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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Approaches like decriminalization exactly what’s needed

Letter writers respond to previous letter about stigmatizing drug use
To submit a letter to the editor, e-mail Include your first and last name or initials and a last name, and your city of residence. Letters will be edited.

To the editor,

Re: Decriminalization won’t help people escape addiction, Letters, Feb. 15.

Previous letter writers call for increased stigmatization and criminalization of drugs as a “common sense” approach to addiction. I suggest that they spend less time luxuriating in self-righteous condemnation of illicit drug use and more time catching up on decades of research demonstrating that these tactics are costly, inhumane, and ineffective in achieving their purported aims. Clinging to policies that do nothing but increase human suffering is unjustifiable. The mounting toll of overdose deaths from B.C.’s toxic drug supply shows that new approaches are desperately needed.

Ali Adams, Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pointing blame won’t bring real transformation

To the editor,

Re: Decriminalization won’t help people escape addiction, Letters, Feb. 15.

Two of your readers ask how safe supply and decriminalization can help people escape addiction. The answer is very simple: safe supply and decriminalization prevent people dying from street drugs of unknown strength and composition. More than 2,000 B.C. citizens died this way last year. Safe supply and decriminalization would have kept them alive, and staying alive is a prerequisite for eventually escaping addiction.

If we look at our southern neighbour’s experiment with prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933, we see a similar effect – alcohol-related deaths during prohibition were common, because the illegal supply of alcohol was of unpredictable strength and frequently contaminated. Putting an end to prohibition ensured a safe supply of alcohol of known potency. Alcoholism was not eliminated, but could be treated, sensibly, as a medical problem rather than a criminal one.

John Jones, Lantzville

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s a ‘travesty’ that downtown has gotten so scary

To the editor,

Re: Decriminalization won’t help people escape addiction, Letters, Feb. 15.

It’s somewhat disheartening that in the 21st century we still see people unable to distinguish between the effects of drug addiction and drug prohibition, and yet imagining they have something useful to say about this ongoing tragedy facing our society. One letter writer apparently believes that ‘prohibition’ and ‘stigmatization’ are synonyms.

I find it especially ironic that Dr. William Halsted, a world-famous surgeon who was one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital, was a lifelong morphine addict. I suspect that even the most diehard proponent of the war on some drugs would be hard-pressed to try to justify having him in prison for 40 years instead of performing life-saving surgeries.

The extent of low-level property crime to service addictions to illegal drugs is a bummer, especially for those who have been personally victimized. But there’s a reason why the acquisition of addicting alcoholic beverages and tobacco products is not attended by the same problem, and that reason should be obvious.

George Kosinski, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press Media or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Letters policy: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Preference is given to letters expressing an opinion on issues of local relevance or responding to items published in the News Bulletin. Include your address (it won’t be published) and a first name or two initials, and a surname. Unsigned letters will not be published. Letters sent to the News Bulletin may also be published in the Ladysmith Chronicle.

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