Written by Eva Césarová

A side event organised by the Law Enforcement Action Partnership and the Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health called “Police Statement of Support for Drug Policy Reform” introduced the perspective of experienced policemen who through their work understood the harsh consequences of the current drug policy system. Speakers at the panel were Peter Muyshondt, Neil Woods, Suzanne Sharkley, and Ron Hogg.

The representatives called for acceptance of harm reduction, decriminalization and regulation. They pointed out the constant increase of drug use, increase of the amount of black market money (“multi-billion business”)  and also the increasing level of violence related to the war on drugs – the main factors that our current drug policy is actually supporting instead of helping to decrease them.

Among other mentioned proposals, the statements were supporting of substance analysis programs, introduction & spreading of naloxone among police officers and also full decriminalization of people who use drugs.

“The only people who are actually regulating the black market are the organised crime groups –  setting up the prices, the level of quality etc…”

The Police Statement of Support for Drug Policy Reform was presented by Neil Woods who also stated that: “With current policies we are making the drug lords (gangsters) really happy.”

It was also discussed that the repressive policies implemented have absolutely no impact and in fact are causing mental health problems to the police officers who are conscious about the negative aspects of the policies.

Peter Muyshondt, who is a regional chief of police in Belgium and who lost a brother on heroin overdose, pointed out the difference in opinions and recommendations from people who have had personal experience in viewing the harm of the war on drugs when compared to police officers and policy makers who view it as just another part of their job. He also stated that “The position of drug in the hands of criminals makes them even more dangerous.” Isn’t it time to change that?

You can watch the whole session online here.