**PRESS RELEASE** UK Drug Seizures - Less significant to organised crime than food wastage is to supermarkets


Press Release

UK Drug Seizures - Less significant to organised crime than food wastage is to supermarkets


9th November 2017

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Today the UK Home Office released data on illegal drug seizures, saying they have fallen by 6%.


Martin Powell, Head of Campaigns at Transform Drug Policy Foundation said:


“Like alcohol Prohibition, global drug prohibition has gifted a vast criminal opportunity to organised crime groups, who control the international drugs market.

Even the UK Government’s recent evaluation of its own strategy acknowledged that the illicit drug market is so resilient that enforcement has only localised and short-lived impacts, and traffickers can easily recoup the cost of any seizures.


“What are portrayed as massive seizures are a minor cost of business for organised crime, less significant than the 2% food wastage supermarkets like Morrisons factor into their supply chains.

UK police, customs and Navy seize just 1% of heroin destined for the UK, but a report from Downing St concluded that seizures of 60-80% would be needed to put dealers out of business.

The only way to take the market from criminals is to put governments in control by legally regulating drugs - as Canada is currently preparing to do for its cannabis market. ”



Martin Powell, Head of Campaigns, Transform Drug Policy Foundation 07875 679 301 martin@tdpf.org.uk

Danny Kushlick, Head of External Affairs, Transform Drug Policy Foundation 07970 174 747 danny@tdpf.org.uk



  1. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK and Mexico based think tank campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs www.tdpf.org.uk

  2. Drug Seizures in the UK 2017, Home Office https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/657872/seizures-drugs-mar2017-hosb2217.pdf

  3. Post-farmgate alone, supermarkets waste 2% of food, according to Steven Butts, head of corporate responsibility for Morrisons, evidence to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Jan 2017 http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environment-food-and-rural-affairscommittee/food-waste/oral/45673.pdf

  4. Heroin seizures and heroin use in Scotland http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14659890902960706?journalCode=ijsu20

  5. No. 10 Strategy Unit Drug Report  p73 (NB The Home Office has now removed this from its website but it can be accessed here) http://evolvecms.webfreelancersuk.co.uk/sites/default/files/Strategy%20Unit%20drugs%20report.pdf

An evaluation of the Government’s Drug Strategy 2010, UK Home Office, 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628100/Drug_Strategy_Evaluation.PDF Key quotes and analysis here: http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/uk-government-official-evaluation-our-drug-strategy-failure-home-office-carry-anyway