To the editor,
We need to have more conversation about how to decriminalize drug use. It could take many different forms. At its worst, it could be a money-making scam, with easy ticketing for police and significant fines. While incarceration is an evil that we need to avoid, many places already employ de facto decriminalization, in which charges of simple possession are not pursued. A system of ticketing would worsen the situation, in that case.
Decrim also usually includes confiscation. If a drug user is turning to crime to finance their purchases, this would create a need to use more crime to raise the funds for another purchase.
While the calls for decrim from police and politicians seem superficially to be good, we need some brilliant ideas about how to most effectively make change in a way that will improve lives, and reduce the social impacts of problematic drug use. Decrim would also do nothing to address the life and death situation of an illegal, poisoned drug supply.
Some would include forced treatment in this kind of change. The success rates of treatment are quite dismal for those who want treatment, and much worse for forced treatment.
I hope that attention will be paid to carefully choosing the path for much-needed change. How we make that change is critical, for those who struggle with addiction, and for society as a whole.
Glenda Barr, Lantzville
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