Pubdate: Thu, 24 Aug 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Tim Simboli
Page: A11


Re: Decriminalizing drugs no fix for opioid crisis, Aug. 18

I read with disbelief Mohammed Adam's article and am struggling to
understand the mindset that dismisses evidence as "cherry-picked." I
suspect it's based in the belief that punishment works. Yet, evidence
has been collected over the decades to show that at a basic
behavioural level, punishment is an ineffective long-term strategy.

We have proceeded with a war on drugs because there's a belief that we
can scare people sober. What the evidence shows is that it makes no
more sense to punish an addict than it does to punish a person with a
heart condition so they will not have heart attacks.

It would be a far, far wiser use of scarce resources to take what we
currently spend enforcing, punishing and trying to stem the problem
and instead apply them to identification, education, treatment and
support. We must take a critical view of the system and address the
best points of intervention - such as the pharmaceutical and medical
over-prescribing of these drugs. Simplistic answers will not work.

The war on drugs has been waged for 50 years or more and it's being
lost. Let's look at something new that has been shown to work in
several jurisdictions.

Tim Simboli, PhD, executive director, Canadian Mental Health
Association, Ottawa Branch
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MAP posted-by: Matt