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Kit Malthouse grilled by Burley on drug usage within Parliament

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The Prime Minister greenlit a selection of new measures to reduce illicit drug use in the UK this week, announcing a package of interventions from a dawn police raid on Monday. The proposals follow a pattern, offering harsher punishments for offenders while broadening recovery services offered. Speaking to Express.co.uk, one expert expanded on the types of intervention that could help reduce drug use.

How will Boris Johnson crackdown on drug use?

The Prime Minister has introduced a selection of new laws to govern drug use in the UK.

Some of the most notable include:

  • Taking passports away from class A offenders
  • Using drug dealers’ phones to contact their clients and discourage them while offering support
  • Commitment to dismantle 2, augmentin bacterial overgrowth 000 more county lines and thousands more arrests
  • Bolstering county lines investment by £145 million
  • Expanding drug testing on arrest
  • Enhancing out-of-court disposal arrangements to introduce tougher consequences for drug misuse
  • Increasing investment in treatment and recovery, with funds available to 50 local authorities

Express.co.uk spoke to Hussain Abdeh, Clinical Director and superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct, about the potential alternatives ministers could pursue.

While other countries, notably states in the US, have leaned towards legalisation, Mr Abdeh warned it could prove ineffective.

He said even class C drugs, which include substances like benzodiazepines, are open to “abuse, addiction and overdose”.

He added: “Legalising class C drugs with no steps in between can hugely increase drug misuse and addiction.”

As an alternative, Mr Abdeh suggested spaces that would allow people to take drugs safely, known as drug consumption rooms (DCRs), would prove beneficial.

He said there was “no doubt” rooms allowing people to use drugs “in the presence of trained staff” would “massively help to reduce” drug-related complications and addiction.

DCRs require users to bring substances with them and primarily cater to those who inject, although there are facilities for smoking and sniffing.

Data shows heroin users most commonly utilise these locations.

Rooms like these would “also provide a platform of education to many drug users” and “a stepping stone for sobriety” they would not otherwise have access to, he added.

Mr Abdeh said: “Drug consumption rooms have a responsibility to offer a safe and clean environment for drug users, particularly for drugs that are injected into the system by providing clean needles.”

“DCR’s have already been in operation for the last three decades and were introduced to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s with needle sharing being the main area of concern.”

Other nations have introduced DCRs, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.

Extensive reporting over the last two decades have proven their success.

One study conducted by accounting firm KPMG in Australia from 2007 to 2010 found they had a positive impact on reducing overdoses, provided effective gateways towards dependence treatment, and contributed towards a decline in HIV and Hepatitis C infections.

Reports published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), found similar success in Europe.

They found the rooms made it easier to reach vulnerable groups, improve the health status of vulnerable users, and reduce drug use in open spaces.

Mr Abdeh also touched on the limitations of these rooms, noting the requirement for people to bring their own drugs can prove counterproductive.

He said they fail to “address the bigger picture and main catalyst for drug use” – their accessibility.

He added they also don’t “offer any sort of protection as to the contents and purity of the drugs that are being used”.

Even “trained professionals” cannot determine the quality of the drugs, Mr Abdeh added.

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