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Legalization of all non medical use of drugs is an attainable goal. But confronting the opioid crisis is an urgent and unprecedented call to action. Public health experts and their activist allies are leading the way. Let's not get caught up in complicated and protracted arguments about legalization of all drugs.
Despite criminal prohibition and the prospect of becoming ill or even dying, people still do drugs. So we are faced with a wrenching dilemma: Do we, as a society, take over and regulate the supply and quality of drugs or do we leave these issues to the forces of an unbridled market operating in a dark underworld?
The War on Drugs has been a failure, and soon enough using drugs will shift from a criminal to a public health issue. But what if we paid people not to engage in harmful consumption? If we rewarded them for stopping damaging use? Couldn't the savings in all manner of costs greatly outweigh the comparatively small expense of any incentive?
I've even taken to exclusively wearing my Blue Jays hat on tour. Sadly, when people see it they connect it with one person: Rob Ford. Since Mayor Ford has been stripped of virtually all of his power, I thought he may have some time to listen to a fraction of the great music that I think defines Toronto.
Ford used his party time on the Danforth to seek the spotlight while posing for countless pictures. He knew all eyes were on him because he was smiling for the attention. He knows the cloud of suspicion that surrounds him is darkening the city's reputation and causing dysfunction within city council. He honestly doesn't even seem to care.
Dear Mayor Ford: Like it or not, you have a drug problem. I'm not referring to your alleged issues with alcohol, or your DUI in Florida all those years ago. I'm not talking about the time you were arrested for possession of marijuana, or even the alleged video that's said to depict you smoking crack cocaine. I'm not talking about the claims that you were inebriated at a Garrison Ball, or your brother Doug's alleged running of a hash ring during the 1980s. Your drug problem is the fact that nobody believes you. What other mayor could ever be accused of smoking crack cocaine, and have their constituents pause, and say, Yeah, that makes a lot of sense?
In the case of Canada and the United States, our addiction to the war on drugs, coupled with an insatiable demand for drugs themselves, has proved a deadly cocktail for those countries unlucky enough to exist along the supply chain. Rather than stifle drug supply, it appears to have fueled it, as estimates suggest that Mexican heroin production has increased 340 per cent since the drug war was launched.
WIth the recent cases of cannibalism as a consequence of using bath salts, a synthetic drug that's now easily found on the streets, people are wondering: Is this the beginning of the zombie apocalypse? Or is this merely the consequence of slow-moving, half-witted drug policies that in fact encourage this type of drug economy?