Councillor claims drugs report cover up

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A Montrose representative has sent in a Freedom of Information request on details of two reports about drugs and ‘legal highs’.

Councillor David May has submitted the FOI after attending the Liberal Democrat Conference and is claiming the Conservatives are not releasing the findings of the reports.

He said: “At the Lib Dem conference last week, I attended a fringe meeting on drugs and it was made clear that the Tories are blocking the reports on international comparisons of drugs policies and another on ‘legal highs’. I cannot understand why the Tories are doing this because drugs policy should be based on evidence and not on prejudice.

Due to the fact that the Tories are refusing to release these reports I have sent in Freedom of Information requests on both reports and there is no reason these reports should not be made public.

“As a Montrose councillor and member of the Montrose group against ‘legal highs’ it is clear that both drugs and the so called ‘legal highs’ are causing huge problems in our country and in Angus. It is also evident that the present drugs policy is not working as we are losing the war against drugs and release of these reports is essential.”

Earlier in the year the Montrose Against Legal Highs group joined forces with the Abroath Against Legal Highs group with the aim of ridding the streets of Angus of shops that sell New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), commonly known as ‘legal highs’.

Sanjay Samani, Lib Dem campaigner for Angus, commented: “Countries across the world are experimenting with new approaches to tackling the problem of drug abuse. Evidence is emerging that some of these approaches are producing real results and we need to be investigating which would work in this country.”

“Treating drug abusers as criminals without understanding the causes that lead to them turning to drugs fails the victims of drug crime and the families and children of drug users.”

“Reports into methods being used around the world should be published as soon as possible to identify the best approach for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”

Danny Kushlick, spokesman for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, who was a key speaker at the Lib Dems fringe meeting, said: “Both Tory and Labour governments have a long and shameful history of withholding drug policy analysis that contradicts the prohibitionist orthodoxy.

“Yet again they are playing power politics with the lives of ordinary people in order to maintain an illusion of safety and security. It is citizens’ right to see the evidence and it is the right of all of us to have policies that are genuinely effective, just and humane, and that provide health and security.”

Mr May added: “Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, the drugs minister, last week commented that the documents were gathering dust despite being ready for publication since July. There are concerns that the reports are being sat on because the department does not want to be seen to endorse less hardline drugs policies.

He blamed the Conservatives for blocking the reports and accused his Coalition partners of playing politics with addicts’ lives.