Pubdate: Thu, 31 Dec 1998
Date: 12/31/1998
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada)
Author: Henry Boston
Re: the Dec. 29 letter "Drug Echoes of the '60s."

The real problem of trying to control our drug use through the law is
that we are controlling what we do with ourselves by intimidation. It
would be much better to control it through health-regarding motivation.

Controlling our drug use through intimidation also involves police
undercover work, i.e. the police tell lies, pretend to want or to sell
an illegal substance so as to lay charges to put sellers and users in
prison. This fills our courts so that court action is delayed and also
fills our prisons, and both of these consequences are paid for by taxpayers.

All this is totally unnecessary as we have laws to address the evil
consequences of substance abuse. It is also corrosive of good
relations between Parliament, which makes the law, police who enforce
it and the public who pay for it.

I am not suggesting that if our substance use were based on health
interests there would be no substance abuse. Of course there would be,
but it would not be any worse than it is now, and might be much
better. If the individual is responsible for his or her substance
abuse and for the consequences of abuse, then trust would be re-
established between government expert advisers and users.

Henry Boston