Pubdate: Wed, 28 May 1997
Source: Halifax Daily News (Canada)
Author: Chris Clay

Successful approach

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor (Decline in Principles, May 22),
Patrick Carroll laments the introduction of harm reduction policies in
Nova Scotia schools. However, experience tells us that our current
approach isn't working since cannabis use has doubled among teens in
the last few years.

The harm reduction approach in the Netherlands, based on a de facto
legalization of marijuana, has been very successful. According to Dr.
Patricia Erickson of the Addiction Research Foundation, only 5.4 per
cent of Dutch young people have tried marijuana, compared with 22 per
cent in Canada.

Mr. Carroll lightly dismisses the fact that people are always going to
use drugs, both licit and illicit. Harm reduction policies recognize
this, and take practical measures to minimize harm.

The United States spends more money on their "war on drugs" than any
other country, yet they have the highest per capita drug consumption
in the world. Criminalizing users does nothing to reduce drug use;
Canadians should learn from America's failures and implement drug
policies based on compassion and tolerance.

Chris Clay

London, Ont.

Via the Internet