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Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology Routledge Revivals. Faith and Reason in Kierkegaard. Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism.


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We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. An integrated public policy on drugs would be administered by a decision-making body capable of making links between the substances and their uses so as to propose a meaning to different drug uses.

A public policy on drugs revolves around the varying uses made of drugs and not on the substances themselves. Abuse of cigarettes causes lung cancer, not death due to impaired driving. Some medications, however, do lead to fatal accidents.

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Cannabis may be associated with both problems: There are two broad types of problems: Certain measures must be preventive - inform users of risks and, specifically, help individuals recognize the signs of at-risk behaviour that can lead to problems. Those who consistently smoke between three and five cigarettes a day, something very few tobacco consumers may be able to do, are probably at no greater risk of lung cancer than non-smokers. Learning to manage consumption, recognizing the dangers, and having the means and the tools to do so are key. Other methods are dissuasive in nature: Finally, some measures are curative: The tools for treatment and cure must be available.

Thus, and this is the third criterion, a public policy on psychoactive substances must primarily be a public health policy: A public health policy does not attempt to oblige people to live healthy lives or to have the community decide individual behaviour for some elusive public good. What we envision is a public health policy that contributes to reducing the risks relating to the different uses of different substances. A public health policy on psychoactive substances is thus a risk reduction policy. Harm reduction approaches have been associated with needle exchange or the prescription of methadone or heroin.

Some think that harm reduction policies rely too heavily on a medical model, simply softening the negative effects of an otherwise prohibitionist regime. We believe that what is essential is recognition that 1 use of psychoactive substances cannot be eliminated, it is part of the human experience and not all use is abuse - whatever the substance - and 2 all substances can have negative consequences for both the user and society, making it advisable to contribute to individual and community well-being by providing information, abuse prevention tools and a treatment infrastructure.

A public policy on drugs does not target users: For too long, in any discussion of illegal drugs, including cannabis, the focus has been on understanding the characteristics specific to consumers, as if they had some feature distinguishing them fundamentally from users of tobacco, alcohol, or psychotropic medications for non-medical use.

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Although problem users may indeed have common characteristics, it is neither the substance nor being a user that is the question: On the contrary, this is normalization, not trivialization. Excessive use of any substance is harmful: Normalizing the use and the user does not mean trivializing them. A public policy on drugs aims to normalize uses of psychoactive substances: Implementation of such a policy must be multifaceted, as we will see now. The public policies described in the preceding chapter, as well as the policies of Denmark, Portugal, and Mexico, have a number of elements in common: Each country covered in the preceding chapter has a highly visible, well-known decision-making body that has undeniable legitimacy and methods of action that meet expectations.

In our opinion, the question of drugs, inasmuch as it is broader than the jurisdiction of a single government department or level of government, inasmuch as it refers to our collective ways of relating to society and others, and especially inasmuch as it demands both integration and differentiation, must be governed by an agency that is not accountable to a particular department and can define direction for not enforce diktats on all players. The policies on psychoactive substances are the concern of educators and therapists, police officers and anthropologists, diplomats and local associations and, of course, users.

The ability to tie things together for knowledge and comprehension purposes supposes an ability to link specialties, administrations, individuals. In Chapters 11 and 18, we saw that federal policy on drugs, in addition to lacking rigour and clarity, means and infrastructures, is not a national policy. This does not mean there is no place for specific approaches by the provinces and territories that make up the Canadian mosaic.

However, if a common culture on drugs is to emerge, if we are to better understand behaviours of use through geographic comparison, if players are to benefit from the experience of others, tools must be developed for the joint definition of shared objectives. Moreover, the ability - and the will - to define objectives is the foundation of any future evaluation to determine whether or not the action taken is in sync with the objectives and is effective; in short, defining objectives is necessary because we must be able to assess the impact of what we do.

A public policy must also rest on knowledge. Many witnesses, from all over, told us this. European Union member countries, the United States and Australia have developed powerful knowledge tools, specifically agencies that monitor drugs and drug addictions. These monitoring agencies, most of them independent of the government and political influence, are capable of measuring changing trends and forms of use of various substances, understanding emerging trends and new products, even assessing public policies.

We are unable to see how Canada can fail to develop a national knowledge tool on psychoactive substance use. So what do we do with the legislation? Legislation stems from public policy direction, which it supports and completes; it is a means, not an end. Cannabis debates are highly contaminated by discussions on decriminalization, depenalization, legalization. The terms are frequently poorly understood, especially as they are not necessarily clear. This section defines each key term in the debate and suggests indicators that can be used to assess each option.

Removal of penal controls and criminal sanctions in relation to an activity, which however remains prohibited and subject to non-penal regulations and sanctions e. Typically, the harsher criminal penalties still apply to the more serious offences of possession, supply, manufacture or cultivation of amounts of the drug deemed in law to be for trafficking or commercial purposes. For Caballero and Bisiou, depenalization means essentially removing drugs from the field of criminal law.

They distinguish between total depenalization and depenalization of use. Possessing or holding cannabis for personal use has been decriminalized in Germany, Australia, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, and some American states. The resemblance ends there because each country has slightly different way of reaching the goal. In Australia and the American states where possession of cannabis has been decriminalized, possession remains illegal and subject to a fine.

In Germany, the constitutional court has ruled that prosecution for possession of small quantities of cannabis contravenes basic rights and is unjustified. In Spain and Italy, possession of small amounts of cannabis is not an offence and consumption is authorized except in public places. However, as in Portugal, individual possession of cannabis is subject to an administrative penalty fine in Spain and Portugal; suspended licence in Italy. In all cases, decriminalization is partial. In Canada, some authors have written in favour of decriminalizing cannabis.

One of the best known papers on this option may be that published by the policy committee of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. The option retains the illegality of cannabis possession and related criminal record consequences. Drug treatment courts are a form of alternative measure. However, it is difficult to understand the reasoning of the authors on this approach as it is more a form of legalization than decriminalization.

The CPLT opinion notes the following. This timid recommendation refuses to take a systematic approach and even links cannabis consumption to delinquent or criminal activities, relating risk to consumption of products with a high THC concentration, as if consuming spirits should be subject to stronger measures than drinking wine. Even though the term purports to remove it from the ambit of criminal law, cannabis consumption remains illegal.

The sanction may be less severe, but a sanction still applies, one that, in some cases, can have the same impact as a criminal sanction and entail even greater discrimination: As explained to the Committee by Dr. However, a cautionary note should be sounded. Many of those so ticketed failed to appear to pay their fines, and subsequent numbers entered the criminal justice system for non-payment of fines and subsequently received criminal convictions.

There was an unintended result in that the number of persons criminalized is as large, or perhaps larger, than before the measure was implemented. In spite of its merits and success, the Dutch system of controlled cannabis sale, a form of de facto decriminalization, has no way of regulating production and distribution, which is still controlled at least in part by organized crime, or exercising quality control, specifically the concentration of THC. In the opinion of some authors, decriminalization is in fact simply less severe prohibition. Same grounds, different form. This model has no greater capacity for prevention or education than a strict prohibition model.

Even worse, the prohibition model is based on clear and consistent theory, whereas the same cannot be said of decriminalization as an approach. Some will say that decriminalization is a step in the right direction, one that gives society time to become accustomed to cannabis, to convince opponents that chaos will not result, to adopt effective preventive measures. We believe however that this approach is in fact the worst-case scenario, depriving the State of a regulatory tool needed in dealing with the entire production, distribution, and consumption network, and delivering a rather hypocritical message at the same time.

Removal of the prohibition over a previously illicit activity, e. It does not necessarily imply the removal of all controls over such activity e. Controlled legalization is a system that aims to replace existing prohibition of drugs by regulation of their production, trade, and use with a view to restricting abuse that can damage society … unlike depenalization, penal law retains its role in preventing damage to third parties by users drunkenness or producers contraband.

No system for controlled legalization of cannabis currently exists. This type of regulation is nothing new: Conversely, legalized systems exist for the manufacture, distribution, sale and production of such products as alcohol, tobacco, and psychotropic medications. These could be used as a model for regulating the cannabis production chain. The rules governing all aspects of drug control promulgated pursuant to legislation. Violation of these rules may attract criminal or non-criminal penalties, such as fines and license suspension, depending on the seriousness and the intentional nature of the violation.

Although one may play with words, regulation is in fact a necessary application of any form of control, whether within a system of prohibition or a system of legalisation. All consumer products, from the automobiles we drive to the food we eat, are subject to some form of regulation. Quality control, environmental standards, compliance with industrial standards, regulations on accessibility—all are forms of regulation essential for ensuring no one is poisoned by the food they eat, drives a defective vehicle, or plugs in a dangerous appliance.

Regulation is the most current form of government control; criminal law usually intervenes when the controls fail or mandatory standards are not met. The same is true of the current international system for controlling narcotics. The control system may range from prohibition of all non-medical and non-scientific use e. MacCoun, Reuter and Schilling examine various systems of legal policy, which they divide into three main types: Their classification system is reproduced below. Prohibitionist systems vary along a number of lines: This makes it clearer why decriminalization remains in essence a prohibitionist approach, albeit a less severe one.

Controlled access systems are in a grey area somewhere between prohibition and regulation. This is the medical model criticized by Szasz, Caballero and, closer to home, Malherbe, in his discussion paper on the role of ethics and public health. One can see why harm reduction approaches belong in this grey area, somewhere between prohibition and regulation, with the prescription of methadone or heroine for treating addiction the perfect example of medical power.

The third type is the regulatory model that exercises various types of control on who who may purchase, restrictions on minors , what different accessibility levels for different substances , how point of sale, location, requirement for producers and vendors and when time of day, days of the week. In our opinion, there are basically only two systems: Both rest on regulation, and the nature and direction of this regulation determines their specific features. Prohibitionist systems may be subdivided into criminal and medical prohibition.

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In the first case, sometimes referred to as outright prohibition, the justice system police and the courts is central. In the second, the physician is the key player. Some call this legal paternalism. Both variations can be more or less strict, more or less severe, but rest on the concept that all use that poses a danger to the user and society and must be strictly controlled. In this scenario, decriminalization of use is a weak variation of prohibition , in the long run entailing more disadvantages than advantages. In addition to failing to affect the production chain and retaining the illegal aspect, it leaves no room for dispensing information to and promoting responsible behaviour by users, or for strong preventive measures.

Conversely, the harm reduction approach is a strong variation of a prohibition system. While this approach recognizes the impossibility of eliminating the damage done by market criminalization, it seeks nonetheless to reduce the negative effects of prohibition on users, who are the focus of its main thrust, by introducing education on drug content for example, analysis of ecstasy consumed at raves.

Prohibition of fabrication, cultivation, production, sale, trafficking, use and consumption. A prohibition system, whether criminal or medical, calls for regulation derived from criminal law: The other type of system rests on legalization of cannabis. It can also take various forms. Legalization systems range from issuing a user licence under certain conditions e. The first type of analysis is impossible simply because no two strategies are different enough for purposes of comparison: However, as we saw in Chapter 18, it is difficult to establish the real costs related to cannabis and the response of public policy to it, and impossible to determine real social costs.

The question is whether or not society would be better off if the use of one or more currently illegal drugs was authorized. The answer is only if public well-being is enhanced or the social cost of drugs is reduced. No one knows the impact on social costs of legalization of illicit drugs. It is impossible to predict the impact of increased consumption, substitution of tobacco and alcohol for currently illegal drugs, the lower current negative impact attributable to drug illegality and, moreover, the combined impact of all these factors.

The superiority of neither prohibition nor legalization is provable. The counter-factual scenario used in studies of the social costs of drugs is itself a formidable challenge, as it rests on the unproven concept of eradicating consumption of a drug. The model is drawn from the field of health, in which a counter-factual model may be legitimate because, in some cases, a disease can be completely or almost completely eradicated e.

It does not apply to drugs, as the process is necessarily so hypothetical that one wonders if it is worth the effort. It is one thing to try and identify as accurately as possible the diversity of social and economic costs incurred by drugs and then reflect on public policy options; it is another to claim they can actually be measured. MacCoun, Reuter, and Schelling propose two series of criteria, the first considering different applications to different substances, the second based on acceptable costs and consequences.

Using a four-axis matrix, they distinguish: How do we make a choice? At the outset, it must be understood that, at the end of the line, the decision is necessarily a political one. Epidemiological data on levels of use and empirical data on effects and consequences are clear: Comparative data on public policies, although more limited, also make it clear that measures undertaken under prohibitionist regimes have not been effective.

This much said, no one can predict what will happen under an alternative regime, such as the regulated access model we are proposing. This is why we insist that any comprehensive strategy on cannabis must be based on a public health model and involve tools to evaluate its implementation and effects. To produce such data, one would have to have experienced the different regimes of cannabis control. Since the early twentieth century, various degrees of prohibition are all there has been, however.

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Be that as it may, we would hazard a guess that, even if we did have empirical data, in the final analysis the decisions would still be political in nature because they are basically public policy decisions which, as discussed in our chapter on guiding principles, are not defined on the basis of scientific knowledge alone. Nonetheless, if we attempt to apply these criteria to cannabis, we believe that a system of regulated access is most likely to reduce the negative consequences for both users and society.

We are fully aware that our statements with respect to a regulatory system are wholly theoretical. We do think, however, that all the data we have collected on cannabis and its derivatives provide sufficient ground for our general conclusion that the regulation of the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis, as part of an integrated and adaptable public policy, best responds to the principles of autonomy and governance that foster human responsibility and of the limitation of penal law to situations where there is demonstrable harm to others. A regulatory system for cannabis should permit, in particular,: In our opinion, Canadian society is ready for a responsible policy of cannabis regulation that honours these basic principles.

International Scientific Conference on Cannabis. Les drogues en France. Abt Associates The price of illicit drugs: Office of National Drug Control Policy. A Glossary of Terms. Policy Options For Control. Vol 15, no 3, page Over the past two years, the Committee has heard from Canadian and foreign experts and reviewed an enormous amount of scientific research.

The Committee has endeavoured to take the pulse of Canadian public opinion and attitudes and to consider the guiding principles that are likely to shape public policy on illegal drugs, particularly cannabis. Our report attempted to provide an update of the state of knowledge and of the key issues, and sets out a number of conclusions in each chapter. This final section sets out the main conclusions that emerge from all this information and presents the resulting recommendations that derive from the thesis we have developed namely: This Commission had far greater resources than did we.

However, we had the benefit of a much more highly developed knowledge base and of thirty years' historical perspective. The Commission concluded that the criminalization of cannabis had no scientific basis. Thirty years later, we can confirm this conclusion and add that continued criminalization of cannabis remains unjustified based on scientific data on the danger it poses.

The Commission heard and considered the same arguments on the dangers of using cannabis: A majority of the Commissioners concluded that these concerns, while unsubstantiated, warranted a restrictive policy. Thirty years later, we can assert that the studies done in the meantime have not confirmed the existence of the so-called amotivational syndrome and add that most studies rule out this syndrome as a consequence of the use of cannabis.

The Commission concluded that not enough was known about the long-term and excessive use of cannabis. We can assert that these types of use exist and may present some health risks; excessive use, however, is limited to a minority of users. Public policy, we would add, must provide ways to prevent and screen for at-risk behaviour, something our policies have yet to do. The Commission concluded that the effects of long-term use of cannabis on brain function, while largely exaggerated, could affect adolescent development. We concur, but point out that the long-term effects of cannabis use appear reversible in most cases.

We not also that adolescents who are excessive users or become long-term users are a tiny minority of all users of cannabis. Once again, we would add that a public policy must prevent use at an early age and at-risk behaviour.

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The Commission was concerned that the use of cannabis would lead to the use of other drugs. Thirty years' experience in the Netherlands disproves this very clearly, as do the liberal policies of Spain, Italy and Portugal. And here in Canada, despite the growing increase in cannabis users, we have not had a proportionate increase in users of hard drugs. The Commission was also concerned that legalization would mean increased use, among the young, in particular. We have not legalized cannabis, and we have one of the highest rates in the world.

Countries adopting a more liberal policy have, for the most part, rates of usage lower than ours, which stabilized after a short period of growth. It is time to recognize what is patently obvious: No clearly defined federal or national strategy exists. Some provinces have developed strategies while others have not. There has been a lot of talk but little significant action. In the absence of clear indicators accepted by all stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of Canadian public policy, it is difficult to determine whether action that has been taken is effective.

Given that policy is geared to reducing demand i. A look at trends in cannabis use, both among adults and young people, forces us to admit that current policies are ineffective. In chapter 6, we saw that trends in drug-use are on the increase. This proportion appears, at least in the four most highly-populated provinces, to be increasing. Statistics suggest that both use and at-risk use is increasing. Of course, we must clearly establish whether the ultimate objective is a drug-free society, at least one free of cannabis, or whether the goal is to reduce at-risk behaviour and abuse.

This is an area of great confusion, since Canadian public policy continues to use vague terminology and has failed to establish whether it focuses on substance abuse as the English terminology used in several documents seems to suggest or on drug-addiction as indicated by the French terminology. It is also important to identify the root cause of this trivialization against a backdrop of mainly anti-drug statements. The courts and their lenient attitude might be blamed for this.

Perhaps the judiciary is at the forefront of those responsible for cannabis policies and the enforcement of the law. It must also be determined whether sentences are really as lenient as some maintain. A major issue to be addressed is whether harsher sentences would indeed be an effective deterrent given that the possibility of being caught by the police is known to be a much greater deterrent.

Every year, over 20, Canadians are arrested for cannabis possession. This figure might be as high as 50, depending on how the statistics are interpreted. This is too high a number for this type of conduct. However, it is laughable number when compared to the three million people who have used cannabis over the past 12 months. We should not think that the number of arrests might be significantly increased even if billions of extra dollars were allocated to police enforcement. Indeed, such a move should not even be considered.

A look at the availability and price of drugs, forces us to admit that supply-reduction policies are ineffective. Drug prices have not fallen but quality has improved, especially in terms of THC content — even if we are sceptical of the reported scale of this improvement. Yet, police organizations already have greater powers and latitude — especially since the September 11, tragedy — in relation to drugs than in any other criminal matter. To what extent do we want to go further down this road? It has been maintained that drugs, including cannabis, are not dangerous because they are illegal but rather illegal because they are dangerous.

This is perhaps true of other types of drugs, but not cannabis. We should state this clearly once and for all, for public good, stop our crusade. However much we might wish good health and happiness for everyone, we all know how fragile both are. Above all, we realize that health and happiness cannot be forced on a person, especially not by criminal law based on a specific concept of what is morally right. No matter how attractive calls for a drug-free society might be, and even if some people might want others to stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or smoking joints, we all realize that these activities are well and truly part of social reality and the history of humankind.

Consequently, what role should the State play? It should neither abdicate responsibility and allow drug markets to run rife, nor should it impose a particular way of life on people. Instead, we have opted for a concept whereby public policy promotes and supports freedom for individuals and society as a whole. For some, this would undoubtedly mean avoiding drug use.

However, for others, the road to freedom might be via drug use. For society as a whole, this concept means a State that does not dictate what should be consumed and under what form. Support for freedom necessarily means flexibility and adaptability. It is for this reason that public policy on cannabis has to be clear while at the same time tolerant, to serve as a guide while at the same time avoiding imposing a single standard.

This concept of the role of the State is based on the principle of autonomy and individual and societal responsibility. Indeed, it is much more difficult to allow people to make their own decisions because there is less of an illusion of control. It is just that: We are all aware of that. It is perhaps sometimes comforting, but is likely to lead to abuse and unnecessary suffering.

An ethic of responsibility teaches social expectations not to use drugs in public or sell to children , responsible behaviour recognizing at-risk behaviour and being able to use moderately and supports people facing hardship providing a range of treatment. From this concept of government action ensues a limited role for criminal law. As far as cannabis is concerned, only behaviour causing demonstrable harm to others shall be prohibited: Public policy shall also draw on available knowledge and scientific research but without expecting science to provide the answers to political issues.

Indeed, scientific knowledge does have a major role to play as a support tool in decision-making, at both an individual and government level. Indeed, science should play no greater role. It is for this reason that the Committee considers that a drug and dependency observatory and a research program should be set up: Although the Committee has focused on cannabis, we have nevertheless observed inherent shortcomings in the federal drug strategy.

Quite obviously, there is no real strategy or focused action. Behind the supposed leadership provided by Health Canada emerges a lack of necessary tools for action, a patchwork of ad hoc approaches from one substance to another and piecemeal action by various departments. This has resulted in a whole series of funded programs developed without any tangible cohesion.

Many stakeholders have expressed their frustration to the Committee at the jig-saw of seemingly evanescent pieces and at the whole gamut of incoherent decisions, which cause major friction on the front lines. It is for this reason that we are recommending the creation of the position of National Advisor on Psychoactive Substances and Dependency to be attached to the Privy Council.

We do not envisage this as a super body responsible for managing psychoactive substance-related budgets and action. The Advisor would have a small dedicated staff, with the majority of staff loaned from the various federal departments and bodies concerned by the drugs issue. The Advisor would be responsible: The Committee recommends that the position of National Advisor on Psychoactive Substances and Dependency be created within the Privy Council Office; that the Advisor be supported by a small secretariat and that federal departments and agencies concerned by psychoactive substances second, upon request, the necessary staff.


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A federal policy and strategy do not in themselves make a national strategy. Provinces, territories, municipalities, community organizations and even the private sector all have a role to play in accordance with their jurisdiction and priorities. This is necessary and this diversity is worth encouraging. However, some harmonization and meaningful discussion on practices and pitfalls, on progress and setbacks, and on knowledge, are to be encouraged. Apart from the resource-starved piecemeal action of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, there are all too few opportunities and schemes to promote exchanges of this type.

The current and future scale of drug and dependency-related issues warrants the Canadian Government earmarking the resources and developing the tools with which to develop fair, equitable and well-thought out policies. Like the majority of Canadian and foreign observers of the drug situation, we were struck by the relative lack of tools and measures for determining and following up on the objectives of public psychoactive substance policy.

One might not agree with the numbers-focused goals set out by the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the reduction of drug use or for the number of drug treatment programs set up and evaluated. However, we have to admit that at least these figures serve as guidelines for all stakeholders and as benchmarks against which to measure success. Similarly, one might not feel totally comfortable with the complex Australian goal-definition process, whereby the whole range of partners from the various levels of government, organizations and associations meet at a conference every five years.

However, at least those goals agreed upon by the various stakeholders constitute a clear reference framework and enable better harmonization of action. The European monitoring system with its focal points in each European Union country under the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction umbrella might seem cumbersome; and the American system of conducting various annual epidemiological studies might appear expensive. We might even acknowledge that there are problems with epidemiological studies, which are far from providing a perfect picture of the psychoactive substance-use phenomena.

However, at least these tools, referred to and used throughout the Western world, enable the development of a solid information base, with which to analyse historical trends, identify new drug-use phenomena and react rapidly. In addition, it allows for an assessment of the relevance and effectiveness of action taken. No system of this type exists in Canada, which is the only industrialized Western country not to have such a knowledge structure. It is for these reasons that the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada support various initiatives to develop a genuine national strategy.

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