Chief medical officer calls for decriminalisation of all drugs

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 11, 2018

Toronto Public Health is recommending decriminalizing the possession of all drugs for personal use.

A June report from Toronto Public Health also called on the province to add legal protection for the city's supervised injection sites for 12 months at a time as opposed to six, and add more "managed opioid programs", which would prescribe controlled amounts of opioids to people who would otherwise use street drugs potentially laced with fentanyl.

The recommendation comes following a public consultation process that found many Torontonians don't believe the current approach to dealing with drugs is working - especially with opioid-overdose deaths reaching record levels across Canada.

"While considerable work has been done, the situation remains urgent and too many people are still dying", she said in a statement.

She wants Toronto's Board of Health to pressure the federal government on decriminalization and for better harm-reduction and treatment services.

"The criminalisation of people who take drugs is contributing to the overdose emergency because it forces people into unsafe drug use practices and creates barriers to seeking help", said De Villa.

In a report released Monday, Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa recommended the federal government scale up harm-prevention strategies, including the removal of legal penalties for small amounts of drugs, and convene a task force to look at the possibility of regulating all drugs like alcohol. "These preventable deaths are affecting our family members, friends and colleagues, and we must do more".

The drug policy consultation was completed in response to the growing opioid crisis happening across the country.

In 2017, Ontario's chief coroner found there were 303 opioid overdose deaths in Toronto.

This represents a 63% increase from 2016 and a 121% increase from 2015. A motion on the matter will be considered at an upcoming meeting of Toronto's Board of Health.

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