Via George Stroumboulopoulos:
Russell Brand's Latest Role: A Defender Of Harm Reduction Drug Strategies
"Addressing members of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in the U.K., Brand argued bluntly that treating drug addiction as an illness rather than as a criminal activity is not only a humane approach, but a sensible one that will "prevent people from committing crimes." (Seriously, go read the whole Strombo Health post.)
Forty years after Nixon's War on (People Who Use Certain) Drugs infected countries the world over, the truth is being recognized and shared everywhere; prohibition has failed and government cannot incarcerate people out of addiction.
Four Decades of overly punitive criminal convictions haven't achieved their goal of reducing recidivism and an ever-expanding mountain of expert research and evidence correlates that Harm Reduction programs like Rehab, Therapy and even Yoga, trumps imprisonment significantly in terms of reaching and maintaining sobriety. Plus, these Harm Reduction strategies also cost less than keeping (primarily non-violent) drug offenders locked up where they are less likely to have access to adequate therapeutic and job skills programs.
Also worth discussing, what will become of us now with the passing of Bill C-10? I hope Canadians are prepared for the influx of recreational cannabis users, small time pot growers, and illegal substance abusers (some who are sadly victims of mental illness and childhood abuse) into our taxpayer supported penal institutions. Rehab spots behind bars were scarce before, and I'm afraid we ain't seen nothin' yet! Correctional Service of Canada and the Justice Department might as well change their names to Punishment Disservice of Harperland and the "Tough on Crime!" Ministry respectively.
Drug abuse, whether it is for illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, etc. is uniquely personal. Treat the person as a patient and they have a fighting chance to manage and successfully beat their addiction(s). Criminalize and convict them, and it further damages their mental state and exponentially hinders their potential for recovery.
Just because a person uses drugs does not mean they are undeserving of compassion, and realistically our drug policies must reflect that truth. So Thank You, Mr. Brand, for bringing even more attention to the failure of the War on Drugs, your passionate testimony is much appreciated by those of us campaigning for the reform of our national and global drug laws.