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Baron Brian Paddick has agreed to host a meeting in the House of Lords on the controversial question of drug reform in the UK. This meeting is being arranged jointly with The John Mordaunt Trust
Many countries across Europe and beyond are finally tackling ineffective drug policies by freeing users from the criminal implications of addiction and plenty of evidence shows the beneficial impact this has on entire communities.
Meanwhile, the UK seems to be stubbornly anchored in the past, determined to entrench the harmful divide between drug users and the rest of society.
Added to this, the portrayal of the issue in British media is weak at best and demonising at worst; tabloids in particular have reinforced harmful, dehumanising stereotypes of drug addicts as criminals.
The evidence of the successful Canadian, Swiss and Portuguese cases for drug decriminalisation and the intention of the Irish Government to follow a similar path, highlight how stagnant the British drug debate has become.
The UK seems to be stubbornly anchored in the past, determined to entrench the harmful divide between drug users and the rest of society.
This meeting discusses why Britain is lagging behind so many other countries and why there is the need for radical reform.
We will also be discussing the UN Conventions that govern Global Drug Policy (to some degree) and the up and coming UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs, happening in a few weeks time
Baron Brian Paddick is a British politician, and was the Liberal Democrat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Democrats) candidate for the London mayoral election, 2008 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_mayoral_election,_2008) and the London (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_mayoral_election,_2012) mayoral election, 2012. He was, until his retirement in May 2007, Deputy Assistant Commissioner (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deputy_Assistant_Commissioner) in London's Metropolitan Police Service (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Police_Service) and the United Kingdom's most senior openly gay police officer
Other Speakers include,
Baroness Molly Meacher is a British (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom) life peer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_peer) and former social worker. Since 2011 she has chaired the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, which recommends decriminalisation of drugs. In 2012 she chaired the inquiry panel of the APPG into new psychoactive substances. The panel produced a report, "Towards a Safer Drug Policy." As chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform, Meacher is leading a European Initiative on drug policy reform.
Mike Trace is CEO of RAPt....Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust and has a wide range of experience in the field of drug treatment and policy, from direct work with problematic drug users, to senior positions in national government and international agencies. He held the post of Deputy UK Anti-Drug Co-ordinator in 1997, and held this post until 2001. From 2000 to 2003, he was the chair of the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, where he was responsible for steering the 3-year work plan of the agency on behalf of the EU member states. Mike splits his time between this role and his role as Chair of IDPC, where he contributes to IDPC strategy, representation, fundraising and organisational development.
Leigh Neal was one of the founder members of Positively Women and ICW (International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS) during which time she worked on various projects including World AIDS conferences, her particular focus being on the drug using community. More recently she was involved with GLADA Voices at City Hall: a voice for women using drugs and alcohol in London. At present, Leigh is on the committee for BBV opt out testing in prisons, with Public Health England and the Hep C Trust. She is also a practising Textile Artist.
You can find out more about the John Mordaunt Trust here at http://usersvoice.org/
PLUS Special Guest from Bogota, Columbia who knows about producer issues, mamacoca.org Maria Moreno Lalinde