On this episode of Stop And Search it is our absolute pleasure to welcome three guests whose work as authors and journalists help us dig deep into the subject of drugs and crime:

Johann Hari is a journalist and author of Chasing the Scream, a definitive book on the ‘war on drugs’ and a must-read for everybody

Tom Gash is the author of the insightful and enlightening book Criminal: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things

Livvy Haydock has produced and presented BBC documentaries on drugs, including Manchester: Heroin Haters and a powerful documentary investigating the horrendous drug war in the Philippines, The Deadliest Place to Deal

We cover a lot in this episode. We were able to run well over our allotted recording time on the night thanks to the generosity and patience of our hosts at Waterstones, Tottenham Court Road. And there was so much good stuff coming from our panellists and contributions from our audience that we weren’t really able to trim a whole lot in the edit. So for that reason the podcast was originally released on Acast and iTunes (and all good podcast apps!) in two parts.

In Part 1 we talk about substance dependency and how we could better respond to it. We think about crime prevention more generally – are criminals inherently ‘bad’ or is controlling opportunity the key to reducing crime? We weigh in on police corruption. And we ask how effective our drug laws really are – is crime and punishment the right way to approach drugs, and if not, what should we be doing?

Jason and Neil could be sitting in the audience for this one because our guests, despite all of them supporting drug policy reform, enter into lively debate that makes for a gripping spectator sport.

Is Addiction a Crime? Part 1: http://aca.st/a1ab8b

In Part 2 the energetic discussion continues as we pass the mic out to our audience to share their thoughts and questions. We hear from Ronnie Cowan, MP for Inverclyde, on what motivates politicians to take up the cause to reform our drug laws. Aimée Tollan from Breaking Convention, London’s annual psychedelic research conference, asks what we can learn from cannabis legalization in the US, and explains the hurdles faced by psychedelic therapy researchers because of laws and stigmas associated with the drugs used in their treatments. We also ask if reform needs to come via a ‘top down’ approach from our political leaders or if grass roots organisations, social media and a shift in society’s attitudes are the key to bringing about change in a ‘bottom up’ social movement?

Is Addiction a Crime? Part 2: http://aca.st/7ab31c

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