B.C. is the first province in Canada to do it. 🇨🇦
B.C. is applying for the decriminalization of some drugs, seeking to reduce the number of toxic drug deaths.
A statement from the government of B.C. said that B.C. is the first province in Canada to seek an exemption from Health Canada under Section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson added that "substance use and addiction is a public health issue, not a criminal one" and that "shame prevents many people from accessing life-saving care."
The statement said that 7,700 people in BC have died because of a toxic drug supply since the province declared a public health emergency in 2016.
The hope is that this issue can be treated as a "public health challenge" as opposed to a criminal act.
Police In B.C. Have A Different Opinion
A press release from the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police said that although it supports the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use, it also "recommends a more measured approach that will see incremental increases as required, and supported by evidence."
The statement said that the BCACP "does not support the recommendation to decriminalize 4.5 grams of illicit drugs for personal use."
Included among their list of concerns are that "predatory drug traffickers will exploit this high threshold, creating public safety concerns," along with an "increase in public consumption," as well as "absence of adequate treatment and health support options."