by some users to fund their habit. The drug trade is linked to serious organised crime including prostitution and the trafficking of people and firearms. Drugs remain a serious and complex problem that we – along with all modern societies – must face.