An undercover drugs officer-turned-author will lead a debate at a 'Take Drugs Seriously' event in Weymouth, alongside a roster of international experts.

Neil Woods is chairman of the LEAP UK charity and served as an undercover policeman for 14 years. He now campaigns on drug-related issues and is a best-selling author of 'Good Cop Bad War', and 'Drug Wars'.

Drug-related deaths in Weymouth and Portland have more than doubled over the past decade, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The event, which is being held in partnership with charities Anyone's Child and will explore whether a new approach is needed, for Weymouth and the wider community in Dorset.

Neil Woods said: "The illicit drugs markets are changing all the time. Never before has the big city influence been so great for county and seaside towns.

"If you want to understand what’s happening and what should be done about it, come and listen to what will be revelatory information to many people.

"I will divulge what it’s like from the front line of drugs undercover policing and why it’s important to stand alongside people from the Anyone’s Child campaign when unveiling this information."

The roster of speakers includes Danny Kushlick, founder of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation and internationally recognised commentator on drug policy, and Chris Evans, who lost her son Jake to an accidental overdose and is now a campaigner with the Anyone's Child charity.

Giovanna Lewis, one of the organisers of the event, said: "We will be looking at whether the 'War on Drugs' is working - can things be done better?

"Topics will include ways to bring about a more rational and effective solution; whether banning drugs causes more harm than good, and how legal regulation could better protect the community."

A question and answer discussion will be held after the speaking guests, to give residents a chance to participate in the debate.

The event is being held on Monday February 11 at 6.30pm at Weymouth Centenary Club, 21 Jubilee Close DT4 7BG.

Attendance is free of charge, but donations to the charities will be gratefully received, organisers say.

For more information visit or search for 'Does banning drugs cause more harm than good?' to find the event page on Facebook.

For tickets visit