Pubdate: Mon, 11 May 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Emile Therien


Re: 'Tough' drug bill all about politics, Editorial May 10

The Harper government's proposed drug legislation, Bill C-15, may 
well result in a national debate. The so-called war on drugs, at 
outrageous social and economic cost, will simply not reduce the use 
of illicit drugs and crime in our society.

The law of unintended consequences may very well come into play, to 
the great disappointment of those in the criminal justice system, 
politicians, policy makers and citizens who preach and practice that 
prohibition is the "cure" to the lucrative drug trade.

This is a debate those individuals would not want or welcome. But in 
the interest of effective and sound public policy, they should. 
Canada badly needs this debate.

According to reliable sources, at most 4 per cent of the population 
use drugs and fewer than 2 per cent have a problem stemming from a 
hard drug like cocaine or heroin. Hardly a scourge or epidemic.

This is not to deny the consequences, which place a heavy social and 
economic burden on society. But considering the low numbers, should 
not the priorities be treatment, rehabilitation, demand-reduction 
programs, etc.?

These are much cheaper and much more effective in dealing with this 
country's "manageable" drug problem. History clearly reveals that 
prohibition simply does not work, and never has.

Emile Therien, Ottawa
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