Pubdate: Wed, 15 Mar 2000
Source: Press, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2000 The Christchurch Press Company Ltd.
Contact:  Private Bag 4722, Christchurch, New Zealand
Fax: +64-3-364-8238
Author: Craig Young
Note: Headline by Editor


Sir-I see the failed fundamentalist National Party candidate for
Christchurch Central is at it again, and cannot tell the difference
between legalisation and decriminalisation (March 8).

Legalisation involves the commercialisation of a given practice, and
problems with occupational health and safety result from the
introduction of such commercial interests unless there is adequate
protection for consumers and workers.

By contrast, decriminalisation involves the deletion of criminal
sanctions against that given practice, and enables the introduction of
risk reduction and harm minimisation procedures.

For example, there has not been an HIV/AIDS outbreak amongst
intravenous drug users in this country precisely because the
possession of injecting syringes was decriminalised in 1989.

Conversely, the retention of criminal penalties against sex workers
interferes with risk reduction and harm minimisation within that
occupational group.

Craig Young
March 9, 2000
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MAP posted-by: Allan Wilkinson