One of the members of the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) raised the issue of carrying out in Impact Assessment (IA) of the Misuse of Drugs Act during a witness session as part of the current inquiry into the cocaine trade. Undertaking such an IA has been one of Transform’s key recommendations in our written submission and oral evidence to the HASC inquiry.
Anne Cryer MP addressing the Advisory Ccouncil on the Misuse of Drugs Chair, Professor David Nutt:
Professor David Nutt:
'Can I ask you about the current legislation which is the MDA and associated legislation. The actualy act was approved by Parliament in '71, so that's 38 years ago. Do you think the time has come to have an Impact Assessment of that legislation and how it's applied today, is it still fit for purpose?'
'Well as I said in answers to other questions, it’s not perfect. I think as a construct, it is good. I think if it was made more evidence-based, if the act truly represented the harms of drugs, rather than having some other political overwriting - messages written into it - then I think it would be very powerful. So I think my council would be very comfortable with people wanting to review it.'Anne Cryer:
'So you would support a total assessment of it?'David Nutt:
'I would be very happy with that, yes.'Professor Nutt, additionally, in reply to a series of questions question from David Winnick MP about whether it was time for a debate around the efficacy of prohibition, and whether drugs should be legalised, said:
'I think a very mature and wide ranging debate about the effects of regulation and legality on drug use is worth having."You can view the whole session here (The section transcribed above starts at 1 hour and 17 minutes).
Transform have held a meeting with the Prime Minister requesting that he instigate an IA of the current legislation, but has yet to have any confirmation that such an IA will be launched . Now that the issue has been raised by the HASC, Transform are optimistic that it may be in the inquiries final recommendations due to be published in the New Year.