Canada’s Drug Crisis: Ottawa Will Not Decriminalize Drugs Apart From Cannabis

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The federal government stated that it will not consider decriminalizing drugs apart from marijuana despite the calls from Canada’s major cities to consider the issue.

It’s already a known fact that the opioid epidemic is washing over the country, and Montreal and Toronto are echoing Vancouver and urging the federal government to treat drug use as a public health problem and not a criminal one.

Montreal’s public health dept. had thrown its support behind a report that was released by Toronto’s board of health which urges the federal government to decriminalize all drugs.

Mylene Drouin, the director of Montreal’s public health department, stated recently that she is in favor of Toronto’s report.

She said that decriminalization would be on the agenda at provincial and national health meetings.

Latest reports say that about 4,000 Canadians dies last year from an apparent opioid overdose. In Toronto, there were reported 303 opioid overdose-related deaths, and in Montreal, 140.

Vancouver Mayor Greg Robertson had been asking for the decriminalization of all drugs for a while now. In Vancouver, there were 335 opioid-related deaths in 2017.

Despite calls from all the three cities, the federal government does not seem to change its mind and insists that decriminalization is not at all a viable option.

The Canadian Mental Health Association support decriminalization 

Fardous Hosseiny, national director of research and public policy at the Canadian Mental Health Association, and he has advocated for decriminalization.

He said the organization welcomes the call from Vancouver, Toronto and now Montreal, and hopes it puts some pressure on the federal government.

“Given the scale of the opioid crisis in Canada, we know that we need to take bold action,” he said.

He continued and stated that “We know that evidence tells us that the war on drugs hasn’t worked, so criminalization really stigmatizes people and creates barriers for them accessing treatment and accessing help when they need it.”


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