The next Labour government could potentially legalise all drugs - including cocaine and heroin.

In an interview this weekend with The Sunday Times, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said in government her party would "establish a royal commission to review independently all drugs legislation and policy to address related issues of public health."

Labour would then follow its recommendations, if it suggested decriminalising some or all drugs including cocaine or heroin.  

Ms Abbott said: "There is nothing more important than preserving the life of our citizens, our current approach to drugs is simply not doing that."

 

She said the party would also explore the idea of overdose prevention clinics - state-run facilities where users would be able to safely inject themselves.

Heroin is continuing to spread misery and death around Liverpool

The ECHO has been running a series of features in recent weeks looking at the drug problems across Liverpool and Merseyside, which appear to be growing.

Campaigners have called for a total change in the country's approach to drugs - with some calling for legalisation.

Dr Gemma Ahearne is a visiting fellow from the University of Leeds who has been granted ethics at Liverpool John Moores to research Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) operating in the city and the the processes of exploitation that they use.

 

She previously told the ECHO: "As a criminologist I can say that the main problems facing heroin consumers are stigma and the law.

"The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 requires radical reform, it is not working.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott

"Currently the drugs market is in the hands of extremely violent and dangerous organized crime groups.

"These people groom, exploit and terrorise the vulnerable and the surrounding communities.

 

"Under the current law, targeting these groups only creates the space and motivation for more organized OCG’s to enter the market."

Dr Ahearne made reference to the work of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, an organisation made up of former police officers and other figures from the criminal justice system who are calling for drug law reform.

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She said: "These figures include former chief constables and former undercover officers who are stating that the current system of drug prohibition is causing violence and the problems that we see.

He added: “The war on drugs is funding gangs, fuelling crime, giving children easy access on social media and disproportionately criminalising working class young men.”