Currently drugs are costing public services in the West Midlands £1.4 billion each year, half of all thefts and burglaries are linked to people stealing to feed their addictions and someone is dying every three days.
Despite the good work being done by many, collectively our approach to drugs is failing.
Earlier this year I launched my practical proposals to tackle the scourge of drugs in the West Midlands. I launched an eight point plan to reduce the harm, crime and cost of drugs to our society. At its heart I want to get tougher on the high level dealers flooding our streets with drugs and begin to treat people with addictions as having a medical problem.
Last week I travelled to Switzerland to see how many of those proposals are working in practice.
I’m alarmed to hear about young people dying, when their deaths could have been prevented. I’m sick of the crime resulting from drugs. As well as the huge human costs, the burden on hard-working taxpayers is simply unacceptable.
I believe that if we take pragmatic and practical steps we can change that.
We can be a safer region, with less crime and fewer drug related deaths. Instead of spending £1.4 billion on failed drugs policies we can be spending that on reducing hospital waiting lists and freeing-up more police officers to tackle the violence on our streets.
The easiest thing in the world would be to keep on following the same approach that isn’t working and we are all paying for.
The Swiss approach is cutting crime, saving lives and reducing the burden on the tax payer.
I will take on board their practical approach as I work with other agencies to put my proposals into practice.