Hove MP organises conference on drug law reform

Posted On 15 Jul 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hove MP Mike Weatherley has organised a one-day conference on the future of Britain’s drugs laws.

Mr Weatherley, a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform, is bringing together a group of experts from around the area and across the country.

The speakers include consultants from the Priory Hospital in Hove, Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, of Sussex Police, and the academic and author Professor John Strang.

Martin Barnes, from DrugScope, and Andy Winter, the chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, are also due to speak.

The panel will discuss several issues such as

  • criminalisation
  • legalisation
  • medicinalisation
  • treatment
  • social inequality
  • homelessness

Mr Weatherley began organising the conference some time ago in response to Brighton and Hove once again being labelled the drug death capital of the UK.

His interest in the subject was sparked before he became a Conservative MP by a visit to a rehabilitation program, which he described as incredibly moving.

He said: “Hove and Portslade have a very high number of drug-related deaths and this situation isn’t going away.

“I want an open and frank discussion with residents and experts to explore new approaches.

“The status quo clearly isn’t working.”

The one-day conference will revolve around four debates

  • Social inequality, social exclusion and poverty
  • Health issues, interventions and treatment
  • Education about harms and removing the stigma from former drug users and their families
  • Drug strategy

The conference will be held on Friday 30 September at Hove Town Hall.

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for the neighbouring constituency, Brighton Pavilion, recently called for the decriminalisation of personal drug use in a speech to health professionals.

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