Dear Liberal Party: To Help End Overdose Death Crisis, Decriminalize Now

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Dear Liberal party members, members of Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

Last year alone, more than 4,000 Canadians died from overdose, according to federal health estimates. These deaths were preventable. Close to 6,000 more will have died by the end of this year if the year-to-year 45 per cent rate of increase continues. If the government had heeded the advice of those with lived experience, those working directly with those at-risk, and experts in public health, this crisis would not have grown the way it has. We continue to call for evidence-based, compassionate drug policies.

We recognize this government’s efforts to address the overdose epidemic: additional federal funding for treatment; regulatory changes to broaden the distribution of Naloxone; approving licensing for supervised consumption services; and providing a more enabling framework for overdose prevention sites.

Canada is losing more people to overdose than at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

These may go some way to mitigating the harm in the midst of this public health emergency. However, these measures are insufficient, as the crisis is currently worsening. Canada is losing more people to overdose than at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The devastating effect of this crisis has left thousands of Canadian families and communities forever impacted by the loss of their loved ones to overdose. Our country as a whole can expect long-lasting social, cultural and economic impacts of losing thousands of people. Meanwhile, people who use substances continue to experience unjust reductions in quality of life resulting from incarceration, criminal records and systemic discrimination.

We urge you to be the progressive government you promised to be, choosing human rights and evidence-based policy over ideological relics. A resolution for sensible drug policy is on the agenda at the April 2018 federal Liberal convention. We wholly support this resolution and urge that you accept it as a party policy and quickly advance legislation to decriminalize low-level possession in accordance with that policy.

The proposed motion, “Address the Opioid Crisis Through a Public Health Approach,” states that, “The Government of Canada should treat drug abuse as a health issue, expand treatment and harm reduction services and re-classify low-level drug possession and consumption as administrative violations.”

As the world watches dated and harmful North American drug policies translate into the toxic drug market that experts predicted, we look to the sensible approaches of Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Norway and others …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel


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