The so -called war on drugs is “old -fashioned” and “won’t work”, a former Conservative health minister said.
Dan Poulter, the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said the government would “rethink” how it would deal with drug addiction.
The backbencher still serves as a mental health doctor on the NHS and was a minister for health under David Cameron between 2012 and 2015.
In an interview with GB News ’Gloria De Piero, Poulter said:“ The aggressive law and approach to the order in which we commit crimes, has very strong criminal penalties for people caught in possession of drugs are frankly, you know, it’s old and it won’t “work.
“What we’re seeing is the number of people dying from heroin overdoses is on the rise.
“The number of people dying, that they are not affected by other drug -related injuries is increasing. So we need a different approach.
“I also don’t believe just incarcerating people or giving them criminal punishment for having drugs when they may be dependent on drugs or addicted to drugs is not necessarily a useful way forward. And I think we need to rethink it. ”
Asked if the phrase “war on drugs” is “rational, useful, achievable”, Poulter added: “To be frank, no.”
Poulter said the government should look at the example of Portugal, where the availability of drugs, not the large -scale deal, was addressed by “supporting the people and treating them” rather than “a criminal problem”.
“In the UK, a number of people dying from heroin overdoses are rising. Portugal has fallen,” he said.