Prime Minister Supports Abstinence

David Cameron and Julian Huppert debate in parliament

29th June 2011: Prime Minister David Cameron answered a question from Dr Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, on the UK’s failed drugs policy. David Cameron stated “we have spent too much time on heroin replacement and methadone rather than on trying to get people clean and clear up all the things in their lives that perhaps cause them to take drugs in the first place.”

Peter McCann, Chairman at Castle Craig commented: “The Prime Minister’s statement in Hansard is in line with sentiments and policy of the Scottish Government. Unfortunately, like in England, the policy is simply not being applied at grassroots level.”

29th June 2011, recorded in Hansard 954.

View the exchange on BBC’s Democracy Live (30:38)

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Does the Prime Minister believe that drugs policy has been failing for decades as he said in 2005 and does he agree that the Government should initiate a discussion of alternative ways, including the possibility of legalisation and regulation, to tackle the global drugs dilemma, as he voted for in 2002?

The Prime Minister: I do not believe that we should legalise any drugs that are currently criminal, but I do believe that drugs policy has been a failure over recent years. There has been insufficient attention to the two key areas of education––warning people of the dangers of drugs––and treatment. One of the ways to collapse the drugs market is to have a more effective treatment system. In this country particularly, we have spent too much time on heroin replacement and methadone rather than on trying to get people clean and clear up all the things in their lives that perhaps cause them to take drugs in the first place.