Bereaved families lobby Prime Minister for decriminalisation and regulation of drugs

By agency reporter
November 20, 2017

On United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day, ( 20 November 2017) ‘Anyone’s Child – Families for Safer Drug Control’ will hand in a letter to 10 Downing Street to call for the legal regulation of drugs.

More people are dying in the UK from illegal drugs than ever before. Families who have lost a loved one as a result of criminalisation will take a powerful message to Parliament,  “Failed UK and UN drug policy killed our children, and the government should take control of the drugs market to protect others.

"We are a group of ordinary families who joined together because we share the grief and sorrow from having loved ones who have been hurt by our failing drug laws. Our group has now expanded internationally including families in Kenya, Afghanistan, Mexico, Canada and Belgium. We are uniting to demonstrate that the drug war causes untold misery in every corner of the world."

Jane Slater, Project Manager of the Anyone’s Child Campaign says, “It is a tragic irony that the UN is tasked with protecting children’s rights, and yet it encourages its member states to fight a drug war that puts millions of young people in danger. Criminalising drugs puts young people in contact with extreme gang violence, and dirty drugs onto the streets, that kill. Legal regulation means taking drugs out of the hands of criminals and placing it under government control through doctors, pharmacists and licensed retailers, helping keep everyone safe. The government has previously refused to meet with us, but every day more families like us are needlessly suffering. We won’t go away until the government starts listening to our voices.”

Penny McCanny, mother of Aidan who died whilst at University from an accidental heroin overdose, says, “I believe that my son would still be alive had he taken something that was legally controlled.  If his dose of heroin had been regulated like a dose of paracetamol or if he had been able to use heroin assisted recovery, or if he hadn’t felt that he would be judged, or if I had understood a little sooner, then he might be alive. Instead my darling boy, my first child, is dead.”

Ray Lakeman, father to Jacques and Torin who died together of an accidental ecstasy overdose, said: “Criminalising users does not work as a deterrent. Punishment is ineffective, people re-offend and there are always new users. There is no doubt they are dangerous, they killed my sons, but drugs are more dangerous than they need to be because they are illegal.”

The families will hand in their letter in Downing Street at 11.30, then gather in Westminster Hall at 12:00 to tell their stories, and explain why bereaved families are leading the movement to end the failed drug war.

The UK has suffered record levels of drug-related deaths for four years in a row.

* Anyone's Child

* Transform is a UK  and Mexico based think tank campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs


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