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Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
Press releases and statements

Note to readers: On June 20, 1996, Parliament enacted the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, formerly called Bill C-7 (in the first session of Parliament that ended on February 2, 1996), and Bill C-8 in the second session that began in early March 1996. The law came into force in May 1997, replacing the Narcotic Control Act and Parts III and IV of the Food and Drugs Act.

 Any comments and criticisms relating to Bill C-7 and Bill C-8 found in the press releases and statements set out here also apply to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The text of Bills C-7, C-8 and the Act are very similar.
 

the October 22, 1996 press release issued by the Foundation when it appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health

 the June 14, 1996 press release we issued after the Senate Committee examining Bill C-8 failed to make substantial changes to the Bill, but nonetheless recommended a joint Senate -- House of Commons committee to re-examine Canada's drug policies

 the June 4, 1996 letter sent by the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy to the full Senate about Bill C-8. The letter was sent because the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs was about to complete its study of Bill C- 8 and possibly recommend changes to the Bill

 the June 3, 1996 letter we wrote to one of the members of the Standing Senate Commitee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs about several of his concerns about cannabis.

The letter we sent to the Standing Senate Committtee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on May 6, 1996 clarifying several points that had been raised in hearings before the Committee: Canada's international obligations, the impact of decriminalization of cannabis on rates of use, recent Australian developments, etc.

 The transcript of the April 25, 1996 appearance before the Senate Committee by Glenn Gilmour, a founding member of the CFDP, to discuss Canada's international obligations relating to drugs

 Press release supporting legal associations' challenge to Bill C-8, March 28, 1996

 Transcript of appearance by Foundation representatives before Standing Senate Committtee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, December 14, 1995

 Press release issued at time of appearance before Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, December 14, 1995

February 1995 statement supporting British Columbia Chief Coroner's report on drug overdose deaths in B.C.

March 1994 statement supporting Ottawa Police Chief Brian Ford's call to re-examine drug laws

June 1994 letter to Paddy Torsney, MP, in response to claims that decriminalization of marijuana leads to a major increase in consumption

November 1994 letter to Liberal MPs about the impact of drug policies on the spread of HIV infection among drug users and their contacts

November 1994 statement from B.C. HIV/AIDS conference about contribution of drug laws to spread of HIV infection among drug users

June 1994 letter to Liberal MPs about Bill C- 7
 


PRESS RELEASE

Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy welcomes legal associations' challenge to proposed drug law

OTTAWA, March 28, 1996 -- The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy today stated its strong support for the views of two prominent legal groups condemning Bill C-8, the proposed Controlled Drugs and Substances Act now before a Senate committee. The two groups -- the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Union of Ontario -- roundly criticized Bill C-8 in separate appearances before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. The Bill is intended to replace Canada's Narcotics Control Act and parts of the Food and Drugs Act, Canada's main laws on "illegal" drugs. The Bill retains an almost exclusive focus on using the criminal law to deal with drugs, despite a growing number of calls to use other, more effective and humane means to reduce drug-related harms.

The Canadian Bar Association, appearing on March 28, challenged the Bill's continued reliance on criminalization and incarceration, a model that the CBA argued is "expensive, ineffective and counterproductive". CBA representatives stated that the Bill "moves Canada's drug policy in a direction that causes more harm than it remedies. . . . Instead, drug use should be treated primarily as a health and social issue."

In a December 1995 appearance before the Committee, Law Union of Ontario representative Robert Kellerman argued that the proposed legislation "perpetuates . . . an irrational policy about drugs which criminalizes them without any scientific foundation. . . . The criminalization of these drugs increases the amount of criminal activity in society. . . . With decriminalization, a huge amount of that peripheral criminal activity would disappear."

The challenges by these associations echo arguments pressed by the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy when it appeared before the Senate Committee in December 1995. CFDP representatives argued that the Bill's continuing reliance on criminal prohibition would continue to foster violence by supporting a powerful, vicious and corrupting global black market in drugs. It would also force dependent users to turn to crime to be able to pay the inflated black market price of drugs. The Bill would not prevent the use of drugs or stop the flow of drugs into or within Canada.

 

Furthermore, Foundation representatives argued, prohibitionist drug policies such as those in the Bill are directly responsible for the conditions leading to the alarming spread of HIV infection and hepatitis B and C in Canada. Parliamentarians must therefore be prepared to show leadership to Canadians by looking to non-criminal alternatives -- alternatives that might initially appear unpopular, but that would dramatically reduce the harm of drug use to users and broader society alike.

 

The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by several of Canada's leading specialists in drug policy. Its founding members include psychologists, pharmacologists, criminologists, lawyers, health policy advocates and public policy researchers.

  - 30 -

Contact: Eugene Oscapella Ottawa (613) 238-5909

 
 

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Foundation calls federal drug control bill a grave mistake

Ottawa (December 14, 1995) -- Representatives from the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy today harshly criticized Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act passed by the House of Commons on October 30, 1995. They were preparing to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which is now reviewing the Bill.

 Bill C-7 is intended to replace Canada's Narcotic Control Act and parts of the Food and Drugs Act. It significantly expands the reach of Canada's drug laws and continues Canada's heavy reliance on criminal prohibition.

 Foundation representative and Ottawa lawyer Eugene Oscapella argued that the Bill's continuing reliance on criminal prohibition "will foster increased violence by supporting a powerful, vicious and corrupting global black market in drugs. The Bill will generate the very violence about which the government pretends to express such concern. At the same time, it will not stop the flow of drugs into Canada. As much as 90 per cent of the illegal drugs destined for Canada make it across our borders. On this measure alone, prohibition is a colossal failure."

 Furthermore, he argued, prohibitionist drug policies are directly responsible for the alarming spread of HIV infection and Hepatitis B and C among growing numbers of Canadians and for the high rate of drug overdose deaths. Canadians should not become complacent that HIV and hepatitis will affect only the drug-using community, he said. These infections will spread rapidly into communities far removed from the drug trade and drug users unless effective "harm-reduction" measures are introduced to prevent drug users from becoming infected in the first place. Bill C-7, he argued, is a serious impediment to such measures.

 Dr. Diane Riley, also a founding member of the Foundation, stressed the dramatic increase in HIV infection and other blood- borne diseases that flow from current drug laws and policies. "It is time to look honestly at the alternatives to prohibition being used in many other democratic Western countries, to prevent a further escalation of this tragedy," she said.

 Foundation representative Glenn Gilmour argued that, contrary to the government's position, Canada's international treaty obligations do not oblige it to rely exclusively on criminal sanctions to regulate drugs. Furthermore, by emphasizing Canada's purported obligations under international drug control treaties, Canada was ignoring the frequent violations of international and constitutional human rights protections flowing from drug law enforcement and drug policies.

 The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by several of Canada's leading specialists in drug policy. Its founding members include psychologists, pharmacologists, lawyers, health policy advocates and public policy researchers.

 The aims of the Foundation include

 . acting as a forum for the exchange of views among those interested in reform of drug policies

 . serving as a vehicle for sharing those views and for discussing significant drug policy issues with government, the public, other organizations and the media, and, where necessary,

 recommending alternatives that will make Canada's drug laws and policies effective and humane.

 The Foundation does not encourage harmful drug use.

 For further information, please contact:

 Eugene Oscapella
Ottawa
(613) 238-5909

Further details about Bill C-7 and the concerns of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy can be found at the Foundation's Internet Web site: http://fox.nstn.ca/~eoscapel/cfdp/cfdp.html

 
 

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Foundation praises humane and pragmatic thrust of B.C. Chief Coroner's report on drug-related deaths

(Ottawa -- February 9, 1995) The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy today expressed strong support for several key recommendations of the Report of the Task Force into Illicit Narcotic Overdose Deaths in British Columbia. The report, released late last month by British Columbia's Chief Coroner, Vince Cain, argues that currently illegal drugs should be treated as a health and social problem rather than as one to be dealt with primarily through the criminal justice system.

The Foundation called the report "an honest and responsible approach to an issue that is often clouded by political rhetoric and driven by misunderstanding. Within a public health framework the report proposes many humane alternatives to the present punitive system of drug control. These alternatives can significantly reduce many of the harms associated with drugs in Canadian society."

The report is particularly timely, the Foundation noted, since Parliament is now considering controversial amendments to Canada's drug laws. The amendments were introduced in February 1994 as Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The Bill perpetuates Canada's heavy emphasis on criminal punishment to deal with drugs and stands sharply at odds with many of Mr. Cain's recommendations.

The Foundation agrees with Mr. Cain that turning Canadians who use drugs into criminals and incarcerating them is not the answer. The criminal law has not been shown to deter drug use. Foundation members note further that the criminal law and associated drug policies, rather than drugs themselves, have caused many of the harms traditionally associated with drugs. Accordingly, it strongly supports Mr. Cain's call for an inquiry into non-criminal alternatives for the possession and use of specified substances.

In May 1994, appearing before a Parliamentary subcommittee examining Bill C-7, Foundation representatives made a similar recommendation, calling for an independent review of Canada's drug laws and policies. The Foundation also stresses that there is already abundant evidence and research available about the damaging effects of current drug control laws and policies.

Foundation members, however, express their concern about one suggestion contained in the B.C. Coroner's report -- a consideration of mandatory life sentences, without parole, for importing and trafficking large quantities of narcotics. They argue that heavy criminal penalties elsewhere have failed to deter trafficking and importing. Mandatory minimum penalties in Canada will prove equally unproductive and continue to waste valuable police and government resources, as the U.S. experience has shown.

The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by several of Canada's leading specialists in drug policy. Its founding members include psychologists, pharmacologists, lawyers, health policy advocates and public policy researchers.

The aims of the Foundation include acting as a forum for the exchange of views among those interested in reform of drug policies; serving as a vehicle for sharing those views and for discussing significant drug policy issues with government, the public, other organizations and the media; and, where necessary, recommending alternatives that will make Canada's drug laws and policies effective and humane. The Foundation does not encourage harmful drug use.
 
 

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Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy Supports Ottawa Police Chief Brian Ford's Call to Re-examine Drug Laws

(Ottawa) March 16, 1994: The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy today announced its support for the position taken by Ottawa Police Chief Brian Ford that Parliament reconsider its approach to the issue of "soft" drugs like marijuana and hashish.

The Foundation members praise Chief Ford for taking a position publicly that he knows will draw criticism from some police colleagues and some members of the public. Chief Ford's statement is a clear recognition of the limits of the law in dealing with drugs, and an equally clear signal that Canada must look for other means of dealing with the health and social consequences of drugs in society. Foundation members encourage others interested in changing the harmful features of Canada's drug laws to speak out in support of Chief Ford.

The Foundation members agree that Canadians must look beyond traditional law enforcement approaches to dealing with the harms caused by drugs. Excessive reliance on the criminal law to resolve what should often be considered health and social issues may cause more harm than good and place the police in situations of unnecessary risk. Canada should instead be looking to alternative programs being adopted in other countries.

"Our experience with Canada's drug laws over the last several decades has shown time and again that a focus on law enforcement does not address the real issues relating to drugs", said a Foundation spokesperson. "At the very least, it makes little sense to criminalize and sometimes imprison people for drug possession, as this often merely compounds the problems that may have led them to use drugs in the first place. Twentieth century law and policy makers should be able to devise more pragmatic and humane policies than this."

Foundation members agree that it is time for an open and honest dialogue on how to reduce the harms of drug use to society, including the harms that can be caused by excessive reliance on the criminal law as a means of discouraging drug use. Foundation members are particularly concerned about Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act now before Parliament.

The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy (CFDP) was formed in 1993 by several of Canada's leading experts in drug policy. It seeks to promote public discussion on how to deal with drugs in society. It also seeks to share the experiences of other countries with innovative drug policies that reduce the harms associated with drugs. It does not condone or encourage the use of drugs.
 
 
 
 

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Text of a letter to Ms. Paddy Torsney, MP, in response to claims that decriminalization of marijuana leads to a major increase in consumption

June 15, 1994

Dear Ms. Torsney:

At the hearing held on June 14 to discuss Bill C-7 and the National Drug Strategy, one of your Parliamentary colleagues suggested that decriminalization of marijuana in eleven American states had led to major increases in consumption. I believe that her statement was based on a letter sent to MPs by Lambton Families in Action. That letter states, without supporting documentation, that "In the 11 states (U.S.) that decriminalized marijuana, drug use tripled among adolescents, doubled among young adults and quadrupled among older adults."

I was very much concerned about the Member's statement and about the statements contained in the Lambton Families letter. If they were true, of course, they would represent a strong argument against moving away from the application of the criminal law to drugs in Canada. However, there is substantial evidence to show that the letter from Lambton Families, and the Member's statement, are patently wrong.

I enclose copies of three reports on the impact of decriminalization. Two deal specifically with marijuana; the third is a comparative analysis of drug use rates among Dutch adolescents (who face no penalty for possession of drugs for personal use) and American adolescents (who generally face substantial potential criminal penalties for possession of drugs).

The first report is that of Dr. Diane Riley, of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, also a member of this Foundation. Some of the salient points from her paper:

* there is very little evidence . . . that marijuana laws exert a strong deterrent effect on use (Riley, p. 1)

* in surveys, most nonusers cite potential health hazards as the main reason for not using marijuana (Riley, pp. 2,7; see also the testimony of the Addiction Research Foundation before the Health Subcommittee on Bill C-7)

* while decriminalization (in this case, replacement of the criminal law with a non-criminal ticketing scheme, like a parking ticket) may have led to modest increases in use in the short term, long term rates were not higher than in states that did not decriminalize (Riley, pp. 5-6)

* in his 1989 review of decriminalization in the United States, Dr. Eric Single concluded, "In the decade prior to the enactment of decriminalization laws, with the risk of arrests very low and marijuana readily available, trends in use appear to have been relatively unaffected by the existing criminal laws against possession. . . . Decriminalization measures have had little or no impact on rates of use but they have substantially reduced the social costs associated with the enforcement of marijuana laws" (Riley, p. 8)

* in The Netherlands, where possession of small amounts of marijuana is not subject to prosecution, one survey indicated that 12% of Dutch high-school students had used marijuana at least once in their lifetime -- far less than the 59% for the same age group in the United States, where marijuana possession is generally prohibited (Riley, p. 14)(the lifetime marijuana use rate for Canadians 15-19 is 23.2%: Health and Welfare Canada, Alcohol and Other Drug Use by Canadians: A National Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey (1989): Technical Report, at 83); in short, Dutch lifetime use rates among adolescents are lower than those of adolescents in two countries that have strict laws against possession

* use within the last month is also considerably lower in The Netherlands -- 5.4% versus 29% in the United States (Riley, p. 14) (there are no comparable figures for Canada)

* in South Australia, which introduced a ticketing system for possession of small amounts of marijuana in 1987, rates of use did not change after that (Riley, p. 15)

The second document is a chapter by Dr. Riley, Professor John Morgan (City University of New York) and Gregory Chesher (Honourary Research Fellow, University of New South Wales) from a forthcoming (it may have been published since) book, Psychoactive Drugs and Harm Reduction. The chapter concludes:

"The data from several countries indicate that cannabis reform is unlikely to be followed by an explosion of use. Such reform would result in significant cost savings in the criminal justice system and a profound reduction in the harmful criminalization of most users." (p. 224; see also pp. 217-220)

Furthermore, the authors challenge the conventional wisdom that marijuana is a "gateway" drug, leading to heroin or cocaine use:

"Perhaps 60 million Americans have tried marijuana yet slightly more than two thirds have never tried another illegal drug. Cannabis seems more often to be a closed gate than a gateway in that its use signals the terminus of illegal drug experimentation." (p. 215)

I also enclose a comparative 1989 survey of drug use rates among Dutch and American adolescents. The figures differ somewhat from the figures mentioned in the reports I cited above. However, the trends identified by the figures are the same: Drug use rates -- marijuana, heroin, cocaine, stimulants, hallucinogens -- are generally substantially lower among adolescents in The Netherlands than in the United States, despite the more relaxed Dutch laws.

The Lambton Families letter also notes -- correctly, in this case -- that Alaska recriminalized possession of marijuana. What the letter did not say was that in the autumn of 1993, an Alaskan court declared this law unconstitutional.

I hope that this information helps to dispel the myths surrounding the impact of decriminalization. If you have any questions or wish to speak to the authors of these studies, please give me a call. I would also appreciate it if you would circulate this letter among your Parliamentary colleagues.

Thank you for your interest in these issues.

Yours truly,

Eugene Oscapella

cc. Paul Genest, Liberal Caucus Research Bureau
Bill Farrell, Clerk, Health Subcommittee
 
 
 
 

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Text of a letter sent to Liberal MPs in November 1994 about the impact of drug policies on the spread of HIV infection among drug users and their contacts

"Attached is a statement passed by the overwhelming majority of the delegates at the final plenary of the 8th Annual B.C. AIDS conference earlier this month. The statement focusses on the contribution of present drug laws and, if it is enacted, Bill C- 7, to the spread of HIV infection and AIDS. The need to deal with the impact of drug laws on the spread of HIV infection has become all the more urgent because of the large increase of HIV infection among injection drug users in British Columbia over the past two years.

Representatives of our Foundation appeared earlier this year before the Health Subcommittee examining Bill C-7, the proposed Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. We raised our concern about how our drug laws may contribute to the spread of HIV infection. We stated, "The bill will continue to foster conditions that will lead to thousands of entirely preventable deaths from drug-related HIV infection and from other potentially lethal diseases such as hepatitis and multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis." Further, we stated, "infected [drug users] will infect other people who may be far removed from the drug trade. . . It is very important that Canadians realize that these diseases are not simply a problem that will die with the drug users."

We urge you -- before you vote on Bill C-7 -- to consider how to prevent our current drug laws and Bill C-7 from contributing to the otherwise preventable spread of HIV infection and other blood-borne diseases. Our Foundation may not agree with every statement made in the B.C. document. However, we certainly agree that Parliamentarians must focus on how our drug laws can be reshaped to reduce these tragic consequences."
 
 

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Statement on drug policy and HIV infection passed at the plenary meeting of the 8th Annual B.C. AIDS Conference, Vancouver, B.C., November 8, 1994

Reducing the risk of HIV infection among drug users, and among other Canadians with whom they come into contact, will require many changes to current drug laws and policies. Among the most important are changes to laws that treat drug users as criminals, foster unsafe drug use practices, marginalize users from mainstream Canadian society, drive them to commit crimes or high- risk unprotected sex to maintain their habits, and increasingly place them in prisons where there is an extremely high risk of acquiring HIV infection. Failing to take measures to prevent drug-related HIV infections will cause unnecessary death and impose an enormous economic burden on Canada's health care and social security system.

Our current drug laws do not help drug users, nor do they serve Canadian society. We call for the withdrawal of Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act now being considered by Parliament. We also strongly urge governments across Canada to promote the following changes:

(a) removing possible legal impediments to access to clean injection equipment, including in institutional settings such as prisons and hospitals

(b) amending drug laws to reduce the number of non-violent drug users placed in high risk prison environments

(c) amending policies to allow for the introduction of measures that will prevent the spread of HIV among prison inmates and, ultimately, among Canadians in open society

(d) amending the law to reduce the ramifications of carrying syringes

(e) helping, through honest public education about the causes and nature of drug use, to reshape public attitudes about drug users

(f) in general, adopting laws and policies that seek to reduce the global harms associated with drug use, rather than focussing solely on interdiction and punishment

(g) complying with constitutional and international human rights obligations that apply to drug users and non-users alike.
 
 

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Letter to Liberal Members of Parliament about Bill C-7, the proposed Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

June 10, 1994

"Re: Bill C-7, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

I am writing to express the concern of this Foundation about the proposed Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. As you know, a Health subcommittee has been examining the Bill over the past several weeks.

Bill C-7 is intended to replace the Narcotic Control Act and parts of the Food and Drugs Act with legislation that makes even more extensive use of the criminal law in dealing with drugs. In so doing, the Bill perpetuates some of the very worst excesses of Canadian drug policy. It completely ignores workable and humane alternatives being developed in other countries to reduce the harms caused by drugs to individuals and to society.

Many respected organizations and individuals have told the subcommittee that the Bill is seriously flawed. These include the Canadian Bar Association, the Addiction Research Foundation, the Anti-prohibitionist League of Quebec, the Criminal Lawyers Association, our Foundation and several prominent drug policy experts. Many witnesses called for the Bill to be withdrawn entirely. They called for a re-examination of the whole basis for Canada's drug policy. Just last week the Canadian Criminal Justice Association added its voice, calling for consideration of Bill C-7 to be delayed until a thorough, honest and objective evaluation of all options for reducing the harms associated with drugs is undertaken. The Canadian Police Association has stated serious reservations about the Bill. Only the RCMP and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police seem to support the philosophy behind the Bill.

We remind you as well that a resolution on drug policy was passed by an overwhelming majority of delegates at the Liberal Party of Canada 1994 Biennial Convention. That resolution read in part:

"Be it further resolved that the Government of Canada study and review the legislation on illicit drugs and base its position on the precedents, studies, experience and statistics obtained in other countries where illicit/illegal drugs are considered as a social health problem rather than as a criminal activity."

In the face of extensive and reasoned opposition to this flawed Bill -- and to the whole philosophy of using Prohibition to suppress drugs in society -- why is the Government proceeding with this Bill?

Here are just some of the specific problems associated with Bill C-7:

* the Bill will perpetuate the violence associated with the drug trade; the Bill, meant to protect Canadians from drug- related violence, will in fact be the major cause of such violence by supporting the enormously profitable, corrupting and vicious black market in drugs and by increasing the use of guns as a means of regulating the market

* despite the claims of traditional law enforcement officials to the contrary, increased police powers and more police will do little to reduce drug-related violence; during the U.S. Bush administration -- one characterized by ever-increasing law enforcement activities aimed at drugs -- the murder rate in Washington D.C. rose each year, reaching 489 in 1991; between one-third and one-half of those murders related to the illegal trade in drugs, not to drug use; in short, the most powerful nation on earth has failed to suppress drug-related violence by using the criminal law

* the Bill will not stop -- or even seriously dent -- the flow of drugs into Canada; probably less than 10 per cent of the drugs destined for Canada are apprehended by police now; even a massive increase in law enforcement activities would not substantially reduce this flow, as the experience of other countries, particularly the United States, has shown

* the Bill will continue to turn those who use drugs and who have become dependent on drugs into criminals by the thousands; dependent users may be forced to commit crimes to pay the greatly inflated black market price of their drugs; the Bill will place thousands of drug users in prisons, where truly harmful forms of drug use are rampant

* the Bill will continue to foster conditions that will lead to thousands of preventable deaths from drug-related HIV infection and from other potentially lethal diseases such as hepatitis and multiple-drug-resistant TB; these conditions will kill not only drug users, but those far removed from the drug-using community

* the Bill seriously threatens fundamental human rights; in the guise of complying with international drug control conventions, the Bill violates international human rights conventions

* the criminal prohibitions in the Bill will not stop, or perhaps even decrease, drug use; they will make drug use that continues more dangerous, and will lead to more deaths from adulterated drugs or drugs of unknown potency

* the Bill will do nothing to address the multiple causes of harmful drug use, and will instead attack the symptoms, leaving the causes intact

* Canada will continue to waste hundreds of millions of dollars annually for drug law enforcement -- the cost of police, prosecutors, judges, court administrative structures and buildings, prisons and post-release programs for inmates, and the costs to families who lose breadwinners to incarceration

* the Bill will distract attention from the much more serious health problems caused by alcohol and tobacco

* the Bill will ignore innovative and effective programs in other countries -- Australia, the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland among them -- to reduce the harms associated with drugs; it will also ignore the growing chorus of voices from around the world calling for an end to a futile policy of Prohibition that causes far more harm than it prevents.

We urge you to reconsider this Bill. It should be withdrawn, and a committee independent of government established to report to Parliament within one year on alternatives to the use of the criminal law to prevent drug-related harm. Such a committee would cost less than what it now costs to imprison just 20 drug offenders for one year.

Please listen to the voices of experienced drug policy experts. Please listen to calls from within your own Party. Please reconsider Bill C-7. This legislation does a great disservice to Canada.

Yours truly,

Eugene Oscapella
Founding Member
 
 

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