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This Library Note provides background reading for the debate to be held Thursday, 17 October on the report of the Home Affairs Select Committee on drugs policy (HC 184, session 2012–13) and the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, published in January.

This Note examines the ongoing debate on drugs policy in the context of the above two reports. It explores the scale of drug misuse and harm in the UK, and the international context of efforts to tackle the supply and trade in illicit substances. The UK policy response in accordance with the Government’s current Drugs Strategy is then examined. Finally, the paper explores the debate on the future of drugs policy in light of recent international and domestic calls for reform.

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