Drug Policy: Decriminalizing Drug Use
Police and jailers don't create laws, they just enforce the laws they're given. Law enforcement professionals often readily acknowledge that police and incarceration are poor tools to deal with recreational drug use and drug addiction. Starting a century ago a drug called alcohol was criminalized for 13 years before that policy was discarded as a dismal and expensive failure. Multiple studies have shown that black and brown people do not use drugs more than white people, but are more likely to be punished.
Marijuana use should be legalized, and all other simple drug use/possession should be decriminalized, meaning that people would not be subject to police action or to incarceration. This should improve relations between police and communities that have been most-heavily impacted by unjust drug laws, especially black and brown communities. Under decriminalization drug use is still illegal, but is handled within the health and social sectors. 26 countries have decriminalized drugs and thus been able to devote more resources to other things, including addiction treatment. Other reforms that have been shown to reduce harm from unsafe drug use include: needle and syringe programs, availability of opioid substitution treatment, and medically-supervised drug consumption rooms. Opioid overdose deaths are virtually non-existent in Canada's nurse-supervised "safe-injection sites" because overdose reversal medication is administered immediately.
When people first hear the idea of decriminalizing drug use they may think "it's too radical". In fact, it has been studied for many years as a public policy alternative that is healthier for virtually everyone compared with the current model of putting people behind bars.
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