This week our site is working on partnetship with Support. Don’t Punish, our focus will be on quotes and tips that are in keeping with the wider campaign.
Support. Don’t Punish is a global advocacy campaign calling for better drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights. The campaign aims to promote drug policy reform, and to change laws and policies which impede access to harm reduction interventions.
Drug criminalization fuels the United States’ dual crises of mass criminalization and overdose deaths. The Portuguese experience demonstrates that decriminalizing drugs—alongside a serious investment in treatment and harm reduction services—can significantly improve public safety and health.- Widney Brown, managing director of Policy at Drug Policy Alliance
Anti-abortion (laws) didn't cause women to stop having abortions but upped their mortality rate, risk of damage to their bodies, shame, ridicule. See the parallel? When we make things illegal we tend to make them inherently more dangerous. If we simply accept laws as what is good for us we have many greater problems. Street drugs are dangerous because they are illegal and there is no quality control. Period, end of story.
Clearly the statistics used to promote the Singapore myth either do not exist, or fall apart under scrutiny. As a result, any attempt to use the Singapore model as evidence of the effectiveness of the death penalty for drug offences is ludicrous. Given the unprecedented overdose crisis in the US, Americans deserve an evidence-based response. Pursuing myth-based drug policies will only make the problem worse.
We should be demanding not that people be removed and jailed, but that people be helped and taken care of. - Deon Haywood
DCRs are more than just a practical solution; they are humane, compassionate and financially effective. I can think of only two reasons why the UK Government are so resistant to the proposal: either they are stuck in an ideological mindset that people with addictions are not ill but are the product of poor lifestyle choices, or they simply do not care. - Ronnie Cowan MP
Overall, this suggests that removing criminal penalties for personal drug possession did not cause an increase in levels of drug use. This tallies with a significant body of evidence from around the world that shows the enforcement of criminal drug laws has, at best, a marginal impact in deterring people from using drugs.
…the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the biggest piece of pseudo science out there, there’s more validity in homeopathy than there is in the Misuse of Drugs Act. It’s created crime, it creates deaths, it creates increased usage of drugs… more people use drugs in the more prohibitionist societies, and governments have blood on their hands for the deaths of young people on drugs.
It used to be that when a cab driver asked what I did for a living, I mentally geared up to fight and defend my work & people against reactionary stigma and ignorance. These days, though? Its like opening a fucking floodgate of grief and trauma. Without fail the response is stories about kids, lovers, siblings, or friends who've OD'd or disappeared to the streets or into the judicial system. Its no longer about defending my work, but providing 5am ministration to the survivors of our failed drug policy.
Criminalisation does not reduce drug use. In 2014, the Home Office itself admitted that there is a “lack of any clear correlation between the ‘toughness’ of an approach and levels of drug use”. Rather, the criminalisation of heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs leads to riskier injecting practices – such as sharing and reusing needles, and can make people too scared to seek help or support.
I really believe that we are on the right side of history – one day people will look back on global drug prohibition with the same sense of whimsy and incredulity that we look back on alcohol prohibition in the USA in the 1920s: “well, of course that didn’t work – what a stupid idea”! But until we get to that place, people are still being killed, still overdosing, still facing unacceptable harms and risks, still being demonised.
The best place to learn about dealing drugs is in prison of course, but it’s so hard to know how to get in, I mean I could carry a tiny amount of marijuana then get sent to prison for that, then meet some hardened criminals and dealers that way. It’s an excellent system… I’m being sarcastic, it isn’t, it’s rubbish. - Marcus Brigstocke
Decriminalisation is a fundamental policy reform in order to address the harms caused by treating people who use drugs as criminals, and to end the inequality of the law and to stop the aggressive surveillance of individuals and their communities. And when we talk about health care for people who use drugs how is that fully realised when we treat people as criminals first and foremost.
This research found that in 2014, the total estimated national spending on harm reduction in Hungary amounted to just €1.26 million. By contrast, researchers estimated expenditure on punitive drug law enforcement in the same year to be approximately €2 billion, almost 2,000 times the amount spent on harm reduction. If a tiny proportion of this expenditure was redirected to harm reduction this would transform harm reduction programmes in the country and save countless lives.
All of us know someone who has an addiction, and all of us can do our part to change how we view people with addiction in the United States. So when you see someone with an addiction, don't think of a drunk or a junkie or an addict or an abuser — see a person; offer them help; give them kindness and compassion. And together, we can be part of a growing movement in the United States to change how we view people with addiction. Together we can change public policy.
Ethan Nadelmann, one of the leading drug reformers in the United States, had explained: "People overdose because [under prohibition] they don't know if the heroin is 1 percent or 40 percent...Just imagine if every time you picked up a bottle of wine, you didn't know whether it was 8 percent alcohol or 80 percent alcohol [or] if every time you took an aspirin, you didn't know if it was 5 milligrams or 500 milligrams.
“Everyone makes mistakes. But some are considered only mistakes, while others are seen as evidence of moral depravity, weakness or inferiority. And many think that such people need saving”….” Cyndee Clay disagrees. “We don’t need to rescue or save people,” she says. “We only need to provide resources so that people can handle their own business.”