B.C. asks Ottawa for drug decriminalization, but hasn’t made provincial reforms

published on July 21, 2020 by Rob Shaw in The Province

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan has formally asked Ottawa to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs, to help curb the province’s overdose crisis.

But his government still hasn’t made changes to B.C. police policies recommended last year by the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Those could have accomplished many of the same outcomes without waiting for the federal government.

Horgan sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week, calling on the prime minister to act on decriminalization. It has been four years since B.C. declared a public health emergency over overdoses. In June, the province had a record 175 overdose deaths.

“Criminal prohibitions are ineffective in deterring drug use, and criminalization of drug possession directly leads to both individual and systemic stigma and discrimination that prevent people from seeking services,” Horgan wrote to Trudeau…

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