A local resident is encouraging others to support changes in harm reduction strategy to benefit people on drugs and the community in general. (Black Press file photo)

LETTER: Maple Ridge businesses should support legalization and regulation of hard drugs

Crime and other social ills in the community stems from drug users having to secure supply.

Dear Editor,

If the business owners of Maple Ridge truly want to successfully address substance use disorder and homelessness in our community, I would appeal to the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association to pressure our federal government to legalize and regulate the use of street drugs. Here is why.

People who use street drugs have to raise money every day to support their habit, and many have no choice but to engage in activities such as panhandling, shoplifting, sex work, and selling drugs to others, often by purchasing drugs, taking what they need, and cutting the rest with dangerous additives.

As evidenced by the experience of these Maple Ridge business owners, under prohibition, drug use results in negative consequences, not only to the user, but to the businesses and residents in the community.

Evidence clearly shows that prescribing and regulating the use of street drugs results in a significant drop in criminal activity. When heroin clinics were opened in Britain in the 1990s, “[t]here was a drop in shoplifting so massive that the department store chain Marks and Spencer’s publicly praised the policy and decided to sponsor the first World Conference on Harm Reduction and Drug-Taking in Liverpool in 1990.” (From Chasing the Scream, the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari.)

Chris Bossley, Maple Ridge

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