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#GPnews: Public health experts call for all drugs to be decriminalised

10:42 The percentage of women smoking at the time of giving birth has fallen ‘below the national target’ for the first time, says the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

In 2015/16, 10.6% (67,200 out of 631,230) of women giving birth were recorded as smokers. down from 11.4% the previous year.

HSCIC said this was the lowest annual figure since the first data publication in 2006/07 when it was 15.1%, adding: ‘This decrease means the national annual percentage of women recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth in a financial year was below the national target of 11% for the first time.’

However, it also added that there were areas in England where up to a quarter of women giving birth over the last 12 months were smokers.

09:30 The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health have called for all drugs to be decriminalised. 

The BBC – among other news outlets – report that the two public health bodies have said the policy around drugs has not worked, and that the focus should be on education.

Royal Society for Public Health chief executive Shirley Cramer said: ’For too long, UK and global drugs strategies have pursued reductions in drug use as an end in itself, failing to recognise that harsh criminal sanctions have pushed vulnerable people in need of treatment to the margins of society, driving up harm to health and wellbeing even as overall use falls.

’On many levels, in terms of the public’s health, the “war on drugs” has failed.’