Pubdate: Thu, 29 Mar 2001
Source: Oldham Evening Chronicle (UK)
Copyright: Oldham Evening Chronicle 2001
Contact:  P. O. Box 47, Oldham, Lancashire, England  OL1 1EQ
Fax: 0161-652 2111
Author: Don Barnard, Legalise Cannabis Alliance


I must question Dr Paul Callow's use of the words substance misuse 
("Addicts need more support", March 23).

Drug misuse is defined as the non-medical use of drugs that are intended 
for use in medical treatment, and the use of drugs which have no acceptable 
medical purposes and a high potential for misuse - weekend takers, pill 
poppers and chasers.

This should not be confused with drug abuse: the habitual use of drugs, to 
the extent that the desired effects become a dominant concern to the 
detriment of other aspects of their lives.

That said, I am all for a policy that treats drug abusers as patients and 
not criminals.  However I am concerned that "treatment not incarceration" 
as drug policy risks yet greater justification and public approval for 
stigmatising and removing from society those whose choices involve 
politically-incorrect, drug use, and doing so in a way that seems medical, 
and scientifically-justified.

Until these sick people are cured, and can accept to live in the real world 
of responsibilties and duties, we will, out of the good of our own hearts, 
ensure that they get the treatment they need, for as long as it takes, 
seems a far more dangerous collective mind-set than "lock them up so they 
will know of our disapproval".

The lack of succes for addiction treatment, noted by many researchers, will 
merely confirm the necessity to continue to demonise drug users ad 
infinatum, as the treatments will accomplish little, save to pacify the 
public and political consience of the nation.  Even with our best and most 
expensive treatments, do not become cured let us be warned.

Treatment not incarceration may turn out to be even worse than prohibition.

Don Barnard
Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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