Toronto has become the first city in the world – and the first government in North America – to formally endorse a declaration that advocates harm reduction over the war on drugs.
The Vienna Declaration, which slams the criminalization of illicit drugs as a major factor fuelling HIV infection rates, came to the fore during this year's AIDS conference. Its authors called on policy-makers around the world to refocus their approaches to illegal drugs and HIV-AIDS prevention – especially in light of new statistics that show HIV infection rates have climbed back to 1982 levels, largely thanks to infection in injection-drug users.
So, how will that sort with the ReformaTories' Stupid on Crime crusade?
Oooo, big surprise.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has said the Canadian government has no intention of endorsing the declaration, which takes aim at the Conservatives’ tough stand on drug use.
The motion passed council by a vote of 33 to 7. Guess who was among the seven troglodytes?
Toronto already has a successful Toronto Drug Treatment Court. Looky this from the Public Safety website:
The reduction in substance abuse and criminal activity among drug dependent offenders of the Toronto Drug Treatment Court can be characterized as promising, given the limitations of the evaluation, such as the small number of graduates, different response rates among groups, and the decrease in program's participation over time.
The evaluation of the TDTC adds to the growing body of research on specialized courts, and in particular, on collaborative justice and community responses to substance abuse by offenders in the criminal justice system.
Sounds pretty progressive. Does Vic Toews know about this?