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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Psychoactive drug policy from a logical public health perspective. What a novel idea

Finally some logic being applied to the issues of psychoactive and other addictive substances.   The illogic of having differing historical approaches to tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other non-prescriptive substances is not an approach that can or should be sustained.   This blog has addressed the issues of drug policy and the negative health impacts of the policy on several occasions.  We are all tacitly aware of the health impacts of substances such as tobacco and alcohol, and on a daily basis utilize harm reduction activities in addressing the risks associated with those substances.
So the BC public health community has issued a call for a national dialogue and reform to take a logic approach to all substances.  Link from the website at Public Health Perspective for regulating Psychoactive substances .  The message is a simple one, apply a public health approach to all substances with the intent of minimizing harm from all aspects – recognizing there is harm in the substances and harm in the consequences of criminalization, then look for the sweet spot that minimizes the total effects.
Brilliant!  And kudos to the BC Health Officers Council on openly advocating for another forward thinking approach that addresses public health problems.  
The documentation posted on the website also provides for a request for feedback, endorsement and comment from the public health community – that is us!! It has my support already.  While the document will supposedly be submitted to governments, if it is arising in BC – it may make it to that province and to the federal government as a sole provincial voice.   The challenge to all provincial public health communities  is to view and endorse the document, and then stimulate the discussion locally, provincially and nationally so that the collective efforts of the pan-Canadian community can be heard.
This, just before the final House of Commons vote on Bill C-10 which will implement mandatory sentencing and take this country further up the steep curve of personal and societal harms induced by our penal system. 

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