EDITORIAL: Federal government has the power to help save lives

Now is the time for the federal government to do the right thing — decriminalize simple possession and, in the process, save lives.

It is past time the federal government decriminalizes simple possession of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin and, in doing so, begins saving lives.

The fact that Kamloops council members support such a move — via their opinion, though not by official motion — is adding to the snowball of support for decriminalization.

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That support crosses all sorts of societal lines, from Vancouver council to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Chiefs to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and many diverse organizations and individuals in between.

The decades-long so-called war on drugs has never worked and has only served to criminalize and marginalize people. Today, that approach is only serving to add to the dreadful body count in the ongoing opioid overdose crisis that was declared a public health emergency in April 2016.

More than four years later, the number of casualties have never been higher as Kamloops and B.C. will end the year with record rates of overdose deaths.

It is inexcusable that the federal Liberal government cannot see the emergency that exists and refuses to act on decriminalization recommendations from the experts.

While addiction is a health issue, it should be recognized also that even recreational drug use should not be criminalized.

By decriminalizing simple possession of the harder drugs, we would be taking a step in removing the stigma associated with such use. That measure, coupled with a government-controlled, safe supply of narcotics, should be instrumental in reducing the number of overdose deaths due to heartless dealers cutting their product with deadly fentanyl, all in the name of the almighty dollar.

Now is the time for the federal government to do the right thing — decriminalize simple possession and, in the process, save lives.

© Kamloops This Week



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