The federal government says it will not consider decriminalizing drugs beyond marijuana, despite calls from Canada’s major cities to consider the measure.
As the opioid epidemic washes over the country, Montreal and Toronto are echoing Vancouver and urging the federal government to treat drug use as a public health issue, rather than a criminal one.
Montreal’s public health department has just thrown its support behind a report released recently by Toronto’s board of health which urges the federal government to decriminalize all drugs.
Mylene Drouin, the director of Montreal’s public health department, said last week that she is in favour of Toronto’s report and that decriminalization will be on the agenda at provincial and national health meetings.
A Health Canada report last month found that nearly 4,000 Canadians died from an apparent opioid overdose in 2017, including 303 opioid overdose-related deaths in Toronto. In Montreal, the number of deaths relating to probable opioid overdoses was 140 for a period of a little over a year, ending June 30.
Vancouver Mayor Greg Roberston has long called for the decriminalization of all drugs, which has been repeated by health officials and advocates across British Columbia. In Vancouver, there was an estimated 335 opioid related deaths in 2017.