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Drugs Law Review Launches

Islanders are being asked their views on Guernsey adopting a less harsh policy for small amounts of illegal drug use and possession.

A project board, that includes the former chief minister Peter Harwood, wants to see if ways can be found of helping users, rather than just locking them up.

Islanders have a month to give their views on ‘alternative and non-punitive approaches to the possession and use of small quantities of illegal drugs’.

A survey can be found here.

Potential alternatives options include:

* 'Diversion' such as health-orientated assessments and support programmes instead of, or alongside, the criminal justice processes.
* 'Deferral' - avoiding the criminal justice process by agreeing to a health-orientated assessment, and recommended support programme
* 'Depenalisation'  - reduced penalties for possessing 'small amounts' of illegal drugs.

The results - along with those of professionals - will form part of recommendations to be made to the Health and Home Affairs Committees.

Any subsequent Committee recommendations will be published in a policy letter put to the States Assembly for debate.

"The harms associated with substance use are well-documented, and it is increasingly recognised that steering substance users toward health-oriented support can result in beneficial outcomes, not only for substance users themselves but for their families and friends, and ultimately the community as a whole. This is especially relevant in relation to young substance users."  - Deputy Al Brouard, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care.

The survey closes on 11 March.

This project will not consider decriminalisation and/or legalisation of illegal drugs.

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