VancouverBC And January 30, 2023 /CNW/ — Canada is facing an unprecedented fatal overdose crisis and an increasingly toxic supply of illegal drugs. This crisis has been, and continues to be, heartbreaking for families, friends and communities across the country. Collectively, we must recognize that substance use is a public health problem that is shaped by complex, interdependent factors, many of which can be beyond an individual’s control, such as traumatic experiences, income, access to stable housing, and influences on racialized communities. .
Since 2016, more than 32,000 people have died of an accidental overdose CanadaWith British Columbia Severely affected by overdose deaths and related harm. According to the British Columbia Forensic Service, 2,267 people were lost to illegal drug poisoning in British Columbia in 2021 — the highest number of deaths recorded in a calendar year. In the first nine months of 2022, 1,644 people were killed by illegal drug poisoning in British Columbia. It is clear that innovative solutions must be implemented in order to save lives.
on me May 31, 2022Announced a limited-term exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for Adults in the Province of British Columbia from tomorrow, January 31, 2023until January 31, 2026Adults 18 years of age or older within British Columbia will not be subject to criminal charges for possession of small amounts of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA for personal use.
This time-limited exemption is the first of its kind in the Canada. We are fully aware of our responsibility to protect the health and safety of all people in British Columbia, and so, to support the successful implementation of this exemption, we have worked closely with provincial officials as they put in place the measures described in Requirements letter This includes:
improving access to health and social services;
providing law enforcement training and mentoring;
dealing with indigenous partners;
Conduct consultations with people who use drugs, law enforcement, communities experiencing racism, municipalities, and other key stakeholders;
driving effective communications and public awareness; And
Define key public health and safety indicators and conduct comprehensive monitoring and evaluation.
The dedication, commitment and hard work of the province, as well as the municipalities of British Columbia, has provided a strong foundation for implementing this exemption. Our government will continue to work with the Province of British Columbia throughout this waiver period, to rigorously monitor, collect and analyze data and evidence, and assess the impacts on public health and public safety in order to determine that this waiver continues to be in the public interest.
While the approval of this request is important, it should be seen as an additional tool to be used in the ongoing comprehensive response to this crisis. We remain committed to responding to this crisis with a system-wide approach to addressing the supply of toxic drugs and saving lives. Since 2017, our government has invested more than 800 million dollars in wide range of procedures and interventions via blockAnd Damage reduction And Treatment efforts. Besides these investments, we also have Canceled Mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses, helping to remove more Canadians, including those from overrepresented groups such as Aboriginal, Black Canadians and other racist communities, away from the criminal justice system.
Our government recognizes more must be done across the country to save lives and increase access to harm reduction and treatment. We will continue to work in partnership with all provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and experts, including individuals with lived and lived experience, to identify the best ways to support people who use drugs and help reverse this national public health crisis.
Honorable Mention Caroline Bennett, MP
Joint BC & Health Canada press release
The full exemption
Statement by the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction and Associate Minister of Health on the Overdose Crisis and Exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: Personal possession of small quantities of certain illegal substances in British Columbia (January 31, 2023 to January 31, 2026)
SOURCE Health Canada
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