Tough drug laws harm health and safety

Tough drug laws harm health and safety, doctors say

Criminalizing the use of marijuana and other tough on crime approaches haven’t worked, say public health doctors from across Canada who propose taxation and regulation instead.

The chief medical health officers in three provinces wrote a paper reviewing the evidence on Canada’s current illicit drug policies in Wednesday’s issue of the journal Open Medicine. […]

Strang, Dr. Perry Kendall, chief provincial medical health officer for B.C. and Dr. Moira McKinnon, who holds the same job in Saskatchewan, wrote that opponents to drug policy reform commonly argue drug use would increase if health-based models were stressed over drug law enforcement.

But they said a recent study by the World Health Organization concluded that countries with stringent illegal drug policies for users did not have lower levels of use than those with liberal policies.

The authors said governments need to consider other approaches that include public health objectives that minimize health and social harms, such as:

  • Taxing marijuana as alcohol and tobacco are.
  • Licensing cannabis dispensaries and issuing prescriptions for medical marijuana.
  • Implementing age limits and other sales restrictions like those used to reduce alcohol use.
  • Regulating and controlling the availability of potent substances to reduce the illegal market.

That’s right. Tough drug laws are not part of a good balanced approach. They are harmful.

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11 Responses to Tough drug laws harm health and safety

  1. The “‘tough’ drug laws” are all about protecting the market shelf space at retail outlets for cigarettes, alcohol and coffee-caffeine, from the market competitors of Cannabis, Coca Leaf and Opium products- all of which are safer substances.

    Drug War Criminal Mercantilism-Pubic Health Disaster 101

    That alcoholic beverages and Tobacco products are the only two class of consumables that governments fail to require the labeling of the ingredients confirms the morally and constitutionally in-validness of the various ‘Controlled/Dangerous Substances Acts’- all by legislative criminals who knew better:

    Opponents of the drug war are guilty of gross understatement.

  2. Emma says:

    Even if drug use and problematic drug abuse were to increase, the question is would the projected increase in drug problems more than offset the benefits of ending prohibition? There should be a cost-benefit analysis of prohibition.

    • Anders says:

      Portugal did the experiment (decriminalised all drugs) and saw a significant decrease in drug abuse.,8599,1893946,00.html
      This information should be spread all over the place.

      • Does Portugal allow Opium and Coca Leaf to be available? Or products from such asides from the ultra concentrates known under prohibition?

        Opponents of prohibition have been fighting the fight with a hand tied behind their backs by limiting themselves to only Marijuana, rather than the broader matter of freedom of medicine and diet- particularly against this deadly agricultural mercantilism that by favoring the infinitely more dangerous Virginia Bright Leaf cigarettes, ended up costing some 100+ million premature deaths from these adulterated and mis-branded product with its sweatheart exemption (along with alcoholic beverages) from retail product ingredient labeling.

        • Anders says:

          You could at least read the article I linked to.

          Portugal’s position is still that drugs should not be available. Production and sale is illegal as is possession of large quantities. However, they have largely stopped waging war on their citizens. If you are caught with up to ten days supply of a drug, it will be considered an administrative problem, not a criminal one.
          It’s far from perfect, but it puts a dent in the claim that any kind of sensible drug legislation will inevitably lead to an increase in drug abuse.

          I think one of the strongest arguments that can be made based on the evidence from Portugal is that drug addicts are more likely to seek help if they are not criminalised. It should really be obvious to anyone, but some people are rather thick.

      • “Portugal’s position is still that drugs should not be available.”

        Drugs other than cigarettes, other Tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, pharma, some Cannabis, and white powder/rock forms of cocaine and heroin, but no Opium nor Coca products, thus maintaining the criminal mercantilism-health care subversion, only reducing the harms and costs of its continuation.

        Its a baby step towards the pre-1906/1914 regulatory (criminal mercantilism) as agricultural market protection, and is way too respectful of this drug war scam that needs to be cut off at its knees as such rather quickly- but oh that taboo topic of market protection “mercantilism” a term remarkably rare in academia.

        At such a rate, we can look forward to seeing Vin Mariani, and ingredient labeling on cigarettes in say 500 years.

    • Such a study must break out quantitative and qualitative factors, e.g. greater use, but if infinitely safer substances (in addition to Marijuana) as Coca Leaf and Opium than concentrated forms of cocaine and heroin; also in comparison to alcohol and Virginia Bright Leaf cigarettes.

      Too many drug war opponents altogether miss that latter point of the drug war as a criminal agricultural mercantilism, leaving in place the popular fears about “cocaine” and “narcotics” (opiates)- with the govt message being its okay to be addicted to vodka and cigarettes, but not have access to Coca leaf products as the original Coca Cola and Vina Mariani, nor Marijuana nor Opium etc. What a message- ban the safer drugs, even perverting them (Coca to crack)- for the sake of protecting cigarettes and pharma- that political alliance symbolized by the medical journal cigarette advertisements:

  3. Francis says:

    You know, I don’t understand why the drug warriors wouldn’t celebrate findings like these. I mean, presumably the drug warriors concede that arresting and incarcerating millions of people is a terrible thing? It’s just been their position that the drug war is a necessarily evil. Well, what if that evil turned out to be unnecessary? That’d be pretty great news, right? It would mean that they don’t have to cage and dehumanize their fellow man anymore for consensual drug crimes. And it would mean that their life’s work and all of their past cruelties were for nothing… On second thought, I think I do understand.

  4. Servetus says:

    Twenty-nine year old woman police believe to be on drugs is denied medical treatment, thrown in jail, and found dead 15-minutes later.

  5. Jose says:

    I need some help understanding the impact of this article. Is a “chief provincial medical health officer” equivalent to our surgeon general here in the U.S.?

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    Breann Scheiner, age 17, died of a fatal overdose of drinking alcohol in early 2011. On Wednesday the Judge refused to sentence Sandi Klawer, age 48, for her conviction related to providing the deadly drug to Ms. Scheiner because she had THC-cooh in her system at the time of sentencing.

    Why is it so many folks aren’t able to understand the word inert?

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