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

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

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Noted critic Pat Erickson's analysis of Canadian Drug Policy.
Noted critic Pat Erickson's analysis of Canadian Drug Policy.

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Patricia G.


Recent Trends inCanadian Drug Policy:
The Decline and Resurgence of


DURING States, undefended Canada substances.

THE ERA OF ALCOHOL industrious Canadians


in the United and exporters


of this then forbidden drug across the world's
border.1 though in the current By contrast, a transshipment sometimes point Canada, given its early


illicit drug trade, for drugs destined efforts in 1908

for the United States,2 is largely a partner in prohibition of illicit
Indeed, legislative

to control such substances, and its high profile when
international treaties were signed, may be said to have

the first

led the way

forging modern drug prohibition, influencing the United States in its
States have shared an and the United then, Canada in regard to "narcotics."4 history overlapping of reciprocal influence over eight decades has While this process outcomes in many the have been different. resulted similarities, approach.3 Since Because are much levels of illicit drug use and associated problems than they are in the United Canada lower in Canada States, provides an interesting case control the American expe study for examining

Like most
heavily offenders. criminal
Patricia Ontario, Sociology.

industrialized societies, their drug policies have relied
law to control term


drug supplies and to punish includes the array of laws, "prohibitionism" and social evaluations that serve to suppress justice practices the criminal The
Foundation, Toronto, in the Department of

G. Erickson is a Senior Scientist with the Addiction Research at the University and has a status appointment of Toronto


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Patricia G. Erickson
their use, production, and sale. most of prohibiting narcotics;

forms of drugs, forbidding particular Most nations have an official policy

on are signatories of the United Nations treaty, the Single Convention varies widely, Yet implementation Narcotic from the fero Drugs. to the benign ones practiced and Singapore cious policies of Malaysia of drug prohibition enforcement Vigorous by the Netherlands. involves individual vere substantial socioeconomic freedoms. unless No costs democratic and the curtailment of personal in this approach can perse government in the support populace.

it has wide enunciated

In 1986-1987,

while the United States launched a newly invigo
responses a very different federal drug to illicit drug use had been the

drug war, Canada Since repressive strategy.

hallmark of drug policies in both countries from the early 1900s, this
to distance could be seen as an effort by Canada apparent divergence to forge a new direction. Was itself from the legacy of its past policies, more profound than Canadians Canada's Drug Strategy something just saying the more 'No Thank You' to drugs? The evidence suggests that

Canada still has a distance to go if itwishes to distinguish itself from
unequivocally aggressive American response.

A LAW ABIDING A distinctive crime


lower rate of feature of Canadian society is the generally to In States the United of America.5 and violence, compared was more rate Canada-US of the than south border 1988, the murder three times that to the north, and the American robbery rate was over twice

in all of The total number of homicides that of Canada's.6 or to that of either Detroit in 1990 was 656,7 comparable stricter control than D.C. has much laws Canada gun Washington, Canada

the United States, and Canadian police officers were less likely to be killed on duty in the 1980s than in the two preceding decades.8
American increasingly any marked extreme officers at high degree involved in drug related risk.9 Nor has Canada's have been investigations to history been marred

civil unrest, and other forms of to refer to William Kilbourn violence, leading political as still."10 "the peaceable Canada kingdom of Canada's the who doubts culture, values, uniqueness Anyone and identity need look no further than a recent issue of Dcedalus.11 by assassinations, Yet, both Canada and the United States resort to substantial punitive

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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


to criminal incarceration the American offenders. While responses rate is rate is the highest in the world, and Canada's incarceration in it An is still fifth the world.12 of that, one-fourth increasing are drug offenders; of incarcerated Americans they com proportion

prise close to half of all inmates in certain jurisdictions. In 1988, 6
in Canada and 11 percent of federal inmates of provincial percent were for offenses against drug laws: approximately 7,000 imprisoned no in total.13 If Canada it longer permits capital punishment, provides the most or severe sentence available, cocaine, cannabis, trafficking importing rate of drug offenses cotics." Canada's (that is, those discovered life imprisonment, for "nar and other heroin, and

recorded by the police) peaked in the 1980-1985 period at nearly 300 per 100,000. The United Nations reported this to be the highest
in the world surpassed different. Canadian it has that period,14 but during States since the then.15 United by substance lower.16 apparently been

Still the use of illicit drugs in the two countries has been very
Whatever rates are or demographic is considered, group For example, among cocaine users, the

highest levels of use in the US population have been reported in the
age category, these young province cocaine Ontario American 18 to 25. adults were In 1982, a year of peak use, 18.8 percent of to have used In the cocaine. reported

of Ontario, in 1984 was high school

of the young adult group using the proportion as 7.1 percent. While recorded 6.7 percent of seniors used cocaine in 1985, in the comparable so. Differences are also done

13.1 percent had group, recent student the most for While cannabis. surveys conspicuous in the past year, show 27.5 percent of US seniors using the substance 21.6 percent of Ontario seniors used it in the same high school

23.2 percent of all Canadian adults used cannabis period. Nationally, at some time in their lives; only 6.5 percent were current users in

1989. Adult levels of cannabis use in the United States have been
consistently higher. While of opiates, is notoriously injection drug use, particularly to determine, difficult the Canadian estimates of an upper limit of one at users17 are dwarfed about 25,000 estimates of least million by States.18 As shown in Figure regular injection drug users in the United cases in which heroin or 1, the death rate in Toronto comprising to one-fourteenth is detected cocaine is from one-seventh lower than in the comparable American cities, New York and Philadelphia.

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Patricia G. Erickson

to injection and rates of HIV attributable infection of AIDS are also much at less use as in lower risk factor the sole Canada, drug are rates in than 5 percent,19 substantially higher imprisoned though The difference may result, at least in part, from the populations.20 in Canada and of needles and syringes in pharmacies legal availability the introduction of needle exchange programs in major Canadian

cities by the end of the 1980s.
Figure 1. Drug-Related Death Rates

inToronto and Selected

US Cities







120 Year)





WorkGroup,June, 1991.NationalInstitute Sorce:Epidemiologie Trends inDrug Abuse. Proceedings, Community Epidemiology on DrugAbuse andChiefCoroner's OfficeofOntario.

reflect a more general differ do not necessarily These differences ence in attitudes to all drugs. For example, licit drug use is compa is about Per capita alcohol rable in the two countries. consumption same true is for the same, with Canada cigarette slightly higher; the Also, Canadians are Americans. than drugs was in 1990 on surveyed smokers. to be less concerned about illicit appear in countries both When opinion public national their most important problems, attention in Canada has tended also

Canadians placed drugs eighth on their list; Americans placed it
second from the top.21 National to focus on issues of tobacco the overprescribing control, The Royal Commission problems. of phar of In

maceuticals, examine



quiry into the Non-Medical

Use of Drugs established in 1969 to

Le Dain Commission?may have drug use?the increasing a defini to this broader perspective it articulated when tion of "non-medical both licit and illicit drug use" that encompassed


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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


While the prevalence of illicit drug use is considerably lower in Canada than in the United States and the magnitude of drug use differs substantially, the trends in illicit drug use in both countries
have run a parallel course. Both countries experienced a marked rise

in illicit drug use during the 1970s, followed by a levelling off, and a decline in the 1980s.23
CULTURE, AND ways POLICY PERSPECTIVES the differences in crime


are two major

of conceptualizing

and illicit drug use as between Canada and the United States.24The
"cultural degree; are only a matter of assumes that the differences lag" model of time before Canada it is simply a matter reflects the same with popular of violent crime, media drug commentators bust, or cocaine for whom overdose each

level of such problem activities as its larger neighbor. This version,
particularly example provides

further evidence that Canada is destined to achieve American levels of urban disorder and decay, is very different from the "distinct
society" different These, view which in their in turn, holds that the two countries attitudes, are thought and values, culture, to shape the propensities are fundamentally social institutions. for crime and

deviance, including illicit drug use. In this latter view, Canada has traditionally valued social order over individual rights and freedoms,
producing discretion a more of law-abiding legal authorities. populace, placing greater faith in the are summarized contrasts These by

David Bayley:
is very fortunate indeed... Curi Compared with the U.S., Canada rates in of these differences between criminality ously, though, striking and the U.S. are not a source of congratulations Canada among Canadians. Instead, they tend to wring their hands in the belief that inevitably follow the frightening example of the U.S. not to consider that there may be differences in pause They structure as well as culture between the two countries socioeconomic that would make this unlikely.25 Canada do Indeed, support the broader for medical social net care, public in Canada?more schools, and social substantial public must


have helped reduce levels of poverty and deprivation, and may provide less fertile ground for drug use and crime. IfCanadians have

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Patricia G. Erickson
to today's levels of drug use, how is this connected more to recent and the enunciations of a responses drugs lower antinarcotic

maintained sociolegal

more vigorous drug policy?
criminal laws were in 1908, initiated at opium smoking Chinese laborers.27 Subse among to ever the laws provided harsher penalties and quent modifications users and sellers.28 This trajec for suspected fewer legal protections In Canada, largely directed

tory persisted until 1969. Then, for the first time, the vigor of the
legal response Commission. diminished. Reform More changes in the direction of greater

leniency were expected in the 1970s, in the wake of the Le Dain
of the drug and laws appeared to be an imminent

possibility.29 In the 1980s, however, the use of illicit drugs declined.
arrest activity Marijuana as in the United it did ada, in Can severity diminished states where eleven decriminalized States, a new without of marijuana use.30 possession, refueling epidemic to interest and political attention Concomitantly, public drug issues the process of a qualified however, By the mid-1980s, a criminalization resurgence of antidrug sentiment ended; retreat from sentence


and intensifi

cation of legal responses followed. What
What factors contributed to this dramatic

revived this prohibitionism?
shift in social response?

This which Narcotic era of drug centralized Control policy, briefly here. will elsewhere,32 extensively analyzed extent in Canada be the may unique control characterized from the federal be to


bureaucratic coordinated that most

the formative enforcers

period of Canadian narcotics law. The federal chief of theDivision of
reports of (the

Royal Canadian Mounted
cutors, powers under country. guaranteeing were met federal

Police [RCMP]) and federal drug prose
their Because expressed criminal need law for greater in Canada is to the entire

legislatively. all jurisdiction,

legal enactments


During the heyday of the 1920s, when the fundamental structure
was and first established, their occupants for the search of premises provisions provided creation without the and issuance of warrants, called writs of assistance, for dwellings, search warrants, on restrictions the whipping of the convicted, legal appeals,

blanket various

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Recent Trends
sentencing and sentences, because solely penalties proof, a new the of offenders

in Canadian Drug Policy
to hard


the deportation

minimum labor, mandatory of convicted of the aliens, regardless enacted almost sentiment, were was added to the schedule in of to

length of their domicile in Canada. These harsh provisions, possible
of the depth of anti-Asiatic Cannabis the Chinese. against for trafficking was the accused requiring offense, possession increased

1923 without

parliamentary debate. In 1954, the severity of the
yet further; the reverse onus his innocence, was applied for the purpose of trafficking. to establish

As P. James Giffen and his colleagues have illustrated in great detail, the principal architects of drug policy in this period were those
charged control concern with its execution.33 remained This bureaucratic agents for providing This was virtually unchallenged treatment for opiate users broadened further yet expanded by the marijuana of social partnership until the 1950s when the range contro

of players. powers of

versy of the 1960s. The public appears to have accepted these broad
and the police social and courts used them control, to in offenders substantial process drug numbers, effectively resulting in high rates of criminalization and incarceration. A reliance on strict enforcement and punishment has traditionally on been Canada's illicit As the Le Dain strategy primary drugs. Commission stated in 1972: "The law is the primary instrument of policy... criminal law Commissioners analysis policy with should social is whether, and to what the extent, question a a is instrument for such The proper policy."34 a this question addressed cost-benefit by conducting The the not unreasonable not assumptions to be exceeded (though by its costs. AND rarely

applied historically in drug policy matters) that the benefits of the
be demonstrable,




A number arose in the 1960s, of pressures the question precipitating an upsurge was and of modification this dominant There ing policy. in youthful and the of the drug use, especially marijuana, overloading courts with these "cannabis criminals." Limited sentencing options

led half of all cannabis possession offenders to be imprisoned, and the
emergence "the drug of competing problem" interest groups vying for the right to define changed the picture.35

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Patricia G. Erickson

A different policy emphasis, manifested gradually in both real and
in enforcement law reform, the eventual reduction activ contemplated a new public awareness of individual ity, less severe sentences, and rights to of drug users was apparent. Actual legal changes were few compared

the many debated during this period. Major

changes included the

of a "fine only" sentencing option in 1969 as an amendment provision to the Narcotic Control Act and the provision of absolute and condi a in 1972.36 Such discharges, tional discharge alternatives providing a were new to not of but the Criminal Code. conviction, finding guilt Other proposals For example, to move Food Declines period, offenders, for legal changes were made but never implemented. a major reform that attracted substantial political atten

tion in 1968,1970,1974,
cannabis from and Drugs Act.37 in sentence and greater

and 1980, but not approved, was a proposal
the Narcotic Control Act to the less restrictive


for cannabis of the courts


efficiency reduce pressure

this possession during in processing these law reform.38

for meaningful

Judges quickly utilized the fine and discharge options; fewer users were jailed. Convictions climbed dramatically in the 1970s for cannabis offenses (of which about 90 percent were for simple possession) to a peak of nearly 44,000 in 1981, but then declined to 22,510 in 1985. During this period, annual convictions for illicit
more than 1,000,39 and rarely numbered drugs other than cannabis was directed Canada's at, and dominated by, cannabis. drug policy of the earlier allegiance manifestation of some tempering Another was an increased recognition to prohibitionism of individual rights in cases. in and with 1970s The the process critiques drug began culminated the removal elimination in the mid-1980s with the abolition sentences minimum of mandatory of the reverse onus clause in cases of assistance, for importing, and the of possession for the of writs

purpose of trafficking. Although passage of the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 was not prompted specifically by a
concern was with to remove its effect injustices regarding drug offenders, perceived some of the procedural had that been disadvantages or accused drug users/sellers, not to to suspected but other criminals.40 in a well-entrenched cannot occur the unacceptable social without response to crimi a


of potential categories Even minor shifts particular social evaluation form of

of deviance


changes The initial

in the

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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


nalization of illicit drugs was made possible by the development of strongly held fact beliefs concerning the pernicious effects of certain
drugs, their ability to enslave users, and the evil and immoral qualities of those who distributed them.42 A number of social influences in the

1960s and 1970s led to the discrediting of themore extreme forms of
the "dope fiend" mythology of the earlier era. One relevant the narrowing factor was of the social distance users between and the mainstream of in Indeed, many drug society. the mainstream illicit drugs, as the gained personal familiarity with use of marijuana, a later LSD, and cocaine (at date) became more

prevalent in the adolescent and young adult population. It is difficult
to maintain one's own the seriousness of criminal behavior when the activity is

engaged in by a substantial proportion of the population, by those in
As well, these new users of family and social network. to court and other drugs who were in increasing going a numbers higher social status than that associated with the occupied heroin The law was widely addict assailed for making stereotype. criminals of middle class youth. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in a cannabis session with smoking students in 1977, private it for your said: "If you have a joint and you're be hassled."43 you shouldn't pleasure,

Also, health risks, physical and psychological dependency, and the
then heroin), (first marijuana, progression theory of drug escalation were in assessed government reports in many repeatedly countries, and were deemed less serious than previously believed.44 Another influence was the contribution made by cost-benefit to a more research of the of objective analysis prevailing policy criminalization. deterrent of drug studies documented the weakness of the Many effect of the law in preventing the initiation or continuation

use.45 Also, of the substantial increased evidence costs of at efforts directed and the limited effective suppression trafficking, ness of had their effect.46 Together, such measures, supply-side

studies ledmany to conclude that existing policy could be improved
on, even if agreement on the best alternatives remained elusive.47




NEGLECTTO RENEWEDREPRESSION, 1986-1992 As the 1980s advanced, most forms of illicit drug use declined; arrests
for cannabis decreased, those for cocaine gradually increased; the

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Patricia G. Erickson
continued routinely to process drug cases; the urgency of

earlier drug policy debates was replaced by public and political indifference. Canada had, it seemed, learned to live both with drug use and prohibition.48 Some imagined that illicit drug use, like
abortion, gambling, homosexuality, and other previously criminal

ized acts would
intervention, In 1986, Ronald "Drugs

follow the cycles of diminished social concern, less
First, the American crusade against drugs, there President, stating that middle

greater toleration.49 crucial events occurred. declared a new our

Reagan, are menacing


is no moral

ground." Within

two days, PrimeMinister BrianMulroney
as and

an our social

text to announce from his prepared that "Drug abuse our as well economic that undermines epidemic fabric."50 who were knew caught Bemused Canadian that the problems by surprise. Many, the Prime Minister's adept reiterated drug professionals had neither worsened

has become

challenged politically drugs. Even

researchers, nor gone away, for comment, sought by the media view of an "epidemic"; the more for resources to prevent

the requirement

and treat existing drug problems, including alcohol and prescription
high-ranking officials were caught off guard, as was one government at that time, who and Welfare Canada official inHealth

described the events that followed: "when he [the PM] made that
it a problem."51 then we had to make Thus drug issues statement, to the social and political returned agenda. events moved In the aftermath of the Prime Minister's remark, created a federal drug secretariat, government rapidly. The Canadian and agencies, consulted widely with and which groups community on a drug strategy "with objectives a new national focus of provided

reducing the harm to individuals, families and communities from the
abuse were and from of drugs."52 to be unevenly 30 treatment; addiction Formally allocated; percent announced inMay 1987, the Strategy

projected funding of $210 million over the next five years. The funds
to go for prevention 70 percent was and control. Pressure for enforcement

not that drug abuse comprised agencies guaranteed but licit illicit alcohol, solvents, and, to only drugs, pharmaceuticals, a limited extent, tobacco. The new Strategy explicitly the recognized it made its focus the reduction of of efforts; supply inadequacy with for of the education demand young, provisions together through

treatment. This initiative at first distanced itself from the American

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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


"War on [Illicit] Drugs" and its priority of enforcement over both
prevention Canada's and treatment.53 as it is officially has now com known, Drug Strategy, was in it 1992 for a further renewed its first five year mandate; pleted to assess its impact, to consider its five years.54 It is timely, therefore,

likely future direction. Because the Strategy did not simply replace all existing policies and programs, and because public beliefs and
attitudes volatile towards drugs, and the social the results evaluations have been they entail, are a and conflicting mix, In this period, manifestations contradictory. spirit of prohibitionism to forfeit the assets five years,

of a renewed

included the creation of new offenses and laws. In 1989, Bill C-61
gave the police new powers of arrested drug offenders. to seize and the courts Compared to the previous

when the antidrug profiteering program garnered only $51 million, $60 million was realized between 1989 and 1992.55 Another law, Bill
C-264, 1988.56 was in enacted the sale of drug paraphernalia, banning Some prosecutions of "head shop" merchants followed; drug at the such as the magazine Times, was literature, High stopped athlete to pass drug tests in the border. The failure of a Canadian and

1988 Olympics, and the resultant inquiry, increased public awareness concern of performance-enhancing about the ready availability were In 1992 moved steroids up a step in the legislative drugs.57

hierarchy, from Section F of the Food and Drugs Act (coveringmost prescription drugs) to join barbiturates and amphetamines in Section
G which of severe penalties for trafficking. Thus, the net provides more to include drug pipes, widened and criminalization literature, more of the assets of those suspected of profiting from steroid dealers; were confiscated. drug selling

to increase the surveillance and detection of drug users Proposals common. Work or sellers and to restrict their liberty became more place drug testing and zero tolerance at the border were undoubtedly influenced nouncing American Commission, "safety Liberties form of an The Canadian government, example. to in of workers order match transport testing drug after trade unions, backtracked the Privacy practices, by American and other groups protested.58 urine A multinational corpo for A

ration, ImperialOil, initiated random drug testing of all employees in
sensitive" positions, and made testing mandatory the courts. officials

new employees.59 Challenges to this policy from the Canadian Civil
are now before and the unions Association zero tolerance, tried by Canadian Customs for a

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Patricia G. Erickson
was withdrawn after numerous public complaints and litde litde first

demonstrable payoff in detection. A federal proposal to deny parole
offenders and drug traffickers has violent to is and under active reaction, date, apparendy public that research the commissioned government's despite a low risk group were for offenders time trafficking onment must, and/or for to serious aroused showed consideration recidivism.60

Since theNarcotic Control Act (1961) already provides life impris
calls for tougher and importing, penalties trafficking or either focus on actual sentencing be symbolic by definition, parole

practices.61 also by substantial, renewed period of resurgence was marked Cannabis offenses numbered and harsher penalties.62 enforcement This

Figure 2. Drug-Related Offenses by Type of Drug (Canada, 1990) Cannabis* 38,276 64%

Food & Drugs Act


Other ~ Heroin 1,150 2% Cocaine 13,249
*Cannabis Source: includes B. Williams, and liquid or oil hashish. hashish, marijuana, Canadian et al., Annual Sourcebook, Profile,

Narcotics 5,101



1992. Toronto:


about 41,000
of enforcement

in 1986 and 38,276 in 1990. Not only did high levels
continue, but cannabis remained the major compo

nent of antidrug activities. In 1990, Figure 2 shows that 64 percent of the 60,039 drug offenses inCanada were for cannabis; themajority

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Recent Trends
were for simple possession

in Canadian Drug Policy
only. Total went convictions for


increased from 2,793 to 6,909 between 1985 and 1989, and those
incarcerated percent. Since for cocaine possession convictions (as opposed or for since 1985, cannabis the reporting compiled published conviction since that year has been dominated actual totals to 29 up from 17 percent to offenses) have not been of by

to the misleading cocaine, perhaps contributing public impression that cannabis was no longer an enforcement priority. resources were put into local drug In Toronto, Increased squads. new were in for example, officers added 1989, and $1.2 ninety-seven was million was spent on drug buys. Enforcement enhanced: activity there was a 31 percent increase in all drug charges, doubled; a 53 percent rise in trafficking charges.63 This led to the overloading to of court dockets and of jail cells. In Ontario, the number sentenced seizures provincial correctional facilities for drug offenses rose from 1,812 in


to 3,137 in 1989-1990.64 This represented an increase
of to 7 percent of all Ontario inmates admitted under incarcerations. the Narcotic Federally, Control Act

from 4 percent the proportion

grew from 9 percent to 14 percent between 1986 and 1990. Figure 3. Cocaine Traffickers Investigated by RCMP, 1985-1989

1985 1986 Year * 1kg or more *


1988 1989

0.5-1 kg


^>< 28g


Source:National Estimate, RCMP,1990. Drug Intelligence

The half of



of federal police activity also changed during the latter use were the 1980s when cannabis and cocaine in fact or levelling off. The RCMP on focused more and more

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Patricia G. Erickson
traffickers. While cocaine trafficking charges more than

small-scale traffickers

doubled from 1985-1989,65 Figure 3 shows that the proportion of
more (less than one ounce or 28 grams) to 33 percent. At the same time, than tripled, from 10 percent or more) those investigated for the largest amount (one kilogram amounts while those intermediate declined de involving slightly, in the smallest amount

clined from 53 percent to 34 percent of the total. Although seizures of cocaine were reported to have increased by 268 percent in 1989 (to
712.4 The kilograms), search this was due principally traffickers declines was in use the RCMP to a single even more large seizure of

500 kilograms.
for small-scale for cannabis. whole, Despite steady and a large drop in seizures, pronounced as a in the population an almost maintained

equivalent level of charges in 1988 and 1989.66 As Figure 4 indicates, from 1985 to 1989 the proportion of traffickers in the smallest
to 72 percent, while tripled, rising from 25 percent amounts to 4 14 percent decreased from the for investigations largest percent of the total. and cannabis illustrate a well data for cocaine These trafficking amounts nearly in the study of crime rates in general, phenomenon to in direct proportion increase offenses will that recorded namely an true when like drug activity, police resources.67 This is particularly on proactive use and sale, depends than a rather police discovery resources to the influx of the citizen-initiated response.68 Thus, police documented in 1987 enabled the police to demon Drug Strategy a in overall strate and maintain investi high level of "productivity" additional and The arrests, seizures, charges. funding was gations, on the police operating not contingent than any differently they were rate to in matters.69 crime The overall accustomed drug drug doing from Canada's

(offenses per 100,000)
1989 jo That declining government volvement

climbed from 221.9

in 1986 to 258.9


the police were able to achieve this in a time of stable or a telling testament to their initiative. drug use is


the advent of the Drug Strategy in 1987, with more

the police increased their in for prevention, funding and drug education, alcohol also in community-based About of video and other such materials. the production with 1,000 trained to deliver these programs local officers from 128 forces were

by the RCMP's
Programs. In fact,

special unit, PACE, Police Assisting Community
according to the Strategy's own internal assess

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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


Figure 4. Cannabis Traffickers Investigated by RCMP, 1985-1989



Liquid * Largest

Hashish-Hashish-Marijuana Medium-Small -oSmallest


Source:National Estimate, RCMP,1990. Drug Intelligence

Figure 4a. Categorization

of Cannabis Traffickers Investigated by the RCMP
1,000 kg or more Marijuana - 500 Hashish kg or more - 50 Liquid Hashish kg or more - 100 Marijuana kg to 1,000 kg - 50 Hashish kg to 500 kg 5 kg to 50 kg Liquid Hashish - 10 Marijuana kg to 100 kg - 1 Hashish kg to 50 kg - 0.5 Liquid Hashish kg to 5 kg - Less than 10 Marijuana kg - Less than 1 Hashish kg Less than 0.5 kg Liquid Hashish




Source:National Estimate, RCMP,1990. Drug Intelligence

the majority ments, educational controlled who can most


its prevention



to police


It is possible that the police officer is indeed the authority figure
to youth, the abstinence deliver message effectively are to them from The away stay urging police drugs.72 perhaps filling a perceived lack of demon need in the community. Still, the general in changing in school-based actual strated effectiveness programs

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Patricia G. Erickson
use behavior73 and the

lack of systematic of the evaluation to in relation the variety of needs and experiences police programs,74 raise doubts. One concern is that preoccupation of youth, with illicit from the "real killers," alcohol and tobacco.75 drugs diverts attention use has declined is that while Another substance worry youthful more of the overall, heavier, proportion frequent users of alcohol, tobacco, Programs intending and other has not; the "problem" continues.76 drugs to encompass less risky practices for those already using, or are experiencing to use drugs, or who substance-related

difficulties, are perhaps not readily delivered by those whose primary role in society is identified with enforcement and punishment.77 Nor
is it at all treatment clear that needs when exist programs adequate numbers of Canadians large to meet Canadian seek alcohol/drug

programs in the United States; 3,500 from Ontario alone did so in

A key social influence that facilitated the renewal of prohibitionism was the image of the drug problem presented to Canadians by the
American media.79 Cocaine, especially in the form of crack, was

portrayed as the drug that finally fulfilled all the expectations of the "demon drug" mythology. Represented unidimensionally as highly
in virtually all popular media and addictive the sources,80 dangerous use was scare delivered. Although levels of cocaine and message drug in increased Canada the attendant undoubtedly during problems that prevalence remained the national survey data indicated 1980s, in 1985; 1.4 percent low (current use by 0.9 percent reported use in 1989).81 recorded The has the most of Ontario, which consistently province in cocaine use in the student trend data, showed a decline after 1985 and a stable level of use for adults since then.82 studies serious showed that most used the headlines the drug infrequently told a very different

population Other Canadian and had few




"secondhand" imported feeling

or "borrowed" from of the United threat

crack was users.84

drug panic about cocaine and States as part of a larger cultural

infiltration, with its highly negative evaluations of illicit drug use and
The responses against views of "instant to these all-powerful repressive justify increasingly helped as the "enemy."85 Fed by extreme and fatal results followed addiction," by exposure to build and such messages substances, helped those defined

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Recent Trends
maintain sionary the consensus responses required to drug users. public

in Canadian Drug Policy
to support the punitive


and exclu

Canada and theUnited States have begun to be less distinguishable
imagery concerning drugs. A variety on milk cartons, in bus shelters, have appeared of antidrug messages on letters delivered cartoon in the children's post office, programs, by into sports events on prime-time TV. Ben Johnson, after inserted in their media and other

years of taking steroids and lying about it, returned in disgrace from
the Seoul Olympics, role model antidrug and was soon recruited as an repented publicly, for the country's youth.86 Two people navigated a an to show young people that in barrel, itself offense, to drugs. Canadian their journalists produced scare" stories, but also offered more balanced

Falls Niagara there were alternatives own share of "drug

accounts such as that provided by David Suzuki's Nature of Things
This program contrasted "Dealing with Drugs." special on CBC, in harm reduction and Amsterdam with the Liverpool approaches war at in New and examined Canadian efforts York, drug grappling with drug problems.87 While Canada did not embrace its policy an all-out the American effort, seemed to drug war comparable beset by ambivalence regarding

both priorities and objectives. This contradiction was suggested by the terminology used by federal officials in describing Canada's Drug
Strategy. began The to erode. focus Perrin on demand reduction the Minister Beatty, in 1990 to describe the Canadian said: "We believe struggling policy, that the first course of action in combatting drug abuse is to help the the major priority is demand drug user. While drug user or potential as a is reduction, curbing supply equally important, especially over supply measures of Health and Welfare,

complement to demand reduction efforts."88The 1990 RCMP drug
and greater of only documented falling prices purity but also projected easier availability of almost all illegal cocaine, in the next two years.89 In this context, the Solicitor drugs in Canada was Pierre who less in restrained the use of General, Cadieux, report war-like "What we're imagery, remarked: saying is that the war not been won yet but that we are making One steady progress." a what wonder "setback" would be. only Drug Strategy. There are many players, including has can not

It has been difficult to know who spoke for, or indeedwho defined
Canada's ministers

sharing cabinet responsibility, police officials, federal and provincial

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Patricia G. Erickson
and all those consultations from addiction across agencies who participated the country. The leadership of the

civil servants, in community

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

(CCSA), created by the 1987

saw the Strategy as a tentative step in the direction of harm initiative, new an As for the future of minimization.90 direction example of this

Canadian drug policy, the Chief Executive Officer, Jan Skirrow, said:
A successful drug use will require of how human beings social every aspect policy... comprehensive an and themselves becomes govern issue, because drug use is organize are we as individuals, how we than who with less associated nothing see our world and our place in it, and how we exercise our individual skills and abilities to live life as we wish.91 attack on the harm associated with

The annual report for 1990-1991
out against an American-style and the need for "a humane War on Drugs." supply

of the CCSA specifically speaks
reduction Canadian focus; it emphasizes to the alternative




it is premature to determine the shape drug policy will take
recent statements certain the 1990s, provide the renewal of Canada's ministers announced indica Drug

for the rest of Federal

March 1992 for a further five-year period, with a budget Strategy in of $270 million.92 The Minister of National Health and Welfare
remarked that while the "remarkable success" of the Strategy was

illustrated by declines in illicit drug use, especially among young
of substance abuse still existed.93 The aim was the problem people, and and the key elements were prevention said to be harm reduction, a number for of high risk groups were health promotion; targeted future attention. units Defense coastal a plan to specialize to extend surveillance forfeited in the enforcement their and of the Proceeds of to in

The Solicitor General highlighted specific funding of $33 million
for three new of National include both cluded was

Crime laws. He confirmed plans for the RCMP and the Department
cooperative assistance on arrangement land. Also

to share

an apparent for victory to return local coffers should revenues. drug assets The involvement

the provinces, crime profits with that these funds have argued those who rather than of the military current American measures go and into federal general the return of seized practices. The on continuing


to the police characterize on demand-side emphasis


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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


"It's no exag role in drug education: the police strengthening the western forces lead to Canadian say that now, police geration the drug of the drug abuse awareness, in the police-delivery world to youth."94 message prevention the renewal of Canada's The pronouncements Drug surrounding a While to shift of emphasis. subtle appear represent Strategy previous influence statements have tipped favored a "balanced" disproportionately the approach, to the enforcement scales of sector,

focusing both demand and supply efforts in the police. What is not explicit in this, or in the first version adopted in 1987, is recognition
one of criminalization. Nor are the policy remains of this approach costs and limitations of the effectiveness various care concern for young and the addressed.95 expressed Despite are still arrested and young adults the fact is that adolescents people, to criminal for in large numbers court, go get cannabis), (mainly that the dominant Indeed, the evidence demonstrates records, and are often imprisoned. a recent to drug policy, With criminalization. increased respect worse than its bark."96 "Canada's bite is ail-too apt comment was:

A cynical view of the renewal of Canada's Drug Strategy might be
that the catch phrase "harm reduction" is putting a new of face on the

established policies of prohibitionism. The downward trend in illicit
drug use, Strategy, "informed appear to be sufficient to declare the Strategy a opinion" are but crusades by success. If "policies judged by their consequences is still in Canada then the make crusaders how good feel," they search An and effective drug policy.97 of a coherent more view of recent charitable, alternative, officials reduction deserve was made developments in before established already well as its achievement. is heralded the advent Personal the Drug and testimony

Canadian drug policy is that political leaders and other federal and
provincial Demand the Drug credit for resisting an all-out drug war. a funding priority. Tangible benefits of to treatment of resources the direction

include Strategy the training of addiction and other community programs projects, in Native communities of the involvement greater professionals, various programs, tion of addiction Strategy communication and coordina the improved across continuation of the country.98 The groups time to reshape the for another five years provides and enforcement public efforts and to more supporting commu treat order

the Drug approach, nity-based

redirecting perhaps of maintaining ways

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ment would

Patricia G. Erickson
efforts. seem voices involved The many to ensure a more even-handed in drug approach. policy decisions

CONCLUSION an international A Canadian, attending for that what accounted Australian taking grams, system innovative conference, recently asked success an


The Australian "we're possession. reply was, so to the United States."99 far from be away just lucky Proximity may and political and be one factor. The influence of the American media, more in in Canada and perhaps is felt economic pressures, directly But other factors beyond the than in many other countries. Mexico, also contrib of a smaller country by its larger neighbor dominance own history, ute. The inertia of Canada's its tradition of repressive and procedures, laws and criminal justice institutions impede funda

plans for marijuana

in greater country's to illicit The Australian drug problems. approaches for example, have included early needle exchange pro and a ticketing for a pilot heroin maintenance program,

mental change in drug policy.
are considerably less serious than those in drug problems in recent years reveal the United States, but the policies pursued it appeared that a continued trends. For a brief period, heavy parallel was as the dominant that reliance on criminalization waning, policy as with prohibitions, had learned from its own experiences Canada over two as For conflicts the its of those well decades, past neighbor. to drugs in Canada have produced societal response the appropriate Canada's ranging from great public interest, to increased tolerance wave of marijuana newer the use, to less severity of penalties, during and then a return to increased followed indifference, by relative recent concern More and heightened responses. punitive public of takers evaluations social and adverse sentiment may drug antidrug have been fostered by the drug scare over cocaine and crack use. fluctuations

Twenty years ago, the Le Dain Commission (1972) set an overall goal of Canadian drug policy to achieve gradual withdrawal from
of alterna the development sanctions criminal against the user, with to rely on use means continue To to harm. reduce and tive discourage enforcement of users and expanded criminalization activity impedes the development Canada's Drug interventions. of less punitive a new direction in Strategy to shape attempt to been have appears The

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Recent Trends
compromised support What policy, quences a public point by a basic

in Canadian Drug Policy
to prohibitionism,



the perpetua

tion of established traditional approaches, and the further funding
for enforcement. elements and what could features contribute could to a more likely reduce constructive the harmful drug conse

of drug use? A useful potential alternative could be rooted in and its harm reduction paradigm.100 health perspective As a of departure, health-oriented the questions public thinking use. A principal societal goal in health care is to maximize of exposure the young.101

supply-demand dichotomy as the only dynamic for the control of

the health and well-being of the populace through the treatment and
prevention to factors of illness and the minimization that adversely affect health, or elimination especially of

Elimination may be desirable, but if not completely attainable, effort
on using regulatory to set standards of public controls minimization the of risk. safety For example, if one considers activities potentially dangerous of cocaine use and snowmobile in, a comparison voluntarily engaged an interesting use provides contrast in policy Deaths approaches. are of similar to each of these activities related in the magnitude a matter of Ontario;102 both have been of public concern, province to but the means reduce the harm of snowmobiles include sought and on safe use, instruction age restrictions, licensing, specific areas for about combining alcohol and snowmobile use, and warnings driving. or imprison There have been no efforts to ban snowmobiles their users or sellers. Essentially, in the public health model, seeks society a certain to live with level of ways and alcohol tobacco the of use, example, driving motor to a vehicles?and endeavors minimize harm through variety of less coercive means than criminal punishment. Criminal penalties, to learn the least destructive activities?for with respect to drug issues, of others. and may paradigms are reserved for combining use with can be focused

activities such as drinking and driving, that pose special risks to the
safety and well-being for risk minimization Harm the AIDS Several these reduction Restriction involve are of availability is necessary a variety of strategies. a more recent elaboration of

general public health principles that have been prompted, in part, by
among injection drug users in several countries. to policy development relevant have emerged as key concepts to have been extended other forms of individual approaches epidemic

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Patricia G. Erickson
related to drug use. One feature is that abstinence is

and social harm not

of policy. harm Second, objective appropriate always in and of itself can that prohibition reduction strategies recognize at certain of both the individual and societal harms, types generate levels,

the only

to the vigor of implementation. in direct proportion the Third, as a user treatment of society, and may need is viewed member drug to reintegrate into the community. and assistance harm Fourth, is most often a community-based and reduction strategy places as much ships or more than for effectiveness responsibility in formal institutional interventions. strategic partner Fifth, some forms of be essential for harm on

their enforcement may to be integrated into an overall strategy. concerns A practical of how this might example apply in Canada to the Narcotic of cannabis offenses. The addition cannabis Control as a "law without a prob Act in 1923, which has been described lem,"103 may country now create more problems than it solves. leaders A

and legal controls reduction but need


objective for the renewal of Canada's Drug Strategy might be for this
to lose its standing as one of the world's in per capita

drug arrests. This might be accomplished by stopping much of the
enforcement the emphasis cannabis activity and reducing possession on small-scale were If enforcement such offenders traffickers. against a net in would be reduction the results individual, curtailed, likely costs. Such measures could lead to significant social, and economic could then be used to fund harm savings of public resources, which or directed to other pressing in the community, reduction strategies Similar arguments could be considered with social problems. respect to users treatment illicit drugs, who of other or support than cannabis may be users. in even greater need of

Observers of drug policy trends in Canada, looking towards the
the recent modest relax several questions: Was consider year 2000, a scare Is transient the ation of prohibitionism anomaly? merely drug to be a permanent destined public feature that will support continu chart a new course within Canada Will ation of repressive policies? the evolving was model of harm reduction? Canada's prohibition era, in a very different forged to drug use for about official response dominated were first articulated alternatives by the Le Dain in a different for Canada. policy and has Canada, a century. Serious It is


time to explore what a health-directed public policy for drugs could

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Recent Trends
I wish to express Eric my appreciation and Robert

in Canadian Drug Policy


to Joan Moreau Solomon for many






other assistance. I am also indebted to Bruce Alexander, Neil Boyd, the late Chet
Mitchell, comments not Single, stimulating are discussions about

Canadian drug policy and to Yuet Cheung and Clifford Ottaway
on necessarily this paper. Any views expressed reflect those of the Addiction in this article Research Foundation.

for their helpful
and do

the author's


Reginald Smart and Alan Ogborne, Northern Spirits (Toronto: ARF Books, 1986). For a work of fiction set in this era, seeMordecai Richler, Solomon Gursky Was Here (Markham: Viking, 1989). 2RCMP, National Drug Intelligence Estimate Services Canada, 1990), 5. 3David F.Musto,
Erickson, 1987), xv. E.M. Adlaf, G.F. Murray, and R.G.

(Ottawa: Minister

of Supply and

"Foreword" to The Steel Drug: Cocaine in Perspective, by P.G.
Smart (Lexington: D.C. Heath,

4P. James Giffen, Shirley Endicott, and Sylvia Lambert, Panic and Indifference: The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws (Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 1991); and David F.Musto, The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973). 5John Hagan, The Disreputable Pleasures: Crime and Deviance ronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1991). in Canada (To

6David H. Bayley, Managing the Future: Prospective Issues in Canadian Policing (Ottawa: The Solicitor General of Canada, 1991). Statistics Canada, Canadian Crime Statistics, 1990 (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 1991).
8Bayley, Managing the Future, 9.

9"Police Deaths Rise

1990): and danger

on Drugs,"
5. See related also

reported in C./.
Gary T. Marx, narcotics

the Americas 2
Undercover: work.



examples of

in America

(Berkeley: University

of California

Press, 1988) for

to undercover

10William Kilbourn, "The Peaceable Kingdom Still," Dcedalus

117 (4) (Fall 1988):

""In Search of Canada," Dcedalus

117 (4) (Fall 1988).

12Correctional Services Canada, 1990-1991. 13Statistics Canada, Adult Correctional Centre for Justice Statistics, 1988). 14Globe and Mail,
Human Development Report.

Services 1987-88

(Ottawa: Canadian

17 April 1992, A1-A2. Based on the index published in the UN

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15Bayley, 16E.M.

Patricia G. Erickson
Managing Adlaf, R.G. the Future, Smart, 9. Canale, Drug Use Among Ontario Adults

and M.D.

1977-1991 (Toronto: ARF, 1991); E.M. Adlaf and R.G. Smart, "Drug Use Among Canadian Students," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (1) (1991): 51-64; L.D. Johnston, P.M. O'Malley, and J.G. Bachman, "1990 National High School Senior Drug Abuse Survey," Press Release, 24 January 1991; National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Household Survey: Main Findings 1990 (Washington, D.C.: DHHS, 1990); Health and Welfare Canada, National Alcohol and Drug Survey: Highlights Report
17Perrin Beatty, "Foreword"

(Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1990).
to "Drug Issues: A Canadian Perspective," Journal of

Drug Issues 21 (1) (1991): 1-8.
18P. Selwyn, D. Hartnell, W. Wasserman, and E. Drucker, "Impact of the AIDS

Epidemic on Morbidity andMortality among Intravenous Drug Users," Ameri can Journal of Public Health 79 (October 1989): 1358-62. 19R.G. Smart, "AIDS and Drug Abuse (1991): 73-82. in Canada," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (1)

20Susan Thorne, "Education theMain Weapon as Prison Officials Defend Against AIDS Threat," Canadian Medical Association Journal 146 (4) (1992): 573-80. 21"The Two Nations
22Le Dain Commission,

Poll," Maclean's,
Interim Report

25 June 1990, 50-52.
(Ottawa: Information Canada, 1970), 3.

23Adlaf et al., Drug Use Among Ontario Adults, 1977-1991; Adlaf and Smart, "Drug Use Among Canadian Students"; Johnson et al., "1990 National High School Senior Drug Abuse Survey"; National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Household Survey; Health and Welfare Canada, National Alcohol and Drug
Survey. 24Hagan, 25Bayley, The Disreputable Pleasures, 10. 221-29.


the Future,

26Robert G. Evans, "We'll Take Care of It For You: Health Care in the Canadian Community," Dcedalus 117 (4) (Fall 1988): 155-89. 27Robert Solomon andMel Green, "The First Century: The History of Non-Medical in J. Blackwell and Opiate Use and Control Policies in Canada, 1870-1970," P.G. Erickson, Illicit Drugs in Canada: A Risky Business (Toronto: Nelson Canada, 1988), 88-116. 28Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference. 29Patricia G. Erickson, Cannabis Criminals: The Social Effects of Punishment on Drug Users (Toronto: ARF, 1980). 30Eric Single, "The Impact ofMarijuana Decriminalization: An Update," Journal of Public Health Policy 10 (4) (Winter 1989): 456-66.
31E.M. Bryan, "Cannabis in Canada A Decade of Indecision," Contemporary Drug

Problems 8 (1979): 169-92; P.J. Giffen and Sylvia Lambert, "What Happened on theWay to Law Reform?" in Blackwell and Erickson, Illicit Drugs in Canada,

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Recent Trends

in Canadian Drug Policy


32Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference; and Solomon and Green, "The First Century: The History of Non-Medical Opiate Use and Control Policies in Canada, 1870-1970." 33Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference, 534. 34LeDain Commission, Cannabis
35Erickson, Cannabis Criminals.

(Ottawa: Information Canada, 1972), 275.

36Ibid., 24-28.
statistics. 37Ibid., 38P.G. 28-29. Erickson


discharges were counted with convictions

in official

and G.F. Murray,






of Addiction

81 (1) (1986): 81-85. in

39Joan A.E. Moreau, "Selected Statistics on Convictions for Illicit Drug Use Canada," in Blackwell and Erickson, Illicit Drugs in Canada, 449-55.

40Robert M. Solomon and Sidney J. Upsrich, "Canada's Drug Laws," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (1) (1991): 17-40. 41Jerome H. Skolnick, "The Social Transformation rary Problems 51 (1) (Winter 1988): 9-29. 42Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference, 149-62.
43Quoted in Bryan, "Cannabis A Decade of Indecision," 181.

of Vice," Law and Contempo

^See the Le Dain Commission, Final Report (1973); The US National Commission onMarijuana and Drug Abuse, Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding (1972); The National Academy of Sciences Committee on Substance Abuse and Habitual Behavior, An Analysis of Marijuana Policy (1982); and in the United Kingdom, The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, The Effects of Cannabis Use (BritishHome Office, 1982).
45See Erickson, Cannabis Criminals, 86-97.

46E.M. Brecher, Licit and Illicit Drugs (Mount Vernon: Consumers Union, 1972); Daniel Glaser, "Interlocking Dualities inDrug Use, Drug Control and Crime," in J.A. Inciardi and CD. Chambers, eds., Drugs and the Criminal Justice System (BeverlyHills: Sage, 1974), 39-56; P. Reuter andM. Kleiman, "Risks and Prices:
An Economic Analysis of Drug Enforcement," inM. Tonry and N. Morris, eds.,

Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research Chicago Press, 1986), 289-340.

(Chicago: The University of

47This list could be very lengthy, but the point iswell illustrated by the contributors to this special issue of D dalus. For recent Canadian contributions to the development of drug policy alternatives, see Bruce Alexander, Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of theWar on Drugs (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990); Neil Boyd, High Society: Legal and Illegal Drugs in Canada (Toronto: Key Porter, 1991); Chester N. Mitchell, The Drug Solution: Regulating Drugs According to Principles of Efficiency, Justice and Democracy (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1990); and Blackwell and Erickson, "Concluding Remarks: A Risky Business" in Illicit Drugs in Canada, 444-48.

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Patricia G. Erickson

48Patricia G. Erickson, "Living with Prohibition: Regular Cannabis Users, Legal Sanctions and Informal Controls," International Journal of the Addictions 24 (3) (1989): 175-88. 49Daniel Glaser, "The Criminal Law's Nemesis: Foundation Research Journal (1985): 619-26.
50Patricia G. Erickson, "Past, Current and Future

Drug Control," American Bar
Directions in Canadian


Policy," International Journal of the Addictions 25 (3/A) (1990): 247-66.
51Personal 52Erickson, communication, "Past, Current February, and Future 1991. Directions," 260-61.

53Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Control Strategy (Wash ington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1989). See also Eric Single, Matter?" presented at theWorld Congress of "Canada's Drug Strategy: Does It Therapeutic Communities, Montreal, 24 September 1991. 54Minister of National Health and Welfare, Canada's Drug Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1992). Strategy (Ottawa:

55RCMP, National Drug Intelligence Estimate-, Solicitor General of Canada, News Release, 6 April 1992. 56SJ. Upsrich and R.M. Solomon, "Comment on Bill C-264," The Journal 18 (3) (March 1989): 7. 57The Dubin Inquiry, Commission Substances (Toronto, 1989). of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned

58The Privacy Commission of Canada, Drug Testing and Privacy (Ottawa:Minister of Supply and Services, 1990); "The Prospect of Compulsory Drug Tests," Globe and Mail, 31 March 1990, D5. 59Richard Sutherland, "Mandatory Drug Testing: Boon for Public Safety or Launch Canadian Medical Association Journal 146 (7) (1992): of a Witch-Hunt?"
1215-18. 60R.G. Hann and W.G. Harman, drug General Release Predicting Solicitor General of Canada, see N. Dorn, sentences, trafficking in P.A. O'Hare, R. Newcombe, Risk 1992). for Canadian For a ratio Policy E.C.

Inmates Penitentiary nale for less severe Options on Drug



"Clarifying A. Matthews,

Buning, and E. Drucker, eds., The Reduction of Drug-Related Harm Routledge, 1992).
61The severe penalties available in the Canadian narcotic laws have



tempered by broad prosecutorial and judicial discretion to impose less serious charges or sentences. This potential expansion of the political role in lengthening
time served in prison goes against this tradition. See also R. Solomon, E. Single,

and P. Erickson, "Legal Considerations Public Policy 9 (4) (1983): 419-33.
62P. G. Erickson and Y. W. Cheung, "Drug

inCanadian Cannabis Policy," Canadian
Crime and Legal Control: Lessons from

the Canadian Experience," Contemporary Drug Problems (forthcoming); Bob Williams, K. Chang, and M. V. Truong, Annual Sourcebook (Toronto: ARF, 1992).

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Recent Trends
63"Drug War Gains Credited February 1990, A15.
64Williams et al., Annual

in Canadian Drug Policy
Squad," The Globe


to Undercover

and Mail,


65RCMP, National Drug Intelligence Estimate, 26.
66Ibid., 67Hagan, 53. The Disreputable Pleasures, 58-59.

68Lois B. de Fleur, "Biasing Influences on Drug Arrest Records: Implications for Deviance Research," American Sociological Review (40) (1975): 88-103; Alfred R. Lindesmith, The Addict and the Law (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965); and more recently, the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, Annual Report 1990-91, quoting Raymond Kendall, the Secretary General of Interpol: "If
more 69For resources accounts of are put alternative into law enforcement, approaches for you will the police turn up more to adopt, drugs," 5. see G. Pearson,

"Drugs and Criminal Justice"; L. Zaal, "Police Policy in Amsterdam"; and A. Fraser and M. George, "The Role of Police in Harm Reduction," all in P.A.
O'Hare 70Williams et al., eds., The Reduction Sourcebook. of Drug-Related Harm. et al., Annual

71Health andWelfare Canada, "Update of theNational Drug Strategy," May


72Others have noted that overall, police institutions inCanada have been marked by
more professionalism, better salaries, has been better training, in Canada. less corruption, Law enforcement and greater has not


legitimacy than their US counterparts. The tradition of British-style,
policing strong

nonconfrontational violence.

been undermined generally by concerns about disparity in policing and excessive
More the growing multicultural of the larger recently, composition to instances and some of police violence have cities, minorities, against begun the police raise questions how well the communities about do represent they serve. Nevertheless, to the the considerable accorded respect historically police threat of drugs. See Bayley, Managing the Future; and "Canada's American

has enhanced their credibility as spokesmen in the public discourse about the Disease," The Economist
73M. Goodstadt, "School-based


1992): 45.
education in North America," Journal of

School Health 56 (7) (1986): 278-81; John O'Connor and Bill Saunders, "Drug Education: An Appraisal of a Popular Perspective," The International Journal of the Addictions 27 (2) (1992): 165-85.
74Some evaluations have been done, but deal with "knowledge" and "satisfaction"

rather than behavioral impacts. See Sandra G. Walker, Evaluation Report: Victoria Police Drug Abuse Resistance Program [DARE], 1989, mimeograph. 75Robert Solomon and Lisa Constantine, "The 'Miami Vice' View of Drugs: and Tobacco," International Identifying Canada's Real Drug Problems?Alcohol Journal on Drug Policy 3 (1991): 44-52. 76R.G. Smart, E.M. Adlaf, and G.W. Walsh, The Ontario Student Drug Use Survey: Trends Between 1977 and 1991 (Toronto: ARF, 1991), 120-21.

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Patricia G. Erickson

77P.G. Erickson, "Should Police Teach About Drugs?" The Sunday Star, 7 May 1989. 78E. Single, P.G. Erickson, and J. Skirrow, "Drugs and Public Policy in Canada"; Paper presented at the RAND Conference on American and European Drug
Policies: 79C. Comparative and Latest H.G. Drug Perspectives, Levine, Scare," Washington, "The Crack D.C., Attack: ed., Images 6?7 May Politics and 1991. and Media Issues: Current in Reinarman


in J. Best,

Perspectives on Social Problems Yorker, 1 January 1990, 21-22.

(New York: Aldine de Gruyer, 1989); The New

80R.L. Akers, "Addiction; The Troublesome Concept," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (4) (1991): 777-92. 81Single et al., "Drugs and Public Policy in Canada"; and Erickson et al., The Steel
Drug, 63.

82Smart et al., The Ontario Student Drug Use Survey, 80-81 Use Among Ontario Adults, 42-43.
Canada: A Distant American Cousin," in C. Reinarman

;and Adlaf, et al., Drug

83P.Erickson et al., The Steel Drug; Y.W. Cheung and P.G. Erickson, "Crack Use in
and H.G. Levine, Use: eds.,

Crack in Context: Myths, Realities and Social Policies
Cheung, P.G. Erickson, and T.C. Landau, "Experience

(forthcoming); and Y.W.
of Crack Findings

from a Community-Based (1991): 121-40.

Sample in Toronto," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (1)

84See E. Goode, "The American Drug Panic of the 1980's: Social Construction or Objective Threat?" The International Journal of the Addictions 26 (9) (1990): 1083-98; and D. B. Heath, "Prohibition or Liberalization of Alcohol and
Drugs," in M. Galanter, Recent Developments in Alcoholism, vol. 10 (New

York: Plenum, 1992) 129-45.
85Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference, 81-86; 576-77.

a 86Judith Blackwell, "Discourses on Drug Use: The Social Construction of Steroid Scandal," Journal of Drug Issues 21 (1) (1991): 147-64. 87Originally broadcast on the CBC, 24 November 1991.
88Beatty, "Drug Issues: A Canadian Perspective," 4, emphasis added.

89RCMP, National Drug Intelligence Estimate, 4. 90Single et al., "Drugs and Public Policy in Canada"; and Jan Skirrow, "A Lesson from the Thymus Gland," The Journal 21 (2) (April/May 1992): 9. 91Jan Skirrow, "Epilogue," inGiffen et al., Panic and Indifference, 584-85. 92The same budget that gave Canada's Drug Strategy a further five year lease on life also eliminated over twenty scientific and scholarly policy advisory groups funded by the federal government, including the Law Reform Commission of Canada. 93Benoit Bouchard, Speech on the Renewal of Canada's Drug Strategy, 31 March 1992. 94Doug Lewis, Speech on the Renewal of Canada's Drug Strategy, 6 April 1992.

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Recent Trends
95Cost-benefit analysis and research

in Canadian Drug Policy
findings in general seem most useful

to politi

cians in buttressing the positions they have already decided to take. Social science research seems destined to be ignored in the drug policy area, at least for the time being, much as itwas in the arena of alcohol policy. See Robin Room, "Social
Science Research and Alcohol Policy Making," in Paul Roman, ed., Alcohol: the

Development of Sociological Perspectives on Use and Abuse Rutger's Center of Alcohol Studies, 1991). 96Robert McCoun,

(New Brunswick:

"What Harms Do Harm Reduction
Study of Heroin Addiction," keynote

Strategies Reduce? A
address presented at the

Third Annual Conference on Harm Reduction, Melbourne, Australia, 23 March 1992. 97Thomas Sowell, Compassion Morrow, 1987). v. Guilt and Other Essays (New York: William

98CCSA, Annual Report 1990-91.
"The exchange occurred in a plenary session of the Third International Conference

on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm, Melbourne, Australia, 23-27 March 1992. Various sessions at themeeting also highlighted these Australian examples. 100JohnAshton and Howard Seymour, The New Public Health (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1988); and P. O'Hare et al., eds., The Reduction of Drug
Related 101P.H.M. Harm. Lohman, K. Sankaranarayanan, and J. Ashby, "Choosing the Limits of

Life," Nature 357 (21May 1992): 185-86; and Patricia G. Erickson, "A Public Health Approach to Demand Reduction," Journal of Drug Issues 20 (4) (1990):
563-75. 102B. Rowe, R. Milner, C. Johnson, and G. Bota, "Snowmobile-related deaths in

Ontario: A 5-year Review," Canadian Medical Association Journal 146 (1992): 147-52; and Chief Coroner's Office of Ontario, 1991.
103Giffen et al., Panic and Indifference.

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