Canada, British Columbia decriminalizes hard drugs
British Columbia, a province of Canada, has decided to decriminalize hard drugs in a three-year trial aimed at tackling an opioid overdose crisis that has killed thousands.
From now on, in fact, all adults in the province who are found in possession of heroin, morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and fentanyl, with a maximum of 2.5 grams, instead of being arrested or fined will receive information on how to access to addiction treatment programs.
Furthermore, the police will not seize the drugs, while drug dealers and traffickers will continue to be prosecuted.
“The situation has never been worse,” said Addiction Minister Carolyn Bennett, who then added: “The effects of this public health crisis have devastated communities in British Columbia and Canada”.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia, home to five million people, about six people die every day from drugs.
Since 2016, i.e. since the public health emergency was declared, over 10,000 deaths from overdoses have been recorded, while nationally the number of deaths has exceeded 30,000.
The goal of the experiment is to eliminate the stigma associated with drug use that prevents people from seeking help and will promote the idea that addiction is a health problem.
British Columbia is the second jurisdiction in North America to decriminalize hard drugs: Oregon led the way in November 2020.
Since this measure was introduced, the US state has seen a dramatic drop in arrests, but only a few people (less than 1%) have accepted offers of help to overcome addiction.
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