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Brexit may hurt UK’s war on drugs

Brexit may hurt UK’s war on drugs

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske

Researchers from the University of Cambridge warned that Brexit posed a ‘severe threat’ to the UK’s war on drugs. In a letter published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said that Brexit would hurt the fight against organised crime by limiting the medical community’s access to Europe’s early warning systems, which inform them about new and potentially lethal illegal drugs. They said international cooperation between the police and medical experts is essential to monitor drug markets and that the ‘red lines’ contained in the Brexit negotiations, such as the rejection of judicial oversight by the EU Court of Justice, could retract access to this vital information.

The authors said that as well as the potential harm caused by losing membership in the European Medicines Agency, there were also many smaller organisations where the loss of access could impact public services. They highlighted the role of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which receives little recognition for its role in mitigating the harm caused by illegal drugs throughout Europe.

The authors said that collaborative efforts between the EMCDDA and the UK have been ‘transformative’ in making contributions to the UK’s fight against organised crime and the formulation of national drug policy.

The authors added that psychoactive substances, such as Monkey Dust and Spice, were the cause of significant problems in some cities and towns and that the government needed to determine how the UK could remain a part of the early warning systems for those drugs after Brexit.


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