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Green party: Pharmacists could dispense powder cocaine OTC

Pharmacists could dispense drugs for recreational purposes under the Green party's plans
Pharmacists could dispense drugs for recreational purposes under the Green party's plans

The Green party wants pharmacists to dispense recreational drugs, such as powder cocaine and amphetamines, over the counter if it wins the general election.

“Specially qualified pharmacists” based in the community could dispense these drugs over the counter after a short, free-of-charge consultation with the drug user, during which they would share “safety information” with the individual and direct them to support services if required, Dr Alex Armitage, co-convenor of the Green party drugs policy working group, told C+D on Tuesday (November 19).

“Pharmacists would be expected to give verbal and written harm reduction advice to users” and verify their customers’ age, “as is currently the case for alcohol”, to ensure no recreational drugs are sold to minors, Dr Armitage added.

This service could be provided by community pharmacies, but the Green party envisages “specialist pharmacies being set up” to provide this service.

Black market drugs in pharmacy

Announced in the Green party’s 2019 manifesto – which also proposes making heroin available on prescription, “after a medical assessment by a doctor” – Dr Armitage said specialist pharmacies will dispense the majority of drugs currently available on the black market.

Prices will be set by the Advisory Council for Drug Safety – an independent committee that the Green party would introduce should it win the election, to collaborate on drug use matters and regulation.

“Drugs would be manufactured to pharmaceutical standards and would be subject to statutory labelling, including on dose and recommended route of administration,” Dr Armitage explained.

The party also envisages introducing a “maximum dose per visit” to reduce the risk of overdose, “as there is currently with paracetamol”.

Extra training

Pharmacists offering this service would be required “to be familiar with the social and cultural contexts in which people use drugs, including specific examples such as chemsex” – the sexualised use of recreational drugs – Dr Armitage said.

“Pharmacists would also be expected to know the signs of harmful drug use, interpersonal abuse, and be prepared to make referrals appropriately to medical, psychological and social services,” he added.

Do you think pharmacies should dispense drugs for recreational purposes?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Why are the Green party so damned STUPID???? They could do so much good if they tried, trying to sort out all the crap our loathsome species has done to this world (climate change, deforestation etc etc) but instead they come up with rubbish like this! Is coke now an essential for the youth of today? If it is, I'm glad I'm old and will be popping my clogs relatively soon. 

Michael Achiampong, Community pharmacist

[1] I suppose I could claim that I have just read the Green party's 2019 "drugs policy" online as unplanned CPD. In truth, the 15-page document is utter garbage! Unrealistic, unsustainable and unrecyclable, even. 

With no offence to "clouds, cuckoos and land" this is my overall impression. When I checked out Dr Armitage's profile online, apparently he's committee chair responsible for his local area (Hackney North & Stoke Newintgon)'s anuual Chritmas pantomime! 

Good luck in training to become a consultant in pediatric emergency medicine, but Dr Armitage should be much more informed than most about the disastrous consequences to individuals, families and communities of being addicted to "recreational drugs" like cocaine and amphetamines! I cannot believe the the "soft touch" approach his party advocates for cannabis, crack cocaine, GHB, heroin, ketamine, MDMA/pyschedelics, mephedrone, so-called legal highs/new pyschoactive substances, alcohol and nicotine.

All of which are indicative of the Green party's overarching "soft touch" drugs policy to normalise and decriminalise drugs of abuse and misuse. I bet that they haven't even bothered to canvas the views of a representative range and number of grass-roots pharmacists and pharmacy teams, who have to deal with frontline drugs issues every single day of the week.

And so for Dr Armitage to even think that pharmacists "should dispense recreational drugs OTC" and that collectively "pharmacists are unfamiliar with the socio-cultural contexts of drug use like chemsex" is more garbage! This is indicative of a privileged someone not living in the real world! And I think the mass media ought to take the responsibility to scutinise and question such preposterous ideology, policies and propaganda. What exactly does Dr Armitage mean by "specially qualified pharmacists based in the community could dispense drugs OTC after a short, free consultation?" As if we're not doing brief, appropriate interventions already? Making every encounter count! 

[2] During this past summer, I've locumed in Somerset and Devon; and the current challenges of responding to the abuse and misue, and addiction of both prescription and non-prescription medicines is real, rife and "in yer face". 

Does Dr Armitage not know that we already have an Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs with eminent pharmacists as members. So why reinvent the wheel? I doubt very much that the ACMD would want to be embroiled in the nitty-gritty of "setting prices" for recreational drugs!

[3] Finally as usual, there is no detail about funding "overdose prevention centres/supervised drug consumption rooms" etc et etc. So I repeat, the Green party's drugs policy is utter garbage. And is as unrealistic, unsustainable and unpalatable as was the now defunct Monster Looney Raving party.  

Paul Gadsden, Locum pharmacist


Well Mr Whitfield Bott you have your special drive named after you in Dundee (mist methadone!) and Greens want to create more clients and more suffering Seriously as pharmacists who care about people let us have a counselling campaign with training for our clients and more interaction with key workers and a more integrated DPC service



Alasdair Morrison, Product Development

“Drugs... would be subject to statutory labelling, including on dose and recommended route of administration”

2g Cocaine Powder
Snort ONE line into each nostril when required.
May cause sudden overabundance of confidence and poor decision-making capabilities.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

So that is how they came up with the manifesto...

Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

No problem. A quick CPPE online cocaine course and we will be good to go. I'm sure the PSNC will negotiate a "higher" rate for this service and the GPhC will be there to "deal" with any problems. 

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Between the volume of scritps, MURs, out of stocks, it would be great to have a party that could solve some of the issues in pharmacy.


Seems the Greens want me to get the bus to work and fill my pharmacy  with coked up customers sweating all over the place. I'd have to employ a dedicated member of staff just to mop the floor.

Ravi Patel, Community pharmacist

Is it 1st April??

Dario Canada, Community pharmacist

What a bunch of Morrons...

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Great new advanced service. Pharmacists could even perform deliveries to the local pub or night club. This should definitely boost the bottom line and I'm sure Pharmacy owners will be overjoyed.

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

good job they wont win

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Well I suppose its vegetarian - probably think its carbon neutral?
I know all parties do things which effectively buy votes wether explicitly or not, but you have to wonder what the Green Party parties are like ;-)

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