Canadian and B.C. government set to make announcement about B.C.’s overdose crisis


The federal and B.C. governments will make an important announcement on the overdose crisis on Tuesday.

It is expected B.C.’s application for an exemption from Canada’s drug laws to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use for those ages 19 and older will be integral to the announcement.

B.C. was the first province to apply for the exemption.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson told reporters in early April she received an update on what Health Canada has “on its mind.”


Click to play video: 'B.C. MP urges Liberals to support drug decriminalization bill'







B.C. MP urges Liberals to support drug decriminalization bill


B.C. MP urges Liberals to support drug decriminalization bill

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B.C. formally asks Ottawa for exemption to decriminalize illicit drug possession

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The application asked Ottawa to decriminalize personal possession of up to 4.5 grams of illicit drugs, including heroin and fentanyl.

If the federal government grants the request, British Columbians caught with less than 4.5 grams would be provided with information about accessing addiction and health services. Police would not seize the drugs from them.


Click to play video: 'Special committee tasked with examining B.C.’s toxic drug crisis'







Special committee tasked with examining B.C.’s toxic drug crisis


Special committee tasked with examining B.C.’s toxic drug crisis – May 3, 2022

More than 7,700 British Columbians have died from illicit drug overdoses since the province declared a public health emergency in 2016.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in these deaths, mainly attributed to an increase in social isolation, using drugs alone and closed international borders that cut the supply.

The current toxic drug supply has made the last 20 months the province’s most deadly.

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The province provided a 43-page report to the federal government as part of the exemption application, detailing the recent increase in deaths linked to higher concentrations of fentanyl.

Read more:

B.C. formally asks Ottawa for exemption to decriminalize illicit drug possession

In addition to the exemption, the province said it continues its other work to prevent illicit-drug deaths, including prevention, prescribed safer supply and other harm-reduction efforts.

The move has the support of the organization representing chiefs of police across the country, as well as B.C.’s chief coroner.

“Criminalizing members of our communities who use drugs has resulted in decades of causing further harm to many who are already suffering from mental or physical health challenges and/or the effects of emotional or physical trauma,” Lisa Lapointe said in the news release.

The announcement will be live-streamed above at 11 a.m. PT and this story will be updated following the announcement. 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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