Ottawa rejects expert calls to decriminalize illegal opioids

The federal response to increasing opioid deaths includes a commitment to harm reduction, facilitating access to supervised consumption sites and making naloxone available without prescription
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Monday, August 28, 2017

Ottawa says it has no plans to consider decriminalizing hard drugs, such as heroin, despite calls from local politicians, health officials and experts who argue such radical action is needed to combat the overdose epidemic that first hit British Columbia and is now a national crisis. Vancouver's mayor became the latest person to advocate for this shift in drug policy after new statistics showed his city had already surpassed last year's overdose death toll of 231 people. But a spokesperson for federal Health Minister Jane Philpott says Canada is focused on legalizing cannabis not decriminalizing other, more deadly illicit drugs. (See also: Harm reduction workers call on Ontario to declare emergency over opioid crisis)