MLA’s call to end B.C.’s drug decriminalization program misguided: advocate

published on January 30, 2024 by Pippa Norman in CityNews Vancouver

A BC United MLA has reached out to the federal government in hopes of putting an immediate end to B.C.’s drug decriminalization pilot program.

In a letter to the federal minister for mental health and addictions, Elenore Sturko says she believes the province hasn’t proved its one-year-old decriminalization pilot is working, especially after another record breaking year for toxic drug deaths.

But Leslie McBain, co-founder of advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm, says Sturko doesn’t understand the point of the three year pilot, which is to prevent people in possession of a small amount of drugs from entering the criminal justice system.

“It’s primarily to keep people who use drugs out of the criminal justice system,” McBain said. “It doesn’t actually have an impact on the number of deaths in B.C.”

Sturko also writes in her letter that unwitnessed safe supply, when people are prescribed regulated drugs for take-home use, should be defunded…

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