the province of British Columbia is experimenting with the decriminalization of hard drugs

the province of British Columbia is experimenting with the decriminalization

Six people die every day from drug overdoses in British Columbia, western Canada. Since the arrival of a very dangerous product like Fentanyl, often used to cut drugs on the black market, there have been 11,000 deaths in six years, nearly 2,300 only for the year 2022. The government of this province adopts a radical policy change to stem the opiate crisis.

With our corresponding to Montreal, Pascale Guericolas

The government of British Columbia is therefore implementing a new measure to try to preserve the lives of those who use drugs. Since Tuesday, January 31, these people over the age of 18 will be able to carry 2.5 mg of prohibited substances, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines, on them. A three-year pilot project.

From now on, the police will no longer have the right to arrest a person who has a small quantity of drugs on them, nor will they be able to seize this prohibited substance. British Columbia therefore treats drug use as a public health issue, rather than using legal weapons. The goal is simple: to prevent the person from hiding to take drugs, and risk overdosing. Friends or family will be able to intervene more quickly in case of danger, according to Sandhia Vadlamudy. She directs the Association of Addiction Workers of Quebec.

That means that relatives who know about it keep naloxone nearby, which is the antidote, because it’s not the person who is consuming who is going to administer naloxone himself. So, the people around have to be aware, and be equipped to act in full knowledge of the facts, explains Sandhia Vadlamudy.

Thanks to this new measure, more supervised consumption centers, where medical staff prevent overdoses, will be able to open. Indeed, the administrative rules will be lightened. The government of British Columbia has also planned to invest several hundred million euros in medical and social programs to help drug users.