OTTAWA — “I register my disbelief today at this Government’s abdication of duty in the face of the unprecedented opioid overdose crisis ravaging the country,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “Yesterday’s failure to decriminalize the possession of opioids and other illicit drugs and to create a safe supply will cost lives.
"I don’t know who the Government consulted on these reforms, but it certainly wasn’t the health experts and advocates on the frontlines who have pointed to criminalisation as a leading cause of opioid-related deaths.
"Simply put, yesterday’s half-measures do not get to the heart of the matter and the Government’s reference to Canadians who are struggling with addiction as ‘offenders’ is unhelpful and wrong-headed; but demonstrative of the stigma associated with addiction.
"The Green Party hopes to help shift hearts and minds: addiction is a health crisis, not a crime. We have called for the Government of Canada to decriminalize the possession of opioids and other illicit drugs and to create a national safe supply program during the life of this Parliament.
“Opioid-related deaths are at record highs in Canada. The avoidable loss of lives to opioid poisonings has only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, guided by the recommendations of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the chief coroner and chief medical officer of B.C, we demand justice on this file and a timeline that sees decriminalization happen no later than this upcoming Canada Day.“
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