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November 2nd, 2021

NDP supports call to decriminalize drug use and remove harmful stigma

NDP MPs applaud the actions of the BC government and call for decriminalization country-wide

VANCOUVER – Today, NDP MPs are praising the BC government's move to decriminalize personal possession of drugs in the province and saying similar measures are needed nationally to help the thousands of Canadians struggling with addiction. In the last Parliament, NDP Health Critic Don Davies introduced ground-breaking legislation to decriminalize drug use in Canada so addiction can finally be treated as a public health concern instead of a criminal justice issue.

“Decriminalizing personal possession of drugs in the province and across Canada is an essential first step to removing the shame that often prevents people from reaching out for life-saving help,” said NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions Gord Johns. “Addiction is a disease, not a crime. It’s time to treat substance use and addiction as the health issues they truly are.”

The proposal states that people with small amounts of drugs would not be fined or arrested but instead they would be given information on how to access health and social services. Decriminalization is supported by health experts and the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs.

“The suffering that addiction causes people in my province, and across Canada, is unfathomable,” Davies stated. “It’s clear our current approach isn’t working; families and communities are being destroyed. This is an epidemic that impacts Canadians of all backgrounds, and while decriminalization in BC is a good step, we need to decriminalize drug possession across the country.”