The influential Home Affairs Committee, which Keith Chairs, will hold an international drugs policy conference on Monday 10 September in Parliament.
As well as representatives from a number of source, transit and consumer countries, the committee have also invited local activists and members of the public. A number of MPs will attend, as well as members of the Home Affairs Committee.
The Key Note Speech will be given by the Major General Leon from the Columbian Police Force and the Portuguese Health Minister, Dr Fernando Leal da Costa who will close the conference.
The conference will examine drug treatment, reduction and prevention both at home and abroad. Topics which are likely to be discussed include:
• The importance of a global drug policy;
• If the assistance currently provided to source and transit countries meets their needs;
• Whether international aid could be used to improve infrastructure and combat the corruption associated with the drug trade;
• Whether there ought to be a global debate on the decriminalisation of drug use;
• The value of drug education in preventing drugs misuse; and
• The changing nature of drugs misuse by young people and whether services are able to cope with the differing demands of the various generations of addicts.
The findings of this conference will feed directly into ongoing inquiry and help shape the recommendations of the Committee on drug policy.
Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“This is the first large scale discussion of Drug Policy in a decade. Over the past nine months we have held seven evidence sessions, received nearly 200 written submissions, and also held a drugs attitude poll in Leicester through the Leicester Mercury. The purpose of this conference is to answer any outstanding questions.
Despite a decrease in the level of drug use in the UK, dangerous substances continue to cause problems in British society. New drugs bring new harms. Last year 41 legal highs were discovered indicating that the drug of choice is shifting. Whilst the landscape has changed dramatically since the first UN convention was passed in 1961, the drugs problem is still very much in existence and it requires greater attention than it receives.”