Some cities turn to non-criminalization of drugs as overdose rises

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Toronto — Canada’s largest city is in the latest jurisdiction aimed at criminalizing drug possession as it faces a surge in overdose epidemics.

This month’s Health Commission in Toronto has granted permission from the Federal Government of Canada to allow drug users to carry small amounts of drugs for personal use, such as heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, without fear of prosecution. He said he would ask. Tax exemptions do not cover drug trafficking, and it remains a criminal offense.

City officials hope that non-criminalization will make it easier for people to get help. They also say that the lack of a criminal record may make it easier for drug users to get a job and a stable home.

Toronto’s efforts follow Vancouver’s efforts to apply for a similar tax exemption in May and British Columbia’s efforts to file its own non-criminalization application in November. last year, Oregon approves plan While decriminalizing drug possession New York City last month It became the first city in the United States to open a supervised injection site.

A similar non-criminalization proposal was made by a member of the Maine state, but the State Senate broke a bill passed by the state House of Representatives.

Emergency medical personnel responding to June overdose in Vancouver. Last year, 414 people died from drug overdose.


Photo:

JONATHAN HAYWARD / Associated Press

New policies and proposals come to say authorities are looking for ways to handle them Overdose epidemic It swept across North America.Drug user Dying in record numbers As an increasingly toxic drug supply overwhelms the black market.

“Current approaches to drug policy and regulation aren’t working,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, head of health care in Toronto, in a presentation to the city’s health committee on December 6. Said.

In the United States, interim data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that: Over 100,000 During the 12 months ending April 30, 2021, it is expected that the first time deaths exceeded that threshold, they died from drug overdose.

In Canada, which accounts for one-ninth of the US population, 6,265 people died from opioid overdose last year. In the first three months of this year, an additional 1,772 people died, faster than last year’s tally.

According to Pew Charitable Trusts, drug arrests and convictions have been lowered in Oregon since February. Property crimes, often associated with substance use, have also declined this year.

New York hasn’t blamed possession, but drug users have gone to two locations in Upper Manhattan and are now able to use drugs under supervision. Such facilities have been available in Vancouver since 2003 and in Toronto since 2017.

According to Toronto City statistics, 531 people died from opioid overdose in 2020, the highest number of deaths in the year. That number represents an 81% increase from 2019. As of June of this year, 282 people have died at a record-breaking pace.

In Vancouver, 414 people died last year from drug overdose. An additional 355 people died between January and September this year.As overdose increases, British Columbia has introduced a prescribing policy Drug version of opioids for users..

Toronto authorities will file an application with the Federal Health Department by the end of this year. City officials then went on to discuss how non-criminalization works, such as the amount of drugs that people can legally carry and consume for personal use, and the designation of services provided to assist users. I hope to make a detailed plan for.

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Joe Cressy, a councilor in Toronto, said the city is also seeking more funding for addiction treatment and overdose prevention services.


Photo:

Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty Images

According to Dr. De Villa, blaming the use of drugs is costly and profits do not justify the cost. In Ontario, Canada, where Toronto is located, local governments spent C $ 3.7 billion (equivalent to about $ 3 billion) in 2017 to enforce drug legislation, but overdose deaths continue to increase.

In an interview, Toronto City Councilor and City Health Commission Chair Joe Cressy said clinical evidence supports the idea that substance use should be treated as a health problem rather than a criminal offense. rice field.

The timeline for approval from the Federal Government of Canada is unclear, but Mr. Cressy said he was encouraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s willingness to deal with the issue.

Trudeau appointed a new minister of mental health and addiction in October, and Cressy said the step suggests that the federal government is taking the issue seriously.

Non-criminalization makes it easier for people suffering from addiction to access medical services. Mr. Cressy said that removing criminal penalties alone cannot stop overdose. The city is also seeking more funding for addiction treatment and overdose prevention services.

“The secret is to deploy a system with support,” he said.

Trudeau said in a recent television interview that his government was open to the idea of ​​non-criminalization of drugs, but he did not promise to take a step.

“We are working with the state to find out where to do it, and if so, how to do it,” he said.

Write to Vipal Monga at vipal.monga@wsj.com

Copyright © 2021 DowJones & Company, Inc. all rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Some cities turn to non-criminalization of drugs as overdose rises

Source link Some cities turn to non-criminalization of drugs as overdose rises

The post Some cities turn to non-criminalization of drugs as overdose rises appeared first on Eminetra.

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