Police forces across the UK are offering drug users pre-arrest education and treatment instead of a caution or charge

In what is effectively de facto drug decriminalisation, people caught in possession of personal amounts of controlled substances in a number of police areas are being directed towards treatment and education services through “diversion schemes”, rather than facing prosecution.

The radical policies, often spearheaded by elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), come amid a growing realisation that reoffending and drug-related harm can be reduced by adopting a public health approach and inviting people to address their own substance use.

Related: Police ‘decriminalising cannabis’ as prosecutions fall away

If I hadn’t gone on this course my life would have been screwed. I’d have had a criminal record saying I’d done drugs

Related: How 'fixing rooms' are saving the lives of drug addicts | Mattha Busby

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