Drugs In Canada Essay

345 Words2 Pages
Perhaps most indicative of this failure to the public health agenda is that premature death is more closely linked with legal drugs—tobacco and alcohol, for example—than they are to any illegal drugs (Boyd, 1991a). Indeed, from the tobacco in cigarettes to the alcohol in our beer, drugs are an ever-present part of our daily lives. Interestingly, tobacco and alcohol each kill more than all of the illicit drugs combined in Canada annually. According to data on drug use in Canada, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol alone is more than 30 times that of each of heroin and marijuana (Boyd, 1991b). Even that number, however, pales in comparison to the number of deaths related to tobacco, which claims approximately 35,000 lives annually…show more content…
Heroin, which has often been portrayed as being highly addictive, is only so for a small percentage of users. Current legislation also has ramifications on the social lives and well-being of individuals who are prosecuted under anti-drug laws. The primary means of this is stigmatization. According to Cleveland, a policy economist, “policies that stigmatize and imprison drug users may hurt rather than help young people and problem users” (as cited in Thronton, 2007, p.423). Indeed, the criminalization of individuals who—often—are otherwise law-abiding citizens, can affect their relationships with family and friends, as well as their standings with employers and loaners (Ezard, 2001). This sense of alienation could, in turn, lead to elevated drug use as a means of escape, and even to premature death. Ezard (2001) contends that stigmatization creates a dangerous situation whereby individuals may decide not to contact emergency services should something happen, such as an overdose. Overdoses are almost entirely preventable, and are most often caused by using a drug of a much higher purity than accustomed to, or anticipated (Cox et al., as cited in Boyd, 2008). The fact that criminalization often forces sellers and users underground also means that there is little that can be done to inform consumers what doses are
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