Daphne Bramham: Time for a serious debate about how to deal with the opioid crisis

published on November 29, 2019 by Daphne Bramham in Vancouver Sun

Now that the federal election is over, it’s time for a serious discussion about how to deal with Canada’s opioid overdose crisis.

This is a wicked problem — complex and multi-layered with no simple solutions.

But debates about how to address it are muddied with emotive words and euphemism. It hasn’t helped that the issue was weaponized during the campaign — particularly in ethnic communities — by the deliberate misuse of the words decriminalization and legalization.

Decriminalization would mean drugs would still be illegal, but people found with small amounts would not go to jail. If Canada were to follow Portugal’s model, people found in possession of illicit drugs would go to a panel of experts who would determine what services — if any — that person needs to quit using…

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