The two-year study will consider the question of legalisation, and follows a call from the Association of Chief Police Officers for better research into the effects of enforcing current laws.
David Cracknell, president of the Society of Education Officers, said it will be an important chance to look at the problems in a rational light. "I'm not arguing for the legalisation of drugs. But teachers and youngsters see the conflicting messages about alchohol and illegal drugs as somewhat hypocritical. "
The inquiry will be conducted by a 13-member committee, under the auspices of the Police Foundation, Britain's leading police think-tank. It will include Annette Zera, principal of Tower Hamlets College in east London.