Prohibition causes violence
Posted By KATHLEEN HARRIS
Canada's march to declare war on drugs flies in the face of a mounting body of research showing police crackdowns can actually boost drugrelated violence, according to a new study.
A report from the Urban Health Research Initiative of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS reviewed 15 international studies on the impact of drug laws on violence and found 87% show tougher enforcement led to escalated violence.
Co-author Dr. Evan Wood said prohibition drives up the value of drugs "astronomically" and creates lucrative markets exploited by organized crime.
"It has the perverse effect of making it that much more profitable for someone else to get into the market, and violence ensues when people feud over those profits," he told QMI Agency. "We know with absolute certainty that law enforcement does not reduce the flow of drugs."
Wood said legislation such as Bill C-15 -- which would impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug convictions -- could actually have the unintended effect of worsening public safety, while driving up price for taxpayers for court and incarceration costs.
The report, Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review, suggests drug profits fuel crime and corruption and have destabilized countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan.
The report calls on federal lawmakers to explore alternatives to tough enforcement measures.
"Since drug prohibition has not achieved its stated goal of reducing drug supply, alternative models for drug control may need to be considered if drugrelated violence is to be meaningfully reduced," the report concludes.
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