United Kingdom Home Secretary Priti Patel announced proposed new sanctions on users of cannabis and other drugs that include the confiscation of drivers’ licenses and passports under a new three strikes policy for illicit drug use. Under the proposal, those caught with illegal recreational drugs would face fines and mandatory drug education. They could also be banned from nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
“Drugs are a scourge across society. They devastate lives and tear communities apart,”
The government hopes that the new policy will help stem the use of illicit drugs including cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. The Home Office expects the stiffer penalties to “help tackle the scourge of substance abuse in society which devastates lives and tears communities apart, as well as make our streets safer.”
“We are cracking down on drug use with tougher consequences for so-called recreational drug users who will face the consequences of their actions through sanctions including fines and conditions to attend rehabilitation courses, while drug offenders could have their passports and driving licenses confiscated,” Patel said.
New Three Strikes Policy
Under the new policy, those caught possessing illicit drugs would be required to pay for and attend a drug awareness course. If they refuse, they would face stiffer fines or face prosecution. Offenders with a second strike for drug possession would be required to attend additional drug awareness training and be subject to mandatory random screenings for drug use for a period of three months.
Third-time offenders would likely be charged for the offense. If convicted, they could could be subject to an exclusion order banning them from a specific location, such as a nightclub, as part of a civil court order. They could also face drug tag suveillance to monitor their substance use and have their passports and driving licenses confiscated by the court.
The Home Office noted that the prevalence of drug use has increased since 2012, with drugs being used by a higher percentage of young adults and children. The government has committed to reversing this trend with a 10-year drugs strategy to reduce crime and reduce the drug supply. The plan is supported by £900 million of funding for enforcement, treatment and recovery, making the government’s total investment on combating drugs over the next three years to £3billion.
“In line with our strategy to tackle the harmful consequences of drugs, we aim to reverse the rising trend of substance use in society, to protect the public from the harm and violence of drug misuse,” Patel said.
Drug Expert Weighs in on Passport Confiscation for Cannabis Users
Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of Release, an independent
She added that the plan to seize passports and driving licenses is a “hugely disproportionate” way to respond to drug possession.
“There is no evidence that this will deter drug use,”
“This is just tired tough on drugs rhetoric,” she continued. “We can only hope that the next Prime Minister and Home Secretary will be more sensible on this issue, reflecting public sentiment, and following the evidence that punitive approaches don’t work.”
Patel’s plan to increase penalties for recreational drug possession is subject to a 12-week publication discussion period before becoming effective. The proposals have been published in a white paper entitled “