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Drug policy experts recommend decriminalizing all drugs

  1. Rob Cypher
    Experts recommend Prime Minister Harper decriminalize all drugs in Canada

    In a report issued Thursday, a group of Canadian drug policy experts at the Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction recommend that the Harper administration immediately take up decriminalization of all drugs as the first step toward fundamentally reforming the nation’s drug war to fight addiction instead of the Canadian people.

    “While countries all around the world are adopting forward-thinking, evidence-based drug policies, Canada is taking a step backwards and strengthening punitive policies that have been proven to fail,” experts wrote, noting the Harper administration’s hard rightward swing.

    The administration recently joined U.S. drug warriors in focusing military assets on eradicating drug crops in south America, even after the prime minister himself admitted that the drug war “is not working.”

    “The findings of this report, based on interviews with changemakers and service providers, and scans of important documents and research, reveals that Canada is at a crossroads when it comes to drug laws and policies,” the report’s executive summary explains. “A new direction in drug policy is required. We can continue to work within the paradigm of drug prohibition or we can begin to explore alternative approaches and chart a new course that can help save lives, respect human rights and be more cost effective.”

    Their top recommendation, mentioned before all others, is the decriminalization of all currently illicit substances for personal use, along with the establishment of a regulatory system that allows adults to responsibly use marijuana. Once that’s done, experts recommended working to reduce the stigmas associated with people who use drugs in order to help overcome some of the social barriers addicts face in seeking treatment.

    Likely their most controversial recommendation is step three: harm reduction policies, like supplying clean needles to heroin addicts and clean pipes for crack cocaine users, making drug-replacement therapies available to opoid users, and even allowing heroin addicts a sterile injection site with medically pure, measured doses, then following up with the patient about rehabilitation services.

    “Canada has good people working at every level from front line services and organizations to provincial and federal ministries, whose efforts are severely hampered by fear, lack of leadership, and poorly informed policies based on outdated ideas and beliefs about drugs and the people who use them,” they wrote. “At the same time, a global movement of sitting and former political leaders is emerging that acknowledges the over-reliance on the criminal law in addressing drug problems is causing more harm than good.”

    “Canada must join the chorus of voices around the globe calling for change,” the summary concludes. “This report is a call for Canadians to meet these challenges head-on with creative thinking and brave policy changes.”

    Stephen C. Webster
    Raw Story
    May 23, 2013



  1. blink1989
    As always, politicians will ignore epert advice as instead adopt ignorant policies in order to win votes from an electorate that is ignorant of of the truth and cant or wont understand anything about what drugs policy is actually doing to the world.
  2. captainblockhead
    Yeah, you read that article and think "ah, finally people are getting it" but then of course you remember most prople are actually both ignorant AND stupid
  3. captainblockhead
    ...specially 'coz I can't spell "people" right twice in one paragraph
  4. RoboCodeine7610
    Politicians aren't that stupid. They're not going to do whatever's more effective; that's just not their goal. They'll do whatever will get them elected again.

    So it's not that politicians want punitive drug laws, it's that 3/4 of the population either want them or just don't care. When have you ever seen a politician go against the will of the people because they're stupid?

    Or in other words: What's easier? Trying to change people's minds about the very nature of drug abuse or just reinforce their deeply held believes on the moral "wrongness" of being an addict?

  5. Smeg
    1. Governments are largely interested in the pursuit of power and control, not truth nor any notion of justice.
    2. They lie.
    3. Recreational drug users are often scapegoated as a smokescreen to cover up all manner of immoral political practices.
    4. It feels to me that many of those who actually are in a position of power are precisely the people that shouldn't be.
    5. Hopefully at some point in the future there'll be a form of government which is an example to the rest of the planet that is based on a sort of jury service model.
    6. Avoiding the advice of independent experts is their stock in trade, if it doesn't suit their political whims. Puppets are required for that.
    7. Evidence is avoided. (See #1).
    8. #5 may never happen in the foreseeable future, as there are those who shun power who may always be neglected for the unforgivable flaws of subjective wisdom, and attendant humility.

    Rant over.
  6. longwalk
    Humility is rarely a winning political strategy; the vicissitudes of power and corruption cause too many honorable and humble people to seek public office.

    ...and there's the rub.

    Those with the vision to embrace personal liberty and individual choices, in the context of an egalitarian society that still cares for the well-being of others, typically do not want to devote their lives to any of the broken systems of human government.
  7. Diverboone
    Leaves me wondering just how long is the U S going to be the bastard child in this movement? They are slowly losing control of an agenda, that has been so whole heartedly push by the U S.

    Our neighbors to the south have seen the U S backed folly of a Drug War and they are leaning in the same direction as Canada

    The Supreme Court of Argentina unanimously found paragraph 2 of Article 14 of the National Drug Law (Law No. 23.737), which had punished possession of drugs for personal use with deprivation of liberty, subject to substitution with educational measures or treatment, to be unconstitutional. The Argentine legislature is currently rewriting the law to comply with the Supreme Court ruling and to expand it to cover other substances besides cannabis.

    Mexico; Articles 477 to 480 of the General Health Law, as amended in 2009, state that the Office of the Public Prosecutor (Ministerio Público) will not prosecute the consumer for the unauthorized possession of substances in quantities deemed to be for personal use.

    Chile; Under Article 4 of Law 20.000 of 2005, the unauthorized possession of a small amount of substances destined for personal use is not punished.

    Brazil; The Drug Law changed in 2006 in an effort to reduce penalties for drug users and increase those for drug dealers. Under Article 28 of Law 11.343 of 2006, the unauthorized possession (including acquisition and transport) of substances for personal consumption is considered a criminal offense. However, it is not penalized with deprivation of liberty but rather with drug abuse education,
    community service, and/or obligatory attendance in drug abuse programs.
  8. dvix
    Articles like this give me hope, but I cannot allow myself to get excited. The government did a great job at one thing--creating a population of voters who hate drugs and blame them for half of society's problems. Many are so far gone that no amount of evidence will change their mind, and so the politicians who depend on their votes for their own livelihood and lifelong goals will not be swayed either. It will take a lot of campaigning to educate those who can be educated, and though it may sound a bit morbid, we may need a bit of time to allow the remaining, most brainwashed people, die off or lose their vigor.
  9. captainblockhead
    Yeah, I have to agree. THAT'S the reason we still have drug prohibition.

    I do believe though, somewhere in my heart, that we see an end to drug prohibition, if not in our lifetimes then in those of our children (not that I have or want any)
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