UK drug laws used as tool of systemic racism, says ex-No 10 adviser

The Guardian reports..

Simon Woolley says failure of drugs legislation is having a devastating impact on public health

Britain’s drug laws are racist and cause “high levels of mental health harm” among black people, a former No 10 race adviser has said.

Simon Woolley said drugs legislation introduced 50 years ago had failed to cut the use, supply and harms associated with illegal drugs, and instead was used “as a tool of systemic racism”.

Despite white people reporting higher rates of drug consumption, black people were more likely to be stopped and searched for suspected drug possession and were more likely to be arrested, charged and imprisoned for drug offences, he said.

Lord Woolley, 59, who was appointed by Theresa May to chair the government’s race disparity unit’s advisory group and is now a crossbench peer, said the failure of UK drugs legislation was having a devastating impact on public health.

“It creates anxiety, stress and alienation that contribute to the high levels of mental health harm experienced across our black communities,” he wrote in the BMJ, as he appealed for doctors to speak out on the issue.

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