Howard unveils plans to combat drug addiction

Contributed by editor on Nov 19, 2004 - 10:07 AM


Conservative Leader Michael Howard has unveiled a new six-point action plan to combat illegal drug addiction once the party is restored to power.

Visiting a housing estate in Camden, north London, with Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, Mr Howard said the next Conservative government would provide more effective drug treatment by launching a tenfold expansion to 25,000 residential rehabilitation places; give addicts a new chance to get off drugs by strengthening police powers to divert them into treatment without court proceedings; and help schools introduce random drug-testing by providing the funding for testing machines in each local authority area.

The action programme would also discourage children from taking drugs by funding a major advertising and advice campaign with a clear, consistent anti-drugs message; reclassify cannabis as a banned Class B drug, sending a clear message that it is dangerous; and deter drug dealing by ensuring that repeat drug dealers serve a minimum mandatory seven year sentence, while also reforming sentencing guidelines so that adults convicted of knowingly selling drugs to children are likely to face a prison term.

Commenting on his announcement, Mr Howard said: "Drugs cause terrible damage to our society. They ruin lives. They fuel crime. And wholly innocent people, and the communities in which they live, are harmed.

"We could be doing more, much more. So today we are setting out our Action Plan on Drugs: to help stop the spread of drugs; to help reduce the crime which drugs fuel; and to help those, especially young people, who want to turn away from drugs."