The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) made the claim following the release of a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee stating The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Misuse of Drugs regulations need to be updated.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill supported the recommendations made by the Government body and issued a call for “the dangerously outdated nature of the country’s drug policy” to be amended. He added The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which forms the cornerstone of drug regulations in the UK, is now over 50 years old and is “ill-suited” to the contemporary challenges posed by drug misuse and harm reduction.
Kill said while the UK has long been a pioneer in the global music and entertainment scene, its approach to drug policy has lagged behind the progressive measures used across Europe.
He said: “Across the Channel, countries have taken significant steps forward by integrating drug checking initiatives into festivals and cultural events. These programmes, aimed at ensuring the safety of festival goers and reducing drug-related harm, have proven to be effective tools in minimising risks associated with substance misuse.
“It is high time for the UK to catch up and adopt a more pragmatic and modern approach.”
The NTIA said this reform cannot be achieved solely through legislative changes. It requires a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders, including industry players, policymakers, law enforcement and the public.
The night-time economy, including festivals and entertainment venues, plays a crucial role in this dialogue and enhancing drug testing measures across festivals and nightlife businesses can significantly contribute to minimising risks and fostering a safer environment for patrons.
Kill added drug education in schools and throughout the industry is also necessary. “Education is a cornerstone of effective drug policy reform. By providing accurate and unbiased information, we empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being,” he said.
“By working collaboratively, the industry can contribute its insights and expertise to help shape a modern, evidence-based and harm-reducing drug policy that prioritises the safety and wellbeing of all citizens.”