The Government of Canada continues to double down on failed prohibitionist policies in it’s fight against opioid overdoses, despite overwhelming evidence that such tactics are ineffective.
Within the past couple of weeks we have been told that Health Canada has published regulations controlling six chemicals used in the production of fentanyl, and that the RCMP and China’s public security ministry have agreed to increase their efforts to interrupt the flow of fentanyl and other opioids. However, these are just more of the same prohibitionist policies which created this problem.
If the government actually wants to help stop this crisis, they do have the means. It is only a question of will. Last month a Justice Department research paper was publicized which states that decriminalizing drugs could result in lower rates of use, addiction, and overdoses. The study says that “It is becoming more challenging to justify the criminalization of drug users,”
Earlier this year, prescription heroin became available to addicts in Canada. That is a step in the right direction, and that access should be promoted and encouraged. Most addicts will not buy street drugs if they can get their fix legally and more affordably from a pharmacist or doctor. Fentanyl is much stronger than heroin, so unfortunately the act of legalizing heroin may have occurred too late as most of the street heroin is apparently cut with fentanyl. Some fentanyl addicts may be able to switch to prescription heroin, but also providing access to legal fentanyl would certainly help reduce the black market demand further.
Increasing law enforcement efforts and tightening regulations has never succeeded at stopping illegal drugs, and in fact has only made the drugs more dangerous. The increased use of illicit synthetic opioids is a direct result of prohibitionist policies. Even if law enforcement did somehow manage to stop the flow of fentanyl, it would just be replaced by more carfentanyl or W-18, which are a hundred times more potent. Prohibition doesn’t work.
RCMP to work with China to fight flow of fentanyl to Canada
Health Canada Regulates Chemicals Used to Make Fentanyl “Report”
Drug decriminalization would lead to fewer overdoses, addiction: federal study