Helen Clark pens foreword for book recommending sale of cocaine, ecstasy at pharmacies

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has given her endorsement to a book advocating for UK pharmacies to be able to sell cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines.

Clark, who is now the Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, contributed a foreword to the book, called How to regulate stimulants: a practical guide.

The book - commissioned by Transform Drug Policy Foundation, a UK drug law reform charity - argues that the war on drugs has been a global disaster that has only led to "violence, exploitation and record numbers of drug-related deaths".

It sets out practical ways to sell drugs in government-run special pharmacies - and even includes an example of what a pack of prescription cocaine would look like, including health warnings.

The book also suggests that the UK government should establish a regulatory agency that could license production of the drugs and determine pricing, and ban advertising of the substances.

In another section, it points to New Zealand's attempts to allow the sale of party pill BZP in 2004 as a case study of how not to regulate drugs. It said regulation needs to be well-designed and adequately enforced to work well, and wasn't in New Zealand - resulting in "suboptimal outcomes".

In her foreword, Clark advocates for decriminalisation of all drugs, writing that their prohibition has only succeeded in creating "a vast illegal market ruled by violence, corruption and insecurity".

"The world must move away from the failings of this ideologically-driven and criminalisation-led model," she said.

"[We must] reorient decisively towards evidence-based policies rooted in the core values of public health, human rights, economic empowerment, quality education, social justice and sustainable development."

She describes Transform's book as a series of "pragmatic proposals for the responsible regulation of a group of drugs", and argues that if regulation is carried out responsibly, it can "facilitate the dramatic improvement of the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs and of the wider community".

Clark was a key proponent of the 'yes' vote ahead of New Zealand's cannabis referendum. She was staunchly pro-legalisation, and was part of a 60-strong group fronting a campaign before the voting period began.

The cannabis referendum results will be released on November 6.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation wouldn't respond to questions about Transform's ideas, but referred Newshub to a report in which it recommends treating personal drug use as a health issue.

The report also calls on the Government to legalise and regulate personal use of cannabis, and to put more funding towards prevention, education and treatment.