More than 60 cross-party MPs and peers have backed a campaign to end half a century of ‘drug failure’ in the UK.
The Transform Drug Policy Foundation is campaigning to overhaul the Misuse of Drugs Act, which marked its 50th anniversary on 27 May.
The controversial act was passed on May 21, 1971 and still serves as the cornerstone of British drugs legislation.
Working under the banner ‘50 years of failure’, the campaign argues that the 1971 act has ‘damaged people and communities, undermined science and entrenched social injustice’.
A private members’ bill, introduced in the House of Commons in March, is calling for an overhaul of the act, including decriminalisation for possession of small quantities of drugs, transfer of responsibility from the Home Office to the Department for Health and Social Care and better provision of safe consumption sites.
So far 64 MPs and peers have publicly backed the bill, including high profile medical cannabis advocates, Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi, Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP and Ronnie Cowan, MP for the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Former leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell have also voiced their support.
Transform has now launched its 50 Voices campaign, bringing together perspectives from across the UK, and 50 reasons why change is needed.
It is also working with partners at Release and Drug Science to launch a series of reports and proposals later this year.
Dr James Nicholls, Transform’s CEO, commented: “The Misuse of Drugs Act has been a disaster. In the 50 years since it was introduced, we have seen both use and deaths rise dramatically. The UK now has some of the highest drug deaths in Europe, and the situation continues to get worse.
“At the same time, countless lives have either been lost, or ruined through needless and damaging criminalisation. The Government’s recent review of drug markets sets out this failure in detail, and confirms that it cannot be resolved simply through more policing.
“More than 50 MPs and Peers have now called for reform, and we know that a great many more agree but feel unable to speak out on this issue. This will not continue for another 50 years. We need to start a debate now to finally break the deadlock.”
Find out how you can write to your MP about supporting drug reform here
Here is the full list of MPs and peers calling for change:
Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Labour
Apsana Begum MP, Labour
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green Party
Kirsty Blackman MP, SNP
Crispin Blunt MP, Conservative
Deidre Brock MP, Scottish National Party
Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, Labour
Alan Brown MP, Scottish National Party
Richard Burgon MP, Labour
Dawn Butler MP, Labour
Dan Carden MP, Labour
Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat
Ronnie Cowan MP, Scottish National Party
Angela Crawley MP, Scottish National Party
Ed Davey MP, Liberal Democrat
Allan Dorans MP, Scottish National Party
Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat
Marian Fellows MP, Scottish National Party
Stephen Flynn MP, Scottish National Party
Mary Foy MP, Labour
Mary Glindon MP, Labour
Neale Hanvey MP, Alba Party
Drew Hendry MP, Scottish National Party
Lord Hendy, Labour
Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrat
Lord Howarth of Newport, Labour
Lord Hylton, Crossbench
Christine Jardine MP, Liberal Democrat
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green Party
Ben Lake MP, Plaid Cymru
Ian Lavery MP, Labour
Chris Law MP, Scottish National Party
Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Labour
Clive Lewis MP, Labour
Tony Lloyd MP, Labour
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party
Kenny MacAskill MP, Alba Party
Baroness Masham of Ilton, Crossbench
Stewart McDonald MP, Scottish National Party
Stuart McDonald, SNP
John McDonnell MP, Labour
Anne McLaughlin MP, Scottish National Party
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat
Grahame Morris MP, Labour
Gavin Newlands MP, Scottish National Party
Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat
John Penrose MP, Conservative
Dr Dan Poulter MP, Conservative
Lord Sikka, Labour
Lord Ramsbotham, Crossbench
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, Labour
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Labour
Liz Saville-Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru
Tommy Sheppard MP, Scottish National Party
Jeff Smith MP, Labour
Baroness Stern, Crossbench
Zarah Sultana MP, Labour
Alison Thewliss MP, Scottish National Party
Owen Thompson MP, SNP
Richard Thomson MP, Scottish National Party
Wendy Chamberlain MP, Liberal Democrat
Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Scottish National Party
Hywel Williams MP, Plaid Cymru
Lord Woolley of Woodford, Crossbench