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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:20 pm 
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Updated Mon. Jan. 15 2007 7:43 AM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Ottawa's war on drugs has been an utter failure, according to a new report that accuses the federal government of focusing too heavily on law enforcement.

The report says Canada's drug strategy puts too much emphasis on law enforcement rather than ways to fight illicit drug use and cut down on the human toll.

"The federal government continues to invest heavily in policies and practices that have repeatedly been shown in the scientific literature to be ineffective or harmful," the study team concludes.

The published study used Access to Information and data culled from a variety of government websites to examine how the drug strategy has assigned funds, as well as its success in reducing drug-related harm.

The report's findings include the drug strategy's $245-million budget breakdown:

* Law enforcement consumed 73 per cent
* Treatment received 14 per cent of the budget
* Research received 7 per cent
* Addiction prevention and harm reduction each received 3 per cent

"The overwhelming emphasis continues to be on conventional enforcement-based approaches which are costly and often exacerbate, rather than reduce, drug-related harm," the study says.

The study's authors say illicit drug use is more widespread than ever, as are ensuing health costs, mainly from an increase in HIV infections among injection drug users.

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