Experts explain why Ottawa is being asked to decriminalize small amounts of drugs

published on June 21, 2022 by Erika Ibrahim in Winnipeg Free Press

OTTAWA – Last month, British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to make changes to ensure drug users will not be arrested or charged for carrying up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs as of next year.

It’s the first jurisdiction in the country that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs in an effort to stem the rising tide of drug toxicity deaths. Since January 2016, almost 27,000 Canadians have died from opioid-related causes, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Solving the opioid crisis by decriminalizing access to opioids might seem counterintuitive.

But many experts involved in researching substance use over the past decades have come to the conclusion over the last 20 to 30 years that using criminal penalties to dissuade people from using certain substances simply does not work…

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