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Chief Health Officer calls for decriminalization of hard drugs

Chief Health Officer calls for decriminalization of hard drugs

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Teresa Tam says we “can’t arrest our way out of the opioid crisis,” in a news conference yesterday. She said Canadians should be “seized” with the crisis of rising deaths from opioid use, suggesting decriminalizing hard drugs should be part of the solutions

Dr. Tam says several provinces — including British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta — are seeing concerning spikes in overdose deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Tam says increasing access to a safer supply of drugs and building more supervised consumption sites are among the critical steps needed to reduce opioid deaths.

But she also says all approaches must be considered, including “moving toward a societal discussion on decriminalization.”

Several officials and groups have called on the federal government to decriminalize hard drugs to address this opioid crisis, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and B.C’s premier and provincial health officer.

She  applauded a recent directive by the independent public prosecution office instructing federal prosecutors to only go after the most serious drug possession offences that raise public safety concerns.

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