Addiction to drugs should be treated as a public health issue – not a crime.
Drug users are also people, but this is rarely reflected in their treatment. This substance abuse in Canada is a consequence of laws that set revenge before rehabilitation.
Alternatively, if the federal government decriminalizes all medicines, it would prioritize users and agree with its reasons for using.
Emphasizing punishment for the treatment of drugs, there is little solvable long-standing addiction problem in Canada. Taking an empathetic approach towards addicts, we accept instead of excluding and encouraging their hopes of being treated.
It is important to remember, the act of use is no more important than its purpose. Decriminalizing drugs and identifying the conditions of drug users will thus reduce the stigma and reduce the excessive use of drugs.
Many drug users use drugs as a means of self-treatment, whether for physical or psychological relief of pain.
Think of an athlete who has a serious injury and prescribes opiates to relieve pain. If their doctor suddenly reduced the prescription, which was the case with some when OkiContin was abolished in 2012, they would have to find other pain relief tools, such as a black market dealer.
Decriminalization of drugs in Canada would be a constructive approach to reducing stigma over the substance abuse stigma while focusing specifically on the user as a respected person.
By funding drug plans, harm reduction methods and health care for people suffering from substance abuse, the government will give priority to user safety and greater quality control of all drugs.
Similarly, with the increasing presence of fentanyl in street drugs, the program of controlled substances would limit contamination and drug binding. In Ontario, too many narcotic substances have become more common – now ranked as the third most common cause of accidental death in the province, with more than 5000 deaths since 2000.
The introduction of quality control of street drugs would also reduce the crime rate. If users were given medication from the state medical department, they would not resort to crimes such as theft and prostitution to repair themselves.
Decriminalization would make health substances substances a priority. Instead of spending money in the fight against crime, the government could devote more funds to programs for prevention and reduction of damage, such as health care, housing and support groups.
Not only would it save thousands of endangered addicts, but also make cities more securely reduce drug crimes and allow police officers to focus on more serious crimes. In other countries, this approach to substance abuse has proven to be successful.
Since the decriminalization of all drugs in 2001, the drug-related burden in the criminal justice system in Portugal has been drastically reduced. Deaths related to opiate and sexually transmitted diseases have also been significantly reduced.
The Portuguese government has further implemented a program of creating new jobs that encouraged users to contribute to society – giving them the sense of purpose and increasing their quality of life. If Canada adopted a similar strategy, it would lead to a society that will involve more people and be encouraged to contribute.
The combatants would feel accepted and receive the support needed to address the underlying cause of substance abuse. In any case, it is more logical and realistic to emphasize the reduction of harm and the safe use of drugs, and not complete abstinence.
Education on the risks of taking drugs, as well as reducing damage and treating drugs is also essential to address the stigma of substance abuse.
Offering a one-way prevention curriculum is Nalokone Whale, a treatment that can temporarily reverse opioid over-resistance such as fentanyl. These sets are currently available free of charge in pharmacies in Ontario, where training is provided to everyone with a valid OHIP card.
This is especially important for students, given the usual use of medication at parties, bars and events such as Homecoming and St. John's Day. Patrick.
While decriminalization is still far away, it is progressing. In July, Kingston Street Health Center launched a site for the prevention of overcrowding, where local users of substances can receive non-rescue support, supervision and clean deliveries with the use of medicines.
There are genuine steps towards empathy and acceptance, although much has to be done to improve our current social and judicial treatment of drug users and how to resist addiction.
We need to support substance users with help, love and compassion. After all, they are people who deserve respect, just like everyone else.
Genevieve Nolet is the second language, literature and culture.