Solution is Not As Simple as Legalization

Solution is Not As Simple as Legalization
Posted by FoM on September 24, 2000 at 07:41:07 PT
By Bob Lesser, The Ottawa Citizen
Source: Ottawa Citizen
We read with interest the series by Dan Gardner on the War on Drugs and as Canada's national police force, we were pleased to see how much space was dedicated to the drug issue. Drugs are a serious problem in Canada and internationally and warrant continued, serious dialogue and debate. We do not wish to argue the specific advantages and disadvantages to any approach around the world, or the specifics of the many points made in the series. The issue of how to approach the drug problem is as complex as it is difficult. 
We know for sure that there are many points of view, and, to date, no lasting solutions. We would like to be clear about the position of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The RCMP supports a multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary approach as we believe there is no single solution to mitigating the drug problem. The RCMP has never viewed enforcement as the only response. However, a reduction in the supply of drugs creates an atmosphere in which education and a reduction in demand for drugs can occur, and treatment can be most effective. Solutions involving all the pillars of prevention, education, enforcement, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation and diversion are most likely to achieve long-term success for drug-related issues. This philosophy is consistent with the views of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), of which the RCMP is a member. Knowing that enforcement alone is not the answer, the Canadian law enforcement community has actively supported numerous non-enforcement-related initiatives. In 1973, the CACP passed a resolution to support treatment and rehabilitation of addicts to replace the existing punitive approach. In 1981 and numerous times since, the CACP has requested that the government assume a strong leadership role in the development of preventative education programs. A CACP resolution in 1995 supported the National AIDS Strategy for a community-based needle exchange program that includes outreach, education, counselling and testing. In 1996 and 1999, the CACP strongly urged governments to provide adequate additional police and health resources for demand-reduction initiatives and to renew its commitment to maintain a co-ordinated and balanced drug strategy. The CACP supports medical research into the medicinal benefits of all illicit drugs, including cannabis (marijuana) and heroin. We support a variety of alternative measures instead of a criminal scheme for what are now summary conviction offences for possession of cannabis. What neither the RCMP nor the CACP supports is the legalization of currently illicit drugs. There is a wide range of approaches to drug misuse. At one extreme is law enforcement as the only response; at the other extreme is legalization. I wish that the solution could be as simple as that offered by Mr. Gardner: "Eliminate prohibition and these harms will go as well." I suggest that the most effective responses will be found between the two extremes. So long as there is demand, there will be major health, social and related issues with drugs, just as there are currently with alcohol and tobacco. Drug legalization is not likely to bring about the demise of the Hells Angels. Criminal groups will do whatever is necessary to make a profit. This includes activities related to both licit and illicit commodities. Regulating illicit drugs as we do now with alcohol and tobacco, doesn't provide much comfort. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, alcohol, the most abused drug, is responsible for approximately 6,000 deaths and costs Canadians $7.5 billion annually. Tobacco is linked to 45,000 premature deaths and $9.6 billion in social and economic costs annually. These drugs are the "norm" in our culture and together cost Canadians 16 times more than illegal drugs do per year ($17 billion versus $1.37 billion). Some people tend to think peace officers are only engaged in the enforcement of laws, but this is only one aspect of our response to the drug problem. Our drug awareness co-ordinators and community policing officers deliver programs that build self esteem and resiliency for Canadian youths to help them make healthy choices. We have joined with our health and education partners locally and nationally through "Health and Enforcement in Partnership" to help propose effective, long-lasting solutions to both root causes of drug use and the harm that drug abuse causes. Our colleagues and partners in other police forces across the country join us in these types of problem-solving efforts. While much can be gained from researching innovative approaches, such as those found in parts of Europe, Canada needs to develop a strong foundational approach first and foremost. These initiatives must address the root causes of drug misuse, such as poverty, child abuse and mental health issues, while also focusing on what happens after chronic use leads to abuse. Strong social services support networks will be needed, including family support programs, aggressive education and prevention programs and comprehensive services to addicts. Finding effective solutions is challenging. Illicit drugs differ significantly in their effects and harms. Recreational users, addicts, traffickers, importers and those who launder the profits require unique responses. A vigorous, robust, balanced approach of prevention, enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation is essential. We know from experience that the solution is neither as easy nor as simple as "legalization." Chief Supt. Bob Lesser Ottawa, Officer in Charge, Drug Enforcement RCMP National Headquarters, Vice-Chair, CACP Drug Abuse Committee Read previous Dan Gardner columns at: Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)Author: Bob LesserPublished: September 24, 2000Copyright: 2000 The Ottawa CitizenContact: letters Address: 1101 Baxter Rd.,Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3M4Fax: 613-596-8522Website: can read the entire series at: MapInc. Articles - Dan Gardner: Articles In The Series: The Street Value of Canadian Journalism about WoDs: Pros and Cons of Prohibition: Can't Keep a Banned Drug Down: Leading The Way To Smarter Drug Laws: Police To A War That Can't Be Won: Drugs, Indecent Profits: The Drug War is Eroding Our Civil Liberties: Our Drug Laws Harm Us More Than They Help?: on Drug Smuggling Destructive and Senseless: Launched The 30 Years' War as Election Issue: Borders Don't Stop Illegal Drugs: Trade Rots Away Mexican Society: Long As There Is Demand, There Will Be Supply: The War On Drugs Has Failed: 
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Comment #5 posted by i_rule_ on September 24, 2000 at 16:41:14 PT
Which is worse.......
Smoking a joint or.....A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office notes, "...several studies and investigations of drug-related police corruption found on-duty police officers engaged in serious criminal activities, such as (1) conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures; (2) stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers; (3) selling stolen drugs; (4) protecting drug operations; (5) providing false testimony; and (6) submitting false crime reports."And these are just the ones who got caught.
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Comment #4 posted by Lehder on September 24, 2000 at 13:34:07 PT
"We know for sure."
"We do not wish to argue ... the specifics of the many points made in the series.""We know for sure that there lasting solutions"This is their argument: no specifics, no answers to our arguments, but "we know for sure". Because an ideology is a closed system of thought with no basis in reality. Because they do not want solutions. They want everlasting war.Vote Libertarian.
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Comment #3 posted by freedom fighter on September 24, 2000 at 11:31:31 PT
Dare to stop the war!
First they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out -because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me! -Pastor Niemoller First they came for the helpless babies that were disabled and I didn't speak out because I am a deaf person. Then they came for the feebleminded, and I did not speak out because I was not a feebleminded. Then they came for the Blind, and I did not speak out because I was not a blind person. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me because I am a deaf person! Inspired by Pastor NiemollerLEGALIZE now!
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Comment #2 posted by i_rule_ on September 24, 2000 at 10:26:27 PT
Read this book.
Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State. By Richard Lawrence Miller, Praeger Publishers 1996. ISBN 0-275-95042-5. This is a Nazi comparison to the direction our government is headed with this drug war.Former Los Angeles pocice chief Daryl Gates (Founder and designer of D.A.R.E. program) in 1990 advised the U.S. Senate about the: "caual user and what you do with the whole gruop. The casual user ought to be taken out and shot, for he or she has no reason for using drugs. (Please compare this to the Gestapo.)War on Drugs masks a war on Democracy. Using government power to determine what movies we watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them. What is the vision of a Drug Free America? Millions in prison or slave labor, and only enthusiastic supporters of govenment policy allowed to hold jobs, attend school, have childen, drive cars, own property. This is the combined vision of Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Bennet, Daryl Gates, and thousands of drug warriors, lead by Barry McCaffrey.If we, as a nation of free people, don't spread the facts of what is unfolding in this country, and try to stop it, then we will no longer be a Democacratic nation, but instead, a Fascist nation. I hope it is not already too late.
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Comment #1 posted by hempity on September 24, 2000 at 08:04:41 PT
Real good BULL****
Thanks Bob, that was real good, however I call bullshit.Here is an article that shows how police really handle the "drug war" and the "bad guys". a bad guy for a number of years now, I can attest to the gentleness of the RCMP.You have no right Bob, to tell people what to eat, drink, smoke, wear or say, you are not health officials nor moral police.It is that simpleLegalize!!You have no right not to.
Real Police work
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