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NAACJ Seminar: Reducing the Harm of Drug Use: Legalization and Other Issues

NCJ Number
Date Published
15 pages
The 1988 seminar on reducing the harm of drug abuse in Canada explored the effectiveness of Canada's current approach for controlling drug use through the criminal justice system, examined ways to reduce the harm caused by drug abuse, and identified issues for future consideration and analysis.
The seminar's introductory paper argued for the need to consider all options in attempting to address the harm caused by drug abuse, including various legalization options. The seminar's second and third sessions focused on the scope of the illicit drug problem in Canada, with attention to the demographic composition of the user population, the dollar cost for law enforcement, and the link between drug use and crime. Other seminar sessions addressed Canada's current strategies for addressing drug use, the legislative and historical framework for dealing with drug abuse, the impact of current laws and drug strategies on criminal justice organizations, and possible alternatives to the present legal structure and drug strategy. The seminar discussion considered the advantages and disadvantages of dealing with the drug problem through criminal laws as well as the potential benefits and costs of various drug legalization options. A related topic examined was AIDS in prison, given the relationship between intravenous drug use in prison and AIDS transmission.