End prohibition against drugs, regulate their use

lfpress.com – comment/letters – Regarding the column Court’s Insite ruling goes to jail (Oct. 5).
October 8, 2011.   Graham Forster, London

David Akin’s rhetorical question about the possibility of safe injection facilities like Insite being introduced to this country’s jails makes a good point, but perhaps not one he planned on making.

Study after peer-reviewed study has proven that Insite saves lives, but an even more effective harm reduction strategy would be to eliminate entirely the current prohibition against drugs and regulate their use.

It is hypocritical of a society to legally prescribe certain powerful drugs for dealing with pain and mental anguish, while banning others that are often chemically similar. It is the black market on drugs that makes Insite necessary. It is poverty and mental health problems that lead people to black market drugs.

A miniscule fraction of the amount of money spent on the war of drugs has gone to harm reduction, yet harm reduction strategies work — Insite has reduced crime rates and saved lives. Canada’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on Insite will perhaps change the focus to a more morally correct one.

Insite-like facilities will not be necessary in Canada’s prisons if we stop arbitrarily locking up the users of certain types of drugs. Given that the federal Conservatives are building all of these new prisons, the most logical, morally necessary solution does not seem likely.

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