Six months into B.C.’s decriminalization experiment, what’s working and what’s not?

published on August 5, 2023 by Sarah Grochowski in Vancouver Sun

B.C. embarked on a first-in-Canada experiment at the beginning of this year with the decriminalization of small amounts of certain drugs in an effort to realign its response to the toxic drug poisoning crisis toward a health-oriented approach.

Six months later, the reviews are mixed.

While police seizures and arrests for simple drug possession are trending downward, critics say the pilot project is only of limited help in addressing the province’s climbing overdose death toll — 11,171 since a public emergency was declared in 2016.

Instead of administering handcuffs, police are now trained to offer wallet-sized “health service referral cards” that list phone numbers for treatment in their region to adults found with up to 2.5 mg of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA…

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