Pubdate: Wed, 25 Mar 2009
Source: Salmon Arm Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Salmon Arm Observer
Author: Eva Lyman


I cannot help but feel that crime fighting and in particular gang 
crime fighting needs a fundamental change of approach. What is needed 
is to remove the money incentive. In other words, if there were no 
money in drugs then this major raison d'etre for crime will lose 
customers, and gangs would go out of business.

Several European countries have for many years decriminalized drug 
use, and put it in the realm of medicine and disease fighting. Just 
the same as we do not criminalize alcohol (remember the failure of 
the prohibition?) sales and consumption, we need to decriminalize all drugs.

I do not advocate open sales, but propose we allow hospitals to 
dispense them at cost to addicts, until such a time as the users 
decide to become treated for their addictions. Softer drugs like 
marijuana could be sold by government-licensed outlets, much as 
alcohol is, to adults only. Although unhealthy (as is alcohol) pot is 
apparently not habit forming.

I recall a British doctor saying some years ago on CBC radio that 
most of his drug addicted patients eventually wanted to be cured of 
their habits. He was then able to help them.

I have come to wonder who is against this approach, because it makes 
so much sense, and has been adopted by mature democracies. Clearly 
the drug lords seem to have friends in very high places.

Together with this campaign we should have another campaign aimed at 
prevention. The anti-smoking ads Canada prepared were brilliant and effective.

A whole generation has learned that it is unattractive to smoke. In 
fact, these ads should continue, aimed at the new generation of 
potential victims.

Building more jails is the American way, not the Canadian way. It 
doesn't work, as the American example amply shows.

All it does is create an industry that rivals the old communist 
systems: Prison labour is cheap, and so is good for the corporate 
bottom line. It creates a police state that is not compassionate, and 
doesn't work.

It is not in the spirit of my Canada. Let's do something on our own 
instead of mimicking the failed state to the south even in their failures.

Eva Lyman
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart