A Defence Lawyer's Thoughts on Calgary Drug Charges

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Charges for the simple possession of controlled substances—drugs—remain among some of the most common criminal charges brought against Calgary citizens. The possession of marijuana, cocaine, pharmaceuticals without a proper prescription, and other substances on the various schedules of controlled substances can lead to both summary conviction offences and indictable offences, depending on the amounts involved and other circumstances, and both types of offences can mean a major disruption to your life.

Yet despite the prevalence of drug-related charges brought before the Calgary courts, both public opinion and legislation is beginning to treat drug use and drug addiction more as a public health issue than a criminal justice issue. Looking solely at drug use itself, there is no real victim other than the person potentially abusing a mind- and body-altering substance; they can become a danger to themselves due to a chemical dependency, and many believe that those suffering from drug abuse should be treated just as those with an alcohol dependency. Imprisonment simply for possessing alcohol isn't a possibility under Canadian law, despite the fact that alcohol is known to be addictive and leads to many hospitalizations and deaths every year.

In fact, it could be argued that the criminalization of many drugs actually results in more crime, and more violent crime, than would exist if drugs were dealt with solely by public health officials and not by the criminal justice system. There will always be a market for drugs, no matter what laws are put in place; making that market illegal tends to lead to violence in the form of "turf wars" and by putting Calgary Police and other law enforcement in direct opposition to drug users and their suppliers. If drugs were legalized or at least decriminalized, there would be less financial incentive for violence, greater transparency and government oversight, and more possibilities to provide assistance programs those with drug addictions.

As current efforts in this direction already show, helping drug users overcome their addictions through rehabilitation programs and other community efforts would do more to reduce drug use than locking people up for simple possession. If our goal is to create a safer Calgary for everyone to enjoy, and not simply to punish those who might have a diagnosed illness that leads them to drug use, decriminalization would be far more effective and far less costly for Calgary taxpayers.

Defence for Your Calgary Criminal Drug Charges

If you or a family member has been arrested for possession of drugs or any other drug-related charge in the Greater Calgary Area, you don't have to face the Calgary Police or the Crown prosecutors alone. You're entitled to assistance from an experienced, compassionate defence lawyer—one who understands the situation you're facing, and who can help you explore all of your options not only in regards to your criminal case, but when it comes to achieving the best possible future, too.

For a free initial consultation with one of Calgary's most dedicated drug charge defence lawyers, contact Susan Karpa today.

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