In this volume, international contributors discuss the philosophical basis and history of harm reduction policies and examine their outcomes. They also cover controversial topics related to harm reduction especially conflicts between the public health system, where most programs are located, and a worldwide criminal justice system that further marginalizes drug users. The book describes programs from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

The Harm Minimization Option for Cannabis: History and Prospects in Canadian Drug Policy

The harm minimization option for cannabis: History and prospects in Canadian drug policy
Patricia G.Erickson

Psychoactive drugs are subject to many avenues of formal social control over their availability and uses. These governmental controls range from the least restrictive, free-market commerce of solvents and caffeine products to the total criminal prohibition of the narcotics. The illicit drug category includes cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and other drugs that have widely varying pharmacological properties. Some are stimulants, whereas others are depressants or hallucinogens. All prohibited drugs are potentially subject to incarceratory criminal sanctions for their possession or distribution. In between these two extremes lie different regulatory approaches to pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobacco.

Regulatory schemes generally take two forms ...

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