Pubdate: Sat, 06 Oct 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Craig Jones


Re: Tories Take Harder Line On Illegal Drug Users, Oct. 5.

The Conservative government's antidrug strategy -- relying heavily on 
prohibition, punishment and fear mongering -- empowers organized 
crime, stigmatizes already marginalized people and further endangers 
the health and lives of persons battling addictions. Although we 
don't have the actual strategy in front of us yet, it is telling that 
the words "evidence-based" and "harm reduction" appear nowhere in the 
Prime Minister's remarks.

There is no reason to think that what has not worked for the last 40 
years, and what has swollen the U.S. prison population beyond those 
of China and Russia, will produce any positive effect on drug use or 
abuse in Canada.

And mandatory minimum sentences are unjust because they punish 
classes of crimes rather than individual wrong-doers.

After 40 years of "getting tough" by following the failed U.S. war on 
drugs model, street prices for most drugs are lower, their purity is 
higher and their availability is better. If the Conservatives would 
listen to their own experts, they would have devised a very 
different, much more humane, just, effective, compassionate and 
evidence-based drug strategy.

But this is not it.

Craig Jones, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, 
Kingston, Ont.
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