Before the COVID-19 pandemic even started, B.C. was facing a public health crisis that the Premier believes drug decriminalization in Canada can help address.

On Monday, July 20, B.C. Premier John Horgan penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to decriminalize possession of illegal drugs for personal use.

Having an addiction is not a crime, and we need a national plan for helping reduce the systemic stigma that too often prevents people from accessing the services they need.

Premier John Horgan

According to the letter, prohibiting and criminalizing people in possession of drugs is "ineffective" in stopping drug use.

Horgan argued that making drug possession illegal only raises the stigma around substance use, preventing people from seeking treatment.

Drug overdoses have increased over the pandemic; in June, 175 people died of suspected drug overdoses — the highest monthly number in B.C.'s history.