Overdose crisis: B.C.’s top doctor calls for decriminalization of drug possession for personal use

published on April 24, 2019 by Nick Eagland in Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s top doctor on Wednesday unveiled a bold proposal to slow the overdose crisis by decriminalizing the possession of drugs for personal use, but the provincial public safety minister says he won’t run afoul of federal laws to make such a change.

In a special report, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it is known around the world that the “war on drugs” has been a failure. She said the criminalization of non-violent people for simple possession increases communicable disease transmission, stigma and drug-related mortality, while incarceration and criminal records make the harm from drugs worse by preventing future employment and travel.

She recommends B.C. “urgently move to decriminalize people who possess controlled substances for personal use” in her report, called “Stopping the Harm: Decriminalization of People Who Use Drugs in B.C.”

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