Doctors for Decriminalization
, a national coalition of physicians advocating changes to Canada's drug policies, is urging the government to decriminalize the use of illegal substances.
Dr. Tiffany O'Donnell, co-chair of Doctors for Decriminalization, explains that drug use is a health policy issue not a justice issue. "That's really criminalizing a medical condition. Criminalization
leads to all sorts of poor outcomes, increased rates of homelessness, difficulty accessing employment, and difficulty engaging with the health care system."
It's time for a shift of resources towards accessible health care and away from policing. Criminalizing the possession and use of drugs also disportionately affects marginalized communities.
Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer, who heads the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), has also joined the call for decriminalization. "Arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective. It does not save lives."CACP agrees with Doctors for Decriminalization's warning that the current enforcement-based approach is ineffective, recommending it be "replaced with a health-care approach that diverts people from the criminal justice system."
Tell the federal government to decriminalize the possession and use of illegal substances.