WINNIPEG – The Green Party of Canada is calling for drug possession to be decriminalized to deal with the devastating toll of the opioid crisis. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that between January 2016 and September 2018, an estimated 10,300 Canadians died from an apparent opioid-related overdose.
“We must stop treating drug addiction as a criminal issue and start treating is as a health-care issue,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “This is a national health emergency.”
Ms. May said that fentanyl contamination of street drugs means that many of the reported deaths are actually poisonings, not overdoses. Decriminalizing drug possession will ensure that people have access to a safe, screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addictions.
A Green Party government will declare a national health emergency, increase supports for mental health and addiction, and boost funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and support drug users. It will also ensure that Naloxone kits are widely available to treat overdoses.
“The opioid crisis is a national tragedy that is devastating communities and families across Canada,” said Ms. May. “We have to abandon old notions of the ‘war on drugs’ and join the battle that really matters – the fight to save Canadian lives.”
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