Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Recent Trends in Canadian Drug Policy:The Decline and Resurgence of Prohibitionism

Recent Trends in Canadian Drug Policy:The Decline and Resurgence of Prohibitionism

Ratings: (0)|Views: 17|Likes:
Published by jasonYYZ
Noted critic Pat Erickson's analysis of Canadian Drug Policy.
Noted critic Pat Erickson's analysis of Canadian Drug Policy.

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: jasonYYZ on Mar 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/26/2014

pdf

text

original

 
PatriciaG. Erickson
RecentTrendsinCanadianDrugPolicy:
TheDeclineandResurgenceof
Prohibitionism
DURINGTHEERA OF ALCOHOLPROHIBITIONinthe UnitedStates,industriousCanadianswereproducersandexporters
ofthis thenforbiddendrugacrossthe world'slongest
undefendedborder.1Bycontrast,inthecurrentillicitdrugtrade,Canadathoughsometimesatransshipmentpointfordrugsdestined
fortheUnitedStates,2islargelyapartnerinprohibitionof illicit
substances.Indeed, Canada,givenitsearly legislativeeffortsin 1908
tocontrolsuchsubstances,anditshigh profilewhenthefirst
internationaltreatiesweresigned,maybe saidtohave led thewayin
forgingmoderndrug prohibition, influencingthe UnitedStatesinits
approach.3Sincethen,Canada and the UnitedStateshave sharedanoverlappinghistoryinregardto"narcotics."4While thisprocessofreciprocalinfluenceovereightdecades hasresultedinmanysimilarities,theoutcomeshavebeen different.Becauselevelsof illicitdruguseand associatedproblemsaremuchlowerinCanadathantheyareintheUnitedStates,CanadaprovidesaninterestingcasecontrolstudyforexaminingtheAmericanexpe
rience.
Likemostindustrializedsocieties,theirdrugpolicieshaverelied
heavilyonthecriminal lawtocontroldrug suppliesandtopunishoffenders.Theterm"prohibitionism"includes thearrayoflaws,criminaljusticepracticesand social evaluationsthatserve tosuppress
PatriciaG.EricksonisaSenior Scientist with the Addiction ResearchFoundation, Toronto,Ontario,and hasastatusappointmentattheUniversityofToronto intheDepartmentofSociology.
239
This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:21:48 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
240PatriciaG.Erickson
particularforms ofdrugs,forbiddingtheiruse,production,and sale.Most nations haveanofficialpolicyofprohibitingnarcotics;mostaresignatoriesofthe UnitedNationstreaty,theSingleConventiononNarcoticDrugs.Yetimplementationvarieswidely,fromtheferociouspoliciesofMalaysiaandSingaporetothebenignonespracticedbythe Netherlands.Vigorousenforcementofdrugprohibitioninvolvessubstantialsocioeconomiccostsand thecurtailment ofindividualpersonalfreedoms.Nodemocraticgovernmentcanpersevereinthisapproachunlessithas widesupportinthepopulace.
In1986-1987,whilethe UnitedStateslaunchedanewly invigo
rateddrugwar,Canada enunciatedaverydifferentfederaldrugstrategy.Sincerepressiveresponsestoillicitdrugusehadbeen the
hallmarkofdrug policiesinbothcountriesfrom theearly1900s,this
apparentdivergencecould beseen asaneffortbyCanadatodistanceitselffrom thelegacyof itspastpolicies,toforgeanewdirection.WasCanada'sDrug Strategy somethingmoreprofoundthan Canadiansjustsaying'No ThankYou'todrugs?The evidencesuggeststhat
Canada still hasadistancetogoifitwishestodistinguishitself from
themoreunequivocallyaggressiveAmericanresponse.A LAW ABIDINGSOCIETYAdistinctivefeature ofCanadiansocietyisthegenerallylowerrateofcrimeandviolence,comparedtothe UnitedStatesofAmerica.5In1988,the murderratesouthof theCanada-USborderwas morethanthreetimesthattothenorth,andtheAmericanrobberyrate was overtwice that ofCanada's.6Thetotal number of homicidesinallofCanadain 1990was656,7comparabletothat of eitherDetroitorWashington,D.C.Canadahas muchstricterguncontrollawsthan
theUnitedStates,andCanadianpoliceofficerswerelesslikelytobekilledondutyinthe1980s thaninthetwoprecedingdecades.8
American officersinvolvedindrugrelatedinvestigationshave beenincreasinglyathighrisk.9Nor has Canada'shistorybeen marredtoanymarkeddegreebyassassinations,civilunrest,and otherformsofextremepoliticalviolence,leadingWilliam KilbourntorefertoCanadaas"thepeaceablekingdomstill."10Anyonewho doubtstheuniquenessof Canada'sculture, values,andidentityneedlooknofurtherthanarecentissueof Dcedalus.11Yet,both Canadaand the UnitedStatesresorttosubstantialpunitive
This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:21:48 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
RecentTrendsinCanadianDrug Policy241
responsestocriminal offenders.While theAmerican incarcerationrateisthehighestintheworld,andCanada'sincarcerationrateisone-fourthofthat,itis still fifthinthe world.12AnincreasingproportionofincarceratedAmericansaredrugoffenders;theycom
priseclosetohalfofallinmatesincertainjurisdictions.In1988,6
percentofprovincialand11percentoffederal inmatesinCanadawereimprisonedfor offensesagainstdruglaws:approximately7,000intotal.13IfCanadanolongerpermitscapital punishment,itprovidesthemostsevere sentenceavailable,lifeimprisonment,fortraffickingorimportingcannabis,cocaine,heroin,andother"narcotics." Canada'srateofdrugoffenses(thatis,thosediscoveredand
recordedbythepolice)peakedinthe1980-1985periodatnearly300per 100,000.The UnitedNationsreportedthistobethehighest
inthe worldduringthatperiod,14butithasapparentlybeensurpassedbytheUnitedStates sincethen.15
Stilltheuseof illicitdrugsinthetwocountrieshas beenvery
different.Whateversubstanceordemographicgroupisconsidered,Canadianratesarelower.16Forexample,amongcocaineusers,the
highestlevelsofuseintheUSpopulationhave beenreportedinthe
agecategory,18to25. In1982,ayearofpeakuse,18.8percentoftheseyoungadultswerereportedtohaveused cocaine.IntheprovinceofOntario,theproportionoftheyoungadultgroupusingcocainein 1984wasrecordedas7.1percent.While6.7percentofOntariohighschoolseniorsusedcocainein1985,inthecomparableAmericangroup,13.1percenthaddoneso.Differencesarealsoconspicuousforcannabis.Whilethemost recentstudentsurveysshow27.5percentofUS seniorsusingthesubstanceinthepastyear,21.6percentofOntariohighschool seniorsused itinthesameperiod. Nationally,23.2percentof allCanadianadults usedcannabisatsometimeintheirlives;only6.5percentwerecurrentusersin
1989. Adult levels of cannabisuseinthe United Stateshavebeen
consistently higher.Whileinjectiondruguse,particularlyofopiates,isnotoriouslydifficulttodetermine,the Canadian estimatesofanupperlimitofabout25,000users17aredwarfedbyestimatesofatleastonemillionregularinjectiondrugusersinthe United States.18AsshowninFigure1,the deathrateinTorontocomprisingcasesinwhichheroinorcocaineisdetectedis fromone-seventhtoone-fourteenth lower thaninthecomparableAmericancities,NewYorkandPhiladelphia.
This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:21:48 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->