Recreational drugs should be “nationalised” and legally sold in Government-run pharmacies, according to a drugs reform charity.
Transform is calling for Class A drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines, to be sold safely by medical professional in order to undercut organised crime.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Transform CEO Dr James Nicholls said the plan can turn the tide in the “unwinnable war against drugs.”
“We are proposing that we have a Government-run drug regulation agency which would have a monopoly on the import and production of these substances,” he said.
“That it would be the sole purchaser and distributor of these substances and that the sale would be in specialist pharmacy-style outlets.
He said drugs with a relatively low risk would be available without prescription – although a limit of the amounts you can purchase would be needed.
Meanwhile, more dangerous substances would only be available with a doctor’s prescription.
“We are looking at a tiered model, we are looking at sale through specialist outlets and we are looking to ensure that those sales are accompanied by harm-reduction advice, by full information on what people are purchasing and a limitation on the amount people can purchase at any one time,” he said.
Dr Nicholls said the international drug trade is currently a “completely unregulated market which is causing damage, violence, exploitation and corruption across the world.”
“We need to get control of that market somehow because it is not getting any smaller and the harms aren’t getting any less,” he said.
“So, the idea we are putting forward is that we need to set out realistic and practical alternatives to that situation and for us, this is most realistic approach to stimulants in particular.
“It is different for other drugs but stimulants are a particular challenge I think so what we want to get going is a conversation about what those alternatives look like.”
Education and training
He said Transform is well aware of the size of the undertaking and said GPs and pharmacists would need supports and training before the system could be introduced.
“This is not something we think you can just parachute in and expect people, without training, without support and without a whole wrap-around service, to provide effectively,” he said.
“There will be costs associated with that absolutely. We are not unrealistic about the challenges.
“What we are saying is that given the costs of the current situation, both in terms of policing and the harms that are created as a result, we need to look at those challenges and ask whether we want to shy away from those simply to keep the status quo as it is.”
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