Home secretary Priti Patel has issued a plan which could ban drug users from nightclubs, bars, and venues, and also confiscate the passports of those people in a nationwide crackdown.
Following a similar proposal made by former prime minister Boris Johnson in December, Patel announced the crackdown aimed at “middle-class drug use” with a new three-strike policy.
Those who offend could be made to wear an electronic drug monitoring tag, according to new plans, or be made to take random drug tests. For those who use cocaine and cannabis, drug courses and penalty fines may be made mandatory.
“In line with our strategy to tackle the harmful consequences of drugs, we aim to reverse the rising trend of substance use in society, to protect the public from the harm and violence of drug misuse,” Patel said.
On the "three strikes and you’re out” policy, the government have proposed that the first strike see offenders take a drug awareness course or pay a fixed penalty fare. If neither of these punishments are complied with, offenders could be prosecuted.
On the second strike, users are given a warning, asked to take a second awareness course, and face up to three months of random drug testing.
On the third, offenders face prosecution and, depending on the outcome of the conviction, could be banned from locations such as nightclubs and bars. Users may also be given a drug monitoring tag and have their passports confiscated.
In December, Boris Johnson outlined a similar plan to punish class A drug users by confiscating passports and driver's licenses with a focus on “wealthy users”, as well as the “gangs behind the county lines phenomena”.
Industry experts now note that these proposals could cause more harm than good in nightlife, where non-profit organisations and harm reduction groups such as The Loop are now in place to help stop the spread of unsafe drugs.
"The industry has been exploring different approaches to drugs within society, the work being done by The Loop and many other organisations, around information sharing, testing and intelligence being the start,” said the Night Time Industries Association’s Michael Kill.
"The work being done at festivals and events in the Netherlands for example shows a different approach, it is clear that drugs in society will not be stopped using the suggested methods laid out by the Home Secretary, which in many instances already exist in part on a local level."
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The new proposals come as part of the 10-year drug crackdown outlined by the government last year, which will be subjected to a 12-week consultation and finalised this October.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter