Why I hate reading the news

So we have this little thing called the HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review. It’s a think tank to provide analysis, review, and solutions for HIV/AIDS issues in our country. As you may know, one of the ways that people in Canada contract HIV is through drug usage. Resultingly, the Policy and Law Review studies our drug policies to see how effective they are at their stated goals.

The new report says the same thing our Auditor-General said five years ago: Law enforcement is not a workable solution to the drug problem. Let’s look at the report:

The federal government continues to invest heavily in policies and practices that have repeatedly been shown in the scientific literature to be ineffective or harmful:

The drug strategy’s $245-million budget breakdown:

  • Law enforcement: 73%
  • Treatment: 14%
  • Research: 7%
  • Addiction prevention: 3%
  • Harm reduction: 3%

The overwhelming emphasis continues to be on conventional enforcement-based approaches which are costly and often exacerbate, rather than reduce, drug-related harm.

Pretty heavy stuff. As all the literature and science shows, law enforcement doesn’t deal with the issue. Luckily, we have a new government which has vowed to solve this problem, right? And clearly, the Liberal strategy of an overwhelming focus on law enforcement isn’t working. Let’s ask the office of the Health Minister for his reaction!

“Our own national drug strategy is in the works. It’s something we’ve actually been working on for some time. The previous government took its own approach, which we happen to disagree with.

In every poll, when Canadians are asked whether they want more law enforcement or less, they want more. So the bottom line is that Canada’s new government will be taking a different approach.”

You heard it right, folks! The Conservatives disagree with the failed Liberal policy of overwhelming law enforcement. They have a different approach to solve this problem, which they’ve been working on for some time: More law enforcement!

Can we have an election now, please?

27 thoughts on “Why I hate reading the news

  1. I was going to comment about this as well, but with so many things in the news that got me really angry, I couldn’t write coherently… or in such a way that made sense.

    Last month I was talking with a friend of mine who has been dealing with his cocaine use/abuse (he uses the term addict, but I don’t like that term). He said that he wants to go talk to kids about drug use and its effects through one of those DARE type programs. This put me in a bit of a position, since I’ve read enough of the research on those programs to know that they’re really not effective, however, I don’t want to discourage him from doing something positive. So I attempted to explain why researchers figure that the DARE type programs aren’t effective (pretty basic reasons: adults lecturing kids; a complete abstinance approach to drugs; not engaging the kids enough or at all; not focusing on the kids most at risk; and, very short-term approaches), and then suggested that maybe, if he really wanted to do something based on his experience, he should get involved with some of the community programs, maybe train as a councellor, volunteer with the boys and girls club, something that doesn’t involve him lecturing kids on the whole “drugs are bad” thing.

    Ok, I’m going on a bit here. Time to go read the report (available at http://www.aidslaw.ca)

  2. The report addresses DARE explicitly: “studies published in peer-reviewed journals … have been consistent in showing that the program does not prevent or delay drug use, nor does it affect future intentions to use drugs”.

    DARE just plain doesn’t work. There are a lot of effective harm reduction programs that he could look into volunteering for.

  3. Can we have an election now, please?

    Why? Because the previous government was so much better?

    I don’t really care if there’s an election until there’s somebody worth voting for.

  4. They also increased my chocolate ration from 3 grammes a week to 2.5 grammes a week!
    I certainly do hope Goldstein stops selling all those drugs to the children soon! What do you expect from the man who betrayed Big Brother after all.
    We are at war with drugs. We have always been at war with drugs. And Crime. And Poverty. And terrorism. And brown people.
    But at least we are all, without exception, finally safe.

  5. Yup, that’s what I was trying to explain to him, except I don’t think he understood… probably because he didn’t want to listen. Part of the problem may be that a friend of his family is a cop with the Ottawa Police, and goes to the schools with whatever program they use (DARE or whatever), so he has only heard about the program through that channel. He’s also going through NA and AA – ugh!

    Mind you, I don’t think he’s ready, emotionally, to take on any new projects, and I suspect his therapist has been telling him this. He hasn’t been off the cocaine 6 months yet, and he’s still dealing with some past traumas. It’s weird to be discouraging someone from volunteering, but I really think he needs to sort his head out a bit first. Frankly, I can’t see him doing any sort of councelling work, but I think he could be a good coach, and in a few months I’ll probably start my campaign to encourage him to play to his skills when looking at volunteer work. :)

  6. The purpose of Newspeak Government Press was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc Conservatism Populism, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.

  7. As I see it, if someone’s not willing to critically examine an issue, they’re not someone that should be informing others (especially children) on said critical issue.

    I wish you the best of luck — it’s admirable that he’s willing to devote his time to do what he thinks would be helpful, and hopefully that can be channeled into something more constructive and effective.

  8. it’s maddening to think that o’brien wants to do the exact same thing – more law enforcement, fewer rehab strategies. how many ppl locally are against the crack pipe program simply on the basis that it supposedly encourages drug abuse? *sigh*

  9. And you read about the proposed cuts to special ed programs, which would affect children with physical or learning disabilities and teens with behavioural problems. Hmm… and who are often at risk kids for drug use… those with learning disabilities or behavioural programs? Nah, couldn’t be.

  10. I wonder if I can use that phrase on him… although he might take offence at being told that an ability to critically examine an issue is not his strong point. :)

  11. even if you have nobody to have confidence in, it’s our responsibility to at least try to minimize the damage done by propaganda intensive misinformation, so voting for the lesser of evils is still better than not.

  12. …and i love how conservative douches like this ignore the OVERWHELMING research when it suits them, only allowing actual research to enter in to things when it agress with their prejudices….

    i cannot take this, not today…i need out of here, NOW.

  13. they keep saying the exact same things about guns and gun control…

    well since illegal guns are used by criminals and the end result is someone getting killed… lets… I dunno… put more cops on the streets so we have more people available to investigate shootings and murders… and to patrol the streets because well… obviously these crimes are happening when there isn’t a police officer present…

    A police officer on every corner… that’s what we need… nevermind that if we got more strategies in place for urban re-development or jobs for people or education in order to help people out of the slump they seem to think that they’re in Canada would be a better place…

    this sarcastipost is brought to you by:

  14. Because Dion doesn’t have an irrational fear of drugs and drug-related issues. Could you imagine Harper or Martin putting forth a progressive proposal to help Afghani farmers who live off of selling opium and heroin?

    “You will need to have a plan to replace the opium crop, because as long as 50 per cent of the economy is an illicit activity giving a lot of money to the warlords, it will not work. If it’s not possible to replace the crop — I’m not an expert in these things — I have read one U.K. report showing it’s possible to use the crop for pharmaceutical reasons. This issue will be essential to me, and if it’s possible, Canada will stay and see that progress is done. If there is no way to have a mission that makes sense, there are different options, like finding a less dangerous role for our troops, or to completely leave. But I would like to find a way to help the people of Afghanistan in a positive and constructive fashion.”

  15. I agree with that completely, and about how it doesn’t engage kids.

    I remember that in grade school (at McNabb, so under grade 4) we had a day where we did some program and got ribbons that said something about how we pledge not to do drugs and my mom just saw mine and said “well, I hope that’s true” and I was like “of course it is!”, and I meant it, but the truth is, at the time I had no idea what a drug was. I think I thought all drugs had needles? I don’t know, they didn’t show us any pictures or what it would really be like if someone tried to offer us drugs. (Like remember that commercial with those puppet kids and the man in the trench coat with blood shot eyes who tries to randomly deal to the children on the street? uh, yeah.)

    Anyway, friends of mine in grade 5 saying “do you want to smoke some weed?” didn’t seem at all connected to my promise is grade 4 or whatever to not do “drugs”, whatever the hell those are.

  16. you love me so you love my spam… ;)

    because this issue has such far reaching consequences and is something very close to me, something i’ve spent so many years working in and researching, educating, i thought i’d leave a few links for anyone curious here…now i’m not even going to get in to the medical research that distinguishes between actualy medical/physical implications and those that aren’t due to the drug but are socio-economic in nature, which is about 90% of what is erroneously seen as the fault of ‘drugs’ as opposed to ‘use’ and education…i will ONLY post a few links from those working within the drug war, and having had their propaganda tested only to discover what they’ve been told about drugs/users is so not based in reality that they now oppose the drug war from within and all the damage it brings; primarily law enforcement and and a few who help create social policy…


    those are a few…the evidence is SO overwhelming…when will we stop having to pay for the desperate attempts of a few trying to avoid reality in order to coddle their own delusions and avoid challenging their prejudices at the cost of ALL of us, even you, whether you know it or not, whether you takes drugs or not…we all pay, and pay dealy, millions with their LIVES every year.

  17. i posted some links liz from stuff that you and i researched in crim…the short doc. from LEAP is a good start…maybe that’ll help to show him?

  18. Just watched that 12 min doc – a few of the speakers sounded familiar, but I may have seen/heard them in other docs.

    I don’t know if he will be at all open to listening to the information, which is a shame. Granted, now might not be the right time to approach him with a lot of info, since he’s trying to stop the coke use. On the other hand, he’s probably getting a lot of (mis)information through NA and AA, so maybe this is the right time.

    I will say, he looks a lot healthier now that he’s not using, but that may be also due to sleeping better, eating healthier, exercising more…

  19. The idea of having the Afghan people raise the opium to sell to the pharmaceutical companies is not new, nor is it popular, but I see it as a positive. One way or the other, we need opium to make the drugs we use medically, so why not help support a country by trying to put the money in the hands of the people, rather than the warlords. Once the country is more stable, then you can look at raising other crops, in addition to, or instead of, the opium, but that will take time.

    I remember one good doc on the “war on drugs” that discussed the attempts to get the people of columbia to grow bananas, rather than the coca plant. What this brilliant plan didn’t address was how the heck to get the bananas out to market. The people realized that it was a whole lot easier, and more profitable, to grow the coca, rather than some heavy bananas that had to be transported through the forest/jungle.

  20. well, as you know, with the propaganda out there, who would be drawn to drugs like cocaine? certainly not those who are most likely best able to responsibly use it…it’s like police; they have the reputation in most cities of being hardcore, badass bullies, so who would be most attracted to apply to be, and succeed at remaining a cop? well, people who want to be seen as hardcore, basass bullies…

  21. good point.
    if i remember correctly, he had been off the cocaine for at least 5 years until he saw an article about the molestor in the paper…. bang, went right back to the coke. not the healthiest thing to do, but how many of us have similar self-destructive responses to really horrid stress/trauma. Some get drunk, smoke, or take other drugs, some cut, some eat.

    My brain is starting to stray from the topic, and focusing on chest wounds. Got a meeting in an hour. Go figure. :)

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