Furstenau: BC NDP fails to address real drug harms

April 26, 2024

VICTORIA, B.C. - In response to the BC NDP's request for the federal government to create exemptions to decriminalization, Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement:

“I hear the concerns of families and communities about drug use in public spaces where children play, and people gather. It's essential we keep these areas safe.

“However, simply increasing police powers will not solve the root problems of public drug use. Such measures are not only ineffective but could greatly exacerbate systemic issues and overburden our judicial system

“The BC Supreme Court has been clear that severely restricting public drug consumption would cause irreparable harm to people at risk of injury and death amidst a public health crisis, and it’s disappointing that the BC NDP has chosen to attempt to bypass these concerns from the judiciary. 

“A compassionate, evidence-based approach to this crisis would mean focusing on expanding safe consumption sites, comprehensive treatment, and support for those battling mental health challenges and addictions.

“The safer supply program is inadequate, there are not enough safe consumption sites throughout the province, and many do not accommodate the most common method of drug consumption, which is smoking.

“Reintroducing criminal penalties for drug use in public places could lead to a significant increase in incarcerations, which would be costly - both financially and socially. Police discretion is especially likely to stigmatize Indigenous and racialized British Columbians. 

“This issue is intrinsically linked to the housing and affordability crisis. Rolling back decriminalization isn't going to fix that. No jurisdiction in the world has arrested their way out of this problem, and we won’t either. 100,000 people in B.C. have an opioid use disorder and over 10,000 are unhoused, it's clear we need a much more comprehensive approach that meets people's basic needs in this province.”



Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]

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