Drugs policy is working, says tsar

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Drugs Tsar Keith Hellawell this week will insist there will be no retreat in the Government's hardline attitude against legalising cannabis, in spite of the growing pressure for it to be decriminalised.

Drugs Tsar Keith Hellawell this week will insist there will be no retreat in the Government's hardline attitude against legalising cannabis, in spite of the growing pressure for it to be decriminalised.

Mr Hellawell will make it clear when he delivers his annual report that he believes soft drugs can lead to the use of class-A drugs, and he does not support decriminalisation.

The issue was raised after eight Tory shadow cabinet members admitted using cannabis in their student years. Mr Hellawell is furious at reports that he has softened his approach to cannabis. His report will call for wider testing for drugs in offices, including Whitehall, and will claim that the Government's comprehensive approach to tackling the drugs epidemic is working.

A Government source said: "Nobody believes you can simply beat the drugs problem by putting people behind bars. The annual report will in no uncertain terms prove that."

However, it may disappoint critics of the Government's anti-drugs strategy, who argue that prohibition is failing. Government sources last night said the arrest of a Briton in Estonia in connection with a £20m heroin smuggling plot was an example of the successes in the war against drugs that will be highlighted in the report.

The operation to seize the drugs involved British Customs and Excise, the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency and their Estonian counterparts. Claire Morgan of Customs and Excise said: "The arrest shows that the policy of co-operation between all drug enforcement agencies is going a long way to reducing the availability of drugs on the streets of the UK."

Mr Hellawell's report will show that the Government is meeting its tough targets for drug seizures but is also expanding help to drug users to escape their addiction.

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