Tag Archives: harm reduction

Response to legalization in four states

In response to the four states that passed ballots to legalize marijuana, we send our condolences to residents of those states.  It’s not a good, science-based policy, or a good economic one. We won’t stop doing what we do, supporting families who lost or are losing loved ones to this drug. Marijuana is the starter drug for our addiction crisis, a foundation drug and often the first relapse drug for those who struggle with addiction.

We’re sad because the public have lost special protective factors for public health and safety. Keeping drugs illegal is a vital harm reduction policy. With more marijuana use comes more loss of life from addiction, mental illness and car crashes. It also brings work place incidents, psychotic behaviors, violence related to drug dealing and deaths from child abuse or neglect. Continue reading Response to legalization in four states

Drug Policy Alliance Pushes Legalization of all Drugs

The growth of the Drug Policy Alliance’s influence and emphasis contributes to the staggering increase in overdose deaths. * DPA gets political mileage from using the term “war on drugs,” and turning it into a negative term.  However, the USA officially abandoned the term eight years ago, and then the death rate began to rise.

Drug Policy Alliance recently put out a paper on decriminalizing all drugs, a first step towards legalization of all drugs. This group often talks about Portugal as an example which is misleading, because Portugal never legalized drugs. Portugal decriminalized drugs while providing assessments and treatment.   Continue reading Drug Policy Alliance Pushes Legalization of all Drugs

Drug Policies Should Prevent the Start of Drug Use

Sven-Olov Carlsson gave an opening address at the 5th Annual World Federation of Drugs Conference in Vienna on March 12-13. His speech challenged  ideas about drug policy that are popular at this time.   “The goal in helping a loved one with a substance use problem is not to reduce their use. It is to stop drug use,” he said.

Anyone who believes that a “Harm Reduction” emphasis (instead of drug prevention) needs to take a close look at the current heroin epidemic and ask if we are really saving lives. Today some countries  favor harm reduction policies over drug prevention.  These policies fail to acknowledge the difficulty of treatment and that harm reduction only prevents immediate death.   More lives will be saved when we stop the drug use, and prevent the initiation into drug usage.

While it is important that the Senate passed the  CARA Act and that the House will now take up their version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, we are sorry that Congress is not addressing youth marijuana use as a gateway to opiate abuse which in turn leads to heroin abuse.

In his opening address Carlsson said that a successful drug policy makes it clear that drug use is unacceptable. The future of an improved drug policy is not to legalize intoxicating drugs of abuse, including marijuana.  (The United States is demonstrating that legalization does not work.)

In the US, funding for D.A.R.E. has been drastically reduced, with most schools no longer using the D.A.R.E. program. Since some of the states have legalized medical marijuana it has become controversial to be anti-pot, and D.A.R.E. responded by cutting marijuana out of its standard curriculum.  It’s time to replace that program with a more effective anti-drug prevention education in schools–geared at the state of affairs today.

The US should listen to Carlsson, President of the World Federation of Drugs.   In his speech, he proclaimed:  “It is in the development of a balanced, restrictive drug policy that prevents drug use, and that intervenes with drug users to provide them with a path to life-long recovery.

“Instead of legalizing drugs, an enlightened drug policy can harness the criminal justice system to thwart drug markets, facilitate entry into treatment and restrict incarceration to egregious offenders.”   In other words, a public heath approach and a criminal justice approach should not be considered as opposites.

Read Carlsson’s entire address:  Drug Policy Should Prevent Initiation of Drug Use

Carlsson is from Sweden which has a drug policy based on prevention and treatment.  It has only 5% of youth drug users in contrast to 22% in the USA.   Socialist policy depends on low drug use and keeping marijuana illegal, something that Bernie Sanders’ followers don’t understand.   (Sanders may understand, but he wants young voters on his side. )

Is Harm Reduction Policy to Blame for Current Drug Epidemic?

A graduate school curriculum in Drug Abuse and Addiction teaches harm reduction as a strategy to train drug abuse counselors.  Inoculating these therapists with harm reduction only strategy is an insidious way to promote drug use, drug abuse and addiction.

Harm reduction strategy does not seem to be curbing the current drug epidemic.  Three bad government decisions and strategies heighten the drug epidemic right now:  Continue reading Is Harm Reduction Policy to Blame for Current Drug Epidemic?