Calgary's Drug Laws and Public Safety DON'T Go Hand in Hand: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article, I pointed out how Calgary's drug laws are failing our community. Far from limiting violence and drug use and making our city safer, the criminalization of drugs actually creates numerous public safety problems for Calgary. Not only do laws prohibiting the use of recreational drugs create a serious question about our civil liberties, but making the trade of drugs illegal encourages other illegal acts to be committed while the trade continues.

And as long as there is a demand for recreational drugs—which there has been in all communities since the beginning of recorded history—there will continue to be a drug trade.

One of the key ways drug criminalization makes Calgary more dangerous is by forcing drug users—and those who supply them—into the shadows. Instead of being afforded police protection like those selling alcohol or pharmacies selling medical drugs (many of which can be and are abused or taken for recreational purposes), those involved with drugs have no protection and must actually hide from the Calgary Police and other law enforcement. These leads to violence, and even though Calgary is one of the safest cities in the world we are not immune to the violence of the drug trade.

Criminalizing Drugs Puts Calgary Citizens' Health Directly at Risk

It isn't only the violence indirectly caused by Calgary's drug laws that makes our community less safe. By outlawing drugs, all drug users are automatically outlaws. They have to fear arrest and criminal charges if they identify themselves as a drug user, making it much harder to seek medical care for drug-related problems. Drug overdoses, drug dependency problems, and issues with the quality and preparation of certain recreational drugs—which is completely unregulated due to the drugs' illegality—can be treated far more effectively and efficiently when they are dealt with solely as medical issues, and when they don't carry the stigma of criminality. In a very direct way, then, criminalizing drugs increases the risk to public safety.

Criminalizing drugs also makes it harder to obtain reliable information about drugs and their risks. Research bodies and government officials may be reluctant to say anything that appears to support decriminalizing drugs, and this leads to widespread mistrust of any information published about drugs. Opioids and opiates like oxycontin, fentanyl, and the newer W-18 are cause hundreds if not thousands of deaths throughout Canada every year, and nothing done by lawmakers or law enforcement agencies has slowed the flow of these drugs into Calgary. If they were regulated, and if people were better informed and able to seek help without fearing criminal prosecution, our city would be much safer.

Stand Up for Your Rights: Partner with a Passionate Calgary Defence Lawyer

I can't change Calgary's drug laws on my own, but I can provide you with a passionate, knowledgeable defence if you've been charged with a drug-related crime. For a free initial consultation, please contact my office today.

 

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