Policy for Reduction in the Misuse of Drugs
The John Howard Society of Canada recognizes that drug misuse is harmful to health both physically and mentally. While there are some medical circumstances that arise wherein current drugs which are considered illegal may be used to relieve pain and discomfort, generally drug misuse has serious consequences for the individual user.
In determining the response which society takes to try to minimize drug misuse, a variety of strategies could be employed, some of which are mutually exclusive. In determining which strategy should be employed, it is necessary to assess both its potential effectiveness in reducing drug misuse and also its cost to us in the economic, social, and civil and human rights spheres of our lives. The John Howard Society of Canada believes that Canadian society must adopt those methods which have the greatest impact while also experiencing the lowest costs in all three spheres.
Whereas drug dependence is a chronic relapsing medical condition, and, like other medical conditions, requires treatment based on compassion and respect for the patient and Whereas current drug laws and drug enforcement practices frequently magnify the harms associated with drug misuse directly or indirectly by:
Whereas the incidence of the spread of HIV and Hepatitis through drug misuse has grown dramatically in the community and particularly in the prisons, and
Whereas numerous initiatives, particularly in Europe, have demonstrated that attempts to focus on the reduction of the harm associated with drugs, rather than simply relying on the deterrence of drug use through criminal justice measures, has reduced drug misuse, reduced the spread of AIDS and Hepatitis C, provided for environments for treatment that are more accessible and effective, and assisted many drug addicts reduce or eliminate their misuse of drugs,
THEREFORE, The John Howard Society of Canada supports social policy which attempts to address the problems of individual drug misuse by relying on harm reduction rather than enforcement approaches. Harm reduction approaches to the reduction in drug misuse are characterized as follows:
Further, the Society supports