Lewes LibDem MP Norman Baker is supporting announcements that people charged with possession of drugs for personal use should not be sent to prison.
Under LibDem manifesto plans drug users whose only crime is possession for personal use will receive non-custodial sentences and medical treatment, moving the drugs and alcohol lead from the Home Office to the Department of Health.
Locking up these people, including 500 for possession of cannabis, costs taxpayers up to £5million a year, they said – money that should be spent on bringing drug dealers to justice.
Norman, Crime Prevention Minister with responsibility for drugs policy in the government, said: “The first step is to recognise drug use is primarily a health problem.
“Addicts need treatment, not prison sentences. If we are to be anti-drugs we need to be pro-reform and look at support mechanisms for addicts not locking them up behind closed doors and turning a blind eye.”