TWO reports released this week on Canada's drug strategy underscore the pointlessness of Ottawa's promise to get tough on drugs.
A poll of nearly 3,000 Canadians, published Tuesday, has shown that two-thirds of us would like to see greater emphasis on treatment and prevention. This comes just a day after the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, an agency funded partly by the province, concluded that close to three-quarters of federal funding intended to combat the problem goes toward enforcement. The Conservatives have recently promised to increase that commitment.
In essence, we have a public that is beginning to realize that our current approach doesn't work, and a government that staunchly refuses to acknowledge that fact.
Studies of harm-reduction programs such as Vancouver's Insite have shown positive results, with more addicts seeking treatment and fewer sharing needles. On the other hand, decades of sustained law enforcement, both here and south of the border, have only seen the drug problem grow worse at an ever-increasing financial cost.
In the face of current and historical evidence - did we learn nothing from the failure of Prohibition? - the Conservatives insist a crackdown is the answer. The drug barons who profit from such decisions must already be calculating their markups.
Perhaps a government that prides itself on being results-oriented should begin to pay some attention to results.
2007 North Shore News