Toronto Public Health recommending decriminalization of all drugs for personal use

11 Juillet, 2018, 16:53 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • According to preliminary data 303 people lost their lives to opioid overdoses in Toronto last year — an increase of 63 per cent over the previous year

In recommendations expected to be considered by Toronto's board of health next week, the city's top public health official, Dr Eileen de Villa, called on the federal government to do away with legal penalties for the possession of all drugs for personal use.

"Some people who use drugs are more impacted by our drug laws than others, including people who are homeless or living in poverty, people with mental health and substance use issues and youth".

"The community dialogue process confirmed that Torontonians agree the current approach is not working, and we should treat drug use as a public health and social issue, not a criminal issue."

The report will also recommend the City should scale up prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services.

The overdose crisis, Dr.de Villa said, is a public-health issue, and deaths stemming from it can be prevented.

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Dr.de Villa made those recommendations to the Toronto board of health, asking it to put pressure on the provincial and federal governments.

Additionally, the report recommends the board should ask the federal government to convene a task force to explore options for the legal regulation of all drugs. "These preventable deaths are affecting our family members, friends and colleagues, and we must do more".

"Our belief, based on the evidence, is that the criminalization of people who take drugs actually is contributing to this opioid-overdose emergency in our city, because it forces people into unsafe drug practices and actually presents a barrier to those who might be interested in seeking help for addressing opioid-use disorders", she said.

The drug policy consultation was completed in response to the growing opioid crisis happening across the country. According to preliminary data, 303 people lost their lives to opioid overdoses in Toronto last year - an increase of 63 per cent over the previous year. That marks a 121 per cent increase from 2015.

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