Matrix Diagnostics

Matrix News

Independent report triggers revamping of Isle of Man drug policy

Recommendations from an independent study conducted by the Public Health Institute of Liverpool John Moores University have triggered a debate on the Isle of Man’s drug policy. Members of Tynwald recently discussed the report, which specifically delved into the harms of drug misuse.


The research started in the summer of 2022 and reflected findings from focus groups and stakeholder workshops with the public, drug users and charities. The reduction of criminal sanctions, alternative divisionary measures upon arrest, delayed prosecution, and the control of cannabis were among the study’s core suggestions.


Despite not outlining tangible recommendations, this study put forward several options, backed by evidence. The Isle of Man Government can use this research as a departure point to inform drug policy approaches and changes.


Public call to revise the current drug policy


Along with this comprehensive study, other public platforms, such as Anyone’s Family: Families for Safer Drug Control, turned the spotlight on the harm, rather than the good, of the current approaches to illicit substances.


Organisations such as this one feel that a regulated drug market and controlled spaces where medical professionals offer advice, support and care will reduce the risk to patients, their loved ones and the broader communities. Many believe that overhauling the current policies will expand the reach of control and wellbeing, and will especially limit the exposure of children to violence and organised crime.


Some politicians support the drafting of fresh drug laws, while others believe that amendments to the existing regulations will suffice. The Isle of Man Government views the recommendations as well-considered approaches that can be debated, made tangible and implemented.


The options put forward in the report revolve around limiting societal harm. This means that the study looked at holistic solutions, involving both government and community tiers, to reduce the overall harm of drug misuse and focus police efforts on organised drug trafficking and supply chains.


Changing approach to policing drug misuse


Since the UK Government launched the ‘From Harm to Hope’ drive at the end of 2021, many authorities and related organisations have adjusted their approach to strictly policing and punishing drug misuse. Along with boosting the quality of treatment and availability of recovery programmes, Scotland even launched its first supervised drug-use facility.


Using drug testing to support alternative approaches to managing drug misuse


Even when the focus shifts from legally punishing drug users to supporting and helping them, drug testing remains crucial. Authorities, social services, employers and rehabilitation organisations all benefit from running initial drug tests and continued testing.


Detention centres can, for example, use laboratory drug tests to obtain a comprehensive profile of the drugs in a person’s system. This information can in turn be passed on to those running a treatment programme, where they can monitor repeat use, alternate drug use or abstinence with multi-drug dip cards.


Drug testing allows all parties – from government bodies and law enforcers to community centres and treatment programmes – to keep a finger on the pulse of progress and relapses. It is the one indispensable element that is core to the success of any initiative.

Please Get In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.