Doctors have an “ethical responsibility” to back the legalization of drugs, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has advised for the first time.
An editorial in the BMJ, the UK’s most widely-read medical journal, argues that laws against drug use have harmed people across the world, while stressing that drug addiction should be viewed as a health problem and police involvement must end.
The BMJ says the “war on drugs” has failed and “too often plays out as a war on the millions of people who use drugs.”
The call for reform reflects a shift in medical opinion. In June, Britain’s two leading health bodies, the Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health, called for the personal use of drugs to be decriminalized.
The group said criminalizing users deters them from seeking medical help and leads to long-term harm, such as exposure to hard drugs in prison, the breakup of families, and loss of employment.