Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said making drugs such as heroin and cocaine legal would “drastically” cut crime and addicts’ health problems.
State-regulated use of drugs would also save money and avert the need to try to stop drug production in countries such as Afghanistan, he said.
Sir Ian has recently stepped down as president of the Royal College of Physicians, and in a valedictory message to colleagues, he called for laws to be “reconsidered with a view to decriminalising illicit drugs use”. He said: “This could drastically reduce crime and improve health.”
Sir Ian said he agreed with the argument put forward by Nicholas Green QC, the chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales, who said last month that it was “rational” to consider “decriminalising personal drug use”.
Sir Ian also said he was persuaded by a recent article in the British Medical Journal, which argued that the prohibition of drugs had been “counterproductive”, made many public health problems worse, and stimulated organised crime and terrorism.
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