Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2007
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The London Free Press
Author: Jeremy Loome
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Supervised Injection Sites)


Welcome to the new war on drugs, same as the old war, and courtesy of
Canada's federal government.

Like an old dog that can't learn new tricks, the Harper government
seems bent on preserving the tired, utterly disproven message that
drug prohibition works.

Of course, it doesn't, despite Health Minister Tony Clement's speech
last week to the Canadian Medical Association.

There is an overwhelming abundance of proof that prohibitions against
illegal drugs simply create a massive marketplace for criminals and
narco-economically driven nations, as well as some demons that are
convenient at police and government budget appropriation time.

They don't stop people from getting or using drugs.

There are dozens of studies showing that marijuana is physically and
mentally bad for you, yes.

But there are also many that prove that prohibition is bad for all of

Even if you think using drugs is immoral, continuing to ban them just
props up organized crime through the massive profits that a black
market can create.

And that's despite the fact that, at most, about four per cent of the
population uses them.

Less than two per cent of the population has a problem stemming from a
hard drug like cocaine or heroin.

Harm reduction -- the acceptance that we should minimize risk to users
because nothing will stop them from using -- does work and can
drastically reduce the social consequences of illegal drug use:
Overdoses, junkie crime and the spread of diseases.

 From studies showing an elimination of overdoses of heroin among
downtown east side Vancouver users of a safe injection site, to a
500-page-plus amalgamation of earlier studies by the Canadian Senate
on the impacts of weed, to the failure of the U.S. liquor prohibition
in the 1920s, there is simply nothing factual -- nothing -- that
governments seem able to offer to counter a century of failed

That our government seems bent on ignoring evidence and public opinion
in favour of imposing rigid, ineffective ideology that damages society
begs the question: What are these guys smoking?
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