A national conversation regarding the decriminalization of all drugs is sparking after Toronto's public health board unanimously voted to work on pushing Ottawa towards the descriminalization of all drugs. Arguing that that decriminalization can potentially save lives.
The main idea The Toronto Health Board is attempting to push: drug use and abuse should be addressed with proper public resources and treatment, rather than with a criminal and corrective approach. Essentially, treat, don't arrest.
Leading the health board is Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, and her thorough and recent scientific research is also backing her up.
Her research clearly shows that the potential harm of drugs is exacerbated when people are required to obtain the substances illegally.
In other words, focus on a public health approach that is centered around treatment and harm minimization rather than police, arrestation, courts, and jail.
In the wake of an opioid crisis in Canada, arguments such as this are received in a different light then they used to be. As many people are directly connected someone who has been affected by opioid addiction or touched by tragedies involving fentanyl.
That said, The Toronto council’s point person on drug policy confirms that Dr. Eileen de Villa's report was received positively and people are supportive of the shift in focus she is proposing.
The health board chair is sending these recommendations to other health boards across Canada in hopes that they too will put pressure on Ottawa to reform our current and outdated corrective approach to drugs.
It's all about helping drug users have access to safe public medical resources rather than harshly punishing them.
That said, federal laws will only change if the whole country gets involved in a dialogue about this issue.