Sanity prevails with ‘no’ to drugs

  • May 23, 2024

When even the Trudeau government just says ‘no’ to drug decriminalization, it’s clear the push to flood addicts’ bodies and urban life with stupefying  toxins has gone too far.

As The Catholic Register’s  Luke Mandato reports in this issue, Toronto’s medical officer of health had asked Ottawa to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs. Federal Mental Health and Addictions Minister Ya’ara Saks responded May 17 with a hard negative.

At some point, the feds clearly reasoned, public health and safety had to trump the fashionable (albeit on the wane) ideology that addiction is just another diverse form of individual self-expression.

It’s always good to see sanity prevailing, though it bears mentioning that the Ontario government – for all its stumbles in other areas – was unabashedly clear-sighted all along.

“Under no circumstances will our government ever support your request, which would only add to crime and public drug use while doing nothing to support people struggling with addiction,” said a joint letter to the medical officer from Ontario’s health minister and the provincial solicitor-general.

No wiggle room there. 

While the Liberals do deserve late-to-the-party credit, it remains a source of bafflement that they were part of creating the catastrophe in the first place. Ottawa gave the nod to B.C. decriminalizing drugs in 2023 and the results were literally deadly: a five per cent increase to 2,500 illicit drug deaths in one year. It also made a shambles of the province’s streets, parks, playgrounds and other public spaces. 

Quelle surprise! The same drug-fuelled civic disasters have played out in Oregon, California and everywhere else the libertarian lie has taken hold that injecting, snorting, smoking or otherwise ingesting illegal intoxicants that alter the brain, destroy the body, and make behaviour uncontrollable, somehow equates with freedom. Who thinks up this stuff?

Obviously, whoever they are they were influential enough within the governing party’s ranks to persuade the prime minister that legalizing marijuana would be, as he put it, the most important thing his administration had done to that moment of its time in office. 

Exactly how well that’s working out for us was made obvious yet again with the May 20 release of a study from the Journal of Internal Medicine. It revealed the shocking finding that the number of emergency room visits by Ontario senior citizens requiring treatment for cannabis poisoning has tripled since marijuana was legalized in 2018. 

Yes. Poisoning. We are not talking grandma and grandpa munching chocolate chip cookies and giggling uncontrollably while binging on cable TV re-runs of Mr. Dressup. No. We’re talking serious confusion, loss of consciousness, hallucinations so serious that hospitalization can be required. 

Despite all the soft soap spilled during the cannabis legalization campaign, the truth is finally being told that it is a seriously toxic, damaging drug associated with everything from increased prevalence of paranoia and schizophrenia in young men to severe addiction and deformation of healthy lives.

In its report on the Journal of Internal Medicine’s study of Ontario emergency room visits for cannabis poisoning, the Globe and Mail cites a 2023 finding that cannabis-related ER visits in California increased 1,804 per cent between 2005 and 2019. Here’s some Canadian context for that: Stats Can figures show cannabis usage among older adults in this country increased to 400,000 in 2019 from 40,000 in 2012. It would be naïve in the extreme to dismiss legalization as a major driver of that staggering increase.

There is, it must be acknowledged, a fair-minded argument that drug use, drug abuse, drug addiction should be seen first and foremost as matters of health, not criminality. But what those who make such an argument invariably leave out is the crucial spiritual dimension. As Pope Francis has said, and as the Register’s 2023 special section on addiction and recovery affirmed through first-hand witness testimony, reality-negating drugs are a form of bondage. 

Drug use, abuse, addiction does not bring any form of freedom. It only momentarily and deceptively sates the existential hole in the human heart caused by a lack of authentic love. It obscures the inherent beauty that is God’s Creation, which overflows with love that endures even in the face of suffering. A truly free individual, or society as a whole, sustains its sanity by rejecting the temptation of the transient, deceptive, obscuring toxin. It finds its liberation in saying ‘no’ to that which is not a ‘yes’ to God.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.