Gay clubbing drug reclassified

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The Government has moved to reclassify the highly-addictive popular gay clubbing drug crystal meth.

An order was tabled in both Houses of Parliament yesterday to reclassify crystal methylamphetamine from Class B to Class A, following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) earlier this year.

Crystal meth is a popular clubbing drug with the gay community, also known as ‘tina’, ‘krank’ or ‘ice’, the ease of production and euphoric effects have ensured dramatic escalation of the drug’s distribution worldwide.

Users experience a temporary sense of supreme confidence, alertness and have an increased perception of self-attractiveness. On the other hand it also delivers paranoia, agitation and violence in some individuals.

The increased arousal fuels users to completely abandon safe sex whilst involving themselves with multiple partners, many of whom are HIV+.

The Government today outlined its commitment to the current classification system, which classifies drugs according to medical and social harms, as well as the type of illegal activity undertaken in regard to that drug.

In its response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on drug classification, laid before Parliament today, the Government re-iterated the key priorities of its drugs strategy – education, enforcement and treatment – and says that it has decided, after careful consideration, not to proceed with a review of the classification system at this time.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker backed the current system of classification, he said: “It is important that there is a coherent system in place to categorise drugs and determine the penalties for their manufacture, possession and supply.

“I believe that the existing classification system does this effectively, allowing for clear and meaningful distinctions to be made between drugs.”

Mr Coaker also announced today that the Government would not be implementing a proposal, consulted on earlier this year, to set a threshold for the amount of drugs a person can possess without being charged with dealing.

The responses to the consultation on Section 2 of the Drugs Act 2005, which proposed introducing a national threshold, showed a lack of consensus on both the provision and the level at which the threshold should be set. I

n the light of these considerations the Government has decided not to commence this provision at the present time. Mr Coaker said he will however keep the matter under review.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has confirmed that not introducing this provision will have no adverse effect on policing. It is confident that existing tactics are sufficient to ensure that dealers are brought to justice. ACPO will shortly publish updated guidance on policing cannabis.

Mr Coaker said the current drug strategy is working well, “The Home Secretary has already committed to devolve more responsibility to frontline services such as the police. I am extremely impressed at the effective work the police have done in tackling drug related crime and don’t want to introduce any measures at this time that might increase the burden on forces and affect their performance.

“Over the last two years, acquisitive crime, which is largely driven by

drug related crime, fell by 16 per cent and continues to fall. The Government is determined to build on this progress, whilst also taking more drugs off our streets, putting dealers behind bars and making sure young people are informed about the harms drugs cause.”

The Home Office today published a statistical bulletin covering the extent of illicit drug use among 16 to 59 year olds in England and Wales in 2005/06 and trends in drug use since 1998, which marks the beginning of the Government’s Drug Strategy, based on data from the British Crime Survey.

It found a reduction in drug use amongst young people aged between 16 to 24 but registered an increase in the use of Class A drugs by 16 to 59 year olds.

Use of cannabis was found to have fallen but cocaine use remains high.