Data show that the harm reduction approach to drug addiction isn’t working, says former proponents of the approach

Statistics and data show that drug decriminalization and harm reduction had negative consequences and had more disastrous consequences, says California-based writers and journalists once advocated both.

Between 1996 and 2000, Michael Schellenberger supported the harm reduction policy, treating drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, and housing homeless people regardless of their personal struggle with drugs. I fought to provide.

But the liberalization of drug law turned out to be wrong with everything he thought was right about this approach in dealing with drug addiction, Schellenberger told The Epoch Times.

“The most important example was last year when 93,000 people died from illegal drugs in the United States, manufactured drugs, became addicted, and overdose the number one cause of accidental death in the United States,” said Environmental Progress. Founder and President Shellenberger said. ..

so paper He announced this month that Schellenberger compares deaths from overdose in 2020 to deaths 20 years ago when drug law became more relaxed.

“In the last two decades, the United States has liberalized drug law, during which time the death toll from illegal drugs has increased from 17,000 to 93,000,” he wrote comparing 1999 and 2020 data. increase. Five times as many people as murders die from drugs. “

By January of this year, more than 94,000 deaths from overdose have been reported in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

“Drug death is the biggest problem facing the United States today. It has many other problems, including a lack of mental health systems, a lack of addiction service care treatments, and general liberalization overall. This is due to the relaxation of the law on drug trafficking and drug use, “says Schellenberger.

Environmental Advances has co-founded the recently formed California Peace Union to combat fentanyl addiction, calling itself “a research organization that fosters ideas, leaders and movements, including the goals of drug peace.”

The decriminalization trend of drugs has also been prevalent in Canada in the last few years. In October 2018, the federal government legalized the use of marijuana. In May, Vancouver became Canada’s first jurisdiction and demanded an exemption from federal drug law. This was when he submitted a final proposal to Health Canada to decriminalize the simple possession of 15 illicit drugs below a certain threshold.

Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decriminalization demand has increased due to the large number of overdose caused by opioids such as fentanyl, especially due to the surge in deaths from overdose in BC, Ontario and Alberta.

Epoch Times Photo
California-based writer and journalist Michael Shellenberger (provided by Michael Shellenberger)

Canada’s first supervised drug consumption facility was opened in Vancouver in 2003, and several other jurisdictions and countries have adopted this approach. In Schellenberger’s view, it’s a slippery slope.

“Do you want to legalize heroin and cocaine? It makes when people open facilities for those drugs, they are available to everyone, including your children and the children of your neighbors. So it’s a question that society as a whole has to ask, “he said.

Decriminalization of illegal drug use in the Netherlands and Portugal is often taken as an example of ways to resolve substance addiction, but drugs remain illegal in both countries, still banning drug trade and banning drug users. Arrest and send dealers and employers to jail. For rehabilitation.

According to Statistics Canada, after legalization in 2018, cannabis use has exceeded 5.1 million people nationwide by 2019, rising to 16.8% of Canadians over the age of 15. This is an increase from 14.9% (4.5 million) in 2018 before legalization.

The legalization of marijuana has increased use and addiction in the United States, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Data show that between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, the prevalence of marijuana use more than doubled from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent.

In both Canada and the United States, many drug addicts in the homeless population suffer from untreated mental illness. Shellenberger believes that one of the reasons for the high mortality rate from drug overdose in the United States is the lack of effective and consistent mental health and addiction service care treatments throughout the state and neighbors. I am.

He says the victim’s ideology, driven by drug addiction and a progressive approach to the homeless, is another reason that continues to fuel the crisis of overdose.

“What they did was get rid of all the discipline, responsibility and accountability, so there are a lot of drug addicts with mental illness living on the streets … That’s why we are all so liberal. Homeless is a very bad California, “he says.

“It creates learned helplessness among people to tell them that they are essentially victims.”

Isaac Theo