Toronto Health Officials Recommend Decriminalization of All Drugs

Will My Insurance Pay for Rehab?

Sponsored Legal Stuff - This is an advertisement for Service Industries, Inc., part of a network of commonly owned substance abuse treatment service providers. Responding to this ad will connect you to one of Service Industries, Inc.’s representatives to discuss your insurance benefits and options for obtaining treatment at one of its affiliated facilities only. Service Industries, Inc. Service Industries, Inc. is unable to discuss the insurance benefits or options that may be available at any unaffiliated treatment center or business. If this advertisement appears on the same web page as a review of any particular treatment center or business, the contact information (including phone number) for that particular treatment center or business may be found at the bottom of the review.

Toronto Health Officials Recommend Decriminalization of All Drugs

By Victoria Kim 07/19/18

"The potential harms associated with any of these drugs is worsened when people are pushed into a position where they have to produce, obtain and consume those drugs illegally."

Image: 
smoking pipe

On Monday, the Toronto board of health unanimously accepted the decision to propose that Canada’s federal government decriminalize all drug use.

The board made the decision upon reading a report by Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s chief medical officer, which made the case for treating drug use as a public health, not a criminal, issue.

“What we are saying here is drug use has always been with us. Humans have always used drugs in one way, shape or form,” said de Villa, according to the Canadian Press.

“The potential harms associated with any of these drugs is worsened when people are pushed into a position where they have to produce, obtain and consume those drugs illegally. That’s what we’re trying to address through this particular report and this recommendation.”

However, a representative for Canada’s national government said it has no plans to decriminalize or legalize all drugs. “We are aware that decriminalization, as part of a comprehensive approach to substance use, seems to be working in places like Portugal, but more study would be required as the circumstances are very different in Canada,” said Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette.

Durette is referring to Portugal’s decision in 2001 to decriminalize all drugs use, in response to “one of the worst drug epidemics in the world,” according to NPR.

Since then, Portugal has been cited by drug policy reform advocates as a harm reduction experiment that has yielded positive outcomes. Since the government made the decision to approach drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal one, reports have shown decreases in drug-related HIV and hepatitis infections, fatal overdoses, drug-related crime and incarceration rates.

Canada may not be ready to change policies regarding “hard drugs” like heroin and cocaine, but in June it became the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize cannabis.

Still, the Toronto health officials are hopeful that the tide will someday turn. “The only way that federal laws are going to change is if we provoke that national conversation,” said board chair Coun. Joe Mihevc.

In 2017, nearly 4,000 Canadians died of a “apparent opioid overdose” in 2017, according to a recent Health Canada report. According to de Villa, 303 of them occurred in Toronto; a 63% increase from the previous year.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
IMG_0717.jpg

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

Disqus comments