Tough laws have “no obvious” effect on levels of illegal drug use, a government report has found.

In the report, which compared drug use in the UK with other countries, the authors said that they did not “observe any obvious relationship between the toughness of a country’s enforcement against drug possession, and levels of drug use in that country”.

Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Norman Baker said that the findings show that the UK’s drug laws need “radical change” and the government needs to follow the evidence and be brave enough to change drug laws in the UK.

The minister said:

“The Liberal Democrats believe drugs policy should be based on evidence, not dogma or the desire to sound tough. If you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform.

“For too long successive governments have been unwilling to look at the evidence. This comprehensive report shows that other ways of tackling drug addiction and supply can save lives and cut crime.

“It’s time for a radical change in British drugs policy. The fact is we should spend more time and effort cracking down on the Mr Bigs’ and criminal gangs who traffic drugs than users and addicts who should be helped to recover, not put behind bars.”

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