Only 31% of MPs think possession of small amounts of drugs should be decriminalised. Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP
More than three-quarters of MPs believe the UK's drug policies are not working, according to a poll for a respected commission poised to deliver a landmark report assessing the evidence for continued prohibition.
The poll's publication comes ahead of the release of several major reports into the future of UK drug policy that will ensure the debate about reforming the country's laws becomes a key issue for MPs for the rest of the year.
The poll, conducted by ComRes for the UK Drug Policy Commission(UKDPC), found that 77% of MPs believed the UK's current policies were ineffective in tackling the problems caused by illegal drugs.
The poll of 150 MPs, weighted to reflect the composition of the Commons, found no significant difference between coalition and Labour MPs, with only 18% of MPs from coalition parties agreeing that current policies are working.
It also revealed that MPs had deep concerns about how drug policy is formulated. Two-thirds of those polled said a change in how policy was made was needed to tackle the UK's drug problems effectively. More than three-quarters of the MPs said that drug policy needed to draw much more on evidence and research.
"We knew that the public think that drug policy isn't working well enough," said Roger Howard, chief executive of the UKDPC. "Clearly, many MPs now also think the same. Drug policy in the UK has had some good achievements, like keeping HIV rates low among drug users and getting more people into treatment. But it's now clear to many people that we need some fresh thinking" read on...