B.C.’s top health official has issued a strongly worded report that could set the province on a radical new path for how it responds to #druguse
“This PHO [provincial health officer] Special Report examines the criminalization of people who use drugs in B.C., Canada, and beyond, and based on existing evidence, offers a single recommendation: decriminalization of people who use drugs,” it reads.
The document was drafted by Dr. Bonnie Henry, a senior government official who’s tasked with improving the overall health of the province.
It recommends that B.C. remove criminal penalties for the personal possession of illicit narcotics, including hard #drugs
like cocaine, heroin, and #fentanyl.
That would mean someone caught with a small amount of drugs would not go to jail or be subject to lesser criminal penalties such as probation. Anyone found with a large amount of drugs—enough to suggest they are involved in drug trafficking—would remain subject to criminal proceedings.
The report does not recommend that B.C. legalize hard drugs, which would go one step further than #decriminalization,
bringing supply under the control of government regulators.
“There is widespread global recognition that the failed ‘#WarOnDrugs’
and the resulting criminalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs has not reduced drug use but instead has increased health harms,” the document reads. “Engagement with the #criminaljustice system exposes non-violent, otherwise law-abiding people to a great deal of harms that they would otherwise not experience.
“The societal stigma associated with drug use leads many to use drugs alone and hidden, increasing their risk of dying,” it adds. […]
Henry’s report acknowledges that in Canada, prohibition is a federal issue, and Ottawa has said it will not decriminalize drugs. However, “the province cannot wait for action at the federal level,” the report states. “Immediate provincial action is warranted.”
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#opioidepidemic #opioidcrisis #overdosecrisis #overdosedeaths #prohibition #harmreduction #drugwar #opioids