Decriminalize drug possession for personal use: Toronto Public Health

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Toronto Public Health is convinced that the city’s way of dealing with drug possession is ineffective and has recommended decriminalizing the possession of all drugs for personal use.

The agency is making several recommendations in a report going before the Board of Health next week.

Drug policy consultations in Toronto has found that people are supportive of drug use being treated as a public health and social issue, not a criminal one.

The report will also recommend increasing prevention, harm reduction and treatment services, as well as recommend the board to ask the federal government to convene a task force to explore options for the legal regulation of drugs.

Last year Toronto saw 303 opioid overdose deaths a whopping 63 per cent increase from 2016 and a 121 per cent increase from 2015 – according to Toronto Public Health, citing preliminary data from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

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This comes just a few months before the federal government legalizes cannabis.

The recommendation would include decriminalizing the possession of all drugs, including harder substances such as heroin and fentanyl. It would not include selling or buying.

Meanwhile media reports have announced government plans to launch a public education campaign aimed at addressing stigma and reducing barriers to treatment.

The drug epidemic is becoming worse and measured to curb or curtail its use over the decades have not worked. Criminalizing the possession has hardly been a deterrent and it is hoped that by simply abandoning that approach could help encourage addicts to seek help without fear or stigma. -CINEWS


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