Sumary of Vancouver wants to decriminalise possession of many hard drugs:
- A Vancouver city councillor joined activists outside a police station on July 14th to distribute free heroin, meth and cocaine.
- These “safe” samples of illicit drugs, the councillor tweeted, could save users from a poisoned street supply that has caused an overdose crisis on Canada’s west coast.
- The health officer of British Columbia (BC), where Vancouver is located, declared an emergency over deaths from drug overdoses five years ago.
- BC’s rate of illicit-drug deaths has more than doubled since then, with around 2,000 people dying from overdoses in the year to May—more than those killed by covid-19. “It’s really stretched all our traditional policy responses,” says Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver’s mayor.
- The pandemic appears to have worsened the crisis, since deaths are more likely if users inject alone.
- So in May, Vancouver submitted a proposal to exempt it from Canada’s drug laws.
- Drug prohibition deters addicts from seeking treatment, the request says, and criminal records make it hard to get a job.
- The proposal would also allow possession of drugs prescribed legally but sold on the black market, and of “party drugs” like LSD, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms.