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Ema Stanovská
June 1, 2022, 10:08pm
Reading time: 1:11

You Won't Get Arrested For Holding Cocaine Or Methamphetamine In British Columbia, But The Province Is Fighting Drug Addictions.

Due to a high number of drug overdose cases, British Columbia has declared a public health emergency in 2016. The situation has not improved since.

Ema Stanovská
June 1, 2022, 10:08pm
Reading time: 1:11
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You Won't Get Arrested For Holding Cocaine Or Methamphetamine In British Columbia, But The Province Is Fighting Drug Addictions.
Zdroj: Jonathan Hayward — The Canadian Press
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Canada has announced that they will temporarily decriminalize holding small amounts of some illegal drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine in British Columbia. The government explained that the deregulation is not meant to support drug use, but the exact opposite - it is supposed to help people who are scared to tackle their addiction. 

 

The BBC portal writes that adults will be able to hold 2.5 grams of opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA for personal use. Although these substances remain illegal, there persons will not be arrested by the police, charged, and the drugs will not be seized. Instead, they will be offered information about available health and social services. 

 

„We are doing this to save lives, but also to provide a choice and dignity to those who use drugs,“ said federal minister for mental health and addictions Carolyn Bennett. 

 

British Columbia has asked the federal government last year to give an exemption from drug laws to the country in order to "remove shame which often prevents people from seeking life-saving help."

 

The governor of Vancouver Kennedy Steward said that this decision means "significant rethinking of anti-drug politics which prefers healthcare to handcuffs."

Drugs in the province kill thousands of people yearly

Drug overdose caused over 2000 deaths in British Columbia last year. Since 2016, over 9 000 people have died due to drug overdose in the province. As a result, British Columbia has declared a state of public health emergency. Deaths due to overdose have reached a  historical all time high during the covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Criminal sanctions for holding certain illegal drugs were canceled in the US State of Oregon in 2020. The state has seen a decrease in the amount of arrests for drugs, but it is not clear whether the regulation steered more drug users towards seeking help.

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Thumbnail: Jonathan Hayward — The Canadian Press
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