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April 19th, 2022

NDP MP Gord Johns to meet with organizations helping Victorians devastated by the drug poisoning crisis

VICTORIA – Today, NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Gord Johns, is visiting MP Laurel Collins riding of Victoria to meet with local organizations supporting people who use drugs or are addicted to drugs. Johns is touring the country to raise support for his private member’s bill which would decriminalize personal possession of illicit drugs, expunge criminal convictions for personal possession of drugs, and establish a national strategy for substance use among other things.

“Service providers are on the front lines doing the important work to support their community. They are doing everything they can to keep people safe in the middle of a crisis which has cost thousands of lives,” said Johns. “Like many other cities across the country, Victoria has been deeply affected by this toxic illicit drug supply crisis which has only gotten worse in recent years. It’s about time this Liberal government moved past their outdated ideology, which is costing lives, and listened to the experts. We can’t let any more families deal with this unnecessary pain.”

The national toxic drug supply and drug poisoning crisis has led to more than 27,000 deaths across the country in the past six years. In 2021, 2,224 people in B.C. died from suspected toxic drug poisoning deaths – a 26 per cent increase from 2020. Last year, the province applied to the federal government for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use to help address the crisis. The Liberal government has yet to approve the province’s request for decriminalization.

“Despite the advice from public health experts, the Liberal government is continuing to treat substance use as a criminal justice issue, which adds to the stigma people face and causes them further harm,” said Collins. “People deserve better than a government that stands by and refuses to change their approach when people are dying from the toxic drug crisis. I hope all Parliamentarians will support this bill when it comes to a vote in the coming weeks. Canadians’ lives depend on it.”