Drug decriminalisation in the UK debate: What you need to know

MPs are set to address Britain's 43-year-old drug laws today in the first Commons debate of its kind in a generation.

The debate follows the findings of a report which shows that a punitive approach to drug abuse, including locking up addicts, fails to curb levels of addiction.

Ministers have visited 10 other countries which have relaxed their laws on drugs - including Portugal where since decriminalising levels of punishment for personal drug use in 2001 has seen a fall in addiction and drug-related deaths.

The review of other countries’ experience of drugs legislation was set up 18 months ago by the Home Secretary Theresa May and conducted by Liberal Democrat ministers, Jeremy Browne and Norman Baker.

It was completed in July but publication was delayed, provoking accusations from Mr Baker that senior Conservatives were attempting to bury its findings.

The report will suggest treating possession of drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal one.

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