Decriminalization of drugs in public places | Ottawa allows British Columbia to reverse course

Decriminalization of drugs in public places | Ottawa allows British Columbia to reverse course
Decriminalization of drugs in public places | Ottawa allows British Columbia to reverse course

(Ottawa) Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya’ara Saks announced Tuesday that the federal government has accepted British Columbia’s request to reverse its pilot project to decriminalize drugs in public places .


Posted at 3:54 p.m.

This change takes effect immediately, she stressed.

“We know we need to address the opioid crisis and overdose deaths. We consider this to be a public health problem. This is a health crisis and not a criminal one,” she told reporters in Ottawa.

“That being said, communities need to be safe, people need to have confidence that they can move freely and they need to feel comfortable in their own community,” she added.

British Columbia had asked Health Canada to modify an exemption allowing the decriminalization of small quantities of drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Premier David Eby changed his mind due to concerns from the public, nurses and police. He thus expressed to Ottawa his desire to once again criminalize the use of these drugs in public spaces such as hospitals and parks. The Trudeau government agreed to his request.

Mme Saks expects police to direct people who need help to appropriate support systems and only make arrests in extreme cases where public safety is at risk.

She argues that decriminalization is just one policy tool to address the overdose crisis, adding that she is frustrated with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s efforts to make it a matter of partisan politics.


#Canada

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