variety of crimes, including drug-related offences, and encourages diversion of the perpetrator away from the criminal justice system to more appropriate consequences. In the case of currently illegal drugs, this could include counselling, treatment, community service, and so on. Use of these funds should be overseen by a partnership of key involved Ministries, federally and provincially. ·
Ensure all provinces become signatories to Bill C-41, and develop nationally coordinated implementation strategies. Ask that the Health and Enforcement in Partnership (HEP) Steering Committee consider all recommended policy issues and facilitate implementation within their respective departments.
2. The Criminal Code must be changed. How? ·
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Provide specific exemptions under the legislation to ensure that physicians may prescribe narcotics (e.g. heroin, cocaine) to drug users in an effort to medicalize drug use and reduce harm associated with obtaining drugs on the street (e.g. English Model). Research to assess the feasibility of this approach should be undertaken on a pilot basis. Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of currently illegal drugs for personal use. Institute heavy penalties for the commercial trafficking of any drug to minors. Initiate discussions among judges, prosecutors and police officers to address the lack of national consistency in the application of laws. For a variety of reasons, these sectors exercise such a high degree of discretion that national legislation no longer has national applicability. This discussion is made necessary by the increasing use of diversion in the justice system and new initiatives by the health service aimed at drug users. The principal goal of these discussions must be to protect the rights of the drug user, within an accepted legal framework.
1996, for a full examination of correctional issues and accompanying recommendations. How? ·
Allow prisoners who have been in a methadone maintenance programme prior to incarceration to continue to receive such treatment in prison. Ensure methadone treatment is available to opiate-dependent prisoners who were not receiving it prior to incarceration. Institute programmes to evaluate the need for methadone maintenance therapy prior to prison release, and ensure priority transfer to community programming on the outside at release. Conduct pilot programmes of needle exchange in federal and provincial correctional settings.
4. Since sound policy decisions rely on solid research data and directions, research activities must be recognized, utilized and enhanced. How? · ·
Involve IDUs in all aspects of research. Continue to monitor HIV rates and use this information fully in developing new policies and programmes. Investigate local transmission patterns of HIV in IDUs. Fund additional research to determine the extent of diversion of prescription opiates to the black market. Include quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic methodologies in research designs in order to increase the usefulness of data to policy and programme development. Use the “Guidelines on Ethical and Legal Considerations in Research on AIDS and Drug Use at the Community Level”(4) when conducting community-level research.
(4) Using conservative figures, if 40% of the currently estimated 50-80,000 IDUs in Canada requested methadone services, at least 20,000 spots would be required.
3. Conditions in correctional settings must be improved.(3) (3) The reader is directed to the document “HIV/ AIDS in Prisons: Final Report” by Ralf Jürgens,
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