Canada’s Shocking War on Drugs: An Infographic

By now you’ve read plenty of our drug fact articles where we talk about how 47,000 Canadians die every year as a result of drug addiction, etc.

With the onslaught of drugs like Fentanyl creating crisis in Alberta, or the new drug called W-18 that’s 100 times stronger than Fentanyl hitting the shores of British Columbia – the problem of addiction doesn’t seem to stop growing.

We end up wanting to know what the Canadian Government is doing about all this. So we decided to compile Omer Aziz’s 2014 opinion piece (with permission) in The Globe and Mail into an infographic:


Canadian Centre for Addictions also asked some thought leaders in the addictions industry to add their comments. Here’s what they had to say.

Dr. Gabor Maté says:

“There is no war on drugs, since one cannot make war on inanimate objects. There is a war on drug users, who are often the most abused and traumatized people in society. In other words, our culture punishes people for having suffered, and for using substances to ease their pain.

And it selectively criminalizes some substance use (for example cannabis) while freely allowing the sale and consumption of far more dangerous and medically harmful addictive substances such as cigarette tobacco or alcohol. Thus our policies lack consistency, lack science lack humanity, and lack rationality. Their failure is a matter of record. It is time for a change.”

Omer Aziz (original author of this piece) says:

“The War on Drugs has been one of the most destructive policies ever unleashed by democratic governments. In the name of fighting crime, the drug war has incarcerated thousands of people, destroyed countless families, and punished even more citizens for victimless offences.

Billions of dollars have been burned trying to regulate people’s drug habits, with nothing to show for it. The greatest victims of this failed policy have been some of the most marginalized groups in society—the poor, as well as black and brown citizens. The greatest beneficiaries of the drug war have been the gangs and cartels, who continue to profit from drugs every year, continue to violently impose their criminal dictates, and who are inadvertently assisted by the unrelenting crackdown on the streets.

As another drug epidemic begins in the form of the heroine crisis—this one largely affecting middle-class whites—it is imperative that the police and the courts learn the lessons of previous battles. Thankfully, law enforcement has responded more gently and sanely in the heroine crisis, as they should.”

Canadian Centre for Addictions

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