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Should hard drugs be decriminalized and then supply pharmaceutical grade drugs to users.

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Dogen

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Most of the harm done by drugs stems from their illegality, not the action of the drugs themselves. I don’t know the solution, but the current system is the worst imaginable. Make it highly illegal and lucrative, so organized crime and violence get involved. Anyone caught with drugs is sent to crime school (prison) so they come out criminal if they didn’t go in that way.
 

JSmith

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the current system is the worst imaginable
Indeed... the current system simply creates and allows these cartels to operate. Once may even go as far to say the "war on drugs" was actually the "green light for cartels"... was that the intention? ;)



JSmith
 

Beershaun

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The social disorder caused by the drugs in cities is absurd. I see users right in front of Tim Hortons coffee shop with their drug paraphernalia spread out on a seating bench. They are using at a major bus stop with like 10 bus routes stopping there and hundreds of people per hour going in and out of Tim Hortons. Very brazen people or maybe they are beyond civility and caring.
Right. None of us want that. Some people can be rehabilitated and some people can get the proper medicine to become functional members of society. And there are some that can't be and some that will never be able to take care of themselves. For those folks who can't be. What is the end outcome we want for them?
 
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Doodski

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Right. None of us want that. Some people can be rehabilitated and some people can get the proper medicine to become functional members of society. And there are some that can't be and some that will never be able to take care of themselves. For those folks who can't be. What is the end outcome we want for them?
The long term planning and subsequent goal is to house them in unsupported or supported housing. The supported housing is for the ones that can't manage their life/domestics and responsibilities as a contributing member of society. Apparently funds are moving and construction is in progress as a start. I have no idea how the users are going to be rehabilitated if possible. A major part of this issue is the non-intensive care mental health asylums where closed in the late 80s and early 90s and the mentally ill flowed out the doors as they where locked behind them. I understand the same thing occurred in California. I was in San Jose and San Francisco and area and the amount of mentally ill and homeless was absurd as it is in the major cities of Canada and is now also occurring in small cities too.
 
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001

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I tend to think that decriminalisation can be the answer in combination with treating the addiction like a health problem rather than a criminal problem. Probably in a lot of respects similar to alcohol; you will be treated if you turn up under the influence at work, or harm someone in public [eg: driving] or harm yourself.
I'm looking at some info about women imprisonment in Australia [old now from 2003];
  • Female offenders are more likely to be incarcerated for drug offences, assault and robbery, whereas male offenders are more likely to be incarcerated for assault, robbery and unlawful entry with intent.
  • Female drug users, particularly those who have been incarcerated, experience higher levels of abuse, economic hardship and other adversity in their lives than men.
  • Women's drug use is a defining factor in their participation in crime in that the severity of their drug use is more closely related to their criminality than it is for men, particularly for prostitution and property crime activities - a paucity of Australian research in this area makes it difficult to surmise the local situation. (https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi264)
The decriminalisation of hard drugs I think is a step in the right direction for at least women. And, where there's women there tends to be children involved [for the state of NSW the last it was ~50% of women had children 'on the outside'].
I apologise for taking a cursory look at just one country with 'oldish stats' The female imprisonment rate has been trending up with over 70% involving illicit drugs. My post has hardly been full-on scientific and I stand to be corrected.
What are the drug related incarceration rates in your country like? I'll hazard a guess that women feature more highly.

ps. This is a bit of a surprise thread seeing this in ASR
 
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Doodski

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What are the drug related incarceration rates in your country like?
I googled for a bit and found the stats are dated years before cannabis was legalized. So the cannabis charges are included in the total drug charges and are corrupting the recent years of drug charge stats and incarceration rates. The actual rate of drug offenses may be lower or even higher with the increasing rate of fentanyl/carfentanil use and abuse.
 

JJB70

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I will throw this in as a devils advocate and agent provocateur. I currently live and work in Singapore, the drug problem here is trivial, that may be partly because they take enforcement of their very strict laws on drugs very seriously.

One of the problems with using examples from other countries (be it the hard approach of Singapore or the soft approach of Switzerland) is it assumes models are translatable between different countries and societies and ignores multiple variables.
 

JustAnandaDourEyedDude

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The social disorder caused by the drugs in cities is absurd. I see users right in front of Tim Hortons coffee shop with their drug paraphernalia spread out on a seating bench. They are using at a major bus stop with like 10 bus routes stopping there and hundreds of people per hour going in and out of Tim Hortons. Very brazen people or maybe they are beyond civility and caring.
Just two very different approaches to taking a trip, yes? In the one case, you strap yourself in, the bus driver takes control of the direction, and you stare vacantly out the window. In the other, the user straps the needle in, and his self-direction goes out the window as he stares vacantly into the sky. Both usually have a fair amount of baggage they are carrying.
 
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Doodski

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Just two very different approaches to taking a trip, yes?
I guess recreational use and chasing the dragon's tail has become so commonplace for these users that public consumption is no big deal. The coppers turn a blind eye. I suppose they are inundated with users on the street and are interested in dealers rather than users.
 

JRS

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Sure, legalize it, but the ambulance and EMT supplying Narcan better not be free to all of the junkies that OD, and they need to pay for their needles, too.
Or make chemo and similar treatment to children born with cancer and other illnesses free, so the parents don't have to bankrupt the family trying to save their baby.
Don't understand why drug addicts that create their own problems get treated to free places to shoot up in public and free needles, and get free life saving medical care for something they brought upon themselves, but insulin costs a Type 1 diabetic a shit ton of cash to stay alive.
And you obviously know nothing about addiction. Every study done has shown that safe injection sites save taxpayers money--or would you rather have taxpayers foot the cost for half brain dead ex-junkies who received the Narcan a little late, or pay for all those HIV antiviral meds for the next 40 years.

But point taken that these lifesaving medicines should be free. Cray-cray thought, but it seems to work elsewhere and no one goes bankrupt getting sick. But as a doc I tend to have strong opinions on such matters.
 

JRS

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What the results in Vancouver show is that decriminalizing drugs saves money. As does safe injection sites. The impact on drug use is not great--which is curious.
Rogan had an incredible guest by the name of Johann Hari on JRE #1250 in which they discussed the Opioid Crisis and how different countries have tackled the matter. As Hari describes the epidemic, opioid deaths are "deaths of despair" and plague certain areas much harder than others depending primarily on how the government tackles the issue. IMHO, the USA is not handling the mater as best as it could. Switzerland apparently wiped out their opioid crisis by legalizing heroine. The way Hari explains it, makes perfect sense.... Highly recommend checking out JRE #1250
Hari is good and has written two outstanding books that are real eyeopeners--one on depression and the other on drugs. The one on the wa on drugs was extraordinarily well researched, and is the basis for the film The United States vs Billie Holiday:

It's well done and while liberties were taken, tells the back story about the one man who singlehandedly declared the war on drugs, forty years prior to Nixon. The other offer that writes very elegantly and adds a personal touch as he was the doc behind the Vancouver experiment is Gabor Maté. You can find some TED talks on YouTube of his--very eloquent man who shares his own addiction--purchase of classical CD's. Seems somewhat insulting to compare his well heeled habit with those dying on the streets of B.C., but he gets it. Something our govt does not.

In terms of experiments, watch Oregon which decriminalized meth, LSD, heroin, fetanyl, and others to a 100 dollar ticket--the proceeds of which are largely spent on treatment (for which there is a woefully inadequate infrastructure so tough to measure that just yet). For more info,

Stay tuned.
 

JRS

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One other item as a PSA: almost all of the heroin and an alarming number of other illegal drugs contain as an active ingredient the synthetic opiate fetanyl. In the case of heroin, the heroin is entirely absent in much of this stuff. The problem is with potency--fetanyl is 50x as powerful as Heroin and 100x more powerful than morphine. What this translates to is a rapidly increasing number of OD's, many of which are fatal.

One reason that they are fatal is that two of the doses used to treat overdose are simply insufficient. It comes as a nasal spray of 2, 4 or 8mg. Eight should always be used these days for anyone near adult size. If unavailable multiply doses until 8 has been administered--it could save someone's life.
 
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Doodski

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One other item as a PSA: almost all of the heroin and an alarming number of other illegal drugs contain as an active ingredient the synthetic opiate fetanyl. In the case of heroin, the heroin is entirely absent in much of this stuff. The problem is with potency--fetanyl is 50x as powerful as Heroin and 100x more powerful than morphine. What this translates to is a rapidly increasing number of OD's, many of which are fatal.

One reason that they are fatal is that two of the doses used to treat overdose are simply insufficient. It comes as a nasal spray of 2, 4 or 8mg. Eight should always be used these days for anyone near adult size. If unavailable multiply doses until 8 has been administered--it could save someone's life.
I see the narcan kits strapped to peoples waists and hanging off belts and such around town and I know people that keep them at home/in the car just in case. People are really geared up for this. The narcan kits are free in pharmacies. I was commuting the other day and saw a guy at a bus stop hunched over and apparently unconscious and another guy was opening what appeared to be a narcan kit with the large red cross on it and looked like he was preparing to inject. It's so common now the ambulances are running all night long and the first responders are saying it in the news that it is because of opiates.

I receive prescriptions for codeine when I have a horrible lung infection/cold. I have asthma. They are 60mg per tablet and another 30mg in the liquid syrup per spoon. Anywayyy... I take enough to totally suppress the cough so I don't break a rib or whatever happens. Yes, I exceed the Doctors prescription just to avoid the horrible coughing and associated pain never mind the impossibility to talk without coughing. The result is after 3-4+ days I am realllly backed up in the lower digestive system and have horrible experiences clearing it. It's like I loose the urge to defecate for days and get backed up. So what do these fentanyl users experience. Is this a issue with fentanyl too?
 

Phorize

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It’s a public health issue, so an evidenced based public health approach seems sensible. The organised criminals behind the supply won’t disappear though, so the law enforcement issues will remain. It would be hard to come up with a policy that is as socially and economically catastrophic as the current one.
 
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bloodshoteyed

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Not legalise, but decriminalise for small amounts so individual users are diverted from the court system and have the matter treated as a health issue. Harm minimisation and education is the key here, not convicting people of a crime. A step further would be to create supply from official sources that is taxed for state/national revenue and much cheaper than the black market... this will take the business away to an extent from criminal enterprise by making it less profitable and not as worth the risk. Their dirty business needs to be crushed and regulated properly.

There has also been some research done that possibly showed that mental illness associated with hard usage is often not caused by drug use itself (certainly exacerbated), however the specific condition draws them to the usage of that drug.



JSmith

as mansr said, look at portugal, it worked literal wonders there
and regarding the second bold quote, not only that, it would also ensure at least some QC
 

Mart68

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Having pharmaceutical grade , sterile , accurately dosed material would save some lives.
There probably is very little heroin left on the black market. It is all the fentanyl and its' derivatives. It has a smaller therapeutic window and thus is much more dangerous.

England had an experiment with legalization and they stopped it. But the notion of sucking the profit out of it would probably move things in the correct direction.
England has not experimented with legalisation. Some years ago now cannabis was downgraded from a class b illegal to a class c illegal for a short time. That's all.

Heroin was available from doctors if you registered as an addict but that was stopped in about 1969.

Despite that cannabis use here is now commonplace, I regularly pass people on the street who are smoking it. Users are rarely prosecuted and growers only receive custodial sentences if they are operating on an industrial scale.

The domestic cannabis market is estimated as several billion pounds a year Legalisation would generate a lot of tax which could be used to fund rehabilitation/treatment for users of hard drugs but there's no sign of that happening yet.
 

Sal1950

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The Province of British Columbia in Canada is lobbying the federal government to legalize hard drugs. Many people think this is a solution including the front line medical workers. Cannabis is already legal Canada wide under federal law. The war on hard drugs is not succeeding and there are some thousands of people dead from hard drugs in British Columbia each year. The total amount of hard drugs related deaths around the world must be huge and the perpetrators are not being brought to justice. So legalize or not?
IMO, HELL YES.
Current drug policies have caused nothing but the same explosion in crime, murder, gangs, court and jail costs, etc, etc, etc. You can't legislate human behavior, they should have learned that from the US first failed experiment called 1920's Prohibition. This one has cost us trillions and trillions more.
s-l1600.jpg


Maybe some day, I hope
images
 

TLEDDY

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The Province of British Columbia in Canada is lobbying the federal government to legalize hard drugs. Many people think this is a solution including the front line medical workers. Cannabis is already legal Canada wide under federal law. The war on hard drugs is not succeeding and there are some thousands of people dead from hard drugs in British Columbia each year. The total amount of hard drugs related deaths around the world must be huge and the perpetrators are not being brought to justice. So legalize or not?
I am a strong supporter of legalization - not only legal, but provided gratis.

The benefits are manifold:

Overdose deaths essentially eliminated
Incarceration from drug related crimes reduce prison population by over 60%
Need for law enforcment officers reduced (DEA, local)
Drug cartels, especially Mexico, South America and the Middle East destroyed (eliminates major source of funding for terrorists as well as government graft and corruption)
”Gangs” essentially eliminated, along with murders, robberies and the plethora of crimes committed to support a drug habit

The only drug I would not include is the amphetamine family… the neuropsychological side effects are debilitating and, to my understanding, not medically manageable.

The monetary savings are almost incalculable. Those funds, then invested in social programs to eliminate mental illness, homelessness, hunger and a plethora of societal ills would be better invested.

Discussion invited!

Tillman
 
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