BC Centre on Substance Use statement on City of Vancouver decriminalization submission

published on May 11, 2021

The BC Centre on Substance Use has signed onto an open letter in response to the City of Vancouver’s proposed submission to Health Canada on decriminalization.

The BCCSU is fully supportive of efforts to reduce the harms associated with the criminalization of people who use drugs. However, we strongly believe that any approach to decriminalization must be informed by the lived experiences of people who use drugs.

This means using the best scientific evidence collected alongside people who use drugs, as well as meaningful engagement and consultation with a broad range of people with lived experience, including drug user groups that have been advocating for policy change in Vancouver for decades.

Inviting lived experiences into the submission process should include re-examining the proposed threshold limits, which describe the maximum amount of a substance a person can have in their possession.

There is an opportunity to shape policy that will improve the lives of people who use drugs, but only if the process is informed by the best available scientific evidence and the lived experiences of those same people who will be directly impacted.