Recreational drug users could have passports and driving licences confiscated under new plans in government crackdown

·2-min read

Recreational drug users in England and Wales could have their passports and driving licences seized under new proposals announced by the government.

The latest crackdown on drug use in society would also see casual users of cocaine and cannabis facing fines and having to attend drug courses.

The government says the tougher penalties would help tackle the "scourge" of substance abuse in society.

It comes as recent statistics show over three million people in England and Wales in 2019/20 reported using drugs in the last year.

The proposals have been published in a white paper entitled "Swift, Certain, Tough. New Consequences for Drug Possession".

The escalating tougher penalties that recreational drugs users in England and Wales could face include:

• First-time offenders required to pay for and attend a drug awareness course

• If first-time offenders do not attend a course, they must pay an increased Fixed Penalty Notice or face prosecution

• Those found using drugs for a second time would be given a caution, sent on a further drug awareness course and would face a period of mandatory, random drug testing for a period of up to three months.

• Offenders caught for a third time would likely to be charged and upon conviction, as part of a civil court order, could be subject to an exclusion order banning them from a specific location like a nightclub.

• Third-time offenders could also be given a drug tag monitoring their usage, and see their passports and driving licences confiscated.

'Rising trend of substance use in society'

The proposals, which follow the publication of the 10-year drugs strategy in December, will be subject to a 12-week public consultation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the move shows the government is "cracking down on drug use".

"Drugs are a scourge across society. They devastate lives and tear communities apart," Ms Patel said.

"Drug misuse puts lives at risk, fuels criminality and serious and violent crime and also results in the grotesque exploitation of young, vulnerable people."

"In line with our strategy to tackle the harmful consequences of drugs, we aim to reverse the rising trend of substance use in society, to protect the public from the harm and violence of drug misuse," she added.

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