Decriminalization of all narcotics, including fentanyl and crack, is being considered for implementation by the City of Toronto as part of a proposal that would apply to all residents of Toronto, including young people. The suggestion, on the other hand, has caused controversy and debate over the potential repercussions of acting in such a manner.
What’s the Different Between Decriminalization and Legalization of Drugs?
It is absolutely necessary to have a clear understanding that decriminalization is not the same thing as legalization. Decriminalization simply implies that anybody caught using controlled drugs for their own personal consumption will not be subject to prosecution and incarceration for drug offenses. It is not a license to take drugs without bearing any responsibility for one’s actions.
The plan to decriminalize hard drugs in Toronto does not apply to childcare institutions, airports, or schools; these locations will continue to prohibit the use of hard drugs by individuals. Under the proposed framework, those who manufacture, distribute, or sell illicit hard drugs would continue to be subject to criminal sanctions.
A Perspective Derived from the Field of Public Health
The idea to decriminalize drug possession in the city of Toronto is one component of the Toronto Drug Strategy, an all-encompassing approach to drug policy that emphasizes prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement. The purpose of the strategy is not to promote the use of illegal substances or to make their possession legal; rather, it is to move the process of addressing substance abuse away from the legal system and toward the public health system.
The strategy incorporates the experience and skills of persons who use drugs, their family and friends, and professionals working in the sector, as well as the best practices that are currently available, to guarantee that addicts who are in need of assistance receive the appropriate sort of assistance. It provides rehabilitation as well as other treatment programs that are health-based in order to prevent drug addicts from becoming criminals within the existing legal framework that is based on the criminal justice system and drug usage.
The City of Toronto maintains that its approach to decriminalization adequately accounts for the various patterns of drug use and the unpredictability of the toxic and contaminated supply. This is particularly important for those individuals who are the most susceptible to the negative effects of criminalization.
Usage of Drugs by Young People
The fact that the prohibition of drug use does not successfully discourage underage substance usage is a compelling argument in support of decriminalization. According to the findings, young people in Toronto between the ages of 12 and 17 who use drugs that are not controlled are susceptible to the same dangers that adults face as a result of the criminalization of drug use. Under the terms of the proposal, young individuals who test positive for the presence of hard drugs in their systems would no longer be subject to criminal prosecution; as an alternative, they would be given participation in rehabilitation and other health-based treatment programs.
An All-Inclusive Plan of Action to Both Avoid and React to Drug Overdoses
The Toronto Drug Strategy incorporates a comprehensive set of measures that are aimed to respond to overdoses and prevent their occurrence. Instead of just locking addicts up so that they may build up a criminal record, the objective is to guarantee that they receive the appropriate assistance in order to kick their drug habit. This is preferable to the alternative.
A Few Parting Thoughts
Controversy and debate have been ignited in Toronto as a result of a plan to legalize all narcotics, including crack and fentanyl. The proposal, which is an element of the Toronto Drug Strategy, is not designed to normalize the use of illegal drugs or make them lawful. Its goal is to move away from addressing substance abuse through the criminal justice system and toward doing it through the public health system instead. Decriminalization simply implies that anybody caught using controlled drugs for their own personal consumption will not be subject to prosecution and incarceration for drug offenses. It is not a license to take drugs without bearing any responsibility for one’s actions.