The Public Health Institute (PHI) at Liverpool John Moore’s University has been appointed by the Department of Home Affairs to undertake a review of the harms caused by illicit drugs on the Island.
The aim of the study is to look at how common the use of illegal substances is, and the related harms to our society. This includes the impact on families, healthcare and the judicial system. This study will have a specific focus on cannabis.
The review will be used to inform the Council of Ministers’ considerations on drugs policy in the Isle of Man.
The research will aim to provide an overview of the interaction between health and criminal justice systems in relation to illicit drug use. It will also gather public views on alternative approaches to possession offences, including non-punitive approaches.
The final report will include all findings and a summary and interpretation of other reviews that have examined the outcomes of legislative change (including decriminalisation) in other countries.
Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said:
‘Drugs policy is a divisive issue for many, and as we continue to learn more about the effects of criminalisation, drug use and penalties on our wider society we must make sure that we are making the best decisions for the people of our Island – and do that we need to fully understand the situation here.
‘This review is vital to start to enable us to have the data, and a clear evidence base, to properly inform a wider debate on drugs policy. It is still a complicated issue, and consideration needs to be given to our existing legal and international obligations, but I hope this will give us a clear view on both the criminal, societal and health impacts of drug use on our Island.’
The research will include a community survey and a stakeholder workshop based discussions to prioritise possible options.
It is expected that the review will be delivered by September 2023, with the intention to bring policy options to Tynwald by January 2024.