'We Can Fix It': Boris Johnson to Announce UK Government's Full-Fledged War on Drugs
10:57 GMT 05.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
In July, the UK government announced plans to establish a new unit to help tackle drug misuse and related deaths, which are at a record high, having increased by almost 80 percent since 2012.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to unveil a 10-year plan on Monday to grapple with illegal drug-related crime
, which may include measures to revoke offenders' documents.
During tomorrow's announcement of a crackdown on addicts, casual drug users, and dealers, Johnson is expected to promise the allocation of at least £700 million ($926 million) over the next three years for the purpose, according to the British media.
In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, Johnson focused on the government's push for an all-out war on drugs, stressing that drugs are "driving a lot of misery and we [the government] can fix it".
According to the prime minister, Downing Street needs "to look at new ways of penalising lifestyle drug-takers, things that will actually interfere with their lives".
16 September 2019, 21:25 GMT
The PM pledged that the government would "look at taking away their passports and driving licenses" and that Whitehall is "keeping nothing off the table".
"They think it's a victimless crime. Well it isn't. We have got to say to them, look, you are helping to drive crime, you are helping to wreck lives and we can't as a society go on like this. What I want to see is a world in which we have penalties for lifestyle drug users that will seriously interfere with their enjoyment of their own lifestyles", Boris Johnson underscored.
He said that aside from revoking the passports and driving licenses of lifestyle drug users, the government may impose nighttime curfews and football-style travel bans on these offenders.
The prime minister insisted that containing drug abuse was of great importance to creating safer streets and delivering his "levelling up" agenda.
"Most of the crime driven by drugs is generated by 300,000 heroin and crack cocaine users — tragic people who have lost their way in life. You can lock them up again and again and we do but they come out again and reoffend so we have got to rehabilitate them", Johnson said.
The remarks come after the government announced in late July that it would form a new unit to tackle illegal drug use and related deaths following the release of the second part of Dame Carol Black's Independent Review of Drugs.
The first phase of the review singled out about 300,000 opiate or crack users currently in England, plus around one million people who use cocaine.
The review also estimated that the illicit drug market in the UK is worth approximately £9.4 billion ($12.4 billion) a year. However, if health considerations, the cost of crime, and societal impact are combined, the total cost of illegal drugs stands at £19 billion ($25 billion) annually, according to the reviews.
Around 3 million people used illicit drugs in the UK in 2020, when a record 4,561 drug-related deaths were registered, up 3.8% from the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Separately, there were nearly 175,000 drug-related offences in the country last year, a 13-percent surge when compared to 2019.