VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the B.C. NDP announced the finalization of its submission to decriminalize personal drug possession in the province. Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement:
“Stigma makes people use alone and tragically, die alone. Decriminalization is an important step forward to change the way we treat people who use drugs and keep people alive; it is not about decriminalizing the drugs, but the people who use them. I applaud this government for taking this step.
“The proposed threshold in the government’s submission gives some pause for concern, as we’ve heard preliminary reactions that the limit is too low, and doesn’t let people carry more than a day’s dose. We need to ensure that this threshold is set appropriately for people who use drugs to exist without fear. If the threshold is too low, it risks making drugs more potent and more dangerous.
“Ultimately, there has not been enough urgency when it comes to implementing effective solutions to our drug toxicity crisis. We have created a prohibition-based system and that will not be resolved overnight. We need decriminalization, yes, and it needs to be matched with an effective, low-barrier regulated safe supply of substances. The problem remains that the illicit drug market is toxic, and I urge this government to expand what we consider as safe supply.
“Six people a day are dying in British Columbia from illicit toxic drugs. Decriminalization is an important step forward, but it is a long road ahead. We have to treat it like the emergency it is.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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