Enforcement is the arena most concerned with reduction or control of the supply of alcohol or other drugs, and police are the most visible component of enforcement in Canada. However, Canadian police see law enforcement as just one of their several roles that include crime prevention, maintenance of order, public safety, and victim support. Moreover, their endeavours are not limited to enforcement of supply reduction measures. They have, for many years, also been active in demand reduction activities such as awareness raising and classroom drug education.
Further, law enforcement officers have opportunities to apply alternative measures by exercising their discretion not to lay charges and to use apprehension or arrest as a point of information-giving or referral to treatment or other support.
“Addressing enforcement issues” was identified as a priority in the National Framework for Action to Reduce the Harms Associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs and Substances in Canada in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2008.
In 2009, participants at the national thematic workshop on enforcement heard presentations, discussed issues and best practices, and mapped out an action plan for moving forward. Among the items identified as important were:
- Creating an oversight committee
- Conducting further research on identified issues
- Developing community capacity and integrated approaches
The Summary Report
on the National Thematic Workshop on Enforcement provides further details on presentations, discussions, challenges, and action planning.
CCSA is forming a national advisory committee to oversee the work of this priority. Public Safety Canada has agreed to research a literature review on best practices in policing substance users and it is expected that other findings will arise in the course of the research.