Calling the situation a “national health emergency,” Green party leader Elizabeth May said her party would decriminalize all drug possession in Canada in order “to deal with the devastating toll of the opioid crisis.”
May said the fentanyl contamination of street drugs means that many of the reported deaths are actually poisonings, not overdoses. As such, she explained, decriminalizing drug possession will ensure that people have access to a safe, screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addictions.
“We must stop treating drug addiction as a criminal issue and start treating it as a health-care issue,” she added.”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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The Green Party said that if elected, it 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 May.
In her announcement, May cited a Canadian Institute for Health Information report which claimed an estimated 10,300 Canadians died from an apparent opioid-related overdose between January 2016 and September 2018.