Canada’s other health crisis: As overdoses surge, officials call on government to decriminalize illicit drugs

published on August 16, 2020 by Amanda Coletta in Washington Post

TORONTO — The novel coronavirus was on the march across Canada, but it was a different public health crisis that turned Shannon Krell’s world upside down.

Her brother hadn’t shown up for work, which was unusual. She called the police to have someone check on the 46-year-old, but a friend arrived first and made the sad discovery.

Ryan Krell had died of an accidental drug overdose — another life lost to a crisis that has killed more than 15,400 people in Canada since 2016. Their number has increased in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic — and perhaps, officials say, because of it.

Now a growing chorus, including top public health officials, the premier of British Columbia and the nation’s police chiefs, is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs for personal use…

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