Psychology

Decriminalization is just the start of real reform – and… users need to be part of the conversation

For… users, the potential pitfalls of [blanket] decriminalization are frightening and all too likely to happen. One fear they have about decriminalization is that authorities will drop criminal punishments, only to raise an oppressive regime of civil penalties – specifically, issuing tickets and fines… a fear is that… decriminalize [all] drugs, that’s where the experiment will end – far short of bringing in the regulations users argue would truly allow autonomy over their bodies.

…use… U.S. drug courts in the United States as an example of how this can backfire. In the U.S., it is increasingly common for someone caught with drugs to be diverted from the criminal system and instead directed through a drug court into treatment. While this sounds like a victory for health care over incarceration, the book’s authors show that drug courts’ lower threshold for apprehension actually “widens the net,” resulting in a larger overall number of people facing oppressive interactions with the state. “And then when people violate the terms of their drug-court sentence,” Ms. Schenwar told me recently, “often the penalty is incarceration, and often it is the maximum sentence.”

Original Article (Globe and Mail):
Decriminalization is just the start of real reform – and drug users need to be part of the conversation
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