Pubdate: Tue, 26 Sep 2000
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 2020
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Tony Barrett, West Vancouver


We celebrate tobacco and alcohol use and wage war against drugs. I 
hadn't grasped the profound case for decriminalizing drugs until Dan 
Gardner's extraordinary analysis.  

There is an even bigger issue of health and social costs of substance 
abuse into which the drug issue fits. To reduce the enormous medical 
costs of drug and alcohol and tobacco and food abuse, we must make 
abusers bear the costs. They can make their own decision about drugs, 
alcohol and tobacco and food (obesity); just do not expect me to share 
equally in the medical costs.  

Where abuse is, in the opinion of qualified medical staff, the cause of 
health problems, the individual should bear 50 per cent of the costs of 
publicly funded medical treatment.  

Many of us are more responsible for ourselves and better respect the 
choices and freedoms society gives us, which should include 
decriminalized drugs. The burden of less responsible behaviour should 
fall on those less responsible.  

Decriminalizing drugs would free up enormous financial resources to 
assist individuals who are not responsible for their medical and social 
misfortunes; we are obliged to care for them. Given the broad public 
savings from decriminalization, we would probably be giving more care 
to responsible people and get a meaningful tax reduction too.  
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