By Scott Douglas Jacobsen
There has been some recent reportage on some increase in a modern call for decriminalization of drugs not only in Canada but also in a number of other nations around the world.
If one looks at the North American context, we can see the number of policymakers in the United States far underwhelms the number of those in Canada and elsewhere, per capita, in support of the decriminalization of drugs. It is amounts to the elimination of criminal penalties for drug possession.
That is, a reduction and eventual elimination of the number of jail terms and arrests for those who carry drugs for some personal use. Most of the American public supports this notion, where this contrasts with the number of policymakers in a distinct way. In addition, there are the majority of the “governmental, medical, public health and civil rights groups” who support this policy.
It would appear the basic premise of the policymakers stands at odds with the vast majority of the activist organizations and the American public. In the Canadian context, we have seen the Toronto and Montreal public health authorities recommend for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use.
This has made international news, not so surprisingly – as this is dramatic notion, but not within the national conversation of those who may have deceased family members, unfortunately, due to the opioid crisis that is ongoing. Vancouver made an official recommendation for the decriminalization to the Canadian government as well.
Two of the major political parties in Canada, including the standing federal political government, created an additional portion to their campaign platforms with drug decriminalization. The majority of the citizenry want it.
“Canada is joined by a growing list of countries — which already includes France, Georgia, Ghana, Ireland and Norway — where moves are being made at senior levels of government to pave the way for decriminalizing the personal use of drugs,” as reported in The Hill, “Several countries have successful experience with decriminalization, including the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and — most notably — Portugal. In 2001, Portugal enacted one of the most extensive drug law reforms in the world when it decriminalized all illegal drugs.”
Portugal does not arrest people for drug possession. More people, who need it, are receiving proper treatment. Then the addiction, infection, and overdose rates have declined as well. It makes an empirical, societal-wide, argument for the investment in harm reduction philosophy, education, and implementation of methodology for the well-being of the general population.
The United Nations and the World Health Organization called for the decriminalization too. Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has been the Secretary-General o the United Nations since 2001. He makes the same argument. As time moves along into the future, with the vast support of the American public and the increasing support around the world, one may extrapolate to a likely decriminalization future.
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash